Monday, April 30, 2012
Well, just got back from a great visionary trip to Las Vegas. It may surprise you that a pastor spent the weekend in what is known as sin city, but there is a lot to learn about the world and how the church connects with lost people. We spent about 15 hours visiting with the Sr. Pastor and leaders of The Crossing, Canyon Ridge Christian Church, and Central Christian Church. For them, sin city is grace city..for me it is also a microcosm of our lost culture that is enslaved to sin. We walked on the famous "strip" one night and the lights, crowds, and thrill of being in a world famous city is kind of exciting. People are dressed up for a night out, conversations and laughter fill the air. Many are simply going to do stuff that we all would do: eat out, walk around and people watch, hang out with friends, etc... Others are looking to do what the adds say - something they wouldn't otherwise do - something that will stay in Vegas. And they sin. They drink a lot, and the sensual dress of women is appalling, sex trade advertisements, and the language is terrible, and of course millions of dollars are wasted on gambling. Still, with the lights bright and music blaring...it seems fun. Every morning, I got up at 6:00 to run. Don't get the idea that I'm super disciplined...it's just that my body clock was off and I couldn't sleep later...so I exercised. Vegas the morning after is terrible. It dirty - streets littered with bottles, trash, etc... It's smelly, vomit and body odor. It's ugly - burned out, drunk people who haven't slept stagger around the streets among those who were jogging. It was a stark contrast to the glamourous look of the night. I reflected that sin city is a great picture of sin: Looks good and inviting and fun and ends up being ugly, smelly, and dirty. No matter how attractive sin looks in your life right now, it's going to be disastrously ugly in the end. You are not the exception...to go against God will ruin your life. This blatant view of sin renewed my passion for lost people. You see, everything I described happens in Vegas doesn't stay in Vegas because it (sin) happens everywhere. The same sins and the same sinners live next door,work with you, are related to you, etc... So we preach grace because Jesus is the answer for all of this. Obviously, I didn't indulge in anything Vegas had to offer except the food, but I was recharged to preach the good news to sin-filled world. I also missed Eastview like crazy. Love this people, and this church,and the God who has brought it all together!
at 10:41 AM