California or Bust
My spring break this year was spent in California., from LA to San Diego. My primary reason for heading out west again was to spend time with missionary friends who are on furlough for 7 weeks. But also to remember great food I used to take for granted –fine dinning such as In & Out Burger simply can’t be beat! I’ve already talked with some of you about what an amazing & challenging trip it was – for others of you allow me to briefly explain.
My flight was joyously consumed in good reading. I was able to finished the book “Will Medicine Stop the Pain” – by Elyse Fitzpatrick & Henderson M.D. I was using the book as a resource for a conversation with friends planned later in the week. My purpose in the meeting was to speak truth about choices they are making that are not Biblical – while I spoke in love, the results have not been good, and I just pray the Lord uses His word to change lives.
I spent 9 days in California, because of this I was able to spend 2 Sundays at Grace Community Church! Oh how I love this church. The men & women who are apart of Grace Church are among the most godly and solid people on earth. Even though the church is a little north of 10,000 people, it still feels like a family. During the month of February Grace Church celebrated their 40th anniversary! It was an entire month long celebration where John MacArthur spoke on “Reasons I love the church.” Not a single believer would be able to walk out of the church without having a greater love for the church as well. —–
This time of year was the time for the Shepherds Conference. Thousands of pastors from all over the world come to learn (51 countries were represented; 3500 pastors). Grace Community was very busy the two Sundays I was there. My second Sunday we had the treat of hearing Dr. Mohler speak in the college-young adult group. He was behind Rick Holland’s pulpit – the pulpit that taught me more about the word & living for God than any other person (apart from my dad & Dr. MacArthur). It was neat to see him in California.
One of the people I met during college was one of the starting members of Grace Community. She graciously took me to breakfast Monday morning. She is 78 years old, but still as sharp as a tack! From the time I left until now she memorized Philippians & Ephesians! (I have only been gone 3 years). We had very encouraging conversation – we talked about how true worship is not something confined to your “quiet time”, but it is involved in everything we do. Every thought, every action, every moment spent during the day should be spent worshiping our great God. We talked about missions and how God has used, and will continue to use, Grace Community to share Christ to people who haven’t heard of him! She even gave me a check for my trip to Uganda! (I’m not leaving anytime soon, but she wanted to give me a start).
I could continue to go on & on about that day – I met with many different people for lunch or coke or something hearing about what God has been doing in peoples lives & encouraging one another to continue in good deeds & love for one another.
I then left for San Diego to see the missionaries. Danielle Hurley discipled me in college, so we are very close. Her 4 children were with her in there, and Shannon (her husband) was at the Shepherd’s Conference. No matter who you are or where you go; if you are doing the work of the Lord somehow the enemy will try to attack the unity that is there and try to stop the progress of the gospel. During this trip, the Hurley family’s ministry was attacked, very harshly and unjustly. There were emergency late night elder meetings with 2 different churches that took place during this week, investigations over ridiculous accusations, and a lot of heart break & tears. While Shannon’s integrity, ministry and morality was in question (not by Grace Community elders; but an individual from another church & country) I was watching his wife and sister-in-laws respond. This is where I was able to see faith chosen over question; peace chosen over anxiety; love chosen over hate; forgiveness chosen over bitterness; prayer chosen over gossip; family chosen over disunity. They truly lived out before my eyes their new nature received in Christ – which does not get bogged down with things of this world, but looks to the future with hope and faith in Christ. They lived out a great example for how godly women respond to difficult circumstances. It was an honor to be with them, pray with them, encourage them, and serve them.
On the train ride back to LA I was able to read the Bible and pray – specifically many of the Psalms which were comforting after this week reminding me that righteousness is of great gain and that those who walk in the way of the Lord (like the Hurleys) will never stumble or be moved – God will hold them steady and the accusers will be put to shame.
One of the books I picked up & read on the way home is called Crazy Love – by Frances Chan. I recommend this book to everyone! For the sake of space, I won’t share about it during this post – but ask me about it and I’ll tell you why you should read it That’s my week in a very short summary – hitting some of the high lights. I am really thankful the Lord allowed that opportunity. It was very encouraging, refreshing and growing – overwhelming me yet again with God love!