I am currently reading a book entitled, Canoeing the Mountains – Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory by Tod Bolsinger. It is a fascinating book built around the fact that Louis and Clark and their exploratory team expected to canoe down a river connecting the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean. No one had ever seen it, but everyone was just sure it existed…
As you know, there is no river connecting the Missouri River to the Pacific. The Canoes were worthless, and the journey was extraordinarily difficult as the explorers crossed high mountains rather than low streams.
We are in that same sort of season as the Church universal-and as a local church. The religious structures and authorities we could once trust are falling away. Easy churchianity is necessarily giving way to costly discipleship. This territory seems unchartered in many ways…
And as we soberly recount the crucifixion of God the Son and celebrate His resurrection this Holy Sunday, we realize the same thing happened in His day. People were just sure that the Messiah would rule as a political/military leader. Instead, He came as a Suffering Servant. They were sure there was an easy way to save the nation Israel; instead there was an incredibly difficult way that involved the horrifying death of the Sinless Savior so salvation could be extended to all mankind…!
While Jesus’ last week was as wildly unchartered a territory as any of His disciples had ever known, it led quickly—if not cheaply or easily—to the most powerfully chartered place those same disciples had ever been. Jesus had explained it in great detail. The Holy Spirit was reminding and revealing to them what came next. Jesus died to raise a Church—one that would push the gates of hell back on earth and release Heavenly glory along the way!
On this side of the resurrection, we should feel secure EVEN as we enter what seems to be unchartered territories. Jesus is Lord! WE are the people of the empty tomb! The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is at work in our lives as Christians….
…Yet the same evil that drove Jesus to the cross is still at work in this fallen world. We are living in an age when unrestrained lawlessness—often from Church Bishops and leaders-- and outright hatred for all things Christian from the culture and an ever-growing segment of political leaders—is growing. We live in a time of peace now, but persecution is coming!
We are launching into unchartered territory, yet the Lord is with us and is leading us! Though we will encounter challenges and difficulties we have never had to deal with before, we will also experience resurrection glory like never before! This path laid out for us by Jesus is NOT unchartered—He has walked it before and is walking with us now.
It is exciting and exhilarating—and a little bit scary. But we will prevail as HE already has!! In Him we can drop the Canoes and go higher and further and more victoriously than we could have ever imagined. So, imagine BIG!!!