Monday, April 29, 2013


It feels strange to tell a story about skiing when it was in the 70s all last week, but I am going to anyway.  (It is stranger that it was in the 70s all last week in Salem, Oregon, in April.  And that the predicted high for Saturday is 84.  Climate change is real, you guys.)

When I was growing up in Alaska, I loved to go downhill skiing and I got pretty good at it.  One day, I was out skiing with my mom and conditions were perfect.  It was sunny and the mountain was covered in soft, fresh powder.  My mom was ahead of me, so I took a run pretty quickly.  

Then, close to the bottom, my ski caught and I wiped out spectacularly.  I wasn't hurt, but I went head over heels, and my skis and poles all went in different directions.  I got up and collected my skis and poles and skied the rest of the way down.

When I caught up to my mom, she was waiting with a friend, an older man who was an excellent skier.  I was hanging my head because I knew they had both seen me wipe out.  Then the friend said to me, "Don't be embarrassed.  When you fall like that, it means you are skiing right at the edge of your ability."

A few weeks ago, I met with my recording committee for the last time.  We didn't have a topic for the meeting, we just met to spend some time in worship and see what arose.  

During our conversation, one person said that, when you do ministry, you have to be prepared to fail often.  I told the committee my story about skiing and wiping out, and said that sometimes I have the sense that I am doing ministry right at the edge of my ability.  

Sometimes I make it through and breathe a sigh of relief; sometimes I wipe out spectacularly.  But I hope to have the strength to get back up and try again.


  1. "I’m so grateful to Christ Jesus for making me adequate to do this work."
    1 Timothy 1:12 The Message (MSG)


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