FLORIDA, HERE WE COME!!
Tomorrow morning, around 4:30 am, we will be heading towards I-95 southbound to Florida, hit the ole I-4 around Daytona all the way to Orlando, and then I-92 west to our resort. A week of frolicking in the Florida sun. Us 4, my mom and daddy, and my brother, SIL, and niece will spend a wonderous week together. Our tentative plan is for the 4 of us to hit the new water park at SeaWorld called Aquatica on Saturday!! I think my brother and his family will head over to Disney's Animal Kingdom and maybe a hop over to Blizzard Beach. (he has some leftover park hopper passes they are using.) Sunday, a quick Father's Day celebration and then us, my bro and his family, and my mom are heading to SeaWorld. Daddy will probably spend his Father's Day playing golf at the resort, and spending the rest of the day on the Lazy River, right outside our villa door. Monday, we plan to all hang around the resort, enjoying the pools, the lazy river, etc and resting after our opening weekend in preparation for the next day!! Tuesday we go see MICKEY MOUSE!!!! My niece, the doodle bug, insists that we MUST go to Magic Kingdom so off we all will go for a full day of play with Mickey, Minnie, and friends. Wed...we rest...again enjoying our wonderful resort, relaxing on the lazy river, playing bingo, etc. Wednesday night, we plan to hit the best deal in town...Dinner and a Movie at Universal Studios CityWalk!! That means I get to go to Margaritaville!!! Eat their yummy jambalaya, sip a margarita or two...and then off to the movies. I know the doodlebug and my parents are going to check out the new Kung Fu Panda but not sure what the rest of us may watch. Thursday is spent again hanging at the resort, packing, enjoying our final day, and ends with my girls going to a wonderful teen party at the resort...miniature golf, hippo waterslide, dancing, teens only (but parents must be present to register the teens upon arrival). Friday, head home. What a week. I'm going to miss blogging, but I will tell you all about it upon our return!
In the meantime, I want to leave you with this to think about:
AFTER A FEW OF THE USUAL SUNDAY EVENING HYMNS, THE CHURCH'S PASTOR SLOWLY STOOD UP, WALKED OVER TO THE PULPIT AND, BEFORE HE GAVE HIS SERMON FOR THE EVENING, HE BRIEFLY INTRODUCED A GUEST MINISTER WHO WAS IN THE SERVICE THAT EVENING.
IN THE INTRODUCTION, THE PASTOR TOLD THE CONGREGATION THAT THE GUEST MINISTER WAS ONE OF HIS DEAREST CHILDHOOD FRIENDS AND THAT HE WANTED HIM TO HAVE A FEW MOMENTS TO GREET THE CHURCH AND SHARE WHATEVER HE FELT WOULD BE APPROPRIATE FOR THE SERVICE.
WITH THAT, AN ELDERLY MAN STEPPED UP TO THE PULPIT AND BEGAN TO SPEAK.
'A FATHER, HIS SON, AND A FRIEND OF HIS SON WERE SAILING OFF THE PACIFIC COAST ,' HE BEGAN. 'WHEN A FAST APPROACHING STORM BLOCKED ANY ATTEMPT TO GET BACK TO THE SHORE.
THE WAVES WERE SO HIGH, THAT EVEN THOUGH THE FATHER WAS AN EXPERIENCED SAILOR, HE COULD NOT KEEP THE BOAT UPRIGHT AND THE THREE WERE SWEPT
INTO THE OCEAN AS THE BOAT CAPSIZED.'
THE OLD MAN HESITATED FOR A MOMENT, MAKING EYE CONTACT WITH TWO TEENAGERS WHO WERE, FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE THE SERVICE BEGAN, LOOKING SOMEWHAT INTERESTED IN HIS STORY.
THE AGED MINISTER CONTINUED WITH HIS STORY, 'GRABBING A RESCUE LINE, THE FATHER HAD TO MAKE THE MOST EXCRUCIATING DECISION OF HIS LIFE: TO WHICH BOY WOULD HE THROW THE OTHER END OF THE LIFE LINE.
HE ONLY HAD SECONDS TO MAKE THE DECISION. THE FATHER KNEW THAT HIS SON WAS A CHRISTIAN AND HE, ALSO, KNEW THAT HIS SON'S FRIEND WAS NOT.
THE AGONY OF HIS DECISION COULD NOT BE MATCHED BY THE TORRENT OF WAVES.
AS THE FATHER YELLED OUT, 'I LOVE YOU, SON!' HE THREW OUT THE LIFE LINE TO HIS SON'S FRIEND. BY THE TIME THE FATHER HAD PULLED THE FRIEND BACK TO THE CAPSIZED BOAT, HIS SON HAD DISAPPEARED BENEATH THE RAGING SWELLS INTO THE BLACK OF NIGHT.
HIS BODY WAS NEVER RECOVERED.
BY THIS TIME, THE TWO TEENAGERS WERE SITTING UP STRAIGHT IN THE PEW, ANXIOUSLY WAITING FOR THE NEXT WORDS TO COME OUT OF THE OLD MINISTER'S MOUTH.
'THE FATHER,' HE CONTINUED, 'KNEW HIS SON WOULD STEP INTO ETERNITY WITH JESUS AND HE COULD NOT BEAR THE THOUGHT OF HIS SON'S FRIEND STEPPING INTO AN ETERNITY WITHOUT JESUS.. THEREFORE, HE SACRIFICED HIS SON TO SAVE THE SON'S FRIEND. '
HOW GREAT IS THE LOVE OF GOD THAT HE SHOULD DO THE SAME FOR US. OUR HEAVENLY FATHER SACRIFICED HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON THAT WE COULD BE SAVED. I URGE YOU TO ACCEPT HIS OFFER TO RESCUE YOU AND TAKE A HOLD OF THE LIFE LINE HE IS THROWING OUT TO YOU IN THIS SERVICE.'
WITH THAT, THE OLD MAN TURNED AND SAT BACK DOWN IN HIS CHAIR AS SILENCE FILLED THE ROOM.
THE PASTOR AGAIN WALKED SLOWLY TO THE PULPIT AND DELIVERED A BRIEF SERMON WITH AN INVITATION AT THE END. HOWEVER, NO ONE RESPONDED TO THE APPEAL.
WITHIN MINUTES AFTER THE SERVICE ENDED, THE TWO TEENAGERS WERE AT THE OLD MAN'S SIDE.
'THAT WAS A NICE STORY,' POLITELY STATED ONE OF THEM,'BUT I DON'T THINK IT WAS VERY REALISTIC FOR A FATHER TO GIVE UP HIS ONLY SON'S LIFE IN HOPES THAT THE OTHER BOY WOULD BECOME A CHRISTIAN.'
'WELL, YOU'VE GOT A POINT THERE,' THE OLD MAN REPLIED, GLANCING DOWN AT HIS WORN BIBLE. A BIG SMILE BROADENED HIS NARROW FACE. HE ONCE AGAIN LOOKED UP AT THE BOYS AND SAID, 'IT SURE ISN'T VERY REALISTIC, IS IT? BUT, I'M STANDING HERE TODAY TO TELL YOU THAT STORY GIVES ME A GLIMPSE OF WHAT IT MUST HAVE BEEN LIKE FOR GOD TO GIVE UP HIS SON FOR ME.
I WAS THAT FATHER AND YOUR PASTOR IS MY SON'S FRIEND.'
ps...make sure to check back 'cuz I may have a surprise or 2 while I am gone....