This post comes from Calvary Chapel Pastors
In the first part I shared Lee’s conversion on the Grand Canyon Raft trip and told you I’d share some life lessons that I learned from this experience. By the way, this information is contained in a DVD entitled, “Enjoy the Ride” (see link below). We will tie all this together, hang on!
The day after Lee’s conversion I intentionally got on his boat. I had not been able to sleep that night. You see, my fear was that Lee would not grow in his faith. I’ve seen many people who “walk forward” and then never see any sign that Jesus is the Lord of their life. So, I wanted to find a way to turn the conversation to spiritual matters.
The one thing that came to my mind as I tossed and turned that night was something a dear friend once told me. He said, “Evangelism is a conversation, not a presentation!” This has stuck with me for a long time.
As we floated down the river I sat next to Lee and started up a conversation. I asked him, “Lee, what do you want to be when you ‘grow up’?” I was messing with him.
Lee responded with, “I want to be the lead boatman!” I then asked him what is the most difficult part of being a boatman and he responded with, “Learning how to run the rapids!” That was especially interesting to me because that is the part that I love the most on the trips! So, I asked him how he was taught to run the rapids. His response provided the opening that I’d been praying for!
He told me that teachers taught him by stopping the boat just before the actual rapids and walking him up the side of the mountain so that they could see the whole rapid.
From that vantage point they could see the beginning, the end and what took place in between. One of the first things they needed to find was what he called “the tongue!”
The tongue is where you want to enter the rapids. He explained, “If you have a good start, you’ll probably have a good finish!” (Remember that statement!)
Once he found the starting point then he had to see what was going on between the start and the finish. One of the things to watch for are rocks. Many times when you’re on the river it’s almost impossible to see the rocks until you are almost on them, so in a rapid you need to know where they are along your path.
In addition to rocks there are things like whirlpools and eddies that you don’t want to get caught in. When you are on the side of the mountain, you can see those things and plan ahead. In addition, you look for waves!
This picture doesn’t do justice to the wave the red arrow is pointing at. You’re thinking, “Big deal, there’s nothing to that.” You couldn’t be further from the truth. That is a 20 foot tall wave and you better be ready for it because when it hits your boat . . . let me put it like this, it’s a rush!
After you check all of this out, you can then make a plan of attack on how to run the rapid and handle all of the challenges. Lee explained that as he stood on the hill he would make a plan for the rapid.
He continued and explained that once you have the plan, you make your way down to the boat, while focusing on the tongue.
“There’s only one problem,” Lee said. “Carl,when I get back to the boat back on the river I couldn’t see my starting point anymore, because my perspective changed!”
I saw my opportunity, “Lee, you’ve just explained the Christians life to me!” He looked at me a little strangely. I explained to Lee that he was a new person, that God had created a new heart and mind in him when he received the Lord. The only problem is that the old sinful self still hangs on. He was going to have to learn how to deal with the challenges of living in a fallen world from a different perspective.
I wanted to illustrate what I was talking about to make sure he understood what I meant. So then my thought was, how do I transition from the river, to the real world. It was at that moment I believe God gave me some insights to connect with Lee.
Carl – “Lee, would you run the river by waking up in the morning and deciding that you were just going to run the river based on your feeling? Would you think, I’m going down the left side of the river because I feel like it?”
Lee – “No!”
Carl – “Why not?”
Lee – “Well, because those rocks are over there and I’d get stuck!”
Carl – “Lee, it’s the same thing in our lives. If we try to run our lives based on our feelings, we’re going to end up in some bad places because there is a way that seems right to us, but it leads to death! What’s amazing to me is that God gives us the freedom to make those choices. The only problem is that we all have to suffer the consequences of those choices that we make, the same way a boatman has to deal with the consequences of the decisions they make.
Lee – (Just looking at me.)
Carl – “Lee, how about this, would you run the river by waking up in the morning and just deciding to follow the first person to come along?”
Lee – “No!”
Carl – “Why not, Lee?”
Lee – “Because I don’t know if that person has done their homework or not. They may not have studied the rapid before running it.”
Carl – “Lee, don’t follow me, I’m a fallen man that can and does make mistakes. Jesus says to follow Him, He’ll never let you down or forsake you.”
Lee – (Just looking at me.)
Carl – “O.K. Lee, what if your best friend in the entire world was up on the side of that mountain and you guys had a two way radio and he’s talking with you. He’s reminding you of where the tongue is and what to look out for. ‘Get a little bit more to the right Lee, good, you’ve got a good line. Remember, hit it hard to the right, that rock’s coming up! Great, a little to the left, here comes the wave!’ Would that make your job easier!”
Lee – “Yes, that would make it a LOT easier!”
Carl – “Lee, that’s the relationship that we have with God. He sees the beginning, He sees the end and everything that goes on in between. He’s given us His Word, the Bible, to help us so that as we go through life we can know where the “rocks” and “waves” are. Because you see Lee, no matter how good of a friend you have on the hill what happens if the radio breaks or the batteries go dead. He can’t communicate with you anymore. But, no one can take you out of Jesus’ hand. You will always be able to communicate with Him. And His Word is true, from the beginning to the end. We just have to learn how to use it!”
Our prayer is that you are using God’s Word for your life to deal with the “rocks” and “waves” in your life. If not, you may end up in some places that you don’t want to be. If you are there, let me encourage you. Turn your life over to the Master Boatman, the one who wants to deliver you from these difficulties. Jesus Christ will never leave you nor forsake you. As a matter of fact, He will reach down and lift you up from whatever you are dealing with. In Part 3, we will transition from the river, to the real world and show the biblical principles of each of the points in this article.
Carl & the rforh team
Raft the Grand Canyon with Carl Kerby! In this DVD Carl compares riding the rapids with handling the trials of life. As Christians, we must trust God’s Word and follow His plan. That gives hope and peace as the rapids of life churn and surge around us. Go to the rforh store to purchase Enjoy the Ride.
continue reading the views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of Calvary Southampton