It was warm, sunny, and the beginning of a 1,500mi trip through the mid-atlantic and back. The driving was broken up by regular visits over the six days I was on the road. I had a great time visiting some of those who support us in the church planting works, as well as making new contacts. Here are some of the highlights:
-Silence. The movie theaters try to tell you that it is golden, but you actually realize its value when you have loud young children. Twenty hours alone in the car may not sound like a respite, but it was. I enjoyed praying, talking on the phone, listening to lectures (via i-tunes), and taking in the scenery. I learned about the history of Old Princeton Seminary, listened to speeches as I drove around DC on inauguration day, and caught up with a sizable list of phone calls.
-Technology. We recently upgraded our old and dying phones for smart ones and it is amazing the difference such a device makes when you travel. I had my directions, lectures, email, to do list, and calendar come along on this little device. With so many places offering free wi-fi I was able to keep up with a lot of loose ends while traveling. I can see how it is a temptation always to bounce between different tasks and loose track of what you are doing when it is all at your fingertips. But when I stay focused and use my phone purposefully it is an incredible help. For those of you interested in multi-tasking and its shortfalls, check out this article.
-Hospitality. Through my trip I was refreshed by the welcome of friends and family. There were significant conversations about the future, the past, joy, sadness, and God’s presence in the midst of it all. When you don’t see someone for a few months or even years then have a few hours to open up, you see more of the overarching trajectory of God’s work. In the moment difficulties can seem pointless and devastating, but with time the thread of God’s love rises. Through church conflict, loss, sickness, depression, uncertainty, and loneliness the strength of God’s mercy is cast in greater relief. So much of the hospitality went beyond good meals, accommodations and engaging conversation. It was a privilege to have such hosts.
-Calling. As I talked about the past two years and God’s direction through this season of transition, I was reminded of the many ways in which God has lead us. As I serve in this church planting fellowship and explore the next steps it is important to remember all the ways that God has brought me here. I can see the succession of choices we made to enter this work but when it is added together God’s clear leading and superintending jumps to the foreground. We didn’t expect to be here and this is reassuring because I know that I’m not just pulling the strings and making things happen according to my plans.