The start of the New Year is a great time to join a God-adventure and sing a new song! I was inspired along these lines when my son and I went to the theatre and watched The Hobbit. What a great movie this is!

Play it Safe or Step Out on an Adventure?

“I’m looking for someone to share in an adventure,” Gandalf says to Bilbo Baggins. 

But Bilbo Baggins is a nice, little hobbit and he is afraid to leave the comforts of home. He doesn’t want to venture out and join the company of Gandalf and the rough and rowdy dwarves on their dangerous journey to reclaim their homeland in the Lonely Mountain. He likes his tidy house with stocked pantries and special furniture, dishes, and doilies passed down to him from his mother.

Gandalf won’t give up. He persists in his persuasive efforts. Then Bilbo Baggins asks the wise wizard, “Can you promise that I will come back?”

Gandalf replies: “No, and if you do, you will not be the same.”

Bilbo Baggins is not willing to risk his life and so he refuses to join the adventure. He goes off by himself to curl up in bed for the night while the dwarves party on.

When Adventure Calls You

The next morning the group leaves without him and he wakes up to an empty house. It was then that the adventure called to him! He ran out the door barefoot and chased after Gandalf and the others, excitedly shouting out to his neighbors as he ran, “I’m going on an adventure!”

The ensuing adventure is full of explorations into beautiful lands, surprising turns of events, and prevailing through life and death battles. As Bilbo Baggins and the others come into risky situations that call for knowledge, strength, or ability that they don’t have they keep finding that what they need is provided for them from above just in time, but only after they take courage to engage the battle at hand. In the end Bilbo Baggins proves himself to be an unlikely hero.

“The adventure comes to you” G.K. Chesterton wrote.

Sure enough. As I heard Gandalf’s invitation, “I’m looking for someone to share in an adventure,” I sensed that God was talking to me, that he was inviting Kristi and I into an exciting and risky adventure!

It’s something that we’ve been sensing God leading us into for some time now and we’ve been discussing it with others and holding it before the Lord in prayer. But as I watched The Hobbit I sensed that God was saying, It’s time to step out on our adventure!

If I had any doubts that this was indeed the voice of the Lord they were quieted the next morning when my day’s Bible reading included the Psalmist’s words, “Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him.” (Psalm 98:2)

We’re Launching a New Ministry!

What’s the risky, faith adventure God is calling us into? It’s a new program of retreats for pastors and ministry leaders called TLC.

The purpose of TLC is “To Love Christ.” We’re excited to launch this dream that God has given us. We’re taking courage to trust God to help us make space in our full schedules and that he’ll continue to provided needed funding to sponsor pastors and missionaries. And, as with any dream or adventure, we’re taking courage to face the risk of what might feel like failure if things don’t work out as we hope.

Previously, whenever we’ve stepped out in faith in response to God’s call, venturing on my Lord and depending on him to “show up” in a big way, we’ve never regretted it — even when things went badly or it felt like we failed.

“I’m looking for someone to share in an adventure!” Perhaps you or a pastor/leader you know is interested to join us on a TLC retreat or for one of our other Soul Shepherding ministries.

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