Thursday, April 20, 2017


Submitted by Jim Garner

Working with teenagers, it seems as if they are always looking for a little thrill in their lives. Now the degree of thrill can vary from person to person but I think most of them like to find their happy place that is balanced somewhere between the incredible and the insane.
It seems there is an ever-increasing growth in the popularity of extreme sports and adventures around the world. Just think of a few of these that people regularly attempt (and this isn’t even an exhaustive list). The list includes: climbing Mt. Everest; skydiving; BASE jumping with a parachute or wingsuit flying from structures – buildings, antennas, spans, and earth (cliffs); and extreme sports on skateboards, bicycles, skis, etc.
It makes roller coasters look like a thing of the past and a piece of cake. It might be that way for some but not for everyone. Why? Because even people in the roller coaster business continue to push the edge of technology and thrill with new, modern coasters challenging the next generation to the extreme of thrill.
Here’s an example. It is a roller coaster in Taiwan that definitely gives thrill-seekers the rush of a lifetime. It’s called the “GRAVITY MAX”. It is a tilting roller coaster. It’s hard to explain so I’ve attached a link for you to check it out. It’s pretty crazy and definitely not for everyone.
If you’ve been on a roller coaster before you remember that long, rickety trek up the track to the highest point where you then go over the crest and plunge down it with great speed for the rest of the ride. But on the “Gravity Max” you pause at the top and detach from the track where you then are moved slowly into a new position balancing like you are on a teeter-totter. After that brief feeling you then reconnect the track with the riders now positioned looking straight down an incredibly steep vertical drop where riders experience 4-G’s. It’s insane! (If you haven’t watched it yet you need to see it to believe it)
The riders look like they get their money’s worth of thrill as they fly through the insane and invigorating experience. It’s crazy to be on some of these roller coasters but to intentionally detach and re-attach definitely takes you to “Thrill-ville” and makes you wonder: “Is this safe, smart, or even sane?”
In the same way, I think there is a spiritual parallel to consider when it comes to our lives and the “Gravity Max” roller coaster. Why do so many believers find themselves wandering and struggling with detachment from the solid foundation of faith in Christ and reattaching to things that are so unstable in life? It doesn’t make sense yet many find themselves struggling with this when they take their heart and minds off Christ.
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” – Colossians 3:1-3
People seem to be so easily deceived and reattach their “cart on the roller coaster of life” to things of this world. They appear to be searching for meaning, pleasure, or value in a variety of “worldly” or “fleshly” things that when abused or prioritized in their lives it leaves them struggling or in a dangerous position. Some of these examples might include:

         *Wealth                         *Status                *Alcohol/Drugs     
         *Knowledge                   *Power                 *Sexuality

We are cautioned in I John 2:15-17 when John says:
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” – I John 2:15-17

But hopefully, just like the “prodigal son”, people come to their senses and desire to reattach their lives back to the track with the solid foundation of two things: a growing relationship with Jesus Christ that is built out of need based on daily communication through prayer and nourishment in the Word of God, a daily spiritual food that satisfies and sustains us for anything in life on life’s roller coaster with it’s ups and downs and it’s shaking and speed. There’s no doubt these challenges in life are coming but the question is: “Will we be able to make it?” I feel a lot more confident knowing who and what I’m attached to in life! What about you?

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