Never Stop Exploring
July 20, 2022 Creekwood United Methodist Church

Perceived Value - Deep Thoughts

Posted in Deep Thoughts

Never Stop Exploring

Never Stop Exploring Life and Faith

I’ve been told I should get royalties for every company or restaurant I promote, but through all of my leadership studies I’ve become fascinated with corporate mission statements and advertising taglines. The North Face, for example, markets their products to those with a sense of adventure and rarely depicts their winter wear being worn anywhere but a tent that is hanging from the side of a mountain, or some other extreme situation. I’m sure their products are really well designed for rugged, extreme exploring, but my main exposure to The North Face are the fleeces worn by affluent kids at TCU and suburbanites as they journey between heated, leather-chaired spaces.

Exploring Isn’t Just In The Extremes

Now, examine that last snarky comment I made. Why would I (or you) poke fun at anyone for wearing a specific brand of outerwear? Because The North Face sets the expectation that their “exploring” gear is really meant only for extreme conditions; which is a trap we often get stuck in when it comes to the concept of exploration.

What could change if “exploration” wasn’t only the extreme, but part of every day?

On our 17 day journey through the Midwest we did a lot of “extreme” and “rare” exploration. We stood where we could feel the power of Niagara Falls. We hiked to Brandywine Falls in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. We went to the top of the tallest structure in the Western Hemisphere to see all of Toronto. And I dared to try the infamous Canadian dish of poutine (it was amazing, by the way). It was a fun trip full of memories, but amongst the noteworthy, postcard adventures what really made the trip fun were the little details along the way. For example:

  • Did you know that fast food hamburgers in Canada are amazing? I only tasted two, but the standards for food processing are so much higher than in the States that even a fast food burger tasted wonderful. I don’t think I would have ever known that.
  • Did you know that anthropologists use artifacts of shoes to make assumptions about the lifestyle of ancient peoples? I didn’t know that until we found a listing for the “Bata Shoe Museum” on the campus of The University of Toronto.
  • Did you know that the USA won The War of 1812 because of Mammoth Cave National Park? It became a salt peter mine, which is used to make gun powder. It’s estimated that 25% of the bullets fired was made because of Mammoth Cave. Also, it was slaves who mined the salt peter day and night, helping to win a war for a country they weren’t free to enjoy. I wouldn’t have ever considered that had we opted for the guided tour instead of the free one.

Also, had you ever heard of Mammoth Cave National Park or the Bata Shoe Museum before this e-mail? I hadn’t before Lyndsey told me about them.

It’s The Little Things

The big things were amazing, but it was little things along the way that made the experience special, and I believe the same is true of daily life and daily faith. So often we only validate spiritual experiences like church camp, mission trip, conversion stories, testimonies of extreme healing, and other out of this world God-moments. By doing so we stop exploring during the normal times of God’s activity. If the fruits of the Spirit (the marks of God working in your life) are defined as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, and self-control – why isn’t every act of these explored and appreciated for God’s beauty?

Exploration is all over the Bible, but I especially appreciate God’s answer to Job in Job 38. In one way, it’s not THE most compassionate response to all of Job’s suffering, but while most interpretations show this as God putting Job in his place; I hear God challenging Job to explore a little more. It’s not an invitation to find God in Job’s suffering (not to look for a reason for everything), but an invitation to recognize that God’s activity is often more normal and more pervasive than whatever big thing is happening to us. The whole response is centered on the notion that we are not God, but God is God, and therefore we will always have a lot more to explore because we know a small speck of what knows.

I want to invite you to never stop exploring. Never stop learning. Never stop at the surface level of scripture because each nuance of Hebrew, Greek, context, or culture makes it so much richer and more powerful. Never stop exploring the theological principles we uphold and see how they point to a more wholesome existence of the world. Never stop adventuring into the depths of faithfulness to find how peaceful life can get even after God may upset your apple cart a bit.

So – want to explore scripture a little deeper? Ask a question about The Classics sermon series.

Want to dig deeper into theology? Come join us tonight for Pub Theology at Pluckers, or other locations the following 3 Wednesdays.

Want to help someone else explore? Fill out this survey to see where you might lead a young person to adventure into a life of faithfulness in the Spirit.

Never stop exploring. There’s so much God has to show you.


David Lessner

Give to the Ministries of Creekwood

Donate a Backpack to ACO