Sitting at the computer far away from home… At this very moment I’m sitting in a hotel room in Oceanside, California. Although I’ve passed this city on Interstate 5 a few times through the years, the last occasion in which I spent any time here was 30 years ago. This is when, as a Navy Hospital Corpsman, I was stationed at Camp Pendleton. It’s hard to believe that so much water has passed under the bridge. But, it has.
Something that a stranger said… Those who know me very well, know that I’ve never met a stranger. Well, most people I meet aren’t strangers for long. That’s what a couple from Oak Grove, Minnesota learned. On Wednesday afternoon, during our ride in the shuttle bus from the airport to Enterprise Auto Rental, I learned that they are in Oceanside to attend the graduation of their youngest son from Marine Corps training. We were the only three people on the bus. So our conversation flowed freely. Hence, I also learned they have two sons and a daughter. They were both raised in Minnesota, but have lived most of their married lives in Texas and Arizona. Their children were raised in between these two places. I also learned that Minnesota mosquitoes reportedly have hunting licenses and have “stingers” the size of sewing needles. Some place in the midst of our conversation, which really did last only a few minutes, I mentioned that I had served as a Navy corpsman attached to the Marines and had been stationed at Camp Pendleton years ago. When we arrived at our destination, the driver invited us to exit the bus so that he could remove our baggage for us. We stepped to the sidewalk. He sat their shared bag in front of them and pleasantly told them to enjoy their stay in California. He returned momentarily with my bag. I was preparing to express my appreciation, when he looked me in the eyes and said with feeling, “Thanks Doc.” “Doc” is what marines call their corpsman. When these two words were spoken, two strangers instantly bonded.
Seen on the horizon… This afternoon, I witnessed one of my favorite things in all of God’s creation—a sunset over the Pacific Ocean. This is more than a solar event for me. For as long as I can remember faith’s flame has burned in my heart, though at times it was but a flicker. Such was the case 30 years ago when I first encountered the Pacific Ocean near San Diego. I made my way to the beach as often as possible. I was drawn there by a power beyond understanding or explanation. When time permitted I would linger long after the sun had set. The rhythmic crash of the waves on the shore seemed to speak to my heart as nothing or no one ever had. It was during these times when the consistency of God’s voice speaking to me through His creation convinced me that He really was “there” and He really did care for me.
Special things I’m learning… This week’s cross country journey is for the purpose of attending training that is designed to equip me to facilitate implementation of the LIFEShapes discipleship ministry congregationally. I hope to write more about this in the weeks and months ahead, but if you would like to learn a bit more about it you can do so by clicking HERE.
Something on my mind at the close of this day… How can it be that I am so blessed?
– I have FRIENDS in Christ both old and new who are scattered all over the world. I receive heart-warming messages from many of my friends each day via this blog, through email and by telephone. I am so blessed!
– I have FORTUNES on this earth that transcend economic measure. Beyond this, I have treasures laid up in heaven. What’s more? I am fortunate enough to be supported financially so that I can spend my days in the ministry of making disciples. I am so blessed!
– I have FAMILY that loves me even though they have seen me at my most unlovable moments. I have children who honor me by living their lives in such a way as to honor God. I have a wife who has tolerated my starry-eyed visions of extravagant endeavors, whose servant heart and sweet spirit epitomizes what being a follower of Christ is all about. She lovingly helps me to keep my head out of the sky and my shoulder to the plow. I am so blessed!
– I have FELLOWSHIP with God. This is last, not because it is least, but in order that it will be my final thought for the night. The God who from nothing spoke everything into existence has made a way for the chasm which once existed between us to be closed by the power of His Son’s sacrifice and shed blood. Because God has lavished His grace upon me, I have been given every spiritual blessing that heaven has to bestow. What’s more? The “I” who once lived only for me has now been given a place to belong and become in the body of Christ. I am so blessed!
May God richly bless each of you,