Yesterday we woke up to another beautiful autumn day here in North Carolina. By early afternoon the temperature had settled into a slow rise through the high sixties that would eventually max out in the low seventies. We were filled up with the encouraging Word of God’s truth and were looking forward to taking a ride through the local countryside. So with no further ado, we filled up the gas tank in the Mustang and headed southeast once again, to the little town of Apex.
My goals for this trip were to check out a couple of churches, take some new pics that capture the charm of the area and to expand our familiarity with the various neighborhoods in and around the community. Once we came to the city limits I pulled off on a side street, put the top down on the car and proceeded forth on our excursion.
The first thing we did was to follow the railroad tracks along the back of the historic downtown area. Ever since I took six high school students cross country on an adventure by train to a national Baptist Youth Fellowship conference at Green Lake Wisconsin in 1979, I have had an attraction to trains, their various routes around the country and the back-of-town views that you see from the windows of the passenger cars. In some respects it gives one a feeling for what really makes a town tick!
It is similar to what I always like to call the “back room ministries” of the church. As an Assistant Pastor working mainly with the children and youth of the church family, I normally found myself ministering in rooms set off from and behind the adult congregation. And even though they are many times out of sight and sound of the adult ministries, they play a major foundational role in the health and growth of the local church. A strong and growing children’s and youth ministry equates to a strong and growing congregation and their greater impact on the community. The “back room ministries” are the future of every church.
Likewise, many of the activities and businesses that are situated along the railroad tracks on an active train line along the back side of a town can also constitute some of the foundational services of a town. From the backsides of the town we moved to the front side where most people spend their time and took some pictures along the main drag of the old downtown area and finally zigzagged down side streets along the way.
As we meandered around I thought back of a recent conversation I had with our youngest daughter in Oklahoma. We were talking about cars and motorcycles and she mentioned how she just loves to encounter the countryside with the wind bracing against her senses while on the back of her husband’s motorcycle! She exclaimed how it is like you become one with the sights, sounds and smells of everything around you.
Well, that is precisely what I was enjoying as we slowly drove through the town. Motoring down the narrow main street you could smell the scent of coffee and burgers in the air. You could hear the chatter of the folks sitting happily at the little tables set on the sidewalk in front of the various cafes along the way and feel like you’re right there next to them as our eyes would catch and we’d nod our heads in recognition of each other. I felt like I was riding my bike along with the boys that we stopped for in order to allow them to cross the street in front of us. When they said “thank you” we just hollered out “you welcome” and slowly accelerated away!
With that I turned to my wife who was sitting alertly in her red seat next to me and declared, “God sure knows how to bless you and me doesn’t he?” Lately I find myself continuously noticing how much Papa God knows my wife and I. Just like He knows how much riding my son-in-law’s cruiser blesses my daughter and her husband, He knows how much our Vapor Silver Mustang GT convertible blesses, relaxes and refreshes us. To some a car is just a means of transportation, and He acknowledges that, but to others like us, it is a source of His loving kindness, restoration, recreation and a symbol of His intimate care for us.
Hebrews 4:13 tells us that “No creature can hide from God. Everything is uncovered and exposed for him to see. We must answer to him.” (God’s Word ©) One can take both negative as well as positive implications from that statement. But for today, I see the Lord telling us that He knows us sooooo well, that no aspect of us is neither too small nor too big for Him to understand! He knows the tiny little details of what makes us tick. And the cool part is that we are all different. We come from different backgrounds, we all have unique experiences in life and each of us has the perfect God-given personality for our place and purpose in this life.
You know… His knowledge of me excites me and I love to listen to Him, to receive and follow His directions in and for my life and to enjoy the intimate ways in which He blesses me! How about you? What are some of the unique ways in which He blesses you? What are some of the special things and ways that He has blessed you with? When I look at our new car I don’t see just a vehicle, but I see Papa God who knows me and loves me sooooo much that even the little things in and about me are important to Him… and that very same thing can be said about His love for you.
Think about that this week as you enjoy the things that He has given to you. Keep a thankful, appreciative and humble heart that is sensitive to His knowledgeable love and guidance for your life. Have a great week. Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What or Whom am I expecting today?”