Sunday, March 17, 2024

A Fun Weekend in Carolina

Sometimes we need to break up our routines. Here's how I did that this weekend. I began by driving to Pilot Mountain State Park in North Carolina. As usual, I avoided the major highways. Country roads are always my favorites (nod to John Denver!). Check out this Christmas tree farm I saw on my drive.

Christmas tree farms help drive the local economy, providing thousands of jobs each year. In fact, did you know that the North Carolina Christmas tree industry is the second largest in the nation? I didn't either! Everywhere I went I saw the signs of spring. Lovely.

After about 3 and a half hours on the road, I finally arrived at the Pilot Mountain visitor center. 

In the past I've always hiked to the top. 

But yesterday I decided to change things up a bit. You need to plan to travel for a total of about 7 miles round trip. 

The hike is rated moderate to difficult -- for obvious reasons! 

As I said, instead of hiking the trail I decided I'd run up and back. 

Hey, if you're wanting to climb the Alps, you should probably do some cardio once in a while, don't you think? 

It took me about 80 minutes to arrive at the summit parking lot. Once you are there you have a short walk to the lookout point. 

This view makes the effort worth it every time! 

I galloped back down the trail, hoping fervently I wouldn't faceplant! Thankfully, I wasn't as klutzy as I usually am.

It was a wonderful day, blessed with extraordinarily pleasant weather. I rested up in my hotel room so that I would be nice and fresh before speaking this morning. It's a rural congregation where one of my former students pastors. It was their "Missions Emphasis Sunday." 

Never have I been more warmly welcomed. Essentially, this is a congregation that is ON FIRE for the gospel. In fact, here's the church's mission statement:

"It is our mission to glorify God by equipping local members to make global disciples."

I love it! This church not only teaches about missions and evangelism but does it as an integral part of their discipleship program. I think missions is in their blood. 

I could share a lot more but I've got to wash clothes and get my meals ready for the week. Remember, friend, when Jesus ascended to heaven after his resurrection, he didn't vacate planet Earth. He left his followers behind, filled them with his Spirit, and asked them to carry on in his name. Now, as then, we are his hands, his feet, and his heart. And if we are successful in mirroring his character, people all around us will recognize God and will want to know him. So let's do our job and do it well! 

Hope you had a wonderful weekend. Have a blessed week!