Today is a holiday in honor of the leader of the Civil Rights movement in my lifetime. There were many others who paved the way, but America made greater strides in the 1960s to defeat segregation and bias and inequality. It reminds us that we are called to love others, no matter their background or social status or color or anything. This is God's kind of love, the kind that welcomes and cares and helps everyone. This is the kind of love that goes beyond society's standards, as it reaches into the eternal.
This past Saturday, I worked from 9am - 2pm at the Census Bureau office as scheduled. As we get ready to gear up for the busy time of hiring and then canvassing and tallying, I will be working 3pm - 8pm six days a week. Fortunately, they do not schedule work on Sunday for us office workers. When the workload finally is heavy, we on the "night shift" will be working 40 hours.
On Saturday afternoon, we took care of Bailey while Shawn and Crystal used the day to clean out their garage and get some other things done. Bailey is now 9 months old and is a joy to watch grow.
Yesterday afternoon, Sondra and I did something different. After church, we went to the movies and saw "Sherlock Holmes." We had heard from several how good it was. Nope, not to me. Maybe I was so tired from the weekend, but I napped through a part of it. It wasn't worth the price of going. Anyway, we had a good lunch at Market Broiler nearby and had fish and chips. That was worth the price.
Yesterday was another blessed day at church. God is really showing us his grace and goodness and love in all that we are doing. There was a row of brand new visitors, about 7 in all. One was a Baptist preacher from out of town, and he brought his sister and others who lived in the area. I asked him how he came to visit our church and he said, "I looked up Southern Baptist churches on the internet and chose yours." Yes, the internet and web sites can be useful.
We had a great time in our worship hour. I preached on Saul and his conversion on the road to Damascus. Saul who later took the name Paul, was an outspoken and violent crusader against the Christians and the "Jesus movement" of his time. But God, in his patience and amazing love, reached down and confronted Saul. Saul understood his need for Jesus and was gloriously saved, becoming one of the most influential followers of Christ in his lifetime.
In my sermon, I ended with an illustration of what God does when he redeems and saves us. I reminded the church that, before they came to Jesus, they had a lot of "baggage." This emotional baggage includes, but is not limited to, things like unforgiveness, fear, jealousy, indifference, revenge, envy, compromise, judgmental attitudes.
That "old baggage" is replaced by God with "new luggage." This new stuff includes, but is not limited to, the wonderful things called love, joy, hope, faith, purpose, patience, forgiveness and persistence.
In this journey of life, we are bound (like Saul) for somewhere. With God, we are bound for glory, that place called eternal life in heaven with him. On this road to glory, we will and must pass through places that are not easy. We will go through Painful Valley, the Bridges of Doubt, the Enemy Cliffs, the Scaredy-Cat Caverns, the Barrier Mountains, the Lonely Desert, Confusion Canyon, Calamity Gulch and Desperation Hills.
Sometimes I get too excited about the things God shows us.