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  • Pete Ryder

Lost & Stuck


Have you ever been lost? I don’t get lost much – I have a decent sense of direction. But I remember a time when I was lost and didn’t even know it until it was almost too late.


For several years I served as the teen camp director while ministering in Kansas. Summer Camp was held in Divide, Colorado, up the mountain from Colorado Springs. It was beautiful – I saw Pike’s Peak every morning right out my window! Although it was a long way from home, we’d do all sorts of things that week that we just couldn’t do on the plains of Kansas. There were hikes along mountain trails, climbing over boulders with breathtaking views. We went rappelling off of a cliff. Some went inner-tubing down the rapids in a river that had just melted from the mountain snow the day before.


One year, as camp director, I decided I would travel around to some of those excursion locations where students were doing all those activities and get pictures and video footage. This was still before we had GPS, and even if I’d had it, I don’t think most of those dirt roads would’ve shown up! I took the old church van and set out after lunch. I had been there several times before and figured I could find my around.


I drove several miles, made a few turns, things were kinda familiar, so I kept on trucking… Until things weren’t so familiar and I was miles from the main road and many more miles from camp. I remember finally deciding that I was lost and I needed to turn around. But with a 15-passenger church van on sketchy mountain dirt roads, turning around isn’t the easiest thing to do. I had no choice but to keep going until I found a spot where the road widened a bit. I finally found a place that looked promising, so I decided to risk it. I don’t quite know how it happened, but I soon found myself perpendicular to the road, with the front van tires off the side in the soft sandy Colorado dirt, and I wasn’t going anywhere. It was quite remote and there was zero chance of getting AAA up there! I pulled out my flip phone and of course, no service. I was lost. And stuck. With no help on the way.


Lost and stuck, with no help on the way… I wonder how many people in your world feel that way? Or maybe they don’t know they’re lost, still trucking along, thinking things are fine, but they’re heading further away from the right roads that lead to real life.


Some people today don’t like it when we talk about people being “lost.” But whether we like it or not, the Bible clearly describes people as sinful and, without any divine intervention, we will be dead in our sin, eternally lost. Jesus uses the term, “lost,” to describe a coin and a sheep and son in Luke 15, all of which were lost and then found. In Luke 19:10 He said that His whole purpose was to, “seek and to save what was lost.” In Romans we are told that all of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and that the wages of sin is death. Like it or not, without God’s help, we are lost.


Now I’m not saying that we should use that term when we’re talking to people who haven’t yet come to faith. I’m not advocating for starting conversations with, “Hi, I’m Pete and you’re lost!” But it is very important for us to know that people are lost without Jesus. If we don’t think they are… If we think they can figure life out on their own, then we don’t need to reach out and tell them about God’s love. But if we truly believe that people are lost and stuck, we’ve gotta tell them that help is on the way, and His name is Jesus!


Oh, and just in case you’re wondering, after much work and stress and prayer and effort, I finally got unstuck and somehow found my way back to camp! No one had even missed me! But that’s not how it works in our spiritual lives. We need a Savior.


Who in your world is lost & stuck? How can you love them to life this week?


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