Friday, April 5, 2013

Passenger # 19 - A Surgeon

Passenger # 19 – A Surgeon

Many times we make assumptions about people that have no sound basis.  We believe people are happy because they have an accumulation of worldly treasures.  If only we could have that kind of security.  You promise God that you would be generous and charitable to the needy.  Yes, that would make you happy.  Other times we assume people are happy because they look like the ideal family.  However, we all have a variety of masks that we wear on different occasions.  God still knows and loves the person behind the mask. 

Our surgeon feels like he has been trapped in his career as a small town surgeon.  Following the long road through medical school and several residencies, he felt pulled into a servant role as a surgeon.  He had heard about small remote communities that did not have ready access to surgical care.  Some had a general physician but if surgery were needed, the patients had to look elsewhere.  Thus, he felt he had discovered his calling.

For the past 15 years, our surgeon has dedicated his life to caring for others in this small rural community.  He is not a man of many wants, but there is one thing he still desires---to have a family of his own.  For years now, he has questioned God about this longing and how will he EVER find someone to love and spend his life with as each year passes more quickly than the last. 

Going on the journey intrigued him.  Maybe by getting away and being with new people, he could have that serious talk with God and begin to work on his desire. 


Guiding Questions for comments: (Feel free to share anything of comfort each day)

1.       Have you ever doubted what God has planned for you?  Have you asked and not had an answer?


2.       There is a long-time saying ---Grow where you are planted.  How does this connect to our surgeon and in reality to all of us?

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Passenger # 18 - A Teacher


Passenger # 18 – A Teacher

Like our Religious Leader, our Teacher has a reached a crossroad in her career.  The past twenty years have been enjoyable and rewarding.  In reflecting on the past, she realizes that she has been a positive influence on many young people and wishes to continue for a while.  So what is causing her to rethink her life right now?

Our teacher has a long list of things she wishes to do---we call it a bucket list.  She sees the years flying by at quite a quick pace.  At the same time, the demands from her career are changing at the speed of light!  So many new demands on her time and lots of changes in expectations!  Quietly she knows that much of the change could be good for the children she serves and she actually thinks she could handle the changes.  Her greatest challenge is in her work climate.  Her school leaders are uninspiring and frustrated which is being passed around generously to her fellow teachers.  So much negative spirit is draining her of enthusiasm and drive.  So as part of her summer time of renewal, she decided to take this trip, hoping that someone would bring her renewed dedication and an assurance that she is where God wants her to be, doing what God wants her to do.  Lately, those questions have been troubling her and she is ready for spiritual guidance.  Things in the workplace might not change, but she is certain the Driver and others can help her to change.


Guiding Questions for comments: (Feel free to share anything of comfort each day)

1.       Most of us reach a crossroad and can identify with the Teacher.  Are you there or headed there?  Where does God really need you?


2.       It’s about surrendering---a scary thing to face.  When we do finally surrender, we find new freedom to Let Go and Let God.  What’s holding you back?

Friday, March 29, 2013

Passenger # 17 - A Religious Leader

Passenger # 17 – A Religious Leader

Our Religious Leader joined the journey for spiritual renewal as he faces a crossroad in his ministry.  Many in his congregation have begun to doubt his enthusiasm for his ministry in recent years.  This message has been filtered to him, but it comes as no surprise.  In fact, he regretfully agrees with them.  When he first began church leadership, he really was focused on the people he served and felt that he was doing God’s will.  As years passed, he had different assignments, some better than others, but he clearly understood his role to serve.  What has changed?

Society has placed new challenges in his ministry – serving multitudes of people with so many needs.  He feels as if the tasks have increased exponentially while staffing has remained the same or less than years ago.  Increased demand on his time and service has been a physical, mental, and emotional drain.  At this time in his ministry, he asks God each day if he is really where he belongs, doing what he does.  Internally, he feels like the past years have been a desert experience and he is looking for some flowing waters.  Perhaps the time away will serve him well as he meets other people and spends personal time with the Driver.  He is seeking advice and direction for his life.  This trip seemed like a great place to start that search.


Guiding Questions for comments: (Feel free to share anything of comfort each day)

1.       Think about the religious leaders you have known.  Has their effectiveness waivered over the years?  What could be the causes for the years in the desert?


2.       We know that when Jesus faced desperate times, He went away to pray.  Is there a message for all of us in that Biblical detail?




Thursday, March 28, 2013

Passenger #16 - A Person of a Different Race

Passenger # 16 – A Person of a Different Race

Decades ago, life was racially segregated in American schools and communities.  Neighborhoods and jobs were race-specific as reflected in capacity to ever move upward financially.  We can recall The Jeffersons breaking the mold and “moving up to the East side.”  But does God intend for us to be a segregated people of the haves and the have-nots? 

Times have changed and not changed.  Poverty and race have crossed those invisible boundaries but relations are still a challenge Christians must address in thoughts, words, and actions.

Passenger # 16 is a man of a different race who has walked this road as he came to America seeking opportunity.  He is intelligent and personable, holds a good job, and is starting to build some security for his family.  It is in ordinary interactions that he has the greatest struggles.  He simply feels as if he is seen as a threat to many others.  Comments and isolation drive this belief.  He is hoping that this trip will give him clarity of how he can change his perspective since he recognizes he has limited ability to change society.  Maybe the Driver or some of the passengers can help him to see life through a different lens.  He believes that if he can change his perception, he can pass that positive image on to his children.


Guiding Questions for comments: (Feel free to share anything of comfort each day)

1.       Christian believers profess to embrace social justice.  How do we show that as one of our daily beliefs?


2.       What messages do we unknowingly convey to people of different races?  Are our fears based on their dress, language, position, reputation???

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Passenger #15 - An Orphan


Passenger #15 – An Orphan

This young woman joined the trip once she knew she could get away from her animal practice.  It sounded like a great opportunity to relax, reflect, and possibly mend some holes that have been in her heart for many years as an orphan.  Throughout her younger years she was taken through foster care homes but never adopted.  Perhaps the holes in her heart began soon after birth when she missed the mother-daughter bonding that we know is the foundation for love, trust, and engagement.  Although several families willingly cared for her in their homes, life always seemed to be temporary.  She never enjoyed the security of family life and missed the grounding she needed and desired.  We all do!

Friendships were difficult as she went through grade school and high school.  It was her intelligence that she could depend on to get her through each year.  University was much the same, meeting a few friends along the way but always from a distance.  Trusting others to not abandon her was a challenge.  Perhaps the closest she has come to trusting is in her husband who seems to be very supportive and understanding.  She pursued several careers and has finally found something she has a passion for.  Years have passed and never has she had children of her own. 

In the back of her mind, she wonders what really made her sign up for the journey……..


Guiding Questions for comments: (Feel free to share anything of comfort each day)

1.       You probably know of families that have given of themselves to provide foster care for needy children.  Reflect on what some of the challenges might be for those families and the children in their temporary care.  Take the time often to pray for them that it be true ministry for all.


2.       Our Passenger has internal voids that could be preventing her from truly leading a fulfilled life.  How can she fill those missing pieces in her life?



Sunday, March 24, 2013

Passenger #14 - An Addicted Person

Passenger #14 – An Addicted Person

Universally mankind suffers from various forms of addiction, all of which harm multitudes of people---those with the addictions, families and friends, co-workers and society in general.  Drug and alcohol abuse seem to ride in the forefront, but many forms of addiction follow behind.  Passenger #14 has traveled that road and is transitioning into a state of remission.  His decision to go on the journey was a deliberate one.  With all of the suffering he experienced and placed on those he loved and encountered, it was the new understanding that God loves him unconditionally that really is sustaining his remission. 

The transition and recovery will never end for him because the temptation will always be there as will the conditions that caused him to solve his problems in unhealthy choices for much of his adult life.  He has comes to realize that he must stay connected to Him, Jesus Christ, the one and only Savior, the only assurance he has in life.  It is He who pulled him through and He who provides eternal salvation.  Our Passenger has a new craving to know more about his Savior and really wants to learn about the Driver.


Guiding Questions for comments: (Feel free to share anything of comfort each day)

1.       Examine yourself for a few minutes.  What small or large addictions trouble you today?  Addictions come in many forms and play out in various degrees of impact.  What changes can you make to modify your own lifestyle and cravings?


2.       Humanity naturally judges and possibly condemns harmful addictions in society.  As Christians, what support can we have from Scripture that would help us to understand what God says about caring properly for our bodies, minds, and souls? 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Passenger #13 – A Former Prisoner

Society has managed to convict prisoners for a lifetime beyond their sentence.  None of us like the wrongs that happen in the world and we know justice must be served.  Unfortunately, our prison systems are not often successful in transforming its people and many return again.  However, some do change and that is the case of Passenger #13.  He chose to join the group on the trip as a final straw for forgiveness and spiritual direction.  Over the years he was imprisoned, he experienced every possible emotion and truly gave up on himself.  His family and friends did the same.  He lost hope for a future until an angel came along.  He clearly remembers that day when an older lady came from a local church that sponsored a prison ministry.  He had seen and heard about this but no one had ever met with him until this lady was sent to his aide.  At first he acted indifferent and uninterested---barely polite---just partially listened to what she said.  That first day could have been the last.  But the lady kept it short and simple and said she would return.  As she walked away, he had great doubt that she would ever return.  But she did, time and again.  Never did she preach to him, just talked respectfully, encouraged him that he was worthy of another chance.  He still recalls one statement she made that really struck him----Our God is a God of second chances!

 Finally the day came when he was set free from prison.  It should have been a day of joyful excitement, but no one was there to greet him----except the lady who had visited him.  This time she had her Pastor and they together took him to have his first meal.  As they visited, the Pastor mentioned that he could receive real nourishment if he joined them for worship each week.  His fear of rejection by outsiders overwhelmed him and sadly, he did not take up the offer.  He continues to struggle in this difficult time of transition.


Guiding Questions for comments: (Feel free to share anything of comfort each day)

1.       Have you ever thought about the challenge of prison ministry?  What fears have held you back?


2.       Do you wonder what the Driver will say at one of the night meetings?