A couple of days ago I went on a date with my oldest daughter. We drove out to the Elk Viewing station a few miles down from my house. It’s a beautiful spot where you can sit on a hillside and look out for miles at the most beautiful place on earth- I’m not biased. It’s true.- and feel the breeze as it tries to knock you off the ground. Armed with a cup of coffee (standard father-daughter date fare) and sliced turkey and cheese “sammiches” we spent a couple of hours talking about everything from relationships to leading worship at camp. A lot of the time we just sat there, just being, which is kinda cool too. Katie asked me an interesting question. It went something like this; “Dad do you ever find yourself in the middle of doing something , even if its not anything major, when suddenly God kinda stops you and says, ‘pay attention to this moment.’ ?”
She was talking about those times when you are stopped in your tracks by the Spirit and told, “Hey this moment is important. Live in it!” Then we talked about how easy it is to fly through life so focused on either the past or the future that we miss the present. The Lord stops us and reminds us to drink in the moment we’re in right now. It may seem mundane at the time but one day you will look back and remember it. When she asked me that question I wanted to tell her, “uh yeah, I have. In fact I’m having one right now.” But I decided to just enjoy it.
I thought about that yesterday when I was co-leading a baptism service in the River. Three baptismal candidates, two preachers, from two different traditions, a mission team signing, and a host of teary eyed glowing saints from all over. It was an awesome time of worship, and fellowship. The other pastor and I had to coordinate the service since we were blending two traditions; Baptists, who dip one time backwards, and Brethren who dip three times forward. Being a sort of pseudo-bapticostalite, I have never done a baptism the brethren way. So I got to help with that for one candidate, then I “dunked” the other two in my usual way. Then we brought the candidates up and had the congregation circle each of them and pray for them. It was a picture of heaven where we were all just one family of God. Our traditions didn’t get in the way. In fact blending them just made things even better. At one point I just stood there in awe and soaked in the moment (no pun intended).
Another one happened a few days ago at camp. Last week was one of the most powerful camp weeks I’ve seen in twelve years. A full week of people being saved, healed, and encouraged all came to a final moment of worship and celebration. After a late night of counseling I walked up on the porch of our new chapel and saw another glimpse of heaven. The whole camp (almost 70 teens) was dancing, singing and playing music in drums and guitars. You would have thought we were already in glory. Katie and John were playing music, Grace and Jack were singing and celebrating along with the others. It was a great moment. My mind went back to the week where I saw Katie leading worship in a powerful way, I watched my sons praying at the altar for other campers,laying healing hands on those with physical and emotional pain and Grace was capturing it all with her camera (she’s really good at that), and my wonderful wife was nursing wounds in body and soul. I stopped and let all the weeks wonder just wash over me. Moments like that can be very powerful in shaping you. But you have to pay attention. Life is chock full of these moments. These are times when heaven attempts to break through our routine and remind us there’s more to life than living. How sad it must be for those who say life is just about survival until you die. If they could just slow down, put away the charts and graphs, take a deep breath and pay attention they would find eternity alive and well in their midst. Life is all around you. Don’t miss it. Pay Attention.