It’s the People

When I get home from a trip people always ask me how it went. I never know how to answer that question, because each trip is layered with so many experiences and trying to sum them all up in a word or two is nearly impossible. I think questions like, “What was your most interesting conversation?” “Who did you meet that surprised you?” “What did you all talk about in Pratt?” might lead to more fascinating conversations.

This last trip to Kansas is a good case in point. There were moments when I spoke in more formal settings—a congregation, a youth group and even a morning session in a homeless shelter. I spent many evenings in long conversations with small groups of people sorting out what it means to live deeply in Jesus in this day. And I had nearly countless one-on-one conversations with people at critical crossroads in their journey. Looking back, the days seem so rich with dozens of exchanges and recognitions of Father’s hand working in people’s lives.

What a change from the way I used to travel, where the focus was always on an event, usually where I was presenting a seminar or lecture to silent listeners! Most of the exchanges I had were surface questions that an attendee might ask a presenter. Too many times after the event the dialog with organizers rarely got back to the life of Jesus and instead got lost in sports, weather or politics. I don’t mind discussing those things too, but true spiritual hunger goes beyond the meetings to continue to share his life together. That’s what I like now. Each trip seems like an ever-running conversation with different ones spilling in and out of it as they have time and in doing so they connect with others in their area and hopefully connect with Father as well.

On this trip, I had lots of opportunity to covet. I met two people who had their own airplanes, one who had flown a small plane for 50 years off of a grass strip 75 yards from his house. The other an air traffic controller with the FAA, one of the things I’d always wanted to be. Though I did get my pilot’s license at 17, I rarely used it past 25 and now only fly when others take me up. The hobby was just too expensive for my lifestyle.

And there was lots of humor. Laughter makes us all more human, reduces our pretensions and opens the door for deeper conversations ahead. I think God must laugh a lot since he gave us such a rich appreciation for humor. I reconnected with old friends and made some new ones. In one home I stayed in the Miss America Bedroom, where she had stayed 11 years before and there was a plaque on the wall.

In the end now, it is all about the people for me. What did God do? Who did he touch or encourage to make another step in their journey? There are so many people today looking beyond the walls of traditional religious obligation who hunger to know the Living God and experience his freedom and transformation.

It’s good now to be home four days, before leaving again over the weekend. Then I’ll be back two before heading out for 12 to Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. There’s more people to meet, more lives to encourage, more grace to celebrate. I hope you’re celebrating his grace wherever you happen to be in the world today and with whomever God has places in your path…

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