Devotional for Friday July 31st

Good Morning Everyone,
 
Our theme for this month: “Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire”
 
Our Bible verse for today: “He said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a remote place and rest for a while.’” Mark 6:31 (CSB)
 
Our thought for today: “It’s time to unplug for a while”
 
I will be forever grateful for having had the opportunity to be a part of so many overseas mission trips over these last twenty-five years. Every one of them was special and unique in its own way but without question, the most adventurous and exotic were those missions into the restricted zone of the Amazon Jungle in Peru. “The Manu Reserve” is 3.5 million acres (the size of Massachusetts) of pristine Rainforest. It is almost entirely detached from civilization as we know it, and in many respects, it’s the stuff of National Geographic magazine.
 
As you leave the river town of Puerto Maldenado and head north, your cell phone coverage, internet, and all basic forms of communication begin to get weaker and weaker. The further north you go, the less there is. Finally, as we enter the Manu Reserve itself, there is no more. Then for approximately six days, as you go deeply into the heart of the Rainforest, you are completely out of touch with the outside world. No communication at all.
 
In some respects that experience of being completely out of touch is a bit disconcerting. It’s something we aren’t used to. But on the other hand, it’s strangely freeing. No telephone calls, no text messages, no email or social media of any sort. It’s just you and God and nature and your teammates.
 
At the end of the mission, as you’re heading south and coming back out, you begin to slowly reestablish communication. It’s sketchy at first but gets stronger the further south you go. Over the course of a few days you soon have full coverage again. When that happens, I’m always amazed to discover how little I missed while I was unplugged and out of touch. It doesn’t take long to catch up on the voicemails and emails. A quick scan of Facebook assures me that all the same nonsensical drama is still there. The 24/7 news cycle is still churning it out, but there’s really nothing new going on there either. The food fight in Washington D.C. is still raging; the stock market went up, and then down, and then up again; and the Padres are still in last place in the National League West. The church building didn’t burn down, nobody’s hair caught on fire, and Jesus didn’t come back.
 
In one respect I guess my feelings are always a little hurt when I realize that the world didn’t stop because of my absence.  Most people didn’t even know I was gone. But at the same time, it was a refreshing experience and one that I was grateful for. Unplugging like that can be a wonderfully renewing thing.
 
And with that said … I need to tell you that this will be the last daily devotional message until Tuesday September 1st. I’ll be going on an extended vacation and I’m going to pretty much unplug for the entire month of August. I look forward to coming back in September refreshed, renewed, and ready to explore a new theme with you. In the meantime, I encourage you to take a break too. Unplug for a while; get some rest; find some fresh wind for your sails and some fresh fire in your soul.
 
I’ll see you in September. (What a great title for a song! See you in September. Go ahead and Google it.)
 
God Bless,
Pastor Jim
Copyright © 2020 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

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