I'm doing a 4 week series this month called "Surprise!" I've challenged my church to wake up each morning for the next 30 days and pray these three words: "Surprise me, God." I also had journals printed up for them and have asked them to record God's activity in their lives. I can't wait to see what happens! I started a new blog to chronicle what happens in my life as I set forth on this new experiment. you can read it here.
When I was a kid, Christmas was always surprising. Now that I'm a grown man, not so much. I've heard all the stories and I know what to expect from this culture during this season. Seems like the surprising birth of Jesus has been buried by other things. I'm hoping this little experiment will change all of that. Perhaps it will shake the dust off of this season and bring a refreshing and simple perspective to the Christmas event.
My first surprise entry is below. I'm dying to see what the next month will bring.
So, I did it. I woke up this morning and asked God to surprise me. It felt risky and a bit scary. It also felt good to just say it. Most of the time when I pray I'm pretty much saying a lot of the same things that I always say. It was good, for once, to pray something different and unusual. Can't wait to see what happens!
My first surprise hit at about Noon when I spoke to Kim on the phone and she reminded me that we had to go to the First Baptist Academy Christmas party that night. Ughhhh. A Christmas party with a bunch of people whom I hardly know. Sounds dreadful. Add to it the fact that attending this Christmas party would be infinitely inconvenient. I was ready to pull the plug on this whole deal. Kim also informed me that there would be a $20 fee to attend. That was all it took to set me off.
"$20! So, let me get this straight. You have to drive home from Dallas, drop the kids off, freshen up, and then you and I have to get in the van and drive all the way back to Dallas to go to a party that we have to pay to attend? It isn't enough that we have to pay for gas and a babysitter? We need to back out of this thing! I'll go, but I'm not going to be happy about it."We climbed into the van at about 5:30pm. By 6:35, we were lost in Oak Cliff. The directions Kim had been given were a little off, and we were aimlessly touring South Dallas at night. Needless to say, I was not a happy camper.
Somehow, by sheer dumb luck, we managed to navigate our way to the party. It was at a little restaurant called Eno's, and it was nestled in a quaint and beautiful part of South Dallas (the Bishop Arts District). Apparently one of the graduates of Kim's school owns and operates this wonderful Italian tavern. If you have the chance, check this place out. The atmosphere is amazing.
We entered the party and enjoyed some really good pizza, pasta, and - get this - they had root beer on tap! After our meal, everyone got a root beer float, and it was heavenly. We sat with the head basketball coach at Kim's school, and he was a delightful person. We talked for at least an hour and a half, and he told me all about his hometown of Roswell, New Mexico. Yep, Roswell is where all those supposed alien sightings occurred. Supposedly the governement has some secret alien laboratory hidden in the Roswell area. Urban legend? Depends on if you like The X-files or not!
Anyway, God managed to surprise me in spite of my horrible attitude. He showed me that long, irritating, inconvenient journeys sometimes lead you to the best, most enjoyable surprises. Isn't that the whole lesson of the Israelites journey to the promised land? I guess sometimes you have to wait to judge the journey until you've reached the destination.
Can't wait to see what happens tomorrow!!