Remembering the Small Stuff...: Trip to Cabin: "We met up with some friends again at the cabin in WV for a quick weekend away. We had gorgeous, sunny weather and the temps were just about ..." (click the link at beginning of post for some awesome pics!!
Here are some pics from our new Bible study we are having at our house. We've got some great men of all ages bringing so much of God's Love to the table. We're growing and loving. Super Cool Times and some great eats as well. Right now we are hitting up the discipleship course from our local church. Check out the pics and the link to Aletheia Church of Harrisonburg, VA! Aletheia Church
I came across this article which has some well thought out stats on mountaineering and climbing statistics....looks like it may be more dangerous for me to drive to work; guess, I'm heading for the hills! Check it out ( read below or follow link) and let me know what you think!
Mountaineering Accident Statistics
The American Alpine Club annually publishes Accidents in American Mountaineering, which contains reports from various mountaineering accidents that occurred that year. The journal also includes statistical tables which summarize the number of mountaineering accidents, injuries, and fatalities, as well as interesting specifics such as terrain, immediate and contributing causes, ages and experience levels of individuals, month of year, type of injury, and location. I was fascinated by these statistical tables, but found the data hard to visualize. So, I spent a day creating pie charts and graphs from the 2007 Statistical Tables, which contain statistics on mountaineering accidents from 1951-2006 (click the above link to see the raw data for the 2007 statistical tables, which were the most recent I could find on the AAC website). The following page gives my graphical output.
The conclusion: For your best chances at experiencing a mountaineering accident, try climbing unroped or above your abilities on rocky terrain sometime between May-Sept in California or Washington.
(Note that there is a percentage of mountaineering accidents that are never reported. Inherent to nearly all statistical data, the "missing data" issue tends to make absolute values a bit too low, but has little effect on percentages or relative comparisons.)
Well, we had 1900 pics total from the trip and I was able to cut that in half for the viewing public....Let me know what you think. Feel free to post comments! Thank you again to everyone for their prayers, support, and advice during this amazing adventure. Special Praise to God for the huge blessing in this experience- for the safety, opportunity, growth, challenge. A special thanks to my amazing wife-Heather who not only prayed for me, supported me, and made it possible for me to train; but kept the wheels on the wagon while I was gone...You're awesome babe.....
Alright, click on the link below and it should take you to what I hope is a pretty decent slideshow! Denali 2010 !!!
Hi everyone, not sure how much I will be able to post in the next few weeks but the motel has wifi access and so here goes....I have officially been up for 26 hours since rising at 330 am Virginia time and am about to crash and recoup....Our plane from Minneapolis to Anchorage had some mechanical difficulties resulting in a 2 hour delay but the rest of our team was kind enough to wait. I am enjoying meeting each of them and they are a great group of folks from a variety of backgrounds...
Tomorrow, we have orientation at the Talkeetna Ranger Station and then Crevasse Practice in the afternoon...Shortly thereafter, we will be leaving in the glacier plane to make our way to the mountain ( see pic below)....If you notice there is a link at the top of this web site that should allow you to see where I am on the mountain....I hope you are all doing well. Thank you for your prayers...
Recently, I was blessed by the thoughts of another Christian who through his own blow laid out a great progression of thought on eternity and our need for a proper understanding of the gospel. Given my upcoming aspirations on Denali, I thought I would convey some of his thoughts here. They have been modified from his original posting and thus, a link to his site will be included below as well. Thanks to RCG Ministries for this awesome perspective that should encourage us to rightly think of eternity and cling to the hope of the Gospel of Christ. Read below- In this age of technology we are constantly being exposed to discoveries that test and stretch our imaginations. It’s hard to keep up with information that advancing technology is steadily giving us. As technology has become more sophisticated, we are continually rediscovering how vast our universe is and given numbers that seem limitless. My imagination was really tested lately when it was estimated that each one has enough DNA in our bodies, stretched out end to end, the total would go back and forth to the moon many times over. As incomprehensible as all these new discoveries may seem, I don’t think anything else challenges our imagination as much as the concept of eternity. It’s something most do not think about a lot other than at funerals, or when we see the victims of a mass tragedy and are reminded of our mortality and the brevity and finality of life and death.
A short time ago, I was blessed with the opportunity to be with about 8000 other super cool dudes who attended the Together for the Gospel Conference. Here, in the great town of Louisville, KY, we crammed into a convention center where the bathroom lines were longer for the men than the women, the coffee was as warm and welcome to the soul as the encouragement of the strong male voices lifting praises to God in between the awesome teaching times.
Primarily, this was a group of pastors and elders gathering on a bi-annual basis to hear the teaching of some super pastors and theologians. It was a very encouraging time. Denominations and eschatological differences were put away for the common unity of the gospel!! No, this was not some ecumenical gathering of compromisers...This was a fervent arduous group of men who desired nothing more than to see the truth of the gospel lifted up in a righteous fashion to the glory of God...
Along the course of the week, I had the opportunity to hear John MacArthur, John Piper, Al Mohler, RC Sproul, Ligon Duncan, Mark Dever, CJ Mahaney, Joshua Harris, Thabiti Anyabwile....just to name a few. It was both enriching and admonishing. In addition to this group was a great collection of men from my own roots. From New Hampshire came some fine old friends from my home church in New England,... who continue to boldly proclaim and live out the gospel in a dark place...and from my new home in Harrisonburg, came my mighty fine new brothers in Christ,...from the Aletheia Network of churches who among other audiences, purpose themselves to meet, love, and see saved, the lost people of the college crowds. It was so great to be surrounded by so fine a group of men passionate for the awesome things God was going to be doing through them...Check out the link below:
T4G- 2010, Together for the Gospel- The Unadjusted Gospel.
I'm so excited to be writing this update. As I start this blog entry, I am sitting in Louisville, KY with 2 great brothers from my local church in Harrisonburg,VA. My pastor and another elder embarked on an 8 hour drive with me to see and hear from some awesome heroes of the Christian faith who, at the encouragement of 7000 pastors, have agreed to come together for the purpose of the Gospel. John MacArthur, John Piper, Ligon Duncan, C.J. Mahaney, Al Mohler, Joshua Harris, Thabithi Anyabwile, and others...What a great opportunity for the guys in the trenches, for the ordinary pastors, leaders, and even the sheep to hear and learn about the preeminence of Christ in the Gospel. Refocusing the church away from flashy trends and loose theology, this has been an outstanding endeavor. May God bless the efforts.
So what is this all about? How does this Gospel or this group of guys relate to me? Here is what T4G has to say about themselves: Together for the Gospel (T4G) began as a friendship between four pastors. These friends differed on a number of theological issues, like baptism and the charismatic gifts. But they were committed to standing together for the main thing—the gospel of Jesus Christ.. So they began a conference which occurs every two years and aims principally at encouraging other pastors to do the same—to stand together for the gospel. And now this conference is evolving, as God pleases, into an informal network of church leaders who all share this ambition and who intend to encourage one another to do the same.
T4G is convinced that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been misrepresented, misunderstood, and marginalized in many churches and among those who proclaim the name of Christ. The goal of these friendships, conferences, and networks is therefore to reaffirm this central doctrine of the Christian faith and to encourage local churches to do the same.
So What is the Gospel?, here ya go, check this out.
The Gospel is the joyous declaration that God is redeeming the world through Christ (Matt 1:21; Luke 1:68; Eph 1:7; Col 1:20), and that he calls everyone everywhere to repent from sin and trust Jesus Christ for salvation (Mark 1:15; Acts 2:38; 17:30).
The Gospel- Each of us has sinned against God (Rom 3:23), breaking his law and rebelling against his rule, and the penalty for our sin is death and hell (Rom 6:23). But because he loves us, God sent his Son Jesus (John 3:16; Eph 2:4; 1 John 4:10) to live for his people’s sake the perfect, obedient life God requires (Rom 8:4; 1 Cor 1:30; Heb 4:15) and to die in their place for their sin (Isa 53:5; Mat 20:28; 26:28; Mark 10:45; 14:24; Luke 22:20; John 11:50-51; Rom 3:24-25; 4:25; 1 Cor 15:3; 2 Cor 5:21; Eph 5:2; Heb 10:14; 1 Pet 3:18). On the third day, He rose bodily from the grave (Mat 28:6) and now reigns in heaven (Luke 22:69; 24:51; Heb 8:1), offering forgiveness (Eph 1:7), righteousness (Rom 5:19), resurrection (Rom 8:11), and eternal blessedness in God’s presence (Rev 22:4) to everyone who repents of sin and trusts solely in Him for salvation.
Hope this helps! read, weep, repent, be changed through faith. Live for something more than ourselves Write me if you have questions....or if you're local, come check out a neat little church that is faithful to the gospel and is seeing the fruit of God's work as a result....check'em out at www.aletheia.org
As the prospect of summiting Denali grows closer, so does my pursuit of extreme fitness grow stronger. It has been intriguing to consider the commitment level of this type of training. In consideration of my desire to live a life that honors God, I found my self doing more stretching than just my muscles. Maintaining a strong love and devotion to my wife and my children, fulfilling and hopefully exceeding the expectations of my career in heart surgery as a PA, and maintaining the duties on all other fronts has been quite a challenge. This week marks a period of time to shift my workout focus into a slightly more endurance and cardio- oriented training regimen all the while maintaining the strength and power accumulated with my former weights and core-body routines.
My awesome brother in Christ, and personal trainer- George Reid, has been incredibly helpful in this regard. He is so knowledgeable and able to reconcile my workout schedule to the demands of life for a husband -father -career guy...ie- he finds a great way to make efficient use of my gym time.
This weekend, I will be pursuing a prolonged trail run of 26 miles and although I have been slowly pursuing similar maneuvers, this one shall truly prove to be a challenge. May God bless the efforts as I am sure there will be both mental, physical, and spiritual challenges over such a pursuit. Here is some information about the Wild Oak Loop Trail near Stokesville, VA.
The Wild Oak Trail was designated a National Recreation Trail by the Secretary of Agriculture in 1979. Much of the land surrounding the trail and the North River was cleared for farming, which continued through the 1930s. It was during this time that portions of the trail was cleared by the Civilian Conservation Corps to help in providing access for fighting Forest Fires.Loggers, farmers and cattlemen lived in the area about the trail before the land was purchased by the Forest Service between 1915 and 1935. Much of the land along the North River had been cleared for farming, and the area now forested was used for cattle grazing. Grazing continued on portions of this land until the mid-1930s.
Camp Todd was the site of a herdsmen’s cabin, and later was used as a fire guard station. Much of the forest in this area was logged for local mills around Stokesville. Evidence of the old logging railroad can be seen at North River Gorge. The railroad tramway ended a few miles west of Camp Todd. Nearby is the Shifflett Plantation, a reforestation project featuring white pine planted in old fields in 1935.
Portions of the existing trail were constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s to provide access for forest fire control. Now the primary use of the trail is recreational. The original trails were combined as the Wild Oak Trail, which was designated a National Recreation Trail by the Secretary of Agriculture in 1979.
The Wild Oak Trail forms a 25.6-mile loop – mostly favoring ridge tops – beginning at the headwaters of the North River in Augusta County, Virginia.
Elevations along the trail vary, from a low of 1,600 feet where the trail begins at North River Gap, to a high point of 4,351 feet on Little Bald Knob. Thats a lot of change in elevation!!
Below is a great map with the topographic appearance and real-time changes in elevation
It is interesting how things creep up in the calendar to stare you straight in the face. Few words can describe what is before me this week. 1 Week, 4 Lectures, 455 Miles. Somehow, amidst family life, call nights and other responsibilities, I have to polish and deliver 4 lectures in 2 different states...a seemingly incredible group of tasks. This should be interesting as I know God to be in the "incredible" business. What's more is the sustainability He grants, to my family life and my amazing wife, as this week unfolds ....and my presence will be thin. I am excited about what He is going to do....and praying the work endured will be less taxing than it appears......, and that should it be a heavy burden pressing me to trip and dodge the stumbles in the trail, that as my family and I walk together, God will be glorified. <><
From my sermon notes on Psalm 24:1-6 1 The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, 2for he hasfounded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.3 Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place?4He who hasclean hands and a pure heart, who does notlift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.5He will receive blessing from the LORD andrighteousness from the God of his salvation.6Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob.Selah
Ever since I can remember, I have been climbing to the hill tops to see what I can see ...much in the same thoughtful motivation that Thoreau described going to the woods- to live deliberately and learn what life had to teach. While this is not an unreasonable motivation, my heavenly Father had a different plan. He has used these journeys "above the tree-line" to draw me near to himself and grow my relationship with Him. Whether in solitude and silent meditation kissing my face with blistering wind, or in the fellowship of brothers and encouragement of friends striving together for a summit, my experiences on the mountains have driven me to grow....I realize that these endeavors are not for everyone and certainly these moments of mental altitude are not the necessary ingredient for spiritual growth and sanctification. We know from scriptures that the word of God is sufficient, sharp****
Nonetheless, On these remote summits, much has happened to me to the point of building myself an Ebenezer in the front yard of my last house, an alter similar to the time in Israel to mark a place where God had done something in their life....in the mountains, these similar looking piles of stones are called cairns and exist to help the mountaineer from getting lost in a storm, to remind them of the right path. They are resilient to the test of time, wind, and everything harsh in the alpine environment... in a similar mode to God’s Holy Word- the Bible...it just holds up.
These journeys are often not easy and I think if they were, I probably would not pursue them. Much like many things in my life, I tend to choose the harder road. But in the words of another pastor-I sometimes think of learning about God by studying the Bible as like climbing a mountain. It's hard work, but the higher up you get, the more impressive and amazing the view is
When we first become Christians, we are presented with a decision to pursue a specific route- the Christian life and count the cost of that trail. Sometimes our friends and family, our professors and roommates, will scoff and mock our decision. Many occasion have come about where doubting eyes and discouraging words have been thrown my way by both my pursuit of the Christian walk as well as my attempt on the mountain summits. Admittedly, I am not the most accomplished mountaineer, I have never firsted an unknown peak to name it after myself. In fact, much of my decision making and achievements in the mountaineering community would be considered over-conservative, clumsy, or at worst mediocre.
Perhaps the ridicule I, and others, receive in our Christian walk is a byproduct of our attempt to be authentic and relevant...we can’t hide our stumbles. I have never claimed to be the best climber and my Christian walk is a far cry from perfect. Sometimes our walks with God are slow and we can't see where we are going. Like on the mountain, sometimes we can't see the summit due to darkness, snow, and the slope of the mountain. But we know that the rim is somewhere above us. It's not going anywhere. We just need to continue on...,keep running the race. I have never been particularly introspective about why I climb. Part of the reason could be the challenge, both physical and mental, as well as the beauty of God’s creation. I do know that when I am in the wilderness, I can see and feel the glory of God easier. In His wisdom, and in these places, God teaches me about Himself and my journey with Him. That is why I keep returning to the mountains.
Through out the Bible we can see God meeting men on the summits of mountains to accomplish His will for their lives and glorify Himself. Through these saints that have gone before us, we can have encouragement in our own walk..much like the mountaineer coming down from the summit and encouraging those coming up the trail....come on young lad, keep it up, don’t look down, strive on, keep running the race. And Just like a good topographic map to outline the route before us, God’s Holy Word shows us the path we are too take.. In my next update, I will complete these thoughts as I hope to prepare for an upcoming sermon....to God be the glory!
With recent aspirations of the "New Year" in sight, I am reflecting on the rededicated goals that lie before me. I sometimes view my learning about God through studying the Bible as comparable to- climbing a mountain. It's hard work, but the higher up you get, the more impressive and amazing the view is. The context of these thoughts is reflected in the theme picture of my blog. I wonder if anyone ever noticed it...by that token, I wonder how many people are actually reading these thoughts (quietly laughing to myself). In any case, that beautiful majestic rock in the picture above and to the left is Denali and I intend to make an attempt on her summit this year of 2010. In consideration of this goal and my desire to glorify God throughout the whole journey, I have been searching the scriptures of comparable aspirations. Many notes have developed and I will here, perhaps in multiple entries attempt to convey them in some thoughtful pattern. First, let me tell you about this mountain-Mount McKinley or Denali ("The Great One") in Alaska is the highest mountain peak in North America, at a height of approximately 20,320 feet (6,194 m) above sea level. Mount McKinley has a larger bulk and rise than Mount Everest, although the summit of Everest is higher measured from sea level 29,029 feet (8,848 m). Everest's base sits on the Tibetan Plateau at about 17,000 feet (5,200 m), giving it a real vertical rise of a little more than 12,000 feet (3,700 m). The base of Mount McKinley is roughly a 2,000-foot (610 meter) elevation, giving it an actual rise of 18,000 feet (5,500 m).
The mountain is also characterized by extremely cold weather. Temperatures as low as ?75.5 ?F (?60 ?C) and windchills as low as ?118.1 ?F (?83 ?C) have been recorded by an automated weather station located at 18,700 feet (5,700 m). According to the National Park Service, in 1932 the Liek-Lindley expedition recovered a self-recording minimum thermometer left near Browne's Tower, at about 15,000 feet, on Mount McKinley by the Stuck-Karstens party in 1913. The spirit thermometer was calibrated down to 95 degrees below zero and the lowest recorded temperature was below that point. Harry J. Liek took the thermometer back to Washington, D.C. where it was tested by the United States Weather Bureau and found to be accurate. The lowest temperature that it had recorded was found to be approximately 100 degrees below zero. There is also a higher risk of altitude illness for climbers than its altitude would otherwise suggest, due to its high latitude. At the equator, a mountain as high as Mount McKinley would have 47% as much oxygen available on its summit as there is at sea level, but because of its latitude, the pressure on the summit of McKinley is even lower (42%). The first ascent of the main summit of McKinley came on June 7, 1913, by a party led by Hudson Stuck. The first man to reach the summit was Walter Harper, an Alaska Native. Harry Karstens and Robert Tatum also made the summit. Tatum later commented, "The view from the top of Mount McKinley is like looking out the windows of Heaven!". They ascended the Muldrow Glacier route pioneered by the earlier expeditions, which is still often climbed today. Stuck confirmed, via binoculars, the presence of a large pole near the North Summit; this report confirmed the Sourdough ascent, and today it is widely believed that the Sourdoughs did succeed on the North Summit. However, the pole was never seen before or since, so there is still some doubt. Stuck also discovered that the Parker-Browne party were only about 200 feet (61 m) of elevation short of the true summit when they turned back.
The mountain is regularly climbed today, with just over 50% of the expeditions successful, although it is still a dangerous undertaking. By 2003, the mountain had claimed the lives of nearly 100 mountaineers. The vast majority of climbers use the West Buttress Route, pioneered in 1951 by Bradford, after an extensive aerial photographic analysis of the mountain. Climbers typically take two to four weeks to ascend the mountain.....But many people might ask why? Why does Pearce Beissinger want to climb such a hill? What is so captivating about a mound of snow and ice. For more on this story, come back soon and read the next few follow-ups...See you at the top!
It's a fine day when a man learns to control his bladder function...Life is interesting when you think how we start in diapers and often end up back where we started...In any case, my son became oriented to the porcelain throne today. It was an exciting and productive moment in our family. Check out the pics! I'm a blessed and....proud Papa!