the God of road trips, too

Mad Libs eBay Road TripI’ll blog about Glorieta shortly. But as I prepare for the upcoming trip, I thought I would post some (slightly edited) blogs from this past Spring Break. I took a group of students on a pretty random trip – officially described as a “Mad Libs eBay Road Trip.” Little did I know God was preparing me for the upcoming year. Even then, He was teaching me that He is the God of Road Trips, too. So, if you want to take a look, I think it will give you insight into what God’s been showing me – and a little of the theology that’s guiding me in this upcoming adventure. (This is a long one, but some stories just have to be told!)

[Saturday, March 10, 2007] Yes, we are on our FIRST Mad Libs eBay Road Trip!

What’s a Mad Libs eBay Road Trip, you ask? Basically, it was our college ministry’s Spring Break trip this year. Only instead of planning the location ahead of time, we didn’t know where we were headed until this morning! At about 9:30am, we typed a few nouns and adjectives into eBay, saw the item that came up, bought it, and are making our way to pick it up!

This year, in other words, we let God provide the adventure, with us focusing on “living life together,” wherever that life took us in a 5-day trip.

So where did we end up, you ask?

That’s right, boys and girls. We’re in ‘BAMA!!!

As I type, we’ve spent a fun day on the road makin’ our way toward Birmingham, Alabama. Our eBay item – a pair of kids’ shorts with a frog on ’em – is in Mobile, and we’ll head down there on Monday or so.

[Sunday, March 11] Today was really “church day” more than anything.

We went to Hunter Street Baptist this morning and made some really neat connections with their college ministry; it was definitely a God-connection of the sweetest variety. And it included attending a little barbecue this afternoon!

Tonight, we went to The Church at Brook Hills, pastored by a 28-year-old preaching phenom, Dr. David Platt. He’ll be a speaker during our Road Trip to Glorieta Collegiate Week this summer, but he wasn’t there tonight because he and his wife are adopting in Kazakhstan. Bummer. But I guess we’ll let it slide. :)

After we got back to the hotel, our youth minister (and bus driver) went to fill up the bus with gas. While there, a man approached him to ask for a ride to McDonald’s. In the end, Shane had not only the opportunity to hook him up with food, but he had the chance to share the gospel with him. Clarence prayed to receive Christ!!! This is yet another time God’s provided AWESOMENESS on this trip, right out-of-the-blue. Remember, anything cool that happens on this trip must be out-of-the-blue; 64 hours ago we didn’t even know which direction we would be headed out of Dallas. Now God’s provided, right there in the middle of Birmingham, salvation for a guy named Clarence. And He allowed us to be a part of that.

One more note about Sunday night: As we eight sat at Moe’s in Birmingham for dinner, I knew we planned to visit Samford University Monday. But beyond that, we had no plans. Of all the “junctures” on the trip, that night may have been the most critical test for us as a group (even if it didn’t seem real dramatic at the time).

Most of us wanted to have a plan for the next day (including me). After all, we were looking at the halfway point of our trip, and we’d run out of activities. For me in particular, I was concerned we might not get much opportunity actually to serve together, which was one of the goals of the trip.

“At least let’s plan something tentative – let’s figure this out, but still let God change our plans if He sees fit.” That seemed like a pretty good idea.

The problem is, I’ve never known that process to work out well. When I waste time planning without God’s direction, it never helps me. Maybe it only wastes time. But in other cases, it has set expectations in place that were hard to change. And, like it or not, it’s pretty impossible not to begin acting on those “tentative plans.”

Is it wrong to plan?

No way! But just like with anything in life, it’s wrong to plan without direction. Sometimes God gives us wisdom about what we should plan, and then it’s wrong not to plan.

But SOMETIMES HE DOESN’T.

That night, He hadn’t. So we didn’t. We didn’t plan. We just went back to the motel, had some fun together, and went to sleep. I had to decide that if God didn’t provide service opps, then He didn’t provide service opps. That’s why we were on this random trip – to watch God provide adventure as He saw fit.

However…

[More to come… – click here to read the conclusion of our week!]

3 Comments

  1. Jake & Lesley

    Hey Ben!!! Wow, Lesley and I both were really impacted by what you wrote here, especially your comment about the problem with even making “tentative plans” without God

  2. Pingback: when mad libs don’t matter « Exploring College Ministry blog (daily notes about our field)

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