Today I flew into Sin City – aka Las Vegas, NV. I was flown in a day early for my company’s 2014 National Convention. It’s all very exciting to be around the 18,000 agents in my company, all pumped up about protecting people and helping people reach their financial wellness. Day after day, I have to thank God for my vocation, my calling really. With what I do, I get to protect people and help them work from a place of stability more every day into a life of giving. I know that not every one of my clients will go through this sequence: Ground-work –> Grow into Financial Wellness –> Give while you live.
Yet, I hope more and more do go from self and inward thinking to a life of giving more and more. The ironic thing is that I’ll be going from this convention to a one day summit with some friends oriented around giving while their living, not just their resources but their lives for the good of people and glory of the God of the Bible…. Issachar Initiative – CLICK HERE – Dallas, TX.
Okay, so now to why I titled this post: A Song and a Prayer in Sin City…
In a couple of days, I’ll be singing in front of nearly 15,000 people from my company, mostly agents and their spouses. I’ll be completely honest that I’m pretty nervous, but God’s giving me courage to just enjoy it and to honor Carrie’s and my marriage, or really marriage under God in general. I have about 30 to 45 seconds to share, and I intend to simply mention my wife, my son, and my life in “the middle of beautiful California, where we very much enjoy a life of loving God, each other, our son, our family, our friends, and our community… I chose this song, A Kiss to Build a Dream On, in honor of my wife’s and my love for one another. We are a little old-fashioned in that we gave each other the very first kiss we ever gave to anyone, and we’ve been building our dreams on that first kiss ever since.”
So this is a little “sappy” someone might say. Well, I think it’s too unusual. It’s not to praise so much the first kiss comment so much as fidelity and covenant-keeping. I’d even use the term covenant, but it’s become ridiculously under-used and under-appreciated and therefore under-recognized. My wife got me all dressed up for singing this song in older period clothing since our love is a little old-fashioned and “quaint”. It’s been fun to think back to our first kiss while engaged so many years back and wonder what our country would look like if this was at least somewhat more common as a goal, to not give yourself to passing fancies but to save your heart, not just your body, for your future spouse. There isn’t anything wrong with dating a few times before you find the right one, but even those dating relationships should be honorable and God-praising. What’s really helpful is to remember that God is present and the perfect chaperone when we go about our single/dating days. What is additionally huge to remember for married folks is that God is still present and the perfect friend and encourager and counselor and support and leader as we seek to grow as spouses. Just some food for thought since we’re talking about marriage and keeping our promises is this: Marriage is a picture of Christ and us, His people, right? It’s a picture of His love for us. So how incredible to think, isn’t it, that God seeks us out time and time again and never lets us go? He is the PERFECT HUSBAND. We say there is no such thing, and we are very right when referencing sinful humanity, and yet we are wrong when referencing the ONE SINLESS HUMAN, Jesus Christ, the God-man!
Friends, please pray for me while I’m here for a total of five days. This town is full of barely dresed ladies and lots of darkness. I’ve set up my room for productive work when not at company functions. In addition to official company activities, I plan to step out twice for times with fellow California agents. Besides that I’ll probably just stay in my room and get some work done. Carrie had planned to come, but we’ve hauled our son around too much as it is, so we decided to have the two of them rest at home and hold down the fort. Pray that I’d have opportunities to be an encouragement to fellow agents when I share in brief and then sing from stage. Pray I’d be a light also during here-and-there interactions with other agents and with the Vegas customer service folks and waiters/waitresses, etc. May God shine through all the other agents and others who are believers throughout this sin city. Really, every city is full of sinners – many of them being believers – so every city and town could really use our prayers.
One more thought: Someone pointed out my mention in a previous post about the Bay Area being a dark place. She was wise to remind me that where darkeness seems pervasive, it can never keep out the light entirely. Even in the darkest pockets of this world, the Gospel and the Person of Jesus Christ shines through and presses its rays of hope and holiness throughout. God is holy, yet when we place our trust in Jesus Christ, we too become holy and are given a righteous standing in the Heavens! May God be our obsession, no matter how dark our surroundings or how sinister the evil in this world. God wins!
In the joy of our Savior,
Praying for you Torrey, I go to Vegas yearly for a photography conference and last time the darkness was suffocating. I just wanted to hide in my room until I got to leave and go home to my son. But I had a great friend with me who had courage to shine the light of Jesus to me and others around her in Vegas. I pray that this week is effective, that you will have strength, courage and energy from on high. Praying that you are provided with opportunities to share Jesus and that your seeds will fall on good ground. And lifting up your family at home:)
Thank you so much, Sabrina! That’s what my trip was like for this convention three years ago, having Carrie along with me throughout. Had some great interactions with Vegas folks last night as I went out to get some things from a convenience store. Even the employees there were saying how much they enjoy going home after work to where they can walk on their neighborhood streets and enjoy some peace and calm. The housecleaner back at the hotel and I had a really good conversation as well. God opens opportunities. Thank you very much for your prayers!!
Torrey I understand that there is quite a thriving Christian community in Vegas! The comment above that “Even in the darkest pockets of this world, the Gospel and the Person of Jesus Christ shines through and presses its rays of hope and holiness throughout” really rings true here as well as other dark spots that I have lived such as Humboldt County and my home in the Bay Area. Although darkness abounds in these areas for sure, the choice is always there to align oneself to the Christian community of light at which point the darkness recedes into the background and in fact is obliterated altogether when Jesus is in the house!
Cindy, I have so appreciated your reminding me of this a few different times. Sorry for the delay in approving your comment. What a good reminder! Wow, the fellowship of believers is so key to us thriving no matter where we’re “doing life” through the years. In many cases, my wife and I have felt the most alive as believers when we’ve engaged with others in “darker areas” of the world. When sin is celebrated, darkness is more looked upon with an approving gaze by a broader population in an area, and yet believers can sometimes be the most confusing people to encounter in such contexts, especially when we simply react to the darkness. Your comments have reminded me of how we are people too, sinners too, lonely too, in need too. Those I encountered down even along The Strip in Vegas were longing for satisfaction. Some were extremely lonely and destitute, wandering the streets barefoot and confused. After reading your thoughts, I’m reminded of the Spirit’s prompting to look around on-line for a community of believers in the area and see what they are up to with engaging with folks even on the The Strip. The best interaction I had was with my driver who brought me to the performance. He was really interesting and had strong opinions about religion being for consumption and being a pass-time for some rather than being a vital part of our existence as humanity. He was raised by a 7th Day Adventist woman who was very strict with him. He reacted and has had a hard time thinking of being into any kind of engagement with the living God. He told me of how he has made a pretty good life for himself and for his family in Vegas and how he has decided on a sort of seize the day approach to life. He’s tasted and tried most of what Vegas has to offer and has decided he wants a more self-controlled existence, yet he’s grateful for the primary industries along the strip as they give him a livelihood. I only had a short time with him, so I prayed and asked God for some questions that would cause him gentle pause in the following days. He seemed to take my questions seriously, and it was left there.
Thank you again, Cindy, for your reminders to engage instead of retreat as believers! Grateful for you!
I too am grateful for you Torrey and your beautiful wife. The Sonora community was a place that God brought me to retreat from the world for awhile to heal with the Body of Christ in a beautiful part of His world!
I am grateful to you Torrey as well as the beautiful part of the Body of Christ in Sonora/Tuolumne/Twain Harte/Ponderosa Pines who were used by the Lord to minister to this broken person!