We have had some excitment on the lake in the last couple of weeks.  You see, Judy’s cousin Tim and his son Matt have bought a cat in Canada.  No, it is not a pussy cut, but a a huge  bulldozer “cat” with a 15 ‘ blade.  They want to make some trails on their land, which happens to be adjacent to our land.  They are excited to put their “cat” to use, so they are willing to help us make prayer trails on our 4o acres.  We were out on our land plotting where the trails might go.  I learned some spiritual lessons while being with Tim and Matt.  As I write this post, I think of Jesus’ invitation in Luke 5 for Peter to “push out into deep water” (5:4).  Peter told Jesus that it had not been a good night.  But we read, “because you say so, I will let down the nets” (5:5).  They, of course, caught a lot of fish. 

First, I admire them for thinking  “outside the box” and going into “deep water.”   Not many individual landowners would buy a big “cat” and bring it down from Canada.  I sure would not be challenged to do such a thing.  But Tim and Matt have the capacity to be creative in such an adventure.  My creativity would be expressed much differently.  What I was learning from those two is the need for each of us men to be “risk takers” in the area of our capacity, not our incapacity.  I don’t think God will call us to step out of the box to do something that is contrary to our capacities.  But He will stretch us to be more dependent on him and go out as it were into “the deep waters” where we learn to trust.  How is God wanting to stretch you at this point in your journey?  It will always make you dependent on him in using you uniquely with your capacities.  In your weakness, you will find his strength.

Second, Tim and Matt wanted to share with me the excitement and thrill of exploring 40 acres of northwoods, to see the possibilites for making trails, so that retreatants could commune with God in nature.  I was a little reluctant to go “tramping” through woods.  But once I got back there, I could visualize the potential for a contemplative walk in the woods.  The experience of being in the middle of 40 acres of undisturbed forest, overlooking a ridge of large trees, can’t be compared with driving along a township road on the edge of the 40.   I thanked Tim and Matt for getting me out there.  There are times when we need to be challenged to get beyond “the familiar.”  Jesus knows when to challenge us.  What are you doing with the “nudging.”  You will see life differently.

Thirdly, Tim and I willingly followed Matt as he walked our 40 with the GPS readings found on his smart phone.  Don’t ask me how he did it.  But he know what he was doing, so we followed willingly.  A few times they had to wait for the 71 year old monk.  I was learning a wonderful lesson in following.  Men, our whole journey in life is following Jesus.  It will be our cross as men, to continually have to give up control and understanding.  Out there in the dense woods I was lost without Matt and his GPS markings.  Without Jesus I am lost in the woods.  He asks me to “put out in the deep” – to trust him.  Peter and the other fishermen did.  They caught fish and their lives were changed.  “Then Jesus said to Simon, ‘There is nothing to fear.  From now on you’ll be fishing  for men and women.’  They pulled their boats upon on the beach, left them, nets and all, and f0llowed him.” 

 Evidently life was not the fulfilled fishing.  But when Jesus came and challenged them to “push out into deep water,”  resulting in more fish then they could manage, they know that they were being invited to a greater challenge then a fishing career.  Peter didn’t think he was worthy to follow Jesus. “Master, leave.  I’m a sinner and can’t handle this holiness.  Leave me to myself.”  Do you feel like Peter?  Peter was reassured by Jesus because he left to follow him.  Men, when you “push out into deep water” your relationship with Jesus will change.  It will be a true adventure.  But nothing changes when we stay on the shore, playing it safe.