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Our Journey to E91: July 30

Two days and counting. I feel like one of those horses standing in its gate waiting for the gun to go off and the gate to open. Laura, the kids and I went to the Horse Park in Lexington a couple of years ago and watched some of the races (with our money kept safely in our wallets). The horses were beautiful, and they literally were "chomping at the bit" for the gate to open and the race to begin. I'm not going to call myself a race horse (maybe a farm mule?), but I am eager to get started on this journey of serving, preaching, teaching, and leading alongside a wonderful staff and eldership.  

After making it through my first congregational meeting :) I'm all the more excited about running this race with you. The writer of Hebrews encourages us with these words, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart" (Hebrews 12:1-3).

I am grateful beyond words for the "great cloud of witnesses" that surrounds each of us in the race we run. That brings encouragement and hope as we run with perseverance. And, of course, we run with our eyes fixed on Jesus. This coming Sunday we're having a special prayer time in the Fireside Room at 8:15 a.m. and you're welcome to join us. After we pray, Laura wants us to sing, "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus" as a reminder that this new season at E91 is not about Rick Grover, but it's about all of us laboring together with joy for the glory of Jesus Christ. We fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith. Just as John Samples so beautifully reminded us this past Sunday, we are to be about the business of bringing glory to Jesus Christ! I encourage you to invite others to join you this coming Sunday as we begin this new season of bringing glory to Christ through the ministry of E91!

Our Journey to E91: July 26

Confession time: I failed the Indiana driver's license written exam today. Welcome to Indiana. We've lived in five states, and Indiana is the only one requiring a new resident to re-take a written exam. And it's been almost thirty years since I've taken a written driver's test! So, what were the pitfalls of the exam? The part on road signs. If you haven't taken a written driver's test in awhile, I'll let you in on a little secret. They show you sign shapes with no words in them, and you're supposed to guess what the sign means! O.K. For some of you, you may be thinking that's no big deal. But for me that's a big deal, because I'm more language oriented than symbol oriented (even though language is symbol driven as well, I know).

As I was preparing to leave the BMV with as much dignity as I could muster, I asked if they had a book I could study, and they graciously complied. On my drive home--yes, they let me keep my current license--I thought about a discussion Jesus had with some Jewish leaders in Matthew 16. These Pharisees and Sadducees came to test Jesus by asking Him to show them a sign from heaven. (I wonder what its shape was supposed to be.) In response, Jesus told them that they could interpret the signs of weather, but they couldn't interpret the signs of their time. He goes on and says, "A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a sign," (take that, Indiana BMV!) "but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah" (Matthew 16:4). And what was that sign? The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. He was saying, "I AM THE SIGN! DON'T MISS ME!"

When I got home, I took my bruised ego inside, but I felt a little better knowing that maybe I didn't get all the road signs right, but hopefully I'm getting the one Sign right that has eternal value. And I hope you do, as well.