Side Swiped! Again!
We just started a series Saturday night all about encouragement during the holidays. I’m calling it “Happy Holidays…No Seriously” (How to have truly happy holidays). The holiday season can be very discouraging for many people. Lots of people are alone; single Mom’s, single Dad’s, or just single…Single’s. Some people have bad memories tied the holidays, the loss of a loved one, the failure of a marriage, and a host of other country song titles. So I thought this would be a great time to just do some encouraging. The problem is, Saturday night was my most discouraging night I’ve had at Xperience in a long time. It was all the typical stuff that got me down. Low attendance, a message that didn’t come out of my mouth nearly as powerfully as it went into my word processor, and general discouraging stuff swirling in the air like leaves in a fall wind. Talk about the definition of irony, a totally discouraged guy standing up there telling people about how God wants them to be encouraged. There is a video I watched a few weeks ago called “Luggage.” It is set in an airport terminal, and follows one woman and her luggage from landing to leaving the parking lot of the airport on a rainy night. There is a guy sitting in the terminal that goes on and on, for around fifteen minutes, about the baggage we all carry around in life. All the time canned airport music plays in the background. The video is very slow paced and gives you that heavy feeling of what it is like to carry a load in your life. At the end of the video the woman it follows pulls up to the guard shack at the parking lot exit and gives the attendant her ticket. The gate lifts she pulls out into the dark rainy night. Suddenly out of no where a huge semi-truck wipes her out. The video shows this loud, instantaneous crash and then fades to black. It is totally unexpected. The guy who has been rambling for fifteen minutes or so talks about how short and unpredictable life can be. That woman is what I felt like Saturday night. Discouragement comes like a car crash, unexpected and sever. One minute you’re standing at the prow of the boat, hands raised high, shouting “I’m the king of the world.” The next you are slipping below water looking up at the fading face of Kate Winslet. I love the holiday season. I can’t wait for Christmas. This is truly “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” for me. But, many of you are living what I experienced a dose of Saturday night. Genuine, in your face, car crash discouragement. Sunday morning God spoke in the clear compassionate voice I’ve heard time and time again beneath the winds of discouragement. He used our pastor to bring a message of hope, encouragement, and vision to my sinking heart. I felt the wind blow and my sails begin to fill again. I hope you will come as God encourages us together these next few weeks. There is a wind blowing this Christmas season and I don’t want you to miss your chance at the open seas.