Ahhh, it is good to be back from vacation. We had an extremely refreshing and rewarding time in the South visiting some of our extended family. I have included a few thoughts here…
*This vacation was great because it was refreshing. Being involved in full time ministry now for the second full year, my family just tends to get after it. All of them from my loving and helping wife to our young girls all sacrifice and step up to do ministry, so this was a good trip to put in the context of a break, a time of refreshment as they even consider the privilege and magnitude of ministry in Jesus’ church.
*I had so much fun just watching the kids, particularly our girls (4 & 2) play. They are just so funny and filled with joy and energy. We spent days at a state park in Sardis Mississippi, swimming and playing in the hot Southern sun.
*My wife and I enjoyed the sunrise upon the lake. It was unbelievable. Here is a pic, two of the most beautiful things I have ever seen!!
*We loaded up the IPOD with tons of sermons and new music only to have listened to everything on there by the end of the trip. Our IPOD is awesome; definitely a great tool for edification. I have been really enjoying Steve Lawson’s Podcast recently.
*We had NUMEROUS opportunities to speak of the grace of God in Christ. From family members to others we met we were able to testify of God’s grace and invite others to receive it as well. We are so thankful for this joy that we get to experience in confidently speaking of grace by grace.
*We went to a restaurant in Memphis called Dales which serves “Homecookin” which should be self-explanatory. Unbelievable. It was like a Thanksgiving thumbnail, your own personal feast. They served up vegetables and other stuff I have never heard of, all washed down with tea (sweetened of course). My son Luke, who is about .5% body fat, grubbed like he was eating the first Passover. His post meal recline and statement, “dude, that was awesome!” says it all.
*Props to Matt Fudge for repelling in and dropping a post. If you would have asked me before what he would write about I could have nailed it. Matt will pull the charismatic subjective revelation card at every opportunity. I have been on evangelism visits with this guy and he’ll be like, “hey I like that purple shirt, are you a non-cessationsist?!” Unbelievable. Anyway, big thanks to Matt for coming in, dropping a take and bringing edification, we need to see that more often.
*Part of our trip was motivated by an attempt to intervene on behalf of my sister in law who is incarcerated on drug sales charges (wearing yellow).
We attended her sentencing and my wife was called up to testify on her behalf to request a transfer to Nebraska. This was probably my highlight during the trip.
My wife went up to the stand and spoke of her desire to pull her sister in, get her off the streets, confront her rebellion with the Scriptures, plant her in a believing community, model faithfulness to the Lord and love her with integrity. When asked how she could ensure that this would work, Christie told everyone there that she trusts in the Lord her God, who’s abounding grace is more than sufficient and who delights to change sinners, as he has done with her.
She read from Matthew 23 and said that she identified with Jesus as he desired to gather the chicks under his wings but they were unwilling. It was an awesome demonstration of love for and dependence upon our Sovereign God. We believe that God was pleased to draw attention to himself in that Mississippi courtroom that day, even to impact unbelievers and to delight himself in the truth about him being spoken by his children.
*Ashley received a 15 year sentence but was graciously given opportunities to lesson this upon completion of certain requirements. The judge called the attorneys into his chambers after to exhort them to ensure that Ashley be transferred to Nebraska following her time. He even said that in his heart he desired to let her go but in his mind he knew that she was due justice. We know that even the judge is a servant of God (Rom. 13) and that God is carrying out his will through human means. We trust in God’s goodness and sovereignty in this.
*Man there are a lot of churches in the South. Probably more Southern Baptist churches than fire hydrants.
*My wife asked a clerk in a Wal-Mart where the beer isle was, only to have him say, “Ma’am, Tate County is a dry-county!” As if we were idiots. Upon further review, this means that not only can you not buy alcohol there but you cannot have it all. I reminded the guy that Jesus made wine.
*I met this guy above in Sardis. Apparently his store is world renown.
There you have it, time to get back at it. Refreshed, recharged and ready to go. I’m excited to get back to work.