Area: Through Fort Stockton, Ozona, Sonora, Junction, and into Kerrville, TX on way toward San Antonio

God Lives In Kerrville! 

Smiles, kindness, conversation, and open hearts met me as I entered Kerrville, TX late yesterday.  I was blessed beyond measure after trekking through so many heavy-hearted areas.  My first encounter with greatness came as God honored me to meet, talk, and pray with Pastor Chris at a local Baptist Church. He was refreshing, real, and radically filled with God’s presence and grace. I found him open, determined to preach God’s love, and absolutely at peace with letting the Holy Spirit bring much-needed life and change in his church people that only God can affect.  After months wading across the open deserts, through brief encounters, knocking on closed doors, and echoing God’s grieving question of “whether He would find faith upon the earth"…new hope re-kindled within. God’s adventure did not end there as I ventured onward to another local church where I met a vibrant young pastor cut from non-typical cloth…

not usually found in his denominational setting.  He was open, polite, light-hearted, and willing to engage.  He was on the run, jumped in his red truck for a lunch date and meeting, and asked me to stop back later.   Upon my return...I walked in as church computers went nuts thereby pushing our planned time together off until the next day. His smile was kind, glimmer in his eyes inviting, and his heart-felt words communicated genuine interest in another. What a gift God was bestowing on me in Kerrville.  Still, there was more to behold…

My next infusion of God’s mercy came through the life of Father Tom at the local Episcopal Church which had just celebrated its 125th anniversary. As this dear brother motioned me to my seat across his desk before him…our connection rose out of common love for and passion to know and serve Jesus. We talked about a number of things with Christ being the Centerpiece of all.  Our chat covered hot spot issues plaguing God’s people, global realities prior to Christ’s return, and our combined need to keep Jesus and our love for Him front-and-center.  Our conversation deepened, drew from our individual life stories, and rose to a type of unity only found in God’s heart spoken of in John 17.  Suddenly, I felt like looking out the window to see if I was still on the same planet after barely keeping my head above water along my arduous path.  But when we prayed…God cemented our hearts into one encouraging us both with the wondrous reality…that He blesses those who earnestly seek and love Him.  If this were not enough...I stopped to send a fax and ended up in one of the local coffee shops where I ran into a young man who had recently re-dedicated his life to Christ after years of personal struggle, empty religion, and emptiness.

He gave me the "seven minute tour" of His life and resurrection from death to transformation rooted in Jesus alone. His face was bright, eyes clear, and his words exuded an excitement that comes from only one place in the whole of life…from knowing King Jesus face-to-face.  I was beside myself and was barely able to absorb the gully washer of God’s goodness after such long spiritual drought.  Amazing! But, there’s more…

From that coffee shop, I moved on to the one-and-only Starbucks in 40 miles from all directions.  I bellied up to the counter and ordered my typical orange blossom tea from a smiling young man.  Armed with my hot beverage, I asked a reclining gentleman if I could sit in the empty armchair next to him.  Let’s just say, his response was less-than-inviting.  As I sat amid silence reminiscient of prior days sipping my tea…I watched the young man behind the counter smiling as he greeted people, wiped out food cooler, and offered a glass of water to one thirsty.  Finally, I walked up to him and said…”you must be a Christian.” vHe replied, “yep, can’t live without Jesus” and our friendship was born.  A bit later, a dear woman he knew and who was moving back home to another state to re-join family after being gone some 15 years...came in. They laughed and bantered back-and-forth awhile before he came out from behind the counter to pray for her before she left.  Without warning, he asked me if I wanted to jump in and pray with them.  I said, “Sure” and we were off to the races reaching for the hem of God's garment.  There we stood, holding hands and praying aloud in Starbucks.  How could a day get any better?  God heard my cry for encouragement, connection, and renewed strength.  So as I implied earlier…”I’m sure God lives in Texas!”

Breaking Out

Much of America’s southern border finds itself in turmoil amid symptoms like poor economy, unemployment, drought, wildfires, hurricane aftermath, recent tornadoes, oil spills, and oppression imposed by Cartel violence killing and be-heading the innocent each day in Mexico south of the border.  Oppression has been thick enough to cut with a knife along the Mexican border as one looks on and weeps, while needy people survive this thing called life devoid of joy, peace, or saving faith.   Sadly, most remain wholy unaware that oppression’s silent assault has stolen God’s greatness and power from their dwindling and downtrodden lives.   

My recent one-step-at-a-time passage toward Texas’ interior led me beyond death’s oppressive grip as I walked further from Mexico each day.  It is as though a dark cloud has lifted and a door opened granting me access to walk among the living and breathe...  Behind me however, escalating all-time high violence leaves some 15 people  executed and beheaded just across America's border in the spralling city of Juarez, Mexico each day.  Cartel thugs have slain over 7,800 unfortunate souls in the past 8 years as the world watches on in silent complacency.   This is America…the home of the brave and land of the free...right?  Crying out from within my rises the question..."How can we deploy military halfway around the globe to fight injustice…and yet, turn our heads and ignore raw brutal barbarism only feet across the border within our neighbor’s poverty-stricken land?  The answer eluded me.  Yet, I'm sure God must weep as He watches on to observe His people's callous response to those unable to escape tyranny to defend themselves…

Onward Ho!

From here…it is onward toward and beyond San Antonio. As one can imagine, my journey's pathway has been strewn with challenges of all flavors.  Amid it all...God has been faithful to strengthen my ability to keep putting one foot in front of the other.   He is such an incredible Savior and Friend Who sticks closer than a brother as ouar ever-present help in times of trouble.   Friend...if life has you down, never stop praying.  God has a Kerrville on your horizon just steps ahead on your life path!  He will never leave you as orphans, but will remain with you until the end of the age when you are ushered into His glorious presence forever.  

Prayers That Count

Late today, my dear friend from home called to ask me for urgent prayer for his wife Kelly who had just delivered her 5 child and first girl yesterday.  Following her C-section birth, she hemoraged and the bleeding could not be stopped.  As a result, she was taken back into surgery and underwent an unplanned hysterectomy yesterday.  Following the procedure that landed her in ICU, Jon called me to update me on progress.  Late this afternoon, Jon called again a bit troubled asking for increased prayer as Kelly's condition had deteriorated due to further internal blood loss.  An hour later, Jon called and said they were wheeling her back into surgery to put her under for the third time in less than 36 hours to identify and fix the bleeding.  Urgency in his voice compelled me to take his request to my prayer list and the word went out.  Replies came in promising prayer and uplifting words.  Now 4 hours later...I heard back from Jon to hear his praise report that his wife had come through a prolonged surgery and was back in ICU in semi-stable condition until her platelets rally.  God cares...God heals...God hears the cries of His people.  So, please keep praying so this dear sister, loved wife, and brand new mama can stand strong once again to reap the harvest of joy that comes from loving and being loved.  God is good...all the time!

P.S. Please keep praying for this lonely road walkin' preacher… the asphalt stretches before me like a winding snake across our troubled land.   Stay tuned as I update you soon with more adventures that will leave me telling the “rest of the story” day-by-day!  I could live in Kerrville, TX...what an oasis of a place! 


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