“Forward Three!”, “All Back!”, “High Side!” – by: Troy Bayne

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“Forward Three!”, “All Back!”, “High Side!”

A couple of weeks ago, I had the joy of spending a week with our high school youth group at the Christ in Youth Conference in Colorado.  One of the highlights is always the whitewater rafting trip and this year was no different as we spent four hours on the Animas River in Durango.  If you’ve never been on a trip like this you need to understand that for most of the journey, the river is moving along at a good pace.  Of the four hours on the river, probably only 10 minutes or so is spent intensely battling whitewater and fighting for what seems your very life!  During those few moments, the commands from the guide were heard and obeyed in order to safely navigate the rapids.

The rest of the time is spent enjoying each other, the beautiful scenery, and getting to know the guide you just met at the beginning of the trip.

Getting to know the guide is important during those calm times because it is him alone that you must listen to and obey when you head into intense rapids.  His voice matters most at that point and you quickly learn to obey his every command.  If he says, “Forward Three Times”, that is what you do!  If he says, “All Back!” you paddle in reverse mode as a team.  In order to navigate through the rough waters you must obey the guide.  The real excitement happens when someone in the boat gets tossed while in an intense rapid.  At that moment, the guide gets very serious and the rescue begins.  Getting that person into a boat becomes first priority and nothing else matters more at that moment.

Learning to discern and hear the voice of God isn’t much different is it?  We spend much of our life in the normal or ordinary flow of activity.  It may seem busy and crazy, but it really is more like a Class 1 or 2 rapid.  During those times, we should really get to know the Lord Jesus Christ, our Guide by talking with Him, hearing Him through His Word, and growing with others in our “boat” along the way.  Along the way, he hope to bring others into our boat by reaching out to them.  Those days may seem long and even mundane, but they serve a purpose to prepare us for the coming rapids.

When the rapids come, it is the voice of our Guide we listen to.  Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice;  I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they will never perish…” (John 10:27-28).  May we listen to the voice of God together in this raft we call Longview Christian Church.  We have a great Guide but we must obey his commands to navigate the waters.  Remember, our God has called us to an adventure!

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