What's an Old Sea Dog Anyway?


If you have ever owned or spent much time around sailboats, you will know they are a lot of maintenance. From my office window there is a view of several large sailboats capable of handling any ocean. They however, spend most of the time tied up to the dock. A heavy storm passed through recently and damaged many of these boats. Some even sank at their moorings. It is a sad sight to see a boat end its days this way. Sailboats are designed for momentum, and putting into port was for rest and repairs in preparation for the next journey.

Where has all the adventure gone?

When did we as church leaders become dock builders instead of navigators? Why are we now content to build safe churches? Welcome, welcome, we say to all you Christian sailors, welcome to the church of the “safe haven.” Hey, that’s okay if you have just sailed in from Cape Town or Argentina, but not the dock across the river.

Oh I know people need to experience the safety, security, acceptance and love of church people, but that is just the beginning. Those that have known nothing but the desperate struggle for survival need to enjoy the calm and peace of a harbor life for a season.

The only building officially endorsed by God was the tabernacle Ex 26. In the tabernacle we see a structure that was easy to move. It was a large tent and was mobile. There is something inside each of us that longs for security and permanence, and yet, these things actually come from moving and staying close to God. It’s like signing up as crew for the next high seas adventure. This is not a foolhardy launch out into the deep, but a careful, calculated plotting of the charts of Gods will and His intent for our lives.

Come on board. It will get rough at times and the crew a little crazy, but this is where we were designed to be. Momentum is our friend, and like a stiff breeze it propels us into action. Like me, you might end up helping kids in aids ravaged nations, climbing a mountain trail in New Zealand, kayaking by moonlight in Florida, rebuilding homes after a hurricane, stuck on the banks of the Amazon overnight waiting to be rescued, surfing perfect point breaks in Australia, or running summer camps for adventure starved youth. Take a tip from the book of James. He must have known something about sailing when he threw out the challenge “Faith without works is dead.” Find out what you are meant to do and do it. Quit looking like one of those pretty sailboats tied up to the dock. Go out and carve some tracks in the blue water of life. The church needs able bodied crew who are willing to be trained in some serious life skills.

On board we learn from each other: Students become teachers, and teachers become masters, masters become students. We are on a constant learning curve. We travel and meet crews from other boats. New cultures from foreign lands help inspire and keep our minds fresh and our hearts challenged. We hate the doldrums, that feeling that nothing is happening. We love other fellow searchers of truth, but we distance ourselves those who think they have arrived. No such thing as permanent anchorage here. We think in terms of able bodied crew, no one sails this vessel alone.

Church should be a healthy and challenging environment to enjoy life as God intended. Check out some of Paul’s boat trips. Acts 27:13-44. You might remember the classic quote by C.S Lewis in Chronicles of Narnia, speaking about Aslan “Safe? Who said anything about safe? Course he isn’t safe, but he is good.”

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