Out in the woods, when you are hiking, you look for blazes, or markers. They could be white squares, blue circles, or orange triangles (sort of like marshmallows in Lucky Charms). These markers let you know you’re going in the right direction, and on the right path. Follow them long enough, and they will take you where you want to go.
These email resources will be your Trailmarkers to help you know the path and walk the path. Each week, we will provide content designed to help you dig deeper into the messages from the Outpost. You can use these as a personal reflective study, or gather around a fire with other men to walk the path together. While we are starting with a basic email, we will expand as we move forward to deliver a format that works for you.
We have a variety of writers to guide us so that we can explore these themes from different perspectives. While we have a big vision for where this will go, we are starting with small steps. I hope you bear with us to streamline and deliver meaningful content that will help you follow Jesus more closely.
If you have any feedback on how we can better serve your needs, please let me know. This is an organic project that will grow and change, just as a path changes as you walk on it. Sometimes you need climbing gear and carabiners, and sometimes you need a wide-brimmed hat and walking boots. Let me know what will work best for you.
Finally, if you would like to participate in this project, and have a story to share, contact me. I would love to walk alongside you to help you develop whatever God has put in you. It could be a one-time thing, or as an ongoing participant in the process. Walking with God is never formulaic, and always frontier. Let’s do this together.
That’s enough of an intro---let’s get into this week’s content.
Strength and Honor, Paul
Knowing the path
Back to the Matrix
Over the next few weeks, we will explore the “Back to the Matrix” theme. Re-entry into what many people call the “real world” is about as smooth as an airplane landing without the wheels down. Your experience this past week can take many different forms:
Fogginess of mind, especially when trying to remember lessons from the Outpost
Arguments with your beauty/family that escalate out of proportion to the situation (“Boy, that escalated quickly”)
Demands placed upon you (work, home, church) that exceed your capacity to manage, leaving you feeling lost and overwhelmed
Physical fatigue and/or sickness to disable your strength to hold fast the truths you grasped just seven days earlier
It’s so seductive to let what happened on the mountain stay on the mountain. You tell yourself, “That only works outside regular operating hours. That was only in my head. That didn’t really happen.”
Before you knew it, without even thinking, you picked up the burden you burned in the fire. You held out your wrist to allow the chains to click into place. And you feel like a failure for lasting less than a week, condemning yourself for falling back into old patterns.
If that’s you, I promise you are in good company. The bravest fall in battle, the strongest trip up on an unseen root. The struggle you faced this week is a sign you are moving in the right direction.
Don’t take my words for it. Remember what was spoken over you Saturday morning. The walk up the hill to the chapel. The bagpipes, fog, and geese. The fire that consumed your burdens and chains.
Remember the truth:
“My sons of valor, hear me this day!
Do you know that I have called and handpicked you To be in this place, right here, right now? Continue to open your hearts to Me, Open your hearts as you would open a book. Let me write My story on the pages of your heart.
For very soon I will call upon my men to take their rightful place To stand and fight.
Do not be concerned about what is happening all around you, For I am in control of all things. Know that as you wield your sword, I am right next to you, Wielding mine. You cannot fight alone. I have declared to you that You are more than conquerors.
Now go into battle For I am with you And I will never leave your side.”
Pause a moment, and read that again. Let it sink in. Ponder it. As a soaking rain softens the soil, let this pour into your soul, bringing hope. Bringing life.
Walking the path
Start each morning by reading that prayer out loud. Chew on it like a cow standing in the field chews the cud to suck out every possible nutrient. Gird yourself for the battle you will face. Consider – What arises in you as you read and re-read this? I encourage you to journal your response as you envelop your heart with the truth of these words.
Questions to ponder:
What burden did you burn in the fire? Have you been tempted to pick it back up? How were you tempted? Have you actually picked up your burden? What caused you to pick it up?
Where has your fiercest battle been? Have you been isolated in battle, or joined swords with your brothers? What has your experience been like?
Where have you seen God’s grace the most? What ground has been reclaimed? What small steps have you taken towards your big vision for adventure and/or your beauty?