Friday, April 22, 2011

Paddling Parables Basics

One way to begin any outdoor parable is by simply giving God the credit for all of creation, realizing His majesty, power, sovereignty, and love through the outdoor world. Romans 1:20 states that “since the creation of the world, His attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.”

We can also gain a better understanding of many of Jesus’ parables as we focus our attention on the outdoors. Keep your eyes to the lessons that God literally lays at our feet. Such as finding an acorn, the seed of the mighty oak tree, which can be used as a wonderful revelation of the growth and changes needed to take place in order for people to grow close to God. Another example is traveling just about any road in the South, we can experience the parable of the sower as we view dried up plants on hard rocky soil, healthy plants on moist fertile soil, and entire trees and once beautiful mountainsides completely smothered by the fast growing kudzu vine.

If we will just take time to experience the wonders of nature, we can’t help but feel the same excitement David must have felt when he wrote Psalm 19:1-5 (from the NLT):

The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
The skies display his craftsmanship.
Day after day they continue to speak;
night after night they make him known.
They speak without a sound or word;
their voice is never heard.
Yet their message has gone throughout the earth,
and their words to all the world.
God has made a home in the heavens for the sun.
It bursts forth like a radiant bridegroom after his wedding.
It rejoices like a great athlete eager to run the race.

This is why we provide opportunity and encouragement for devotionals in the greatest sanctuary of all, the outdoors. Once we master the skill of translating what we see around us, either in nature or in the city, back to what is found in scripture, we can then use this talent to lead people to the truth of the Bible and the love of Jesus. As we try to provide transformative experiences, it is worth keeping in mind the importance for each one of us to “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Mt 5:16)

As you work your way though the following parables, you will notice that even though they are connected with paddling activities, many aren’t directly tied to paddling activities. The reason for that is that I thought it would be better to tie in the parables and life lessons with the various teaching progressions and applications for paddling. For other parables and applications see each of the “chapters” found in this resource. You will find a wealth of illustrations from trip planning to surfing.

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