Tag Archives: pioneer

Beyond the Map – Now that’s living!

23 Jan

Here’s a little insight into what makes me ‘tick’… and why this blog is named “Beyond the Map”.

Years ago, I watched an IMAX documentary of Lewis and Clark’s famous expedition up the Missouri River, to the Pacific Ocean and back.  I was struck to my core with what seemed a very innocuous quote from Lewis and Clark’s journal.  It reverberated so loudly inside me, that I’ve never forgotten it. 

In the early part of their expedition, they had followed the crude maps of the frontier fur traders.  But about half way up the Missouri, their continuing exploration took them beyond the maps.  On that day Lewis’ journal reads:

“We were now about to penetrate a country… in which the foot of civilized man had never trodden… the good or evil it had in store for us was yet to determine… I could esteem this moment of my departure among the most happy of my life.” – (Lewis & Clark expedition – 1805)

Strangely, upon hearing that quote, I could hardly compose myself.  I recognized that his sentiment rang synonymous with the basic drive at the core of my being.  And it is:

I must go where I’ve never been… discover what I’ve never seen.  I’m a pioneer!

The only way I can stay truly alive is to push beyond the familiar.  In fact, for several years I’ve publicly declared that each time I’m ‘in the saddle’ with God (whether privately or in public) I purpose to do something I’ve never done before.  I’ve resolved to explore what I haven’t seen and experienced before.  Furthermore, if there is a sense that others are dependant upon my discoveries in this new territory, then my motivation is fueled in a most fulfilling and empowering way.  Of course, this is the basic drive of a pioneer… a frontiersman.  (I write further about pioneers, here.)

Somewhere in my 40s I began to identify some of this unique definition of ‘me’.  It would have been great to know it sooner, but by-and-large our society doesn’t educate us on how to find ourselves.  I think that’s largely because most people are consumed with the age-old quest of trying to stay alive and survive.  As a result, our real identity doesn’t get highlighted and thus we don’t thrive.  And maybe because of being fraught with insecurities we just try to awkwardly blend in with the cookie-cutter crowd mentality… not ‘rocking the boat’.  So, I think it’s safe to say that most people never discover who they are… and how to be effective, passionate and ‘comfortable in their own skin’.  What a travesty!  Here are a couple sad commentaries about average mankind:

“Man.  Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.  Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.  And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.” – The 14th Dalai Lama

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”  ― J.K. Rowling

Twenty-eight months after setting out and risking life and limb, Lewis and Clark arrived back at St. Louis, ending an 8,000-mile odyssey.  They were acclaimed as national heroes…the first U.S. citizens to cross the continent.  Lewis had described at least 178 plants and 122 animals new to science.  Clark had drawn new and accurate maps that would guide the next generation of pioneers.  This is what pioneers do!  Their God-given core motivation was activated and engaged to the full extent… even to the ragged edge.  Even when knowing the life-endangering rigors of the journey before them, they had passionately said “Yes!” to the mission, because their personal DNA was addressed and called upon.

This ‘awakened living’ is part of the outworking of Jesus’ words, “I have come to give you life and life more abundantly.” (John 10:10)  When men and women discover who they were meant to be, they excel… and they do it gladly and passionately.  They discover what it means to truly live.


Of course there’s a potential fear factor.  But fear disappears when two things occur.  1) First we must know that God is good!  And He only has good plans for us.  2) Second, we must know that we have definitively heard His will.  It is impossible to have true Biblical faith if we haven’t HEARD (Rms 10:17).  Without hearing, fear rules.

Another pioneering explorer Columbus, sailed the ocean blue in 1492 when it was commonly thought that the earth was flat.  This whimsical depiction of the flat world sorely challenged the average boatman in his day.  But obviously, Columbus’ deep pioneer motivations drove him past his fears… and on to make historical discoveries that have changed mankind forever.  SO CAN WE!

Here are questions I ask myself: What fears attempt to keep me imprisoned in my ‘safe’ world?  What discoveries wait beyond the map?  Whose hearts need my discoveries?  What great things have happened each time I’ve decided to really live?

So now you know; in order for me to stay alive… and thrive, I’m committed and impassioned to go, “Beyond the Map”.


DPM Update – 2016 June – Big News!

23 Jun

Dear Friends

Big news!
There is a new human being on planet Earth… Charles Lee Shaw is the newborn son of Chris and Charlie1Lydia Shaw.  Mama, baby and Daddy are doing just fine. They’re back home and now discovering the joys of parenting.  And speaking of parenting: Can you believe it, our baby just had a baby?  How does that happen!  BTW…both grandfathers have the middle name; ‘Lee’.  It’s pretty cool to have my name carried on.

Debbie and I were in Redding, CA to welcome our new family member.  While there, Debbie did things that mothers do… attending to Lydia’s needs, cooking, cleaning, and smooching on Charlie… and she’s staying an extra week in Redding.  I did the ‘daddy do’ things, plumbing repairs, car repairs, fix-it things… and agreed with the mothers about how cute Charlie is. 

More big news!
And speaking of really ‘grand’ children, Debbie and I will have another ‘grand’ addition to our family next January.  Markus and Allison cid:image004.jpg@01D1CCE6.88B6A2B0Hendrickson are expecting their second child. We’re so excited for them!  We were Skyping with them a while ago when we realized that Avalee’s shirt said, “Big Sister”.  Surprise!  It took us about 10 minutes for the meaning of the shirt to sink in.  Kids!!!  They’re always coming up with some way to pull a fast one over on their parents.  Keeps life interesting and fun.   
More stuff

While in Redding, I climbed a couple mountains (a 2000’ and a 5000’ climb).  What’s a dad to do when his son and daughter-in-love are in training for a scheduled 7000’ climb to the top of 14,000’ Mt Shasta this Saturday?  I had to join them, of course.  What kind of dad would I be if I couldn’t keep up with my son?  O, the ramifications are horrible!  🙂  And besides, every mountain I’ve ever seen has begged me to conquer it… so we conquered at least two of them.  It was very rewarding in lots of ways… family time and stunning views… and I still have aching muscles.  But it was well worth it!  So I’m ready for more mountains… natural and spiritual… because that’s just what pioneers live to do.


During our two weeks there, I helped lead a couple house churches and a monthly pastors meeting in Anderson, CA.  And Father’s Day just happened to occur while we were there… (Hmmm, I wonder who planned that???)  It was a great day with family and friends.

Angels are real!
Did you know that angels love when you talk about them and celebrate their ministry to us?  Well, here’s a cool story about an angel that seems to indicate just that. 

One morning I was meeting at a coffee shop with my friend Paul, and his son Jarius.  Our conversation gravitated to angel activities and applauding their attendance in our lives.  We actually experienced a little ‘God-swirl’ while talking.  The time came to leave to drive to Paul’s job nearby… a flip-house he had bought 2 weeks earlier.  As we left the coffee shop, I said, “Let’s see if we can find an angel on your job.”  I was half joking… but I’m convinced more and more that we should expect and integrate with our cid:image010.jpg@01D1CCE6.88B6A2B0angels’ presence around us.  cid:image012.jpg@01D1CCE6.88B6A2B0

The house was in the middle of serious remodel – tear out, rebuild, drywall/mud and paint – from top to bottom.  When we walked into a basement room, I exclaimed, “Paul! What is that up in the corner?”  It was an angel figurine.  To which he exclaimed, “I can’t believe it, I’ve been in here for two weeks and haven’t seen that angel!”  We both were taken aback at the remarkable timeliness of that angel when we said not more than 20 minutes before that we were going to see if we could find an angel on the job.  And how often do you even see an angel figure of any kind?  So cool!

Did a previous owner hang it and the angel was kept hidden from Paul until we could see it together and give it more gravity of meaning from our recent conversation?  Or did an angel create it in the minutes before we entered the room – complete with cobwebs – in order to confirm and validate our subject of angels?  I really don’t know.  But in any case, it caused our hearts to soar in faith for even more integration and participation with our “fellow servants”, the angels (Rev 19:10).

Exciting changes
This is an exciting time of great spiritual discoveries and growth.  I hope that you are right smack dab in the middle of the Good Stuff.  God is big… and He’s so good… and He’s delighted to give us the Kingdom! (Lk 12:32)  What a God!!

We love you!
Mark and Debbie

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