Road Trip

Posted: February 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

I love to get together with a group of guys and go shoot each other in the woods. It’s not as bad as it sounds, so just stick with me.

I get up really early on a Saturday morning, the sun’s only been up for a couple hours or so. I open up my mini man cave, which is really just an old cedar chest at the bottom of our bed, and I smile as I take in the glorious view.

I pull each item out as though it were an ancient artifact. I lovingly wipe the dust from my paint spattered mask. I pull out my chest protector and a smile of pride breaks out across the landscape of my face. I touch each dried, faded paint stain, remembering where I received each one.

My memory wants to play out each scenario, but I resist the urge. There is not enough time. Jimmy will be here soon, followed by Matt and Ryan and whoever else they could rustle up.

I continue my treasure hunt. I find my camo pants and jacket, my boots and co2 tanks. I pull out my elbow and knee pads and there on the bottom, I see my babies. My heart races a bit as I reach for the chrome plated gun case. I lift it out carefully and lay it on my bed.

I unlatch the clasps and raise the lid. There before me, in all their glory, two sleek black automatic Tippman paintball guns. I upgraded the barrels and they look awesome. I turn each one over in my hands, admiring them as I inspect them. This never gets old. Every time I hold them, it feels like the first time. I vividly remember having the same feeling each time I held one of my newborn children for the first time. Okay maybe we don’t mention this part to my wife.

I absolutely live for these weekends where we dress up like Marine, SWAT, Green Beret, Navy Seal, Chuck Norris, Cobra Commando, Ninja dudes, and trek through the woods playing out our war games. We set up camps and cook over a fire like manly men.

After I had put on all my gear, I was ready to go. I was especially excited about this particular trip because we were going to a new spot Jimmy had told us about.

Jimmy and the guys showed up, 7 in all, looking just as cool as could be. Camo overkill was the fabric of the day.

We loaded the last of the supplies into my Jeep and were ready to hit the road. I informed Jimmy I just had to grab my GPS and I was good to go. He assured me I would not need it, I could just follow him.

Jimmy was a country boy and had lived in the backwoods of Walker Louisiana for most of his life. He could hunt, fish, rock climb, hike and mountain bike like nobody I’d ever met. He was a born leader. It seemed there was nothing he could not do. He was fearless to boot.

We were about two hours into a five hour trip when Jimmy slowed up at a tricky three way intersection on a back road. “Is he lost?” I wondered aloud. Ryan snorted, “Are you kidding? It’s Jimmy. He could find Jimmy Hoffa’s body if he wanted too.”

Jimmy paused only a moment, then took the road to the right. Good thing I’m not leading. Everything looked the same. Trees lined both sides of the road and were so densely packed together even the sun had trouble penetrating the canopy.

We drove on this curvy, sometimes dirt road, for about an hour and came upon a fork in the road. Once again Jimmy slowed for a brief second, then headed left.

It got darker the deeper we headed into the woods. About another hour passed and Jimmy slowed and pulled over. I pulled to a stop behind him. He got out and headed toward my Jeep. The look on his face said it all. He, we were lost.

How could we be lost? Jimmy is a country boy. He knows everything. We all put our faith in him and now we were all lost. I was upset with myself because I had a GPS, but I didn’t bring it.  I thought I could put my trust in Jimmy to get us to our destination. I could not put all the blame on Jimmy. I chose to put my trust in him. I chose to leave my GPS at home even though it never failed me. Now I wondered if we would even make it to our destination…

It does not matter what happens next in this story because it is fictional. But there is a very real situation where this is happening daily, in churches all over the United States.

We put our faith in a charismatic leader, a pastor, a man. Many mega churches put their pastors on pedestals. They “worship” his slick “rock star” personality and look to him and only him, to guide them in their spiritual walk.

They have a GPS but do not consult it. They don’t think it’s necessary. They have this man to lead the way. They take every word he speaks as sacred truth. Even when things seem off sometimes, they don’t question him, mainly because the atmosphere in the church does not allow his character to be questioned. 

The GPS that would have prevented the situation in my story was ignored. The GPS that churches are ignoring is God’s Personal Spirit. We blindly follow a man instead of the Holy Spirit, and while I mentioned mega churches, this behavior happens in churches of all sizes. It just makes the news more often when it is a mega church. When we follow a pastor who is out to promote himself instead of Jesus, you are following someone who is lost. You end up with the scenario from my story, because when we follow someone headed in the wrong direction, we end up lost ourselves.

Read how Paul handled a situation in which people tried to put him on a pedestal in 1 Corinthians 1:10-17 or in Acts 14:1-19. Do not let yourself be fooled. If they do not point to Jesus do not follow them.  

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