I have had the privilege of planning an going on choir tours for twenty years. Each time I have planned one I keep several thoughts in mind. What are some things I would want to see, what will help stretch the kids minds, and what will challenge their souls. There is always an element of hope that the vision of the tour will become a reality. Time schedules, maps, weather, are just a few of the myriad of things that can interfere with total success. Today, however, was one of those moments where opportunity meets preparation. I think what we experienced today will impact these students lives for many years, I know I will never forget it. We began our day with a trip to the Shedd Aquarium. The setting of this facility is right on the edge of Lake Michigan and inside a beautiful building. The weather was spectacular. This was a great start to the day.
We then lunched at a popular diner called Ed Debevic’s, it was very entertaining, and even included dancing waiters!
We then went to the Pacific Garden Mission. This facility has been providing hope to the homeless for 137 years. Their facility houses nearly 1000 needy people. They can receive food, clothing, medical care, a place to sleep, but most importantly they hear the message of hope in Christ. The Mission exists for he sake of spreading the love of Jesus. We were taken on a tour by one of the graduates of their Bible course. This means that at one time he too was one of the homeless men that was brought to the saving knowledge of Christ through the work of the mission. He kept stressing to us that the only reason they exist is to share God’s love and plan of salvation. He told us of how much more important it was for people like him to get to know those who are struggling with sin and let them know their is hope. Their was a real sense of selfless service in his testimony, and we all experienced it. We then were able to sit in a taping of the radio program “Unshackled”. It was incredible to see professionals putting this together. This 63 year old ministry has taped over 3000 stories of people who have discovered new life in Jesus. After the taping we were blessed to eat with the people of the mission and then attend a church service. And I mean we had CHURCH. Not in a manufactured way. What we experienced was people who had been set free from sin, and were no longer slaves to it, and they wanted to praise The Lord for the victory. It was an extreme blessing that we were also able to sing for this service. There can be no doubt The Lord used our music to minister. What a time we had.
One of our youth wrote after that service: Where two or more are gathered, The Lord is there The Worship service at the PGM is probably the most true example of this verse that I have ever seen. The Holy Spirit is definitely moving in this place. I was moved almost to tears seeing the enthusiasm the people gathered here show in worshipping God. I was moved, but I was convicted. How often do I worship God with everything I am? Ps. 150 says to praise The Lord…let everything that has breath should praise God. Some of these people are extremely new believers (in one case only 20 minutes). Yet I see a greater sense of worship and a better grasp of what worship really means in these spiritual children than I ever show. That’s wrong. What am I going to do? Lord, create in me a spirit of true worship. Let my every word and action Praise The Lord. This is my prayer.
Powerful observation. After that mountain top worship experience we drove to a beach on Lake Michigan and had a devotional. We began by talking about Christ’s perfect example of leadership through humble service. We then had a powerful time of Lord’s Supper with the waves of the lake breaking behind us. After several minutes of individual prayer, we were certain The Lord had been our guest tonight. Looking forward to where he takes us tomorrow.