We’re back in the saddle again. Back from Nashville! But, there are many takeaways from our time last week in Nashville. Want to know what some of my takeaways are?
#1 Live for God’s kingdom not man’s:
This family sure is! That’s the Annie Moses Band and the Wolaver and Dupre families.
Here they are with the Dougan family (cousins).
Talk about a family that has taken “kingdom living” to the MAX! They have. For 10 years running they’ve been running a fantastic Summer Academy. They challenged me to see my family as one which strives to be “kingdom focused.”
#2 Hard work pays off.
I learned on the last night of the Fine Arts Camp that there had been over 50,000 copies of music printed and handed out over the two weeks of the camp. Couple that with many, many practices and well…you have perfection.
Time for a quick afternoon break…
Some are so tired they can’t even leave the practice room. They just slide out of the chair and sleep…
The performance time comes… Kandace helped backstage at the young artists performance… Clara is ready to go…
#3 Sometimes the Lord blesses beyond our wildest dreams.
The kids couldn’t believe it when they found out a few weeks ago that they’d be playing at the Grand Ole Opry. Truth is…without the Annie Moses Band and their tremendous and renowned success, the students at FASA (Fine Arts Summer Academy) would never have been able to play at the Opry. The Lord uses people to bless us and again, the Annie Moses Band (Wolaver’s and Durpre’s) blessed 300+ students.
Here we are heading in to the Opry. That’s Katy and Kandace, along with Madison Elmore (in the red) with their bags heading in…
It’s really big! Bigger than it looks on TV! It seats 4,400 people.
This man in the middle is the conductor. I told Andrew that he looks like him! 🙂 He’s with Kandace and Lydia and Natalie Hall.
Here’s practice on the stage. See the girl in rollers. 🙂
Kandace said, “Dad it was amazing that the Lord allowed us to do this!”
There are some pretty famous people who walked where our girls walked last week…
The Dressing rooms were amazing! Huge! Here’s Kandace in her dress… Ready to go…
Here’s Kaity Dowell (in the pink) and the dancers in one of those massive dressing rooms…
And there’s the circle!
#4 Watching your children do amazing things is surreal…
There’s Kandace standing and singing in that circle. To say that it was a surreal moment is an understatement.
And then to see them playing at their highest level…well…it’s beyond words…
#5 Rest is critical to life.
Last week was very helpful. I was still “working,” but being away from the office and not preparing for multiple speaking engagements gave me time with the family. I also got about an hour’s more sleep each night. It’s amazing what 7 hours versus 6 hours will do.
Katy saw this cup and said she was going to buy it for me…
I laughed and told her that I didn’t think it would be appropriate to put it on my desk. Even though at times I sometimes might feel this way. 🙂 People don’t mean to…but, I think at times folks think I’m sitting around twiddling my thumbs just waiting for them to show up at my office. 🙂 With a church of 500+ and just two elders/pastors, every moment of the day is planned and for the most part scheduled. This doesn’t mean I can’t drop what I’m doing for an emergency. Certainly I can and often do. But, time for idle chit-chat and “shooting the breeze,” well…that’s not an option.
So, last week was a blessing to come off the throttle a bit. It’s hard to describe the work of a pastor. It’s really like being a doctor. You are always on call. I owe a big thanks to Brad Cordray for filling in for me while I was out. You’re a jewel dear Brother!
#6 Family time is precious…enjoy it while you can…
Here we are…loaded up and ready to come home. You can’t even see Andrew. He’s under the Krispy Crème donut hat in the back right. The van was loaded to the gills!
Here’s Andrew at the Opry with Mason Elmore. Andrew was a the Cowboy and Mason was the horse!
I sure had a blast with my family! It was a true blessing to spend such an intimate time with my family. As I said last week, living in a dorm room with 236 square feet REALLY brings you together. And when we got home, my dear mother had fixed us supper. It was hot and waiting on us. Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, broccoli casserole, tomatoes and cucumbers from the garden, homemade biscuits, cantaloupe and sweet tea. Wow-ee!!!
What a wonderful mom! What a wonderful family.
So, those are my takeaways.
#1 Live for God’s kingdom not man’s
#2 Hard work pays off
#3 Sometimes the Lord blesses beyond our wildest dreams
#4 Watching your children do amazing things is surreal
#5 Rest is critical to life
#6 Family time is precious…enjoy while you can
I will tell you that at the end of the day all six of these can really be summed up in the first one. If we live for the kingdom of God, we will see that our work for the Lord will pay off in heaven and at times even here on earth, as the Lord blesses beyond our wildest dreams. And sometimes that “pay off” comes through our children and so we work for the kingdom and rest when necessary. (And I believe rest is necessary, as is taught by the principle of a 7th days rest…) So, enjoy the time with family. Who is your family? Your brothers and sisters in Christ. That’s what Jesus said when told that His mother and brothers and sisters were waiting outside the door. Jesus said, “…you are my mother, brothers and sisters.”
So, let’s enjoy living for the kingdom. That’s more important than any circle on any stage, as wonderful as that earthly stage might be. For one day those who know Jesus Christ as Lord will stand before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords on the biggest, most grand stage known to the universe…the stage in the very presence of the throne of the living God. And those beautiful dressing rooms in the Opry…well, as beautiful as they are, they can’t hold a candle and are literally nothing like the room that Jesus has prepared for His followers in His Father’s house (John 14:1-3). The Grand Ole Opry… Yes, it’s an amazing place and I’ll forever be indebted to the Wolaver and Dupre families for giving us the opportunity to see it and for my children to play there. But to consider the fact that one day I’ll walk into the Kingdom of God. Oh my!! That’s beyond anything that I could ever imagine. Last week at the Opry as the kids sang and played for the glory of Jesus Christ…wow…that might be as close as I might experience to the sheer joy and delight in this life. And that’s the ultimate takeaway for me from Nashville last week.