Friday, June 29, 2007

New Places, New Faces

Thanks to the many who prayed for us last weekend. It was the first time our youngest two ventured to the great city of Las Vegas. We hoped that it would be a good time for the whole family--and it was. A friend of the ministry provided a wonderful condo equipped with every amenity. Our children loved the island waterfall that was situation in the middle of the swimming pool. On Saturday we gave them a tour of North Las Vegas and stopped by the storage facility where all of their toys are living. We rescued Hello Kitty for our daughter and two of our youngest son's bulldozers and Lego construction vehicles. Dad was their hero once again!

Saturday evening I took my oldest over to the strip. As you can imagine, the many sights and sounds provided the basis for much conversation and mentoring. Our only stop was New York New York Hotel and Casino. I wanted to take him to a great pizza shop inside. Much to my surprise, though, when we parked on top of the garage he became very interested in the ginormous roller coaster that envelopes the hotel. At one point the drop is 144 mind numbing, stomach punctering feet. He said, "Dad, let's ride it...before eating our pizza." So we did. It was quite a thrill and we paid the few dollars to have the picture that was taken mid-ride in order to forever preserve the panicked look on his face. For his sake we'll just keep it in the family, but you can use your imagination.

On Sunday morning we worshiped with the Spring Meadows church family. After I finished preaching pastor Tim Posey led the church family in the Lord's Supper--what a wonderful and rich time of refreshment that was. Of course because we were in a new place with many new faces, our youngest children weren't settled so Angie got to hear the sermon in three parts with two intermissions. Young parents will know exactly what I mean.

Sunday afternoon and evening we spent time with a couple Spring Meadows families who both have many children. Our little ones loved the opportunity to make new friends. They did the same on Monday when we joined another family with their four year-old son at a local community swimming pool. New friends are such a blessing in the midst of such heart ache over missing old ones. Please pray that our Lord will provide many more opportunities like these over the summer.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Life on the Zig Zag Path

I've heard it said by another pastor that the shortest distance between two points is a zig zag path. At least that was God's design for the Israelites as they came out of Egypt and were not taken by their rescuing Lord on the international highway that went straight to promised Canaan. Instead they were led by their Lord through the wilderness in order that he would "get glory over Pharaoh and all his host," (Ex. 14:4). Furthermore, at the beginning of the chapter Moses writes, "When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines (the international highway leading straight to Canaan), although that way was near. For God said, 'Lest the people change their minds when they see war and return to Egypt.' But God led the people around by the way of the wilderness toward the Red Sea." Haven't you ever wondered how it is that they ended up near the Red Sea in the first place? It was God's preparation for his people. It was God gaining glory for himself.

I have been reminded of this very truth over this past week. Last Wednesday as I flew home from Nashville to Phoenix we did not take the straight path. Storms over Oklahoma forced our plane south of Dallas en route to Denver. Then in Denver the pilot had to quit for the day due to FAA regulations that determine how much time he gets in the cockpit every work day. After an hour's wait for another pilot to be flown in we were on our way to Phoenix. All the while, I was sitting in the front of the plane shivering and shaking. My head was throbbing and my stomach felt nauseous. By Friday I was in the hospital being tested for spinal meningitis. Thankfully those tests were negative and doctor's concluded that I had some other unidentifiable virus. Nearly all of my plans for last weekend and early this week were jettisoned. In weakness I lumbered through until yesterday when my strength finally returned. Last Thursday night, just before I landed in the hospital, I really thought that I was going to die.

What was God doing? More prep work. That's what. Things needed to be calibrated in my heart ahead of our work in Las Vegas. Only God knows how to prepare his people for the days that lie ahead. Even though he takes us on the zig zag path, I'm thankful for the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night--his presence is sure, and his love enduring. For those of you who knew to be praying last week, thank you. May the Lord bless you on the zig zag path today!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

No Power in these Hands

I continue to be in wonder at how much we learn about living as one of Christ's disciples through the words and reflections of the little ones among us. Here is some more "children's theology."

Just a couple of weeks ago our youngest was standing in front of a window and looking out onto the landscape. There were bushes, birds, and ants immediately before him. I'm not sure what he had been doing to come to this reflection, but turning to my mother who was standing right behind him, he said, "There's no power in these hands."

His words, and again the words of John 15, came to mind last evening as I sat shivering on a delayed airplane flying back from Nashville. Thinking of all that remains to do this week I couldn't believe that the onsetting sickness, that I'm still struggling with this morning (I don't know what I've got, but my whole body aches), had reduced me to a physical state of not even being able to stand up.

When I committed to undertake this task of church planting I think that in the back of my mind I was operating under the conviction that this was all about bringing the lost to Christ, maturing disciples, and watching God transform a city. Instead I'm finding, more and more during this season of raising support and preparing to be full time in Las Vegas that God is about transforming my heart, maturing me as a disciple, and bringing me closer to Christ. " There is no power is these hands."

Thank you for your continued prayers.

Monday, June 4, 2007

There were pink ones and blue ones and green...

Some of you remember the song "Little Boxes." This week we were able to finish with our little moving boxes, at least for a few months. It is a great exercise to carry your "stuff" down a ramp and into a storage facility. It is in reading those labels and picking up your "stuff" that you begin to realize what kinds of things matter to you--or at least what kinds of things you have thought mattered while you accumulated them over the years. There is something to think about there.

Our ABF trailer arrived in North Las Vegas more than a week ago and sat in the terminal until I could get up there to unload the 26' beast into two 10' x 15' storage units (one for the Phillip's things and the other for our earthly treasures) My father, Carl, offered to come and help--and I'm so glad that he did. When I pulled out of Phoenix last Wednesday morning toward Las Vegas I did not know of anybody who had confirmed their ability to help. But, God had already prepared in advance good works for four of his children to walk in that afternoon at the Storage West Self Storage on Craig Rd. in Las Vegas. An elder from Spring Meadows (PCA) phoned me in the morning to say that he would be able to help by 4:00 p.m. He help was tremendous. At 6:30 that evening my cell rang because another dear woman from Spring Meadows was calling to offer her service along with her two teenage boys. Wow! We needed them at exactly that time. Looking back on God's care for us that day I am reminded again of John 15. Apart from him I can not even unload a moving trailer.

We are adjusting to the climate now, and the children love swimming everyday. I've got to take our van in for service tomorrow. Please pray that they are able to make repairs quickly, and that they are covered by the warranty.

Me and Angie

Me and Angie
December 2010