On the Plains of Moab Blog
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August 18, 2012, 12:55 PM

Thoughts From Vacation...

I suppose this is not the thing I am supposed to be doing right now.  I am supposed to be on vacation!  However, maybe still, it could be a good time to post some thoughts as I await a return to the pulpit -- so I will.  I appreciate Ed DeBerry preaching in my absence last Sunday.  It is so nice to have Ed at New Hope.  His motto might well be, "Have Bible and Will Preach."  If you haven't had an opportunity to hear Ed's sermon from this past Sunday, please do so -- I just put it up in the sermon section.  I also don't want to miss an opportunity to thank Aubrey Lester for the sermon he preached as well.  Aubrey presented the skit, "A Phone Call from God."  I'm sure that a few toes were stepped on and a number of consciences were pricked in the process.  Good job, Aubrey!  As the old saying goes, good preachers, "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable."

My other good friend, "Mike from PFF" will be teaching Sunday School and preaching this Sunday.  Those who heard him last time told me that it was a profitable time.  Please do come and find out what Presbyterian Frontier Fellowship (PFF) is doing in the world.  It is exciting to hear stories of the Gospel going to places where it is not.  We are so spoiled here in the United States.  We have every kind of church experience -- high church, low church, contemporary church, traditional church, contemplative church, and any other kind of worship experience you could ever dream of.  We have Bibles of every sort.  But, when you go into some of the countries that PFF serves, these spiritual luxuries don't exist.  Nada, nope, no way, not ever.  So, come to hear about frontier missions this Sunday.

For our visit to Florida, it was, as it usually is, a time to check out one of the theme parks.  All of us -- with the exception of Noelle -- took in Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.  I knew things were going to be a bit crowded because it is still summer.  We waited in a long line just to get into the parking garage! (The parking garage.  Yes, that is what I said.)  We got to the first ride, The Forbidden Journey in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  110 minute wait! (Translation: nearly two hours.)  We waited.  Took in the details in queue.  Listened to Dumbledore's speech, something about it being easy to do the wrong thing and hard to do the right thing, but stll, do the right thing anyway.  Saw Harry, Ron and Hermione make it snow indoors.  And we waited.  The ride itself took maybe three minutes.  Maybe.  Boy, that was exciting.  Moving right along, then we took in a couple of more rides before splitting up to cover more ground.  Me and Matthew decided to take in the Hulk roller coaster.  (Rachel still doesn't meet the height requirement, Doh!)  Again, waited nearly an hour.  Matthew was really sweating this one out.  First time on the Hulkster.  The wait was excruciating for the boy.  But then, we get up to the platform and the unthinkable happens.  TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES.  The ride closes down.  Can you believe that?  Right as we were about to get on the stupid thing!  Matthew was magnanimous and not a little relieved.  "That's okay dad.  We can leave.  We don't have to wait anymore."

The rest of the day, the crowds swelled to the levels I remembered on a Christmas Day at the Magic Kingdom a few years ago.  It was even hard to walk in the open areas, forget the queues!  Impossible!  Just get me out of this place!

The pool felt good that night.  Really good!

Okay, here's the sermon connection.  This IS a sermon blog.  As I cooled in the pool that night, I began to wonder why (how) on earth you can get hundreds of thousands of strangers to pile into an expensive, inconvenient, hot and crowded mess -- and get them to spend hundreds to even thousands of dollars on the experience.  And enjoy it!

By contrast, on Sunday mornings, preachers climb into the pulpit and proclaim a free and rich Gospel.  They talk about God's love.  They talk about what God's up to in the world.  They plumb the mysteries of life with a reliable source -- the Word of God.  They serve soul food at the Lord's Table.  They give encouragement for the coming week.  They convict where conviction is needed.  They soothe where it hurts.  And on and on.  And, to throw in a few unbelievable added extras:  There are no long queues.  No parking charges.  No hassles.  No heat.  No rides breaking down at the last minute.

Can you feel what I'm feeling here?  Are you writing along with me on this?  Do you inhabit the same page here brother?  Sister?

Can I get a witness, please?

Oh well, I'm still on vacation.

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