The Northern Tip of the Lower Peninsula
Last week I drove way up into northern Michigan to preach for a Men’s Retreat. Downstate most of the forests were bright yellow. In northern Michigan, orange seemed to be the dominant color. In that part of Michigan there are larger hills ribboned by winding roads bisecting woods and lakes and an occasional view of the Great Lake–Lake Michigan. It made for a wonderful color tour. I made a mental note not to go alone if I am invited back. The experience was too good not to share with someone.
I was a little cold when I got in so I turned up the heat a tad to drive away the chill. In the morning the worship leader (Matt Smith) asked, “Were you warm enough last night?”
I said, “Yes, I was very comfortable,” then it occured to me that the speakers quarters are a duplex. He and his family were in the other apartment and I had the thermostat in my apartment. I did a little reading while munching on my pumpkin creme pie from Mac’s, forgot to turn down the heat, crawled into bed, and fairly passed out. They were young and athletic and warm blooded, so I’m afraid they were a little warm in the night, variously opening windows and crying out to God for mercy. To his credit Matt still had a heart of praise in the morning and a great sense of humor and he led worship very well. It was wonderful to sing with the men.
The retreat was at Pleasant Valley Bible Camp. Steve and Naomi Sponable run Pleasant Valley with the help of a dedicated staff. They do a great job. The fellowship was good and the men seemed to have a hunger for the word. The retreat was well-attended. I was a little frustrated that almost everyone there stopped at an all-you-can-eat fish fry at a restaurant in Bellaire on Friday night before they got to camp. I didn’t get the memo. I believe the place no one told me about was called Toonies. I made sure to appeal to their collective conscience about it in every single session so I don’t think it will happen again. I should admit that on Saturday night they grilled up some wonderful steaks. It was harder to keep the men awake in the evening session, but worth it. I brought my books including my latest; “Between the Fires” and almost completely sold out of all five of my books by Sunday morning.
If you get a chance to go the Men’s Retreat at Pleasant Lake, go. It’s one of Michigan’s good places, where people love the Lord and his word and they love each other and feed you well. If you go on Friday night be sure to find your way to Toonies–they say it’s good. I would have no idea personally, because no one told me about it.
Excuses to Be Outdoors
In Michigan, clearing leaves is a good excuse to be out under the open sky in October. On a good day geese will flyover the farm winging their way to warmer places in a big moving “V” shape high in the sky, honking as they go. (I understand they migrate at about 3,000 feet up). You might smell the fragrance of the first wood fires of the season on a cold morning. You can watch the pageant of leaves blowing down and dancing in the ground in the wind. This year the colors have been vivid. Lady bugs were everywhere yesterday, as if they were desperately trying to find shelter ahead of the front that brought weather thirty degrees colder. I think it was close to freezing last night on Bittersweet Farm. Big Ten football returned today so I quit early to indulge in the autumn ritual of munching an apple and watching a game.
This evening we are almost exactly a week away from November. The sky is clear. A few minutes ago I walked out and looked up into the night sky. The moon is waxing, bright through branches which are starting to bare. By next Saturday night the moon will be full out over Bittersweet Farm… the Blue Moon. I hope the sky will be clear and I will catch the dark forms of geese passing across the face of the blue October moon.
“When I consider the heavens…
the work of your fingers,
the moon and stars that you have ordained…”
October 24, 2020