Showing items filed under “Jason Meinershagen”
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It looked fun…at first. From the bottom looking up, it looked like a nice, leisurely ride to the top. I bet the view from up there is amazing. And the only thing standing between me and the top of this mountain peak is a mile of cable line and one tram ride. And the voice in my head yelling “are you out of your mind!!??”

If you’ve ever had a fear of heights, then you’ll understand when I say that standing at the base of a ski lift that traverses over a mile straight up the mountain to an elevation of nearly 4,000 feet can be a daunting view. Looking around and seeing more rusted bolts and dry-rotted boards than I could find in an abandoned lumber yard as we make our way to the loading area does little to reassure the growing-louder-by-the-second voice in my head that is trying to remind me that if God wanted me to do something that required my feet leave the ground for more than two seconds, He’d have given me wings.


As I stand in the loading zone and the chair approaches from behind, I wait for the inevitable…and as it literally sweeps me off my feet as it knocks my legs out from under me, I plop down and feel the chair bounce and sway as the cable above us gives a little. Now we’re swaying back and forth as my feet leave the ground and we pull the bar over our heads…a bar that would no more hold me in this contraption than a paper bag would hold in a wild boar looking for its next meal. As the ground beneath us disappears and grows farther and farther away, I notice that this “seat” is no more than hollow metal pipes the thickness of a metal coffee can, held together by rusted bolts. Yeah…how’d I get here again?



A Quarter Mile Up


Halfway up the mountain, it occurs to me that just about every muscle in my body is tense. I’m literally hanging on so tightly with one hand that my fingers are tingling because there is no blood left in them. My other hand is so firmly attached to my son sitting next to me that I’m sure I’ll be reported to DFS for child abuse when someone sees the hand-shaped indention I’ve surely left in his side. It does little to calm my mind when I’m looking down and realize that if I do fall from here, I most likely won’t die…just shatter a femur or two, blow out a knee, disintegrate my ankles, and maybe puncture a lung. I wonder how much my AFLAC policy pays per bone?

 


Don’t Be Deceived – That’s a 75′ Drop


We like being in control, don’t we? We like the feeling that comes with knowing that we have a say in things…that we have the reigns and even if we’re flying by the seat of our pants, the decisions are ours to make, and we’re piloting this ship we call our life. Our feet are planted firmly on the ground, and we have the power…we’re in control.


But are we? Are we really? Let’s be completely honest here. The feeling of “control” I had when holding on for dear life to that coffee can dangling seventy-five feet above the ground on its way to the top of a mile-high mountain did nothing more than give me a false sense of security. Had something failed on that rusted piece of metal built back when moonshiners ran them hills, I would have no more been able to keep from falling to the rocks below and shattering every bone in my lower body than I could stand on a street corner and catch a bowling ball falling from the Empire State Building. It ain’t gonna happen.


Yet we walk through life unwilling to let go, don’t we? We hold on to the things (and the people) we love so tight, that letting go becomes too much to believe possible. And when you boil it down to the core of why we struggle with letting go, it’s one thing. All too often, we let our fear of letting go overwhelm us. It’s not that we don’t want to let go. No, deep down inside…I believe at the heart of us all…we don’t want to be wound so tight that we can’t breathe. We long to let go and feel the exhilaration of adrenaline pumping through our veins as we live life to the fullest. But despite that yearning, it’s the fear that drives us to hold on so tight…fear of what might happen if we do let go. Make no mistake, friend…if it’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen whether we’re holding on or not. And when it does, us holding on is not going to stop it from hurting when we hit bottom.


God is calling us to let go. Our lives are not ours, and we certainly don’t have the control and power we think we have. All we have is an illusion…a false sense of security provided by what we see, hear, smell and feel. We have to look beyond that illusion and realize that life happens on the other side of the fear. Will it be easy to let go? Not always. Will it hurt to let go? Sometimes. Will it be worth it to let go? Absolutely!!! It’s time to truly and fully give our lives to Christ. To give Him the reigns and let Him take His rightful place in the pilot seat of our life. It’s time to let go and let God. If you can, you’ll see for yourself that the view from the top IS worth it.

 


It IS an Awesome View


And yes…you’ll even find you can have a lot of fun along the way.

 

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“The fear of the LORD leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble. – Proverbs 19:23

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Jesus spoke to them again: “I am the Light of the world.  Anyone who follows me will never walk in the darkness but will have the Light of life.” – John 8:12

The first time I walked into a building that was on fire, I quite literally had no idea what I was doing.  Having just joined the department as a volunteer firefighter less than a week earlier, I had completed a brief orientation into how the department worked, was given a handbook of what to learn, and issued my gear.  But, formal training to fight fires?  Not so much.

The sporting goods store that was located on one side of the old town square in my small hometown was on fire.  Thick black smoke was pouring out the front doors.  The business to the left was a furniture store.  When I arrived, I found the officer in charge and asked him what to do.  He put an air pack on my back, hung a mask around my neck and said, "Go into the furniture store and look for extension. You good?"

Adrenaline pumping like I've never before experienced, I fumbled with my mask and mumbled what must have sounded like a "yeah," because when I looked up to ask him what "extension" is, he was nowhere in sight.

On my own and tasked with a job, I walked through the darkness of that furniture store.  Alone and afraid, and not knowing where I was going, I had one thing on my mind—survival!

I was determined to not lose sight of the flashing lights of the fire truck.  The further back I went, the further from the light I got...the harder it became to navigate.

Somewhere near the back, I got disoriented and realized there were mirrors all over the place.  Now, I could see the lights while looking in several directions.  Aargh!!  After a brief panic, I regained my composure and worked my way back toward the front of the store, following the source of the lights back to the safety I knew was waiting for me.

Too often, I believe our introduction into the family of Christ is much the same.  We get an "orientation" of sorts...a brief introduction to the Gospel and salvation.  We're tossed the Handbook and told to study it and follow the rules.  Then without formal "training," we're thrown into the fire—expected to figure it out and to live a life worthy of being called a Christian.  "Go and sin no more."

If only it were that easy.

I've been a Christian for thirty years.  I've been a Christ follower for about ten.  For the first twenty years, I wandered the wilderness, not quite sure what I was doing.  I had the Handbook, but I never really read it.  I fumbled my way through the darkness, mostly disoriented and confused.

Over the years, I've walked away from the Light more times than I care to admit…becoming disoriented and confused each time.  But, every time I've found myself in the dark, the Light has been there to lead me out…back to the safety of the One who saved me.

Men, last month I challenged you to lead from the front, to never stop improving, and to step up to the plate.  My question for you now is, “How's that going?”  Are you stepping up to the plate?  Are you deepening your relationship with Christ?  Are you leading your families in the Light?

What I needed with me on that first fire was a leader...someone to show me the way.  I was a member of the “family,” but lacked a mentor that first time out.  We can explore a path for the first time (either alone or together with other believers), but God isn't calling us to just walk the path.  He's calling us to LEAD others toward Him.  Brothers, we cannot lead someone down a path we haven't first walked ourselves!

If you're walking a path toward a closer relationship with God for the first time, you don't have to walk it alone.  Find a Sunday school class or other small group.  Join a ministry team.  Seek out a fellow believer who can mentor you.

If you're ready to lead others down the path or are already leading from the front, kudos to you!  Make sure you stay connected to the Vine (John 15:5) by spending time with the Master daily.  If you're not already serving Him through a ministry, join a ministry team…or start the one He’s placed on your heart.  Consider teaching a Sunday school class.  Maybe seek out a MasterLife group this fall where we’ll encourage each other in mastering life and bearing the fruit He has called us to bear.

Whatever it is you've been called to do, the “Officer in Charge” (that'd be God) won't just give you a task without providing the training.  He doesn't call the qualified.  He qualifies the called.  Let's seek out the Light together and lead others to it.

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