Tag Archives: california

A Climber’s Invitation

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I love to climb. You may not have realized it looking at me, but I really love to climb. I love the challenge. I love the scenery. I love the camaraderie of other climbers around encouraging one another. I love the feeling of success at the top of the climb.

I’ve been climbing all my life. When I was a boy I’d climb things that were probably way above my safety level considering I had no harness or ropes. I was always in the tops of trees. One of my favorite things to do as a boy was to climb cliffs up on Bull Shoals Lake in North Arkansas. Then, when I reached a sufficient height I’d jump off into the crystal-clear waters below.

I love climbing mountains. I’ve stood on the summit of several peaks in several different states. There is no feeling like being on the summit of a majestic mountain and seeing the wonder of creation all around below your feet. My favorite mountaintop experience was when I climbed Sawtooth Peak in California at daybreak alone. I watched the sunrise from the summit and cried as God painted a masterpiece just for me on His sky canvas.

I don’t like to fall, though. When I was at Harding I would ride my bicycle out to Bee Rock overlooking the Little Red River just to climb around on that horrible, brittle limestone. One time I was climbing and a friend was there (fortunately). I didn’t have ropes then – I was a poor college student. I got about 15 feet up an area I hadn’t climbed before when my handhold broke off the rock. When I hit the ground I was horizontal and landed in the fork of a tree that split at the ground among the large rocks that had flaked off the cliff through the years. It wasn’t pleasant. Falling is not pleasant.

It’s fun to climb with others. It’s great to encourage one another along as we climb. It’s fun to try hard for something and fail over and over but know that your buddies are going to keep encouraging you until you succeed. Then, when you do succeed, there’s the screams of exaltation as together you celebrate.

It’s also better to fall with others. If you fall when no one is around there is a greater chance of dying. If you have a partner or a group there is encouragement and rescue. A friend can help or get help. They can carry extra loads for you or even carry you through your injury. It’s so much better to fall in company rather than alone.

We are all climbing. We all long to reach the summit of our life. Are you walking alone?

The beauty of the church is that no matter if you’re a great climber in this mountain we call life or if you constantly fall and have to start again you are not alone. The church is there to encourage you and lift you up. It is there to celebrate with you when you reach the summit. The church recognizes that we all are climbing the same mountain. We may not all have the same style, but we are in this together.

The church stands inviting you to climb with them. You get your gear when you give your life to Jesus, and the goal is to look and climb more like Him each day. Then, when you’ve climbed as hard as you can – no matter what height you reach – you achieve the summit, heaven. And there’s a celebration in your honor.

So keep climbing. Climb with me. Lets climb together.

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Right In Front Of Our Faces

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Yesterday I took a break from office work and meetings to give my son an opportunity he’s never had before. I took him to get a ski lesson at a local ski run. He’s six, and he’s never been on a set of skis before. In fact, until last month, he’d never even seen much skiing.

He did great. In a matter of three hours he could ski down the green runs. He still falls a few times down the hill, but for his first day he was fantastic. I hope that he loves to ski like I do. It is my prayer that he can enjoy this and many other wonderful hobbies that take advantage of the magnificence of God’s creation around us.

A I think about our experience, however, I can’t help but think of the people I’ve met in the various places I’ve lived that have never experienced many of the wonders outside of the town where they live. The are many people in this area that have never skied. When I lived outside Sequoia National Park in California I met several people who had never seen the big trees.

I love taking people to new places and showing them things they have never seen before. To me it is a way to help them experience the love of God in a new way. God made all of creation and then gave it to mankind to take care of and rule over. Some things can only be explained as God giving them to us for us to simply say, “wow”!

These people who don’t explore much outside the comfort zone of their towns or neighborhood remind me of most of the rest of us. We have been given a life to live, and we have been charged with being good stewards of this life, but we seem content to do the same things week after week and never try anything new.

We are called to use our spiritual gifts to serve God. but many people I know can’t even tell me what their spiritual gifts are. Do you know what yours are?

One of the best way to find out what our spiritual gifts are is to try new things. Are you good at visiting the sick? You’ll never know until you try. Are you good at telling strangers the great news of Jesus’ salvation? Practicing this art is a great way to find out. We have a life that we have been given, but many of us are only living a shadow of that life because we are too afraid to try to find out what spiritual gifts we’ve been given.

When you find some way to serve God that brings you great joy then you’ll have found one of your many talents.

I want to encourage you this year to find out what God has created you to do. Maybe you’ll run a company in a way that shares the messages of grace and love with its employees and customers. Maybe you’ll find that giving to the church or other ministries brings you joy. Maybe you’ll take a trip to another country to do mission work only to find that you were ministered to even more. Maybe you’ll teach a class or say a prayer or sing a song. Whatever you do, you’ll be taking steps to finding the purpose God has created you for.

May you find out the life God has purposed for you. May the kingdom of God grow because of your newfound fervor. And may you be blessed richly because you got out of your comfort zone to try something new.

God bless you. If there’s anything you’d like to discuss concerning this or any other topic, feel free to contact me at 505-334-6626 or via email at jddobbs@verizon.net.


So why “The Sharp End”?

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When I lived in California, I loved being in the mountains.  Everything about them inspired and intrigued me.  Each moment of the day I dreamed of being in higher elevations exploring the wonders of God’s creation.

As I grew to know more of these mountains, I also noticed an availability of a sport I always wanted to be involved in:  climbing.  I had done some mountaineering, but I’m talking about climbing with a rope and harness and rock shoes up a steep face with only a belayer to keep you from hitting the ground.  This excited me through and through because, growing up in Louisiana, there was no place to go for an aspiring climber to learn, so I just didn’t.

As I learned the basics of climbing – gear, knots, holds, technique – I also learned some of the jargon of climbers in the area – dude, take, slack, on belay, falling, etc…

One term often used in my climbing circles stuck with me… “The Sharp End”

So what is it?  The sharp end is the end of the rope to which the climber is tied-in.  In sport and traditional climbing, a climber would climb from the ground up, placing gear or quickdraws as he/she went along, so this sharp end of the rope was the serious end.

I didn’t realize how serious this was until I was two-thirds the way up a climb in the Sierras.  It was my first lead, and it was 5.8.  I wasn’t too scared on the slabby sections, but I had to hit a vertical wall a good ten feet above the last bolt.  It wasn’t the easiest section of the climb, and I had a good 20 feet of climbing left.  When on lead, if you fall, you don’t fall back to the last bolt.  You fall the distance to the last bolt then that distance some more.  So, if I had fallen right before I clipped the chains, it could have been a 60 foot fall.  I was scared.

This blog is about the business end of life.  We all are tied to the sharp end, and we all must climb this mountain called “life”.

Some people choose to stay on the ground.

Some people climb but continually look down.

Some people climb and don’t work in partnership with their belayer.

Some people climb with skill that can only be a gift.

Some people move through various stages of each of these as they travel through life.

Which one am I?  You’ll see in my future posts.


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