There and Back Again

Today is my first day back from our annual family vacation and I feel great though I am having a hard time getting back into the swing of things. As my mind shifts between reflecting on my time away and my work for the day I am filled with joy and thankfulness.

Our vacation was 15 days and we traveled and/or stayed in 14 states covering a total of 4,239.5 miles. We stayed with friends that we have not seen in years and best of all I had an abundance of time to spend with my wife and children.

It was an amazing experience and we marveled at the beauty and diversity of God’s creation. We visited with good friends from Alliance Bible Church in McHenry, IL, visited with others at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and ate the best pizza in the world at Lou Malnati’s.

We saw friends in South Bend, IN, Knoxville, TN and visited the Creation Museum. We stayed in Orlando, FL and experienced sensory overload at the Magic Kingdom of Disney. Also enjoyed a few days in a cabin in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee with three other couples we went to Grad School with. 8 adults and 11 children 6 and under made for a great time and a lot of noise.

One of the highlights was spending time with Dr. John and Peggy Nyquist in Alabama. I was blessed to be John’s Grad Assistant at TEDS. It is great to have friends that you can pick up with right where you left off. I am thankful for the influence Dr. Nyquist was and is in my life.

Another personal highlight was overcoming a great fear I carried for many years. 12 years ago I was swimming in the ocean with a friend and we got caught in a wicked riptide. Exhausted I treaded water and went under to rest pushing myself back up to the surface for air.  I remember very clearly the moment I came up for what I believed was my last look at the world. I broke the surface and prayed Lord Jesus here I come. I took a final breath and went under the water. With my last bit of strength I made my way to the surface one last time. As I broke the surface a man grabbed me and pulled me into shore. There he left me exhausted laying in a heap on the beach thanking the LORD for life. As I recovered I looked for the man but he was gone. I could not tell you anything about him other than he saved my life.

12 years past and I never went near the ocean. Sunday June 17, 2012 we went to Coco Beach for a day in the sun after church with a group of friends. This was my chance! I spend hours in the water and even got a 1 mile open water swim in. It was great to overcome that fear.

Well those are my thoughts for now. Back to work on a new sermon series we are launching this Sunday. I love that job is to know God and to make him known.

The LORD is my strength and my shield;
in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;
my heart exults,
and with my song I give thanks to him.
(Psalm 28:7 ESV)

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