A couple of months ago I had the opportunity and privilege to sit under the teaching of Dr. Steven Lawson at an Expositors Conference held at Mission Peak Baptist Church in Fremont, CA. It was a great conference, but just getting to the church by registration time was a challenge…and here is why…
Well, from my house I have to go down the hill and needed to make a left turn on Mission Boulevard. I was rather amused, however, that my next turn was from Mission Boulevard to Driscoll Road, and I was even more amused that it was a “right turn.” For many pastors who are on a mission one doesn’t usually exit at Driscoll and find that it is a right turn! Now Driscoll Road is pretty much a straight shot but you can notice a little scattalogical graphiti here or there and, at the end of the road there is a dramatic left turn. Well, next I came to Keller Avenue, I turned right once again but was struck by the fact that the first eleven houses or buildings were under construction, but it was almost as if they really didn’t exist. Then I turned left into Bell Court where I was thoroughly confused. Oh, everything looked good, but it was a road that meandered all over the place but really didn’t get me anywhere. I realized that now I was completely lost and had taken a really bad turn.
Thankfully, by chance, I found an exit at Mohler Way. Now this street was straight, clean looking and unusually numbered. Unlike most streets where the odd numbers are on one side and the even’s on the other the homes on this street had the unusual numbers like J 294.38 Le and H 543.50 Je. As I quietly exited that pristine neighborhood I had to cross Osteen Highway, a very broad and happening stretch of road dubbed as “Your Best Drive Ever”. I was really tempted to turn onto it and just go Christian cruising for a while, but I was compelled to keep my bearing straight ahead and onto MacArthur Boulevard where I settled down to a few miles of road, one traffic light at a time. In fact, what struck me was that at each residential and business establishment there were large plaques explaining the history, significance and impact of each structure.
After exiting MacArthur I turned and veered left at C.J. Lane which was an extremely fun ride and seemed to take me through a totally happening athletic complex appropriately known as Humility Gardens. Next, a quick right turn which I found out had been closed for a bout six months and only just recently opened up again, and a work crew was busily putting up the street sign that read, “Piper Drive.” Finally, I felt all constricted and formal, having yielded to two cars and had to wait around for minutes on Roberts Drive. It was from there that I entered the church.
The serious side of this post is to reflect over all the great and not so great men of God who have had an opportunity to shape my faith and theology in good ways and in bad. Even in driving your car there are places, roads and neighborhoods that you just wan to stay away from. Often you feel like you need to drive through a dangerous area to quickly get to the place you want to arrive at. In doing so, you are thankful for the other “safe” streets that are well lit, orderly and clearly defined.
God has graced me with many counselors throughout my life. Many of them are modern day preachers and teachers of God’s Word. Some of them are people who I believe are handling God’s Word without care and are unfaithful in their teaching effort. The benefit to me is to read and hear their insufficient answers to life. In either case God is using them to sharpen me, to teach me about my sinfulness and to drive me to see who He is as revealed in His Word. I always want to be careful about the roads I travel. Some are safe, encouraging roads that will head me in the right direction. Others are dangerous sidetracks.
This year I am resolved to spend more time on Edwards Close, the Lloyd-Jones Autobahn and on a Radical stretch of asphalt know as the Platt Express.
Lord, may you give us all discernment and a willingness to travel on a Mission with you as our guide.