Life Verse:

"...I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly." -- JESUS in John 10:10

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trail - Beautiful Day

Hike: Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trail, Kowliga, AL 01/31/2009 09:18-11:39
Distance: 4.6 miles Rating: 5/5
Difficulty: Moderate
Conditions: Gorgeous blue sky. Clear. Cool. Calm.
Observed white tail deer, several passerines, crows, vulture, deer tracks, armadillos scratchings, Bird-Foot Violets still blooming. Aquamarine color and sparkling shimmer of the lake at the water's edge is quite soothing. Thank YOU for such a beautiful day and for what YOU are doing in my life. Thinking about "Dealing with Uncertainty" - topic for Morning Praise tomorrow.

Days like this really make me consider how great it would be to have a job relating to ecology or natural science; to be in GOD's outdoors most of the time (versus on weekends and other special events). I guess that Saturday is really my Sabbath. Obviously, Sunday is a busy day for me with sermons, discipleship classes, and other ministry. Saturday is my day to "get away" from distractions and spend time in GOD's Creation worshipping and communing with HIM.

Friday, January 30, 2009

eTrailGuide #006

Crestview Outdoor Ministry Expeditions

Adventures of Worship in GOD's Outdoors

YOU will show me the path of life;
-- Psalm 16:11 NKJV

eTrailGuide #006

January 30, 2009

01. Free Trial Campout Set

02. Outdoor Ministry Calendar

03. C.O.M.E. #9 – Barton’s Beach Nature Preserve Hike & Picnic

04. Pond/Lake Fishing Event

05. Any interest in a Deep Sea Fishing Trip?

06. Creation Moment (Darwin’s Puzzle)

07. Ministry Opportunities


01. Free Trial Campout Set

Perhaps you have always wanted to give camping “a try”. Perhaps you like camping but you have a little one that’s just not quite old enough to take on a camping trip far from home. Well, we may just have the answer for you! Why don’t you participate in our Free Trial Campout on Friday evening, 3/13/2009, until Saturday morning, 3/14/2009. We will set up our tents and campout under the stars (and street lights) on our church campus. There will be a campfire, camp food, smores, and plenty of fabulous fellowship! Camping out on our church campus means that you will not be very far from a modern bathroom, running water, and all the creature comforts we have become accustomed to.

Please DO NOT bring any electronic video games or similar – we want to focus on being together outside. The intent of the evening is to Worship GOD, enjoy HIS Creation, and fellowship together – all in a relaxing yet adventurous atmosphere. Please feel free to bring any camp related games (such as cards, various balls, Frisbees, etc.).

If you have any questions or suggestions, contact Pastor Larry at


02. Outdoor Ministry Calendar

Feb. 21, 2009 – C.O.M.E. #9 – Barton’s Beach Nature Preserve

Mar. 13, 2009 – C.O.M.E. #9.1 – Free Trial Campout – Church campus – you may start setting up your camp at 5:00pm (or join us whenever you can)

Mar. 21, 2009 – C.O.M.E. #10 – Location To Be Determined!


03. C.O.M.E. #9 – Barton’s Beach Nature Preserve Hike & Picnic – What to expect!

Plan to depart the church NO LATER than 8:00am on Saturday, February 21, 2009. We will travel to Barton’s Beach Nature Preserve / Perry Lakes Park near Marion, AL. This is a riparian/ox bow lake area. Terrain is flat. Area is heavily wooded with mixed Pines and Hardwoods. The oxbow lakes/swampy areas have Cypress and Tupelo. Many different species of birds (from bald eagles to common passerines) inhabit this beautiful location. Many small mammals and reptiles also live in these woods and lakes.

We will hike from the trailhead/parking area several of the trails in the area with the highlight being a hike to the white sand beaches of the Cahaba River. Plans are to picnic together on the beach. We will hold our devotional here as well.

Hiking trails are all flat and rated easy. Expect a total of about 6 miles of trails. There is a 100’ birding tower, suspension foot-bridge, and several other architecturally unique buildings in this park.

Please wear hiking shoes or boots and appropriate clothing for the weather. You will need a small backpack, water, snacks, and a picnic lunch. Be sure and bring a small Bible, Journal, and pen/pencil. If you like, a pair of compact binoculars and a digital camera would be good items to pack.


04. Pond/Lake Fishing Event

We would like to schedule a fishing event that would be suitable for families during the spring time. Ideally, the location would be a pond or small lake that provides easy and safe access for families and children. Grist State Park, near Selma, immediately comes to mind, but I would love to have input and suggestions from others.

Do you have a “favorite fishing hole” you would like to suggest?


05. Any interest in a Deep Sea Fishing Trip?

Do you have any interest in a Gulf of Mexico Deep Sea Fishing Trip this spring or summer? Get your comments in to Pastor Larry.


06. Creation Moment (Darwin’s Puzzle)

John 18:38a

“Pilate saith unto him, What is truth?”

How do you know that what you think you know is really true? Charles Darwin wondered just that, and the answer to his question sheds a lot of light on the origins debate today.

Since Darwin had no formal training in science, he made his case for evolution from philosophy, not from science. Philosophy and theology, after all, was the area in which he was trained. This background led him to ask a very important question. In Darwin's own words, "…the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man's mind, which was developed from the mind of lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would anyone trust in the convictions of a monkey's mind, if there were any convictions in such a mind?"

In other words, what Darwin was saying was that if his theory was true, it was the product of a mind not much greater than a monkey's. And who, including Darwin himself, could trust such a mind? The only way in which human thoughts might be separated far above the animals is if creation is true. Either way, the logical conclusion of Darwin's puzzle is that creation is true and evolution is untrustworthy!

It is no accident that as the teaching that man came from lower animals has grown, the number of people who act like animals has also grown. Darwin's own statement seems to show the twisted logic that results from evolution. (From


07. Ministry Opportunities

  • Crestview Outdoor Ministry Expeditions needs you! We are an outdoor-Creation-themed ministry designed to point others to GOD, to worship HIM in HIS Creation, and to promote appreciation of and care for GOD’s Creation. We would love to have you join us on our next Expedition.
  • C.O.M.E. #9 – Barton’s Beach Nature Preserve Hike & Picnic on the white sand beach of the Cahaba River2/21/2009 8:00am departure from church.
  • Our Vacation Bible School this year will have a “Summer Camp” theme. Is GOD calling you to minister to HIS kids and their families? Join us as we pray, plan, and prepare for this Vacation Bible School Adventure! Please see April Bush or Pastor Larry if you’re interested in helping out with this vital ministry.


This world, as a glorious apartment of the Boundless Palace of the SOVEREIGN CREATOR is furnished with an infinite variety of animated scenes, inexpressibly beautiful and pleasing, equally free to the inspection and enjoyment of all HIS creatures. -- William Bartram

Friday, January 23, 2009

Survivorman "Arctic Tundra" (2008)

Les Stroud, Survivorman "Arctic Tundra", is on Discovery Channel tonight from Baffin Island, Canada. Looks v-e-r-y cold there!

It is truly amazing - a testimony to how GOD has designed HIS Creation - to see how many animals flourish in the harsh, frigid conditions found in the Arctic Tundra. The amount of garbage and flotsam on these remote islands was also a little depressing to see. This far from "civilization" we still manage to interject our "cast off" plastic and other refuse. Hopefully we will learn to practice recycle and reuse rather than just throwing away.

The Arctic (and Antarctic too) are truly wondrous and inspiring places to see. Perhaps one day I will be able to visit. Anybody up for a summer expedition to Alaska?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

C.O.M.E. #8 - AWF Nature Center Lanark

HIKE: Crestview Outdoor Ministry Expeditions #8, Saturday, 1/17/2009, 09:30-15:00

DISTANCE: 6 miles



CONDITIONS: Mostly cloudy, light to no breeze, quite cold (started with a low of 20 this morning. Almost no one else at Preserve (too cold for them, I guess).

COME#8 (Kathy, Jon, Nathan, and me). Hiked all three regions of Lanark. Observed large flock of turkey at entrance to Hilltop Pass. Many passarines (as usual) but did not see any deer. Heard owl from tree top walk (Hilltop Pass). Kathy's wheelchair did well throughout the preserve. AWF had a roaring fire going in large fireplace at Pavilion (it was appreciated!). Good expedition. Gave a 4 rating because my cell phone kept ringing throughout most of the morning (I have weekend duty). (I had to leave after lunch to go in to mill, but they fixed the problem before I arrived - so I went back to hiking!) Nathan tried out a Tarzan vine in Still Creek Run - it didn't support his weight and he tested out a "hiney landing"! (Ouch!) Had a picnic lunch at the pavilion after Turkey Ridge (before hiking Still Creek Run). This was a very relaxed and enjoyable expedition. Thank YOU, LORD.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trail

HIKE: Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trail (North & South), 01/10/2009, 09:44-12:27

DISTANCE: 3.9 miles


CONDITIONS: Partly cloudy to mostly cloudy; breezy; temps in upper 50's. Sprinkling rain near end of hike.


Quite a gray day, but a few rays of sunshine managed to breakthrough during the morning. Even though the clouds might be considered gloomy it was a most enjoyable and peaceful hike. Observed a wide assortment of wildlife today. It has become quite common for me to see whitetailed deer in this area and today was no exception, as I scared up a total of three does. The ubiquitous cardinal was counted as well as woodpeckers and other passarines. One special encounter was with a small black snake with a yellow neck-band (believe it was Diadophis punctatus, Ring-necked snake). It was a blessing to actually see him, he was so small and well camouflaged amidst the leaf litter. He was quite agreeable to having his photo taken! Sprinkling rain started about the last mile of the hike and forced me into my parka to keep from getting my camera and cell phone too wet.

Crestview Outdoor Ministry Expeditions and plans for 2009 were on my mind as well as several individuals. It seems like it always takes me at least a mile of hiking to leave behind distracting thoughts and to "get centered" -- i.e. quiet and listening for GOD's SPIRIT. I stopped just off the south loop amidst a boulder pile to read and meditate. Read from 1 Tim. 5.

I am also beginning to get in the "excited planning mode" about our Great West Expedition!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Ft. Toulouse Hike - 01/03/2009

HIKE: Ft. Toulouse National Historic Site, Wetumpka, AL, 01/03/2009, 09:04-12:15
DISTANCE: 4.3 miles
CONDITIONS: Cloudy, few sprinkles near end of hike, little to no breeze; temps in low to mid 60's.
Lots of gray squirrels today - playing all around. Serenaded by the bountiful passerines. Flushed a very nice 6-pt whitetail buck in the bottom land between the arboretum deck and the Tallapoosa River. Large woody vines in this bottom land - even noticed evidence of woodpecker work on these large vines. Blackberry vines and Chinese privet hedge also abundant in the bottom. Several small unidentified evergreen shrubs with red berries (not a holly). Mosquitoes would probably be a problem in this area in warmer weather. A few people (and two dogs) on the trail. Continued planning for 2009 C.O.M.E. ministry. Meditated on sermon topic for tomorrow, "Prepare to Meet Your GOD" (Amos).
I love YOU, LORD, with all that I am. Please forgive my sins. Guide me daily to walk closer to YOU. Thank YOU for YOUR call on my life. I ask for YOUR wisdom as I seek to shepherd YOUR people at Crestview and to integrate outdoor-based ministry in to the overall ministry of the church. I pray that this will open doors for so many others who have a love of the outdoors but who do not know The CREATOR of all this splendor! In JESUS name, Amen.

SPOT Check OK from parking lot at Ft. Toulouse did not work, but did work from parking lot of Wendy's back out on US231.

Friday, January 02, 2009

New Year Planning... Musings for 2009

I am awaiting the publication of our group's weekend duty schedule before making concrete plans for outdoor adventures this year. No sense in having to re-do my planning list more than necessary. Having said that, I will begin some "day dreaming" about 2009 adventures, understanding that GOD has the final say in my calendar planning...

The biggest and most anticipated adventure for 2009 has got to be the Great Western Expedition. I renamed it from "Great Northwest Expedition" because the areas covered have expanded to include Utah, California, and Arizona to name a few. The Great Western Expedition (GWE for short) is planned to be a three week adventure through some of America's most storied National Parks. Looks like commitments at work will delay the start of this adventure to the end of May or beginning of June.

Included in the scheme of plans for the GWE are hikes, camp-outs, and sightseeing in Yellowstone, Yosemite, Arches, Sequoia & Kings, Grand Canyon, and Petrified Forest National Parks. Needless to say I am dreaming about this adventure.

Other plans for 2009 include:

-- Putting the pop-up camper to good use. Allow Kathy to get some "practice" with her new Dutch oven and tripod.

-- Backpacking with my brother in Sipsey Wilderness. Intend to see the "Big Tree".

-- More kayaking/canoeing ... including the seasonal Coldwater Creek trip.

-- Break in my 'new' fly fishing equipment.

-- Extended weekend trip to the Great Smokey Mountains.

-- Plan an Everglades National Park trip.

-- Plan an extended C.O.M.E. for 2009 or 2010. Not sure of destination yet.

-- Some C.O.M.E. possibilities for 2009 are:
Buck's Pocket SP
Oak Mtn SP
Cheaha Mtn SP
Pinhoti Trail
Chief Ladiga Rail Trail
Blackwater River FL SF
Barton's Beach Nature Preserve
Creation Celebration Event

News Year's Day Hike - Mountain Creek

HIKE: Mountain Creek Park, 1/1/2009 09:44-12:20
DISTANCE: 5.2 miles
CONDITIONS: Mostly sunny (beautiful!), breezy, temp: upper 40's to low 50's
Tranquil hike. Just me and GOD today - no one else in the park. Many passerines about (the Northern Cardinal is especially abundant and impressive!). Several different woodpeckers. Scared a cottontail as I was exiting the park (I didn't see him until he jumped up and I was almost on him then), not sure who was startled the most. Talked to Dad from the trail. Thought about 2009 C.O.M.E. possibilites and about Joe. Meditated upon Psalm 121.