September 13, 2017
Well, if you’re reading this, that tells me A) you’re alive, B) you have power or some sort of Wi-Fi connectivity, and C) you are probably feeling physically weary and tired but extremely grateful.
Last week, as you recall, the reports of what was expected to happen to our state in the coming days were dire. Someone dubbed the massive storm that blanketed our entire state—stretching at one point from the Keys to the Georgia state line and everything in between—“Irma-geddon.” We all prepared and expected the worst, while praying and hoping for the best.
We were consumed with updates about Irma and the ever-changing projections of its path. We all feel like we know Jim Cantore of the Weather Channel on a personal level. We were told Irma would hug the east coast, then the west coast, then a straight-line drive through the middle of the state. Nobody knew where it might go, but everyone thought it was going to be catastrophic.
As Irma ripped through the Florida Keys early Sunday morning and turned north, I think all of us were scared. After coming ashore on the Florida peninsula at Naples, Irma “wobbled” a bit east of her projected path and then roared due north with the heart of Central Florida in her sights. Most of us didn’t sleep much Sunday night, but watched…if you maintained power…or listened on a battery-operated radio if you didn’t…or just listened to the unforgettable sound of trees bending and begging for mercy as the most anticipated hurricane in US history passed through.
I was one of the rare people who went to bed and slept through Irma’s passing. I don’t say that with any hidden meaning or deeper message intended other than I went to bed. When I woke up on Monday morning and looked around outside, I was a bit overwhelmed by the sight of tree limbs everywhere except on actual trees! It looked like a “tree bomb” had been detonated. My first thought was, “Who’s going to clean up this mess?” Then it dawned on me that it would be me. Monday was not a good day for any of us.
But as the past few days have allowed us to assess the damage around us, and after conversing with both local pastors and pastors’ leaders from around the state, I have come to this conclusion: yes, there are many among us still without power–me being one of them, and yes, I’m confessing and praying about my power-envy.
For those in our ministry area who are still without power, let me invite you to come to Journey’s Apopka campus building from 9AM to 9PM over the next few days. You may charge your electronic devices or just sit in the cool conditions of our building for a while. We have shower facilities in the restrooms in the north hallway located across from the gym and by the kitchen, and you’re more than welcome to use them.
Let me also direct you to the journeychristian.com website if you are in one of the following categories:
• If you are in need of any help due to the recent storms, simply click the “Need Help” button.
• If you are willing and able to lend a helping hand, click the “Give Help” button.
• If you would like to donate funds, click the “Donate” button and select “Hurricane Irma Relief Fund.“
Some among us in our local area had some major damage that will take some time and probably no small amount of money to repair. And there are some among us who are facing some immediate life-altering decisions due to Irma, particularly those in the Keys and in some of the coastal regions in Southwest Florida and in downtown Jacksonville.
I don’t mean to minimize the suffering and hardship anybody has dealt with in recent days, or the scope of the recovery efforts yet to come, so please don’t hear what I’m not saying. But I am saying, there should be some serious thanksgiving among us as we think about what we were told could happen and what actually did happen!
This week is a week of recovery for most of us followed by months of recovery for some of us. But ALL OF US should be even more motivated to go ALL IN and ALL OUT for the ONE who is our ALL IN ALL! And that’s what we plan to do this weekend at Journey when we will be back on schedule with our full slate of worship gatherings. Next week we will resume all regularly scheduled weekly ministry programming.
After missing last weekend’s worship gatherings due to the hurricane, and after missing the mass destruction projected by most, I think we have some pent up praise that needs to get out! Join us at Apopka or Mount Dora this weekend, and let’s have some serious celebration and thanksgiving to God together!