Red Jeep Journal
June 12, 2017
Friday-Sunday I was a guest of the Mahoney family in Tennessee. They hosted me in their home and treated me with great kindness. The night we arrived we had dinner around a huge table. They have ten children. (That is not a typo). I arrived just in time for salmon and broccoli, then they took me to town to a cute little place where we had frozen yogurt before showing off their town. We closed the evening with a song. One of the daughters played the piano, another a flute, and dad played the guitar. We had Bible reading and family prayer before bed. (OK I may have told a few stories).
Saturday we did the seminar and it was a delightful time. In the afternoon they drove me into the mountains and we hiked out to a beautiful place called Stone Door the view out there was worship-inducing. On the way home they stopped by a wonderful local BBQ place and we literally feasted on pulled pork and smoked wings. (How did they know BBQ is my love-language?)
I complained that there was not enough singing on Friday night so Saturday night Dad (Thomas) led the whole crew in a couple hours of singing hymns and songs that became kind of “Jewish-sounding” somewhere toward the end of the second hour and turned into joyful dancing. I watched Thomas and his children interact. Anyone could see the deep love the children had for their Dad and their Mother, Donna.
On the Lord’s Day morning Dad was up with some of the others making a wonderful breakfast. If I’ve ever had better pancakes, I don’t remember it. We smeared them with real butter and drowned them with real maple syrup. The family had me inscribe their copies of my books and then surprised me with a beautiful hard cover of Leland Ryken’s biography of J. I. Packer. (I made a mental note to post my book wish list on line more often).
Liberty Cumberland Presbyterian
Sunday I preached in their delightful church, the Liberty Cumberland Presbyterian Church. It is a beautiful read brick colonial and filled with hospitable southern people. Their worship with beautifully liturgical. I am not used to that but it was sweet to experience it. There was a time of confession early in worship. I especially loved “The Passing of the Peace.” There is something special about looking a brother or sister in the eyes and warmly blessing them with “The Peace of Christ be upon you.” They allowed me time for a full message and received it warmly.
As I sat on the platform waiting to preach a Tennessee memory came back to me that I don’t remember ever telling before. We were on a family vacation and saving money by camping out and eating from the cooler at roadside rests and parks. We came into a little Tennessee village one morning and stopped near the town square and began to lay out our breakfast on the trunk of the old Chrysler as I recall. On old gentleman saw us, noticed our out-of-state plates and opened the town hall to us and made us welcome. I asked the Tennessee people of the Liberty Church to open their hearts to me and welcome the message of the word. They did. After tears prayers and pictures the Mahoneys drove me to the edge of town and waved me off.
A Token of God’s Favor
I aimed the Red Jeep back toward Kentucky. When I glanced at the gifts I was given my heart was humble and full. I drove along the beautiful highway thanking God that He was blessing the Red Jeep Journey and the Fellowship of the Red Jeep. We are well-fed and healthy. Our bills are paid. I have gas in the Red Jeep.
In an hour and a half I drove across the border from Tennessee to Kentucky and followed a narrow well-paved, winding road that connected two major highways up over a mountain. At the peak of the mountain a deer was standing calmly by the side of the road. I stopped in the road a few feet away, rolled down my window and took her photo. It was as if she posed for me. I drove way. She never moved. No one will ever convince me that God has not poured out his grace on the Red Jeep Journey so far. Thank you to all who are a part of the Fellowship of the Red Jeep. My heart is filled with great Joy to use my little Jeep to make Christ known. I pulled into tidy grounds of the Kentucky Mountain Mission in time to preach again before a good nights rest.
Kentucky Mountain Mission