Sunday, April 16, 2006

What is Your Mountain Experience?

Mount Everest is the gold medal in the Olympic Games of mountaineering. At 29,028 feet, it is the tallest mountain in the world and represents the highest point of achievement for humans on the face of the earth. Sitting astride the border between Tibet to the north and Nepal to the south, Everest is a huge mass of black, forbidding rock and ice that dominates the landscape in every direction.
Meet Mr. John Amatt, a member of the first Canadian expedition to reach the summit of Mount Everest. In the introduction of his book entitled, Straight to the Top and Beyond – Nine Keys for Meeting the Challenge of Changing Times, ©1995, he encourages his readers with the following quote:

The challenge of change is forcing us to rethink our values and to rekindle the spirit of adventure. It will take courage, resourcefulness and endurance to meet this challenge – the courage to try, to commit and to take risks; the resourcefulness to be innovative and creative in finding new ways of doing old things; and the endurance to keep going when the going gets tough.

It is one of the great paradoxes of human existence that, by nature, we seek out comfort and predictability, using all of our financial resources and intellectual powers to devise technologies that will make our lives easier and less stressful. The paradox is that once we have created the comfort we desire, we must leave it all behind if we are to move forward toward future opportunity.

His parents, on their honeymoon in 1936, climbed in the Bernese Alps of Switzerland and, two years later, reached the summit of the 12,142-foot Wetterhorn, a mountain that his sister and he climbed when he was eighteen years old. Also in 1938, his parents were present in Grindlewald when the deadly north face of the Eiger was climbed for the first time, at that point, the most dramatic climb in history.
In chapter ten of his book, Mr. Amatt introduces a faith principle that he calls: Adventure Attitude. The nine keys of the Adventure Attitude are:

A
Adaptability
Change is not merely necessary to life. It is life! By the same token, life in adaptation.
- Alvin Toffler

D
Desire and Determination
You’ve got to hang on to your dreams. Great dreams don’t happen overnight.

V
Vision and Values
Vision…is the ability to:
Look to the past and learn from it;
Look to the present and be attuned to it;
Look to the future and be prepared for it.
- Unknown

E
Experience
The only failure in life is when we fail to learn the lessons from our experience.

N
Natural Curiosity
If we’re not pushing our limits, we’re not discovering anything new.

T
Teamwork and Trust
Rarely do we achieve complete success in today’s changing world without the help and support of others. The essence of teamwork is to identify and use the strengths of others to offset our own limitations, so that the strength of the team becomes greater than the sum of the individual parts.

U
Unlimited Optimism
Life is a leap of faith. There is no way that we can know what will happen tomorrow.

R
Risk-ability
The only limiting factor to our achievements in life is our fear of the unknown.

E
Exceptional Performance
Achievement is the constant process of going one step beyond your previous experience.

John 10:10 – “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

As the mountain climber gets an occasional exhilaration from climbing, we get the most out of life when we live for Christ. I see an application to the Christian’s experience. Jesus did not call us to live the Christian life just to escape hell. It is not a life of minimum joy and fulfillment, but a life that is full and overflowing. Our purpose in following Christ should not be merely to avoid eternal punishment. If that is our primary motivation, we are missing the wonders and joys and victories of climbing higher and higher with Jesus.
Do not live minimally. Live life to the maximum. Climb that mountain with confidence!

2 Corinthians 4:18 – “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”