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Posts Tagged ‘Jars of Clay’


Technology is a funny thing.  It was a great week without much information technology.  I didn’t bring my laptop.  The Motel Continental did have an (intermittent) WI-FI zone in the restaurant.  But I enjoyed not having the computer.  I did have some DT’s about mid-week, and my fingers didn’t know what to do with themselves.  I only watched about 10 minutes of TV a day.  I only used my cell phone for about 10 minutes a day.  It was really nice, truth be told.  It was probably really good for me.

We Felt Like This

Saturday morning we were going to have breakfast an hour later than we had all week.  I woke up before CavNav’s phone alarm went off.  I worked on packing up a few things.  I didn’t want us to take half the morning getting ready.  The last thing I wanted was to sit in traffic crossing the border.  I was pretty much done when there was a knock on the door.  Apparently we were late for breakfast.  He set the alarm for the proper time, but apparently you have to set the day on his overly-smart phone.  No wake up call for us!

With my limited choices, for which I was endlessly ribbed at lunch today, I picked….. hot cakes.  We had a fairly subdued breakfast and started to disperse to put our bags in the van or car.  Though I was one of the last to eat, I ended up waiting on most of the team to load up. We handed in our keys and took off for the border.

The road to the crossing runs parallel to the road the hotel was on.  We caught up to the traffic and sat.  It is surreal.  You find vendors and beggars walking up and down the line. You can buy water, newspapers, food, porn and more.  Porn?  Really.  I grew up in a different generation where you didn’t sit in your car looking at porn.  We were in line for less than 30 minutes, I think.  Getting through the crossing was actually fairly simple.  All we bought were some t-shirts and stuff for my kids.  We weren’t chosen for a good inspection.

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It was precisely 30 days, 6 beds and 4 states after our arrival in Newark.  As the plane descended that day, CavGirl shouted “Green!” with glee over seeing so much green that is decidedly missing in the desert.  It was a great vacation.  My one complaint was that I didn’t get as much sleep as I wanted (and I didn’t get to go to Fenway).  This was partly because my in-laws don’t believe in using shades, blinds or anything else that blocks the light from entering the windows.  This means the CavKids got up early.  They would inevitably decide to wake me up.

This morning was no different, though a little bit earlier.  For government work, I’d say around 6:30 or so they roosted me from my slumber.  It would be the beginning of a long day, that would not end until about 3:30 in the morning after crossing the country.  It was not as strange the first trip, but strange in its own way.

After our good-byes, we climbed into the Envoy for the long trip to NJ.  Deciding to save CavWife from car sickness, I sat in the middle section.  I thought that after we got out of the mountains we’d switch.  I … was …. wrong.  This meant I spent about 4 hours unable to stretch my legs except for the stops at rest areas necessitated by traveling with 2 young children and 2 retirees.

Finally we arrived at one of CavWife’s sister’s home.  She fed us a late lunch.  The kids were able to get some exercise in the pool.  Soon they beckoned me to join them.  I dragged my aching back into the pool while CavWife spent time talking with her parents and 2 of her sisters.  At one point I inadvertently ran CavGirl over with the raft CavSon was in.  She was a trooper, hanging on and bobbing back up without getting scared.  Ah, progress.

Then back into the car for the ride to Newark and the airport.  This time I lodged myself into the front passenger’s seat.  No, didn’t call shotgun.  After another hour or so in the car, we arrived and were dropped off.  We paid the sky caps to take care of our bags rather than wait in a long line.  He must have been new because our boarding passes took forever.  His name was long, and unpronounceable.  “Welcome to America!  Here, have a job checking our bags.”  He must have thought us a strange culture.

We made our way through security, and then the fun started.  We were in the same terminal but all the things we didn’t notice in our previous exhaustion soon became apparent.  It is a smaller terminal.  Operative word here is smaller.  There was precisely one sit down restaurant.  We didn’t want to sit down for dinner.  It was around 6 and we wanted something to carry on to the plan.  Mrs. Obama would be happy, there was no McDonalds.  We were not so happy.  There was only a newstand that sold $8 sandwiches.  Yes, $8 for prepackaged sandwiches you could get at 7-11 for half that.  You have to love the whole captive passenger thing.

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With my search for a new pastoral call pretty much over, I would be remiss to not express gratitude for God and his many blessings through this long trial.

So, I’m grateful for:

  • Jesus my Great High Priest, who sits upon the throne of grace that I might receive mercy and grace in my times of need (Hebrews 4).  Indeed, a bruised reed he will not break, a smoldering wick he will not put out.
  • The Father was teaching me to rely not on myself but on Him who raises the dead (1 Corinthians 1).
  • The Father’s “manna” from heaven that sustained us, inexplicably, through a long period of un/under-employment.  He used so many people, in so many ways, to provide for us.  We never missed a meal or a mortgage payment.
  • For granting repentance regarding the idols He revealed in His occasionally severe mercy.
  • For my wife.  We were on the same page 97% of the time.  She was supportive.  I’ve seen many marriages really struggle in a time like this.  Ours didn’t.
  • For my kids.  During this time we adopted CavSon without incurring any debt, and saw him through 3 surgeries without incurring any debt.  They bring much joy to our hearts, often helping us to keep things in perspective (sorry daddy was so grouchy sometimes).
  • For brothers, past and present, who wrote books that encouraged me including Tim Keller, Sinclair Ferguson, Richard Sibbes, John Newton and John Piper.
  • For all the brothers and sisters who prayed for us, encouraged us and showed us kindness.  This includes the friends I made on search committees that chose someone else.  Some blessed our times of fellowship with good beer which didn’t ordinarily fit my budget.
  • For the worship music of Jars of Clay, Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman and Indelible Grace for reminding me of the gospel when I was prone to fix my eyes upon my circumstances.
  • For the many churches that welcomed me into their pulpits.  It was great to meet so many people, serve them and be encouraged by them.

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Yeah, still haven’t gotten the new U2 album.  One day, when we arrive in our new, as of now unknown, destination.  The new single is Magnificent.  I haven’t listened to it very much.  It is different from Get On Your Boots.  The lyrics are more overtly spiritual, however. It is a song of devotion, the mark that “love” leaves.  Bono seems nearly a Calvinist.

I found it an odd choice for a second single- but I’ve never been a multi-million album seller, or their manager.  I lack ‘pop’ sensibilities, so I  would prefer a more straight-forward hard rock song.  It has a less edgy sound.

And here is a live version from London.

Jars of Clay has also released a new record, which is on my “wish list” as well, The Long Fall Back to Earth.  It follows Good Monsters which is one of their best (with Jars of Clay and If I Left the Zoo), which I enjoyed on the way home from a preaching engagement.  Here they are talking about the new album:

Sadly, I missed their show at the House of Blues this weekend.  I very much wanted to be there.  Maybe next time.

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