Sunday, March 30, 2008
I did this is in Jamaica last year in a little green notebook. This year, I'm going to attempt to blog our journey.
We got to Baltimore from Indy in 11 hours 30 minutes. No major drama - just road trip weariness. I exposed our students to the wonders of the Sheetz gas station. Good times were had by all, of course.
When we got to Baltimore, we found out that our hotel, which we booked almost a year ago and reconfirmed a month ago, lost our reservation. We got sent next door, which is fine, and a nicer hotel - but not cheaper. We have some battling to do there, but that's for tomorrow.
last night, we strolled around a mall - getting the 11 hour trip out of our system. I had a crabcake - fresh and glorious.
This morning we went to Community Christian. For most of our students, I think this was their first exposure to church outside the Bible belt. Very cool service - and we had great dialog about it later today at dinner.
I had a brief conversation with Amber and Emery today. Emery said, "I love you" for the first time over the phone to me. That was very cool, and helped keep me from getting frustrated by the overabundance of downtime we seemed to have in the afternoon.
We ate an amazing Chinese dinner at a place called Chopstix. Perhaps the best General Tso's I've ever had. Some students got sushi - and they said it was the best they've had. One of our students accidentally poured her team all over herself. It was the most I've ever seen a spill resemble someone actually peeing their pants. Hilarious.
After dinner, we held an orientation for the next three days of the trip with the leadership of CCC. I have to say, there's a mixture of excitement and nerves in our team. While the next three days promises to be beneficial to the work of CCC, the idea of just not knowing what conversations, what situations, etc. we're about to get to is just kind of our weird .One of our projects is to help assess the need for a church plant in Dundalk by going door to door and talking to folks about what they feel the greatest needs of the area are. The idea of having a door slammed in their faces is the secret fear of each of us, I think. This seems to be the part that may perhaps be the most stretching of the things we will do.
I was feeling all kinds of deep and reflective about what God has in mind for me over the next few years - then I backed into a fire hydrant. That's a mood killer. Now I'm just ticked. Thank God for full-coverage.
Monday, March 10, 2008
I forced myself to slow down today. I find myself today experiencing symptoms that require a detox time. I have been doing ministry now long enough to know the signs...
- I second guess myself
- I get overly frustrated about my weaknesses
- I try way too hard to fix things
- I get upset at what I can't change about other people
- I resent little things
- and my typical sarcastic wit turns to dark cynicism.
I know at least one person that would blame the "rock and roll" I've been listening to (see, told you it turns cynical). But I don't think that's it.
These are all signs of spiritual starvation.
One student, completely unpromopted, lovingly told me last night that I need a vacation. They're right...but I don't need it in a physical sense - I need a spiritual one. I need to be better disciplined in reading, meditation, and waiting on the Lord. I need to return to the silence, where I find my food, my spiritual sustinence, and my hope.
There are times when, because of circumstances, exhaustion, laziness, stress, etc, we neglect to do the things that got us to a connecting place with God. One day becomes two, which turns to four, then six. Before we know it, we're running on empty...because everyone around us has continued to feed on us. We become a restaurant without food.
I have noticed that this is where people start blaming the church they are going to at the time. "It must be the preacher," or "there's nothing here for people who are like me." While I DO believe there are times to leave churches, or times when the preaching is holding back the walk of the believer, I would say, at least 80% of the time, it's not the preachers fault. It is, instead, that we are expecting human people to give us what only God can. Only God can truly be God. Only God can continually offer hope without ceasing. Only God has sustain 100% of the time.
Maybe it's becasue I can't always be in church (weird, since I work in one, I know), but I have decided that it is my responsibilty, not Don Keehner's, or anyone else's, to sustain my relationship with God. These men are there to enhance, encourage, and bring skin to Jesus' words at times when I am struggling....but they are not here to live my life for me.
It's time for me to take a walk, and to spend some time with my Father. We've had lots of brief conversations lately, but its's been a while since we really sat and talked.
May you do so as well.