Tag Archives: nature

On vacation this week

19 Oct


See you next week! In the meantime, share with everyone by leaving a comment how you are worshiping God this week.

For me, it’s been a long year. Having some space to enjoy God in his creation is awe-inspiring, especially in the north with the glorious fall colors. What a creative God we serve! And at the same time, he’s predictable. Fall comes every year, and the leaves change just like the year before. He is truly amazing and worthy of our worship!



If You Seek…

12 Oct


I’m in Michigan, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to be clear, for vacation in the town in which I grew up.

The Michigan Motto is: If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you. (Or for you Latin buffs: Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice.)

The wording is a little outdated, and doesn’t have that marketing ring to it (so now there is also “Pure Michigan”), but it really is the heart of this state.

First a geography lesson. Most people think of Michigan as the mitten part surrounded by the Great Lakes. That is only half of the state and where trolls live (because they are under the bridge – check out the Three Billy Goats Gruff.) The better half is farther north, connected to the mitten by the Mackinaw Bridge. While I obviously favor the Upper Peninsula, or da U.P., and I am a Yooper, both peninsulas are really beautiful. Everyone reading this post should come and see for yourself!

Now, back to the motto. The state is gorgeous, but sometimes, only if you seek beauty. Even the urban sprawl is usually near water where sunsets and deep blue reflections can transform crumbling industrial sites into pretty vistas. Looking for beauty is also important for those of us who have lived in places surrounded by natural wonders, because always having access can dim the view and numb the soul to how glorious the scenery is. Being back in my hometown after 30 years I see it all with fresh eyes and can’t get enough. That wasn’t always the case when I lived here, though.

Even this morning I overheard a conversation in the hardware between a tourist and a resident:

“Last night we just sat on the beach and watched the sun set into the hills.”
“You know, I need to do that more often. I just get so busy, I forget to take the time time do that.”

It’s easy for me to see God here. In the boundless deep blue of the lake, in the unending glory of golden and crimson foliage, in the chatter of aspen leaves to the wind. Everywhere I look. Everything I hear. I see and hear Him.



“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jer 29:13. This prophecy is written to Jewish exiles in Babylon, but the Scriptural principle is throughout the Bible – when we look for God, we find him; when we listen for his voice, we hear him.

And when we see and hear him, we can’t help but adore him, worship him, and fall on our knees in awe and wonder.

In nature, it’s easy for me to worship him at every new panorama. But he is no less present in my current suburban home than he is here. If I seek him, I will find him. And when I find him I will bow in worship.


Photo: Sunrise over the bay in Grand Marais, Michigan at the mouth of Carpenter Creek taken two days ago.

Through the Roar

28 Jul

Surely, I am with you always.  Matthew 28:20

The woods were quiet as I ambled down the path toward the creek.  The air, as crisp as the leaves under my sandals, stirred a little, then fell still again.  Perfection.  Not too hot, but not chilly; beautiful blue sky and sunshine; brilliantly lit orange leaves from the ground to the treetops.  Autumn was waking up my senses.

Far away an intermittent roar broke through the idyllic afternoon.  Surrounded by the deep forest, I looked around each time I heard it, but the source remained a mystery.

Out of the edge of my peripheral vision a large swooping object made me duck instinctively and whirl around to face it.  I laughed out loud!

Glorious color floated not too far above the treetops as another roar escaped from the burner throwing flames into the billowy balloon.  I’d never been this close to one before.  Seen from a distance, their silhouettes float across the sky in peaceful silence.  But above me a bulbous craft creaked, broadcast its riders’ voices, and roared.

Now that the balloon was directly overheard the roaring dominated everything– my peaceful walk, the chatter of the birds, and my thoughts.

I was in the woods to spend time with God.  His creation always draws me closer to Him.  Apparently so do hot air balloons, as He began to speak to me through the roar.

I’ll share three insights from that day with you.

1.  The burner stayed with the balloon. 

(I know this is one of those ultra-obvious statements, but being aware of the basics, what is often taken for granted, is what makes the light bulb snap on over my head.)  The source of freedom, progress, and power was right there within reach.  All the captain had to do was reach his hand out and turn the valve.  Instantly, the roar heated the air inside the light-weight nylon, and the balloon gracefully responded.

2. The captain didn’t wait for the balloon to get into trouble before letting the burner roar.

The roars didn’t last long.  Sometimes just a few seconds, sometimes a full minute.  All totaled, the time the burner was lit was probably a fraction of the entire flight.  But frequent bursts were necessary to keep the balloon from crashing into a treeline or listing all the way to the ground.  To run the burner for the same amount of time it ran during the trip before it took off would have made for a very short run.

3. From a distance, the burner is unnoticeable.

I mentioned this earlier.  Previously when I’ve seen hot-air balloons, they have been a long way off.  From my perspective they float effortlessly and beautifully– without roaring.  But, of course I’m just not close enough to hear the burner blast power and the balloon skyward.  Physics and chemistry turn into art and magic.

God spoke to me through these, and many other parallels that day in the woods.  Reminding me that He is always right with me; that I need Him all throughout the day, not just at the beginning; and that He combines many, many relationships and situations to create a wonder for others to see that is my life.

I went out to commune with God through His creation – and He spoke through the roar of a propane and silk ballet.


Ready for Sunday

Every follower of Jesus needs both long drinks at His well (much like filling the entire balloon before a flight) and short sips throughout the day.  Especially as worship leaders, however, we can’t do what He’s called us to do without both.  I know that!  But how do I make it a regular practice… instead of waiting until I’m in trouble?  How do I become so desperate for God, I can’t go on without Him?

I’m interested in your thoughts.  Accountability to someone who asks me hard questions (I’ve given her permission to do so) is part of my strategy.  How have you made these practices part of your life so your relationship with Him propels you forward with His power in order to lead others toward Him?

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