Say, it's been awhile since we met here last. Hope your time away was as blessed as mine.
For the last six summers, the Tahoe Family Encampment has been an annual event. Only problem, though -- coming from the East -- is it never was a true "family" encampment for me. Sure, Mandy made it out a couple of times and Trae came with me once but never had the entire Gardner clan made it to the TFE.
This year, that all changed.
And what a blast!
Aside from the dust and ash residue from the fires that decided to return to Fresno in my lungs and sinuses, it was one of the most blessed weeks of my life. Being together with my girls, in the presence of God's most magnificent creation, in the company of 1000+ fellow disciples of Jesus -- it was nothing short of heavenly.
The memories are indelibly etched. The lessons are eternally cemented.
This week, I have the blessed privilege of speaking Monday through Wednesday nights at the Sunset Avenue Church of Christ in Madera. On the return home last night, Tori, Brian Buce and I watched in awe as the moon rose over the Sierra Nevadas. It was a magnificent, 98% full-moon rise that was simply breathtaking. As the moon rose, Phillips, Craig and Dean were singing the following song in the CD player:
How deep the Father's love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
And make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory
Behold the man upon the cross
My sin upon His shoulder
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished
I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom