The ol’ Sawdust Trail

Dr. Phil – This past summer I had the chance to take a road trip back to my camp meeting roots. Now I realize that for some this is a concept  from the distant past, but back in the day people used to come together for a couple weeks for two (sometimes three) meetings a day at a camp. As youth we looked forward to this time to be with our friends, swim in the lake, as well as a time of spiritual renewal.

It was at this camp in Alberta some 45+ years ago that I sensed God wanted to use me in some way to “bless the nations” (Gen 12:1-3). Though I had been sensing this for some years, as a thirteen year old, I understood this more specifically as a call to “become a missionary.” While we are all “ambassadors” or “missionaries” for Christ, I understood that my life calling was to be engaged in cross-cultural ministry.

A few years later, at the ripe old age of seventeen, I was at discipleship school in California. That year I took a trip to Mexico and it was there that the Lord confirmed in my heart my life’s work. Well, as they say, the rest is history.

Much had changed, but this camp has kept true to its original mandate as a place for spiritual renewal. As I walked the grounds and revisited the ol’ tabernacle, I was reminded that the majority of my journey was already behind me. While we typically value youth and “potential,” I have also come to realize the value of “realized potential.” What was only hopes and dreams or “potential” have become a lifetime of experiences for which I am grateful.

Though I don’t think my work is quite done, the reality is that I recognize that some of those dreams will only be accomplished through the next generation. And this is God’s plan all along. To this end we have organized the ministry in such a way that its focus is to not on one person, but rather on developing others so that it is sustainable and reproducible long term.

It is only with the hindsight time affords that that one can fully appreciate the faithfulness of God over the years. Perhaps the pandemic has also provided you with such an opportunity to re-evaluate what is really important in your life and reflect on God’s faithfulness to this point.

Such reflection provides us with new hope and faith as we gaze into the unknown of the future. The same God that was with us from our early days will be there until the final lap of our journey. None of know how long that will be, but we do know he will be there. As we continue to walk with him, one day we will find ourselves taking that next step into his very presence as we join him on all the adventures he still has for us in eternity.

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