Los Alamos Church of Christ

2016… Connections

Nature 1



Our theme for 2016 is Connections.  We have been studying the Nine Historical Temperaments as a way to learn how better to connect to our loving LORD. Let’s recap where we are in our study of the temperaments…


The Nine Historical Temperaments…

--The Intellectual connects through knowing God; there is joy in learning about God.  – Knowing nod.

--The Caregiver connects in serving Jesus.  There is joy in serving the needy.  - Give yourself a hug.

--The Traditionalist connects through the symbols of faith.  There is joy in the traditional rituals.  – Hand of God sign

--The Enthusiast connects in the praise of mystery.  There is enthusiastic joy in celebration.  – Whoop whoop.

--The Sensate connects in creating beauty.  Ooooh… Aaah…

--The Ascetic connects in the discipline of solitude… quiet…

-- This morning we begin exploring one of my favorites… the Naturalist temperament…  The Naturalist connects through observation in the outdoors.  “Wow, look at that…”



That leaves us with only two more to do… Contemplative and the Activist…  



All of us are wired a bit differently. This has been the amazing discovering of the year.  How we all are just a bit different.  This has led to many discussions about how these temperaments interact with each other.  It has been fun to see how we, as a congregation connect to God.  So far here is our score…


The Intellectual - 27

The Caregiver – 12 / 30 specific

The Traditionalist - 9

The Enthusiast – 26

The Sensate connects – 32

The Ascetic – 5


In a moment we will take the Naturalist Temperament Test. I am predicting a high score, but I have been wrong on a couple of my predictions.


Before we take the test, let’s explore the Naturalist Temperament…




There seems to be a correlation between the temperaments and the environment in which they connect.  I will show you a picture. You tell me which temperament…


Library  - - - Intellectual

Cathedral - - - Traditionalist

Rock concert - - - Enthusiast

Nursing home- - - Caregiver

Art gallery - - - Sensate

Monastery - - - Ascetic


That’s fascinating.   The “Where” can have a profound impact on the connectivity of worship.  

--The environment which jazzes one temperament bores another.  

--The setting which almost stops one person’s heart, doesn’t even register on another’s radar. 

--The joy found in one a place, is miserable for another. 

This is one of the reasons church buildings are designed so differently.  One church building is designed for rock concerts; while another is set up for quiet meditation.  Some look like art galleries while others are as plain as an adobe wall.  It is fascinating that the “where” makes a difference to the temperaments.




Perhaps no greater difference than is found for the naturalist.  The Naturalist doesn’t want a building at all.  The naturalist seeks to leave the formal architecture with its padded chairs to enter an entirely different "cathedral," a place God himself has built: the outdoors. Naturalists feel closest to God when in the outdoors. Something inside their souls comes alive when they are surrounded by God's splendor in nature… be it the mountains, the desert, the forest, the beach or under the stars. For Naturalists, just being outside dramatically increases their awareness of God.  They connect to the Creator of all that is around us.


The Naturalist identifies with David…


ESV Psalm 104 Bless the LORD, O my soul! O LORD my God, you are very great! You are clothed with splendor and majesty, covering yourself with light as with a garment, stretching out the heavens like a tent. 



He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters; he makes the clouds his chariot; he rides on the wings of the wind; he makes his messengers winds, his ministers a flaming fire.



He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved. You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. At your rebuke they fled; at the sound of your thunder they took to flight.  The mountains rose, the valleys sank down to the place that you appointed for them.



You set a boundary that they may not pass, so that they might not again cover the earth.  You make springs gush forth in the valleys; they flow between the hills; they give drink to every beast of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst. 



Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell; they sing among the branches.  From your lofty abode you water the mountains; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work.



You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth  and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man's heart. 



The trees of the LORD are watered abundantly, the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.   In them the birds build their nests; the stork has her home in the fir trees. 



The high mountains are for the wild goats; the rocks are a refuge for the rock badgers. 



He made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting.  You make darkness, and it is night, when all the beasts of the forest creep about. 



The young lions roar for their prey, seeking their food from God. When the sun rises, they steal away and lie down in their dens.  Man goes out to his work and to his labor until the evening. 



O LORD, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.  Here is the sea, great and wide, which teems with creatures innumerable, living things both small and great.  There go the ships, and Leviathan, which you formed to play in it. 



These all look to you, to give them their food in due season.  When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.  When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust. 



When you send forth your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the ground.  May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in his works, who looks on the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke!   I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being.  May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the LORD. 


 Wow, if you like Psalm 104… you may be a Naturalist.  Before we find if you are for sure…




I want to share some tips on how to connect as a Naturalist. 


1) Let me start with the intuitively obvious… Believe in the Creator.  Many naturalists, today, connect to Mother Nature or just Nature.  Shows on the Discovery Channel or Animal Planet, talk about Nature as if it were something; a person.  “Nature creates wonderful creatures.” “Nature is unforgiving.”  “Nature loves variety.” Nature is not something.  God is something. Connect the wonders of creation to the Creator.  Regardless of the mechanism God may have used to make our wondrous universe, believe in the Creator.  Connect to the Creator.  Attribute wonders to the Creator.  Our world is so intricately marvelous… believe in the Creator.


2) Observe the Creation.  The Naturalist needs to pay attention.  This differs from the solitude of the Ascetic.  The Ascetics’ goal is to be so quiet they can only hear God.  But the Naturalist is absorbed in the noise of creation. As you move in the outdoors, open your eyes; pay close attention to everything. Concentrate on the small workings of the ants AND the big picture intricacies of an ecosystem.  When you are out, pay attention to all that you can. 


3) Learn the creation. A naturalist temperament should study the natural.  They should know lots about botany, geology, biology, astronomy and any other “ys”. After observing in the creation come back and look up the names of the flowers.  Know your constellations.  Know the names of the trees.  Be able to tell the birds’ songs apart.  Be the guy who others like to take outdoors because you can answer the questions. 


4) Learn from Creation.  Visualize lessons about God…. Like the Ascetic, create space in the separation of from the “world” to be able to listen in the creation.  Be open to the space while in the outdoors.

--A massive rock formation is the rock-solid faithfulness of God.  Listen for faithfulness.

--Feel His gentleness as a breeze blows through the trees.  Be aware of messages of gentleness.

--The heat of the day makes the cool water of God as an oasis who restores our dry, dusty souls.

--The variety of life on a reef communicates to the Naturalist that God is the God of infinite variety.  God loves things different.  What different do we need to relate?


-- Creation reaches down into the soul of the Naturalist, becoming a classroom to teach about God's rhythm, timing, and the seasons of life. In a world where humans try to manipulate, the Naturalist knows that within God's design, time belongs to Him.  Be open to lessons of timing.

--In the violence of a tornado, God reminds us here that He is the Creator and we are not. The weather doesn't ask our permission to carry on; it doesn't check our schedules. The weather doesn't care what we have planned.  The Naturalist knows this.  It is okay.  There is comfort in being smaller than the One who created them.


If you score high on the following test… then take the lesson from the Ascetic to discipline yourself to be good at the Naturalist Temperament.  There’s a challenge.


It’s time to take the Naturalist Temperament Test…




The Naturalist Temperament Test



On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being exactly like you…


1) I would rather meet at the park than Starbucks.


2) I have an outdoor hobby… astronomy, bird watching, flower identifying, hunting, river rafting, fishing etc.


3) I take pictures of nature.  When I come back from vacation, I have my camera stick full of pictures of cool stuff I observed in nature.


4) I take hikes.


5) I pray outside.  You are moved to prayer when you are outside.  The heavens declare the handiwork of God… this moves you to pray. 


6) I would be in favor of having church outside.


7) I would love to go on Trek.


8) I am drawn to the stars.  I watch the stars.  I know some constellations. I can tell you when Haley’s comet is going to be here. 


9) I love animals.  I’m not sure about pets.  I think that is a caregiver trait.  You like animals outside. 


10) I watch nature documentaries.  If I watch TV the nature shows are some of my favorite.


Score… 50… 60… 70… We have _____ Naturalists. 


When God created humans he put them in the Garden of Eden.  God joined them there in the cool of evening to spend time with them... outside.  We look forward to the new heavens and the new earth! 




NATURALIST Mark 12:29-30 “Hear, O Outdoor One: The Lord our God, the Lord is the Creator.

You shall love the Lord your God…

…with all your heart, connecting to Him in the outdoors.

…with all your soul, in infinite varieties.

…with all your mind, discovering His mysteries.

…with all your strength, holding on to his power.”


My temperament is God’s gift to me.

My temperament is my gift to God.

My temperament is my gift to the body.

My temperament is my gift to the world.


Tim Stidham

July 17, 2016

Los Alamos Church of Christ