Note: If you have not yet read part 1 of this post, you can read it here.
In my last post I shared a couple of my ponderings about the Global Access Conference we attended last week. There is so much more that I could say about that, but maybe another day. For now I want to reflect a bit on our departure.
We certainly enjoyed the warmth and sunshine of being near LA. But alas, Saturday we needed to head home. We had purposely booked a bit later flight out of LA because it transferred through Las Vegas, and we thought we’d have a better likelihood of making the connection in winter than transferring through Denver or Chicago.
That theory worked until the one storm of the winter that was predicted to hit Philadelphia, really did hit – the afternoon and evening we were to land. While still in LA we learned that our flight from Las Vegas to Philly had been cancelled.
As we talked with the airline agent who looked up many options for us to travel to other eastern locations from where we could drive home, there were just no available flights until Tuesday (and that was Saturday!). We had to make a quick decision whether to stay those three days in LA or take our first leg of the trip to Las Vegas and stay there. Since we had just turned in our rental vehicles, and really weren’t keen on staying in LA the weekend of the Academy Awards – we opted for Las Vegas (where we also thought we could get more reasonably priced lodging and meals).
While at the airport and in the air we began searching for lodging options and found rooms at a casino that was not right in the middle of everything. So here we are.
A team of 7 who just left this amazing impactful Global Access conference now trying to adjust our heads to the idea that we weren’t going to be home and back to work, school and our churches for several days, and trying to figure out what God had for us here.
Our thoughts ranged from who are we to minister to here, to maybe we just need this time to rest, soak up some sun and refortify for the week ahead at home (which for each of us is overpacked!). We recalled that Nick, one of the Global Access speakers encouraged us to “widen our footprint” as ministers of the Gospel. Is this why You brought us to “Sin City” God?
We’ve done a lot of resting, debriefing, walking, and praying here. The first night as we were considering what to do for church on Sunday Jerry noticed that Nick, the speaker referenced above would be here in Las Vegas next weekend. One thing we could do (and have done) is pray for fertile soil for Nick’s message.
The most persistent thought as we all observe, ponder and chat is “we don’t belong here.” If you are one who enjoys vacationing or visiting in in Vegas please know this is not a judgment on you, but simply our observations.
- Coming from Global Access – characterized by genuine love and acceptance of everyone and filled with the glory of our God to a place where physical beauty and strength is idolized, sold and equated with love feels so very sad and dark.
- We feel compelled to pray for the people of this city – that they will come to know and understand where their value and worth comes from – their Creator!
- We pray for the pastors, missionaries and churches who are serving here.
- We see children – even babies – here with parents. Yes there are laws that say only those over age 21 can enter the casino, but trust me they are here. How can you bring a sleeping child in to a smoke filled dark room full of overstimulating noise and colors?
We have had many wonderful conversations among ourselves and in our worship time together. Hopefully we’ll remember some of these lessons when we still get home.
|I am a child of the King, but not this Kingdom!|
1) I haven’t really done good job unpacking and organizing our room and am having a hard time finding things. I think it’s because I realize this location is not where I belong and is not home. In reality my true home and where I belong is not in Souderton either. I am a citizen of the Kingdom of God, and my heart yearns for my heavenly home.
2) Though the sin seems so much more obvious here, the reality is that sin is sin. There are people in our region of PA that need to know Jesus and His love and purpose for them there as much as here.
3) Sunday morning we did church together. We read Psalm 46 about being still and knowing He is God. Candy pointed out that in The Message it reads, “Step out of the traffic.” As we looked out the window we could see both car traffic on the roads and people traffic all over. Yet in the midst of all that “traffic” we together have been able to step out and commune with our God.
4) One of the sessions I attended at Global Access was about people with mental illness. The speaker drew analogies from the way Las Vegas has treated people with mental illness in the past (often called bus therapy – people sent on a bus with no help at the end of the route) to how some churches interact with those with mental health issues. I’ve been pondering that a lot. I’ve also been thinking of the phrase “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” As I think about serving people with mental illness and other disabilities I pray the church does not follow the Las Vegas model – let’s engage with people even when it’s difficult, let’s not keep what happens in the church only for those who look and fit in – it’s for those outside the doors; and lastly – let’s not be anonymous, just aimlessly moving around for personal pleasure. The days are short – time to get to know people for who they are and invite them to the Kingdom of God!
Lord willing, we will all head home tomorrow. Please Lord Jesus, help me to remember these lessons you’ve taught me here.