To Fly Like an Eagle

The way an Eagle learns to fly has been coming up in several conversations I’ve had with friends lately. I found this telling of the process on the web a few days ago, and want to post it here.

The…..eaglet was now alone in the nest. Each time a parent came flying in toward the nest he called for food eagerly; but over and over again, it (the parent) came with empty feet, and the eaglet grew thinner. He pulled meat scraps from the old dried-up carcasses lying around the nest. He watched a sluggish carrion beetle, picked it up gingerly, and ate it. His first kill.

Days passed, and as he lost body fat he became quicker in his movements and paddled ever more lightly when the wind blew, scarcely touching the nest edge; from time to time he was airborne for a moment or two.

Parents often flew past and sometimes fed him. Beating his wings and teetering on the edge of the nest, he screamed for food whenever one flew by. And a parent often flew past just out of reach, carrying delectable meals: a half-grown jack rabbit or a plump rat raided from a dump. Although he was hungry almost all the time, he was becoming more playful as he lost his baby fat; sometimes, when no parent bird was in sight, he pounced ferociously on a scrap of prairie dog skin or on old bits of dried bone.

The male eaglet stayed by himself for the most part. He was no longer brooded at night. Hunger and the cold mountain nights were having their effect, not only on his body but on his disposition. A late frost hit the valley, and a night wind ruffled his feathers and chilled his body. When the sunlight reached the eyrie’s (the brood in a nest of a bird of prey) edge, he sought its warmth; and soon, again, he was bounding in the wind, now light and firm-muscled.

A parent flew by, downwind, dangling a young marmot in its feet. The eaglet almost lost his balance in his eagerness for food. Then the parent swung by again, closer, upwind, and riding the updraft by the eyrie, as though daring him to fly. Lifted light by the wind, he was airborne, flying–or more gliding–for the first time in his life. He sailed across the valley to make a scrambling, almost tumbling landing on a bare knoll. As he turned to get his bearings the parent dropped the young marmot nearby. Half running, half flying he pounced on it, mantled, and ate his fill.”

Frances Hamerstrom – An Eagle to the Sky (1970)

I’m learning several things from this story.

  • An eagle doesn’t learn to fly… to “soar on the wings of an eagle” until it’s practically starved. It isn’t just a thrill ride. It isn’t just a hobby. It’s a necessity, a life or death decision.s
  • That decision is partially forced by knowledgable parents. They know their eaglet must learn to fly on it’s own, but they won’t be able to just “teach it” or let it “try it out for fun.” The lesson involves them allowing their offspring to hunger, to even suffer.
  • The eagle’s first flight is not the same as the full grown eagle. It involves falling out of the next, trying out the wings before untested, and eventually, a crash landing.
  • But at the end of that crash landing, the eaglet can eat.

End of the Summer Youth Party

So we’re having an end of the summer party for the teens of our church this Friday night into Saturday… really looking forward to it. Trying to think of some confidence / trust building games we could work into it to make it both meaningful and fun. I thought of having the kids climb up into the loft and then fall into the waiting hands of their friends, 10 feet below… but I’m not sure I even trust us to do that, so if we did it, I would have to go first, and that… well that just may not happen!

Anyone got ideas? We’ve got a barn, loft, climbing rope, lots of grass, lots of fence, and a few trees… Oh and a 4000 volt electric fence. I wonder what we could do with THAT!?

Youth Lesson on Prayer

Prayer
Prayer, by Lel4nd

 

PRAYER

  • What is prayer?
    • Talking “to” God?
    • Talking “with” God?
      • Does He talk back?
    • Conversation with God
    • Listening to
  • Is it a two sided “conversation” or a one way street?

PRAISE

  • Is praise always a joyful thing?
  • Ps 145:1-8
    • what is the importance of the words?
    • Do we need to be specific?
  • Ps 88:1-9
    • A song FOR the choir director
    • Heman
    • Never “gets joyful” (ex. V. 18)
  • Why is praise important?
    • Start with recognizing God for who he is
  • Eldridge Quote: “It’s not what we do when we’re strong and feeling great that makes us holy.”

THANKS

  • Focuses on what God HAS DONE. Before we look into the future, we must be able to look confidently at what God has done in the PAST.
  • List stories where God brought Israel “out of” something?
    • Egypt
  • How do / can you keep track of what God has done in your life? Joshua 4:1-9 (pile of rocks on the bank and in the middle of the Jordan)
    • Rank them… Memory, pile of rocks, journal, myspace
  • How important is this “step” (thanks)
  • Psalms 107:1-2

CONFESSION

  • What does it mean to “confess”?
    • “I’m Sorry?”
    • “I did it.”
    • Do the words matter?
  • Story of David & Bathsheba, plus the related Psalms (2 Sam. 11:1-5, Psalms 32: 3-5, Ps 51:1-4, 10:12)
  • Forgiveness à Confession è Restoration (is this the right order?)
  • Why do we need to confess if we’re already forgiven? (Psalms 51: 16-17)

REVIEW

  • So all of that is review… last week we talked about 3 kinds / parts of prayer
    • A big part of prayer is simply getting us on the right page with God – WHY?
    • coming to understand who HE is, and coming to understand who WE are,
      • both simply as creations
      • but also as people who have been adopted and are now full fledged sons and daughters of God.
    • Is all of that introduction to just getting around to the asking, then?
      • NO.

SUPPLICATION – THE PRAYER OF INTERVENTION

  • What does “supplication” mean?
    • “intercession”
  • Why is “getting things done” listed last here?
    • Psalm 55:16-18, 22
  • “I prayed about it, and God said “no””
    • Closed doors?
    • Do we / should we just accept that?
  • Persistant Prayer – can we “change God’s mind?”
    • Moses – Sodom and Gomorrah
    • JC @ Transfiguration
  • YouTube clip – David
  • Is prayer just going to God “for help?”
    • Or getting our marching orders?
      • Are you “on task?”
      • What is that?
  • What’s the “biggest” thing you’ve ever prayed for?
    • Are there things you’d love to see happen but are just not comfortable taking it to God?
      • Like what? Why?
    • Is it a lack of faith?
    • Where IS the power? Is it in our faith, or in the power of what is behind our faith?
      • How much faith does it take to move a mountain?
      • Not really all that much… “faith of a mustard seed” Matt 17:20
      • The power is not in the FAITH… the POWER is in what that faith is placed into… He’s just waiting for us to ask!
      • What holds us back then?
    • How big of something would you like to start praying for? Can you believe it could happen? Could it be YOU holding it all back?
      • Change the weather?
    • So, just WHAT IS FAITH?
      • Is it believing something to be true?
      • Is it where salvation comes from?
        • “For BY GRACE you are saved through faith, not of yourselves, it is a GIFT OF GOD” eph 2:8-9
        • Mark 2:5 – 4 guys faith gets 1 guy saved?
        • Were people like Abraham “saved” because of their faith, even in the OT? Gen 15:6, Gal 3:6 (Abraham)
      • So is faith and belief the same thing?
        • “confess with your mouth… believe….you will be saved.” Is that all there is to it?
        • Can you believe something without having faith in it?
        • Salvation = gift. Faith = accepting it is for me and opening it.
        • Plane won’t crash but I won’t get on it.

IF GOD ALREADY KNOWS EVERYTHING, WHY PRAY? … GOD WANTS YOU TO DEPEND ON HIM AND TALK TO HIM.

  • What are some of the reasons God doesn’t answer prayer right away?
    • Yes, No, Wait
    • “I want you to TALK TO ME.”
    • Spiritual Warfare – Daniel
  • If God already knows everything, why do we even need to tell Him what we want?
    • Is prayer giving God new information?
    • How does this correspond with the way we go about our own prayers when we pray for “lists?”
      • “be with all the people on our prayer list.”
      • Do we really, really, care?
      • Does prayer move God to action? Does it move US to action?

GOD KNOWS EVERYTHING

  • What does it mean when we say that “God knows everything?”
    • Do we even have a say in the matter?
    • Or are we little robots?
    • “Freedom of causality” ß how it works here is impossible to totally understand, but that does not make it any less true.
    • When I am asked something I don’t know at work, I often respond, “let me ask Google… Google knows everything.” How is all the information that GOOGLE knows different from all the information that GOD “knows?”

WE DON’T KNOW EVERYTHING

  • Where do you get your guidance from?
    • Trial and error?
    • Friends?
    • Parents?
    • Church?
    • God Himself?
  • Does God WANT to see us come to understand?“
    • James 1:5 – if anyone lacks wisdom, ask of God, and he gives generously.
    • Solomon
  • Is there a difference between knowledge and wisdom?
    • Compare…. Faith is putting belief into action. (believe + CONFESS) ß confess is where we put legs on our beliefs. WORDS MATTER.
    • Wisdom is putting knowledge into action.

GOD WANTS YOU TO TALK TO HIM

  • Jer 33:3 “CALL TO ME”
  • Third Day – Call My Name… I want you to “never doubt.”
  • God wants us to be confident in him. He wants us to trust him. He wants us to really “cast our cares on him.”
  • Do we really trust God? Do we talk to him about things as deep as we talk to our best friends? Do we let him talk back?

WRAP IT UP

  • Have you ever asked God what to pray for before you even start praying?
  • The Bible is not a book of exceptions. It is a book of examples.
    • James 5:13-20… Elijah was a man, “just like us.”
    • There is POWER in the words of your prayers. If you feel like it’s a waste of time, maybe it is.
      • But it’s not because PRAYER is a waste of time, but perhaps the way you’re going about it…
      • Maybe you’re praying for something outside of your realm.
      • God has something, somebody for you to influence. For you to AFFECT CHANGE on. Do you know what it is? It may be small… there’s nothing wrong with that.
  • Prayer is an expression of a RELATIONSHIP between you and God.
    • If it’s not close, it will be awkward.
    • It can be shallow, it can be intimate. It can be enjoyable, it can be painfully awful.