I started hiking when I was young. I was blessed to have my Dad not only take me hiking at a young age, but also teach me the basics of the outdoors. Even before I could walk my parents took me hiking as I straddled a pack designed for infants. As a teenager he got me into the Boy Scouts. Some of my fondest memories were spent camping with my Dad on a scout outing or Camporee. Vacations for my family were spent at State Parks throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Hiking has always been a time for me to get out and away from everything, to shut out the world and connect with what matters.
The outdoors brings people together in a community, with a common interest but diverse backgrounds, ages, cultures and up bringing.
The outdoors has always been a time for me to disconnect, and connect with my faith away from the distractions of the modern world and society. It’s where I go for peace, the destress, un-clutter the mind, and to listen to the voice of God.
My goal at HBF Outdoors is to give back to others so they too can benefit from the outdoors for overall health (physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual).
Biblical Reasons for Getting Outside
Wilderness experiences heighten our awareness of the existence of God. Colossians 1:15-20 says that Jesus is the One who made all of Creation, so it should be of no surprise that His Handiwork has an utter infinity of illustrations to elicit awe for God. The wilderness changes our perspective through expanding our comfort zones and showing us our need for God’s grace.
Adventures invite us to take risks. Belief requires taking a risk. Trusting, other people may come with some perceived risk, but the actual risk of putting your trust in Jesus Christ is zero. God used the wilderness to expose Israel’s disbelief and Jesus used storms and struggles to reveal the Disciples’ lack of trust.
Experiencing Biblical community changes our wrong views of God, others and ourselves. Biblical community turns the world upside down in all the right ways. For example, we find out that washing other’s feet brings joy because Jesus came to serve not to be served– and that includes us. He came to serve us! The wilderness teaches us that the foundation of Christian community is the grace of God.
The opposite of discipline is chaos & confusion. Ordering your life to enjoy the presence and peace of Christ is counter-cultural. It means saying, “No” to many things that everyone else is saying, “Yes” to. Yet it also means experiencing freedom that most others will never enjoy. Spiritual disciplines teach us that limitations are good because of our sin and pride. Be comforted if God disciplines you. It’s a sign of His love. Wilderness experiences are full of challenges. Physical challenges give us resilience in our walk with God, and spiritual challenges such as aloneness and fear cause us to bake the dough of our un-tested beliefs into a loaf of faith-bread that we can feed the world.
St. Ignatius coined this term to refer to a lifestyle of Christ- Centered contemplation. Examen is a habit of taking time each day to reflect and pray in order to hear God’s voice of guidance. Wilderness time helps us remember God’s faithfulness. The silence and solitude of the outdoors exposes the emptiness we feel when we hide from God and it ushers in the healing balm of brokenness, honesty and confession.