Against The Wall

All of us enjoy a good story, but what is it that makes a story good? I suppose that’s an entirely subjective question, one that if I knew the answer to I’d be writing screenplays or books instead of this blog! But I don’t think I’d be too far off the mark if I were to say that most people are drawn to a couple of specific things. Most people love hero’s and how they inspire us with their courage and “never say die” attitude. It’s their charisma, confidence, leadership and direction that compels us to follow them.  I was ready to fight in the Roman Colosseum myself after listening to Russell Crowe  lay out the simple facts of life and death to a band of hopeless slaves as Maximus in the movie

“Gladiator”

“Whatever comes out of these gates…we’ve got a better chance of survival if we work together! Lock your shields! Stay as one!

Stories about brotherhood, love and honor that through their medium remind us that there are no dress rehearsals in life…that it’s all real and it all counts

“Good Will Hunting”

Let me tell you what I do know. Everyday I come by to pick you up, and we go out drinkin’ or whatever and we have a few laughs. But you know what the best part of my day is? The ten seconds before I knock on the door ’cause I let myself think I might get there, and you’d be gone. I’d knock on the door and you wouldn’t be there. You just left.

This next scene always gets to me, some people take love and friendship very,very, seriously

What problems does he have, Sean? that he is better off as a janitor or in jail or hanging around with–And why does he hang out with his friends? Because any one of those kids would come in here and take a bat to your head if he asked them to. It’s called loyalty!

Most great stories are about overcoming adversity of some kind, we love to pull for the underdog! We seem to identify with people who find themselves fighting the good fight for the sake of all against evil and insurmountable odds.  Typically they’ve got nothing going for them other than their heart and the fact that they have nothing left to lose and everything to gain.

Years ago I heard a story about a football team in a championship game. Things weren’t going well at all and they had taken a pretty bad beating over the course of the afternoon. With only minutes left in the game, and what would be their last possession, they had the ball deep in their own territory.  They needed only one touchdown to win but as they walked towards the huddle that goal seemed impossible, they all felt as though they were already beaten. As they leaned in together to hear the Quarterback’s final direction, this is what he told them.

“Good job guys, I think we’ve got ’em just where we want them…They’ve counted us out, they think we’re whipped, and my guess is that most of them are already thinking about what their going to do after the game is over, but I’ll tell you what we’re going to do right now! After that ball is snapped we’re going to completely take them by surprise, we’re going to play like it’s the first play of the game instead of the last, like a team that knows it’s going to win! I look around at all of your faces and I know you want to win, well I’m telling you how we will, and that’s together! Men, no victory is as sweet as one that is pulled from the fearsome jaws of defeat, seize this moment, it’s yours for the taking!

Perhaps you’re wondering if there’s some point I’m trying to make with all of this or if maybe I’ve decided to turn this into a film review blog. If so, hold on…

Do you hear that grinding noise? Don’t be alarmed, that’s just me changing gears.

There’s a story that’s playing out all around each and every one of us everyday. It’s about us individually and the church as a whole.Our combined stories are all part of a much bigger story that we also have a role in.  It’s a grand drama, a classic tale of good and evil with hero’s and villains, winners and losers, it’s a full cast! Some of you probably know what I’m talking about, the rest of you think I’m nuts, that’s okay.

Anyway…

As I see it this little story is kind of coming down to a scenario that reminds me a great deal of the examples I mentioned. We are indeed behind, and we appear to be losing ground on just about every front. We’ve taken some hard hits and been thrown to the ground. Through clever tactics, our enemy has succeeded in dividing us and causing us to fight among ourselves in order that his plans might go undisturbed. Even now, he’s infiltrated our ranks and seeks to maintain this subversion by sowing complacency and preaching comfort. We’ve been led to believe there is no battle, that instead this boat we’re on a is a luxury cruise liner instead of a battleship. And yet, right before our eye’s he’s savagely attacked each of our families. The deeds he’s committed are so reprehensible that our minds recoil in disgust and we must turn away!

Now is not the time to wring our hands in hopeless despair, or to mourn what’s been lost.

Instead NOW is the time that we must attack!

In order for us to be successful it’s going to require that we all put aside our differences and come to a new agreement as to what is our common goal. We need a plan that involves putting our strengths against his weakness’s. One that he can have no defense against because each of us is more than willing to die if necessary to accomplish it.

We represent the kingdom of heaven and the living God, and to reveal them to mankind is what we live for and stand for and are ready to die for. Bless God! John G. Lake

Sound extreme? I’ve no doubt that some people who read this will mistakenly equate or compare what I’m talking about with the kind of violent acts committed by terrorists but nothing could be further from the truth. It’s only love that can conquer hate, and so it’s only through love that any real victory can be won!

It’s easy for actors like Russell Crowe who are playing a role to be brave when they know what’s going to happen in the end. Well guess what, I’ve read how our story ends and we should be SO much bolder!

As members of the body of Christ and of Gods one true church we should have the kind of love for each other that puts a bond between us that nothing can break, we should be loyal servants of each other! If we’re more concerned with our possessions or if we can’t see beyond the temporal nature of this present world then we’ll always be vulnerable to being infected with the disease of  “self ” and will be of little use to Gods Kingdom in this battle.

Where do you see yourself in this unfolding drama? You might be among those who don’t believe or who won’t understand it until the very last days when the fight is on your doorstep. You’re much braver than me if your counting on having an opportunity to make the right choice then when you finally realize that it’s your back that’s…against the wall

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Land Of Many Springs

 One of the great joy’s of blogging I’ve found is in sharing the unique and special things about where I call home with the rest of the world.

The area where I live is known mostly for being a hunting, fishing, floating, camping/hiking destination. During the spring it’s turkey season, summertime around here is all about the river. When the chilly winds of winter begin to blow the town is overrun with people dressed in camouflage who are looking to bag that big buck!  In the winter months the local people rest up!

I’m not much of a hunter, but what I do enjoy is seeing the abundant wildlife practically everywhere you go around here. The deer are somewhat tame and will sometimes just stand there  next to the road allowing you to get a good look at them as you drive up . The other day I saw two hen turkeys scurry across the road in front of me with their collective brood of about 10-15  in tow.  The spring hatch-lings, they were beautiful in their tan colored juvenile feathers!

Perhaps the predominant characteristic of the area I live in is the abundance of naturally occurring springs. The water they provide is literally the “life blood” that freely flows throughout this part of the state. Their cool blue effusion’s and the underground waterways that they represent are a precious resource that’s value cannot be overstated.

Now that I’ve said my little speech we can get on to the good stuff…

This is Greer Spring

Pictured here is the much celebrated and often photographed upper outlet which join’s together with the water from the lower outlet and flows into the Eleven Point River more than doubling it’s size! It’s the second largest spring in the Ozarks, second only to Big Spring which is located in nearby Carter County, Mo.

Originally the spring was harnessed by Samuel Greer to power a grist mill in 1859.

To the right is the lower and much more substantial source of the spring and the one time location of the aforementioned mill. It’s an incredibly beautiful area that’s easily accessible. Various hiking trails that skirt the surrounding hillsides provide some excellent photo opportunities!

One of the most interesting and beautiful springs is Turner’s Mill Spring! Located in what was once a small logging village called “Surprise” Mo. it’s a must see if you’re in the area!

This picture to the right is what remains of the wheel which using the spring supplied the power needs of the small community.

 

Our next stop on the tour is Boze Mill Spring.

Many things about Boze Spring really stood out to me. The setting is unique in one respect because of the approach to the spring from the trail. If you look closely at the area between the trail and the deeper turquoise blue of the main spring you can see the shallow sandy area that’s  ideal for wading in! But be warned, the water here is in my opinion colder than any spring I’ve ever been in! It practically numbed my legs within minutes of wading into it!

 

I’ve been a Missouri resident my whole life and an avid outdoors person as well.  As a typical young boy I was fascinated with reptiles, frogs specifically. Having said that, I found it remarkable that as I approached the spring I was welcomed by a strange sound. Strange in that I only vaguely recognized it. The “noise” was coming from frogs.  Their call was different from any frog I had ever heard, and for them to be active in the middle of the day is also unusual. As I sat there on the bank they entertained me with their “calling” to each other.  Here in their secluded paradise I wondered how many thousands of generations had lived and croaked here in this place and provided the ambiance for thousands of people who had sat just where I was on it’s bank.

This last spring is in many ways also the least.

It’s water volume is small and I’m not really even sure of what it’s “official” name is. I’ve heard it called “Panther Creek” spring, I tried to research it and still couldn’t find any definitive information about it. It’s located less than a quarter mile downstream from the Whitten access on the Eleven Point river. It’s just a hole in the ground that sits less than a hundred feet back off from the main channel but what I found interesting about it is that it makes it’s own noise…

That’s right, it’s a “Talking Spring

My daughter and I had walked up the creek that flows from it one day a few years back. I remember hearing a noise that at first I assumed was coming from the insects that were everywhere. Something about it seemed out of kilter though, it never stopped! When I paused to concentrate on it more fully I noticed that it seemed to emanate from the spring it’s self!

That struck me as being an impossibility at first, “Can sound travel in water?” I’d never seen or heard of such a thing and upon a closer examination I saw what appeared to be small rocks that were caught in it’s flow. The waters effect upon them was to toss them upward in the current of the spring and then suck them back down so as to imitate a volcano spewing lava. During this process,they constantly made random contact which was the source of the “clicking” sound I was hearing.

I’ve really only scratched the surface of listing all of the springs in this part of Missouri. I barely mentioned Big Spring which is the largest, and I didn’t even mention the appropriately named “Mammoth Spring” which is south of here just across the Arkansas state line.

My intent here wasn’t really to provide an exhaustive list, instead my goal is to celebrate who it is that gives life to not just this little backwater part of the world but to everyone everywhere!

In this world there may be “Many Springs”  but there is only one true source of life!

John 7:38

He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.