Guest post from Peacemaker Conference Manager Kerri Takeuchi…
The prospect of going on a road trip always brings excitement and anticipation for me. Friday was no exception. I had packed my bags, charged my iPod, and was ready to hit the road as soon as possible. 2:00pm was my leave time. My morning started out great with a skip in my step and a song in my heart. However, technology made my smile turn into a frown and my patience fly out the window. I was working on a project and the program kept kicking me out or freezing up so I continually had to close the program, restart, sign in, and redo what I had just done. It became very frustrating. At one point I sent up a quick prayer “God, please help me. Help me to be patient as there is nothing I can do. Calm me down.” I tried to resist throwing my computer down the hall. Finally at 2:04pm I finished my project, shut down my irritating piece of machinery and jumped in my car. A check I couldn’t cash, red lights at every point, and construction slowed down my long awaited trip out of town. I couldn’t wait to get on the freeway, roll down the window and breathe in the fresh air. I needed a stress release.
As I think about the theme “Church on a Journey” for our conference this road trip experience seems typical of life. Once I finally sat back to relax and reached my destination it was well worth it; it was the getting there that was the hardest part. Maybe you are experiencing this in your life. Maybe you see a glimpse of the better marriage down the road but the stress of raising children, balancing the ever-decreasing checkbook, and the irritating behaviors of your spouse make you want to give up now. Or maybe you see your church trying to live out the gospel of peace but right now the gossiping and the back biting and the cold stares cause you to feel hopeless. The journey is NOT always easy. It’s not always “a walk in the park.” You may know from experience that the end is worth it but right now that seems so far off when you are in the midst of it.
“Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen.” Psalm 77:19
This is a psalm about the Israelites crossing the Red Sea. The Israelites could not physically see God; they could not see his footprints. Their circumstances seemed impossible and daunting but God was still leading them though they could not see and their experience was not what they wanted. How often am I like the Israelites? Think about their complaining throughout the journey to the Promised Land. We give them grief but their circumstances weren’t like walking through a field of flowers. Instead they were thirsty without water in sight, hungry with no food, surrounded by enemies, walking endless miles, and living in less-than-ideal situations.
Maybe you’ve heard about the conference. You think in your head that it would be great to attend but, again, the circumstances seem too difficult. You may have lost your job, your investment, your savings, your budget, your hope. The state of our economy forces many of us to live in less-than-ideal circumstances. Coming to the Peacemaker conference seems to be an unattainable dream. Sure it would be beneficial but there are obstacles in your way – too many seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
However, like the Israelites, God asks you to see above your circumstances. He calls you, as his beloved child, to utter a quick prayer to him. “God, I can’t do this on my own. I ask you to help me.” We are called to approach the throne of grace with confidence and find help in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16). Your circumstances may seem bleak but you have a Heavenly Father who has given you everything you need…not the least being his one and only Son for your sin so that you would have a reconciled relationship with him.
“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:32
Obviously we can’t provide everything you need but we would like to help. Use discount code: 2009BLOG for $75 off the conference price. Register now. Offer valid until Friday, August 14th. We pray that the Lord would provide the rest as you step out in faith and take the journey. Don’t you think it will be worth it?