Monday, July 18, 2005

Longing For a Homeland

I don't travel much. Much, I must admit is a very relative term but suffice it to say that I'm no Jeff Berry or even Mike Cope. By that I mean that I don't travel near as much as they do. And besides, I can't sing like a witch (plus I don't shave my legs and arms!) nor can I preach my pants off (plus I don't speak Spanish) so anyway....

But I was in Houston last Friday through late (as in 2:00am on Monday morning late!) Sunday night. I was in Nashville on Wednesday and spent all of Thursday trying to get to California. I made to California Thursday night and left Sunday night after seeing good friends, performing a wedding, and preaching on Sunday. I arrived in Dallas at 1:00am on Monday morning to the most amazing sight for sore and tired eyes, my beautiful bride Kim. I drove us home to Abilene and fell asleep shortly after 4:00 am. Yesterday was a blur and today has been spent trying to prepare for this next week. I'll be leaving Abilene tomorrow morning for Colorado Springs from Wednesday through the following Monday. I will spend Monday in the Metroplex and then come back to Abilene on Tuesday. The next weekend (30th-31st) I'm preaching back in the Metroplex at Lake Cities Church of Christ and then the weekend after that I'm back preaching in California. Bottom-line is that I've become a mini "Road Warrior" this summer and I'm not entirely sure of what to make of it.

A few miscellaneous ramblings, travel stories and hopefully some encouragement for your journey:

This past weekend with the Cinco Ranch Church of Christ was incredible. I know I'm guilty of calling a hot dog at a ball game incredible but I mean it when I say that it went way beyond my expectations. This church is one of the most missionly minded faith communities I've crossed paths with to date. They have a vision for the future which flows from their heart for the lost. They treated me like royalty and our entire family loved everything about the church. Brandon gave my name to them and a true gentleman named David was my contact. This guy was the real deal. Just as nice as the day is long. I felt like I was being loved by God in his company. The elders are amazing and have evangelism in their DNA. One of the hightlights of the weekend was meeting Raymond and Luree Key. So godly and so good. They gave Emily butterflies (see Kim's blog) and have been married almost 60 years. Incredible folks. It will be exciting to see where we end up at the end of the road of change.

Our house went on the market last Wednesday morning and while we don't know where God is going to lead us next we know that we want a bigger house but not necessarily a newer house or nicer house. One of the proverbial fleeces that we have thrown out is that Kim won't have to work and that we could have a house big enough for our kids to have a room and be able to have guests often. Kim has the spiritual gift of hospitality and yet I don't have a strong gift of financial earning. We both have trust that wherever God leads us He will provide the house that we need.

Nashville was incredible! I had never been there before and totally loved it. Of course I'd love being in Nowhere Nebraska (probably a real city...) with Brandon and his beautiful family. Hanging out with Brandon was a blessing and while there I got to watch a film called Most. Our friend Matt Duncan is doing some amazing things to bless the conversation between the church and the art community at large and this movie was a great step. Hopefully, I will be writing more about that film. Brandon and I bawled like babies for most of the movie. I'm talking audible crying! It was sad enough and then when Sheryl brought baby Sam to Brandon it made it all the more pathetic. It was terrible and beautiful, horrible and holy at the same time.

I don't have time now to write in detail about Redwood City but the wedding was great and Rachel and Freddie were totally awesome. Preaching was a blessing and I spoke on the Sabbath. Of course I always speak on the Sabbath! (bad joke). I love the Redwood Church and as much as I hate to admit it, this was a sad trip of sorts. I can't (or shouldn't) explain it on this blog, but I felt really sad for the church. I did get to spend time with Seth and David and the Stevens' and that is always a blessing!

Travel is cool for about a day. And while I'm so pumped about going to camp tomorrow and the other opportunities that await, I am looking forward to settling down, getting a new home and spending time with my family.

I am reminded of some powerful words from Lynn Anderson in his great book, Longing for a Homeland:

"Moses, did you once feel that Egypt was really your home? What's that? Never completely so? Deep down inside, Moses, under all the regal trappings, did your child-heart sense that you didn't really belong to that place? Somehow you knew that you were not a true son of Egyptian soil. Did that slumbering awareness burst wide-awake that day you fled as a fugitive from your forty-year childhood homeplace? That first night beside the desert refugee trail when you pillowed your head on the sand - what dark, sad, homeless soliloquy flooded your mind?"

When we all get to heaven...

I'm reminded that the majority of my travels are for the purpose of increasing the number of the "all" above.

And that makes it better.

3 comments:

Brandon Scott said...

yes--we did boo-hoo, didn't we! I'm thankful for you and praying for God's provision and direction in your ministry. Love you, bro!

Lovell's Lookout said...

Quile'- Hope you are doing well. PLayed golf with Bailey the other day and he quoted you to me concerning my old girfriend. Reynolds and I fell down we laughed so hard. I am glad you hooked up with MattD. He came to our church last month and really blessed us. The movie rocks.

concerning your blog about the church resting. Check out Robert Morris' sermons on "Too tired to have fun" and all his other stuff. He is one of the most powerful communicators I have ever herd. He is at Gatewaypeople.com. I have learned a lot about preaching and leading from him.
I am praying about all the oporunities being given to you to preach His Word. God Bless You my Friend....

Kevin said...

Joel...

wish you had traveled my way, and wish you were in Texas now... but I think our times in California will overlap.

We know what it is like to long for a homeland. We are a mess. You and Kim, however, seem to have too many homelands; your lives have so greatly impacted so many people that, selfishly, we prefer you travel frequently because it gives your dispersed community more opportunity to see you!!!

I empathize w/ you about the Redwood Church. We know our Savior as a result of this church, and feel indebted to the church family there... but what can we do? I look forward to seeing my first family, but the feeling is bittersweet, of course...

love you joel,
Kevin