Hey to everyone, especially all you from Area One camp this week. Thanks for spending a great week at the beach with me. Well, I wasn’t at the beach, too busy getting my talks together. You know, that’s kind of sad.
I’ve spent two weeks at beach camp this summer and literally did not touch the beach at all. Anyway, it was a great week. I’m going to fill everyone else in on what we talked about this morning, so you campers can skip ahead a little bit if you want to.
The theme of camp this week was Unstoppable. We spent the week digging into the life of Paul (Acts) and its reflection in his theology (Romans, mostly). So this morning was the big last talk of camp session which we usually turn into a big pep rally to go change the world. But this time we took a different approach to it. We looked at Paul’s shipwreck. He was already the powerful man of God changing the world, but it did not put him above pain and struggle in this life. We talked about how being unstoppable doesn’t mean you never get hurt or you never fail, it just means you trust God and get up and keep going. God can forgive our failures and heal our hurts. But they are going to come. Especially when you have really tuned in to God this week at camp. The assault is going to come. Maybe on the ride home. Maybe when you get home. Maybe next week. But to quote one of my faves, “there’s bound to come some trouble in your life.”
So today I left camp definitely on a high, excited about what God had done this week. I immediately got stuck behind slow 2-lane S. Alabama traffic. Then a log truck attempted a 37 point turn in the middle of the highway. That took about half an hour. Then I hit some kind of traffic in Montgomery. Then again south of Alabama. So I get to the airport with maybe 30 minutes before my flight. The 5 hour drive took 6.5 hours. Then I turn in my rental car and they think they need to check something out. So they won’t check me in. Finally after I filled them in on my time constraint they let me go now with less than 20 minutes to go. I run up to the counter, and of course it’s too close to use the kiosk. And everyone else is busy. One lady was refilling the little folders you put your ticket in. Apparently that was urgent. So someone let’s me tell them what I need and they say it’s too late. They finally start helping me after my plane has taken off. So they get me on the next plane to Atlanta, but I will miss my connection to Albuquerque. And that’s the last flight today. The first flight out of Atlanta is tomorrow at 11. So I’m going to miss the first session of camp. But we’ll figure it out. Of course all the guys are flying in tonight and I have the only keys to the van which is sitting in the ABQ airport parking lot. But I figure, well, I’ll stay in Birmingham tonight with good friends and start in the morning. But she says no, I have to get on the next flight to ATL tonight. So I flew to ATL. But she couldn’t check my bags all the way through. So they charged me $25 for my first bag, and $15 for my second or vice versa. And now I have to check them again tomorrow and pay them another $40. So I finally get to Atlanta and reserve a hotel room online. I wait an hour for the hotel shuttle and finally call the hotel. So they don’t have a reservation for me. Or a shuttle. Despite what it says online. So apparently there’s a conference here or something because everything is booked. I finally find a room. And a shuttle. And get to the hotel 2.5 hours after I landed. And I haven’t had dinner.
Talk about a shipwreck. And I wonder how Paul would have handled it. He reassured the centurion on the boat. He comforted his captor. He had utmost confidence in his God. He knew exactly what was going on.
Unfortunately I don’t. I’m tired. I preached all week. It was my second week of camp in a row and I’m headed to another. All the deadlines for the record are right now. So much is going on, and you have a day like this. Accident? I doubt it. We even talked about it this morning. But how will I respond? Can I trust God to work good out of all this? What good could possibly come out of all this? Can I somehow get to camp with something to give? Can I be the husband, father, friend, artist, worship leader, customer that people need me to be? That God needs me to be.
Only by grace. Only by faith, completely leaning on and depending upon God. So, Romans. This grace by which I stand. And I rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Really? No, not completely. I believe, help me in my unbelief. I rejoice, help me in my lack of joy.