Red Jeep Journal
June 9, 2017
Tennessee and Kentucky
Last night I stayed in Lois’s sister’s home on the way to Tennessee. Her children Faith and Bobby were excited to see me especially since I arrived with hot pizza and cold Pepsi. Bobby eagerly helped me in with my luggage.
They asked what I wanted to watch on TV. I told them that if they would turn off the TV I would tell them stories. For the next couple hours we swapped stories. The last hour I answered their questions about the Bible. The last question eleven-year-old Bobby asked was; “How can you know you will go to heaven when you die?” I pillowed my head with a deep satisfaction, amazed at the insightful questions such young children had about the Bible and hopeful that a rich faith would take root in their little souls.
The Fellowship of the Red Jeep
Are you a part of the “Fellowship of the Red Jeep”? Here is how you join: Let us know you are praying for us and, if possible, share a gift at this link. The gifts we receive from the camps and churches are helpful, but modest for the most part and your gifts are helping sustain the ministry this summer. If you join the Fellowship of the Red Jeep you can request personally inscribed copies of my books. If you live along the way I will bring them by personally. Gifts of any amount are deeply appreciated. Monthly gifts are especially helpful so Lois can pay the bills while I’m out on the road. Your gifts are tax-deductible. God has been supplying all our needs.
Riding the Local
Vance Havner was in itinerant preacher in a different era than I. He never drove a car and rarely flew. Most of all he liked to get to his preaching destinations by train and when he got there he loved to walk. In his little book Pleasant Paths he wrote of “Riding the Local.” In his day there were express trains and local trains. The express train only stopped at major cities. The local trains made stops in all the little bergs along the way. Vance liked riding the local. That way he met more passengers taking short rides and he took in the local character is each little town and village along the way.
The other night I was making my way across south-central Michigan. I could go south and take the Ohio Turnpike, a quick by boring affair, or I could take the well-travelled, familiar and efficient Interstate 94. Instead I followed my nose south across country knowing the would have to eventually his Old U.S. Route 12—The Chicago Road… the route that connected Chicago and Detroit in the day before the interstate highway system. It was like “Riding the Local.”
For my efforts I was rewarded with undulating roads through the countryside passing trim farms and rural homes. I enjoyed the view of a sky-blue lake in the evening light. I could smell the BBQ from a roadside stand and pause for a farmer making his way in from his fields on his faithful old International Harvester. As evening set I cruised slowly down main street of a delightful Michigan town I had never visited before enjoying views of stately well-preserved homes set back from main street shaded by mature Maples back into full leaf from a long winter.
With a few exceptions, I won’t have to rush this summer. I have a very full schedule but I will have time to pace myself. Once George the Red Jeep gets to the camp or conference grounds he will have a week to rest until he carries me to my next preaching assignment. This summer for the most part my plan is to the “ride the local” and take in the sights when I can, eat at the local diners more often, frequent road-side stands, talk with people, just see where God sends me and who He wants me to encourage.
Meeting a Fatherless Boy
The other evening on such a journey I stopped in a coffee shop and God had arranged a meeting with a fine young man named Ben. His dad was a pastor who had attended the same collage as my dad but died suddenly a few years ago in his fifties. Ben and I talked at length and before I left we were both convinced that God had arranged the meeting to encourage Ben. As I aimed my Jeep west into the declining sun I wondered if Ben’s Dad had asked the Lord to send someone to his son that evening to encourage him. This would not have happened if I had not prayed before I left, sitting out front of the house, asking God to direct my path and make me a blessing. That is the kind of thing that happens sometimes when you “ride the local.”
June 9, 2017