Normally I live by the philosophy of “early to bed, early to rise.” My alarm goes off at 4:44am each morning. Some of my most productive hours of the day are before the sun comes up.
Today I turned my alarm off.
Why? Because I need more than 84 minutes of sleep! I walked through our door just before 3am last night, not because I was out partying, but because I went on a very cool road trip yesterday.
I spent the evening in Columbus, Ohio on campus at The Ohio State University. I was blessed to attend an extremely cool event. (And no, I did not wear any maize and blue!).
Ohio State invited Ken Wilson (lead pastor of Ann Arbor Vineyard) to be the keynote speaker at an event called “Abrahamic Faiths and the Environment.” It is part of a 3-week series where leaders of different faith traditions are invited on campus to present what their faith says about care for the environment. It’s open to the entire student body. Last week a Jewish leader presented and next week a Muslim leader will be presenting. Ken gave the Christian perspective last night and 100 students showed up. A great turnout!
To be honest, the whole realm of “creation care” isn’t something I am super passionate about. Yes, Kellie and I try to recycle everything we can each week (we need two recycle bins for all of the stuff we try to cram into it!). And we try to conserve as much electricity as possible, but that’s about as far as it goes.
During his presentation last night Ken reminded the audience that in chapter 2 of the book of Genesis, God placed Adam in the Garden of Eden “to work it and care for it.” (Gen. 2:15).
Creation care is biblical. It’s not some liberal left-wing conspiracy. It’s not for tree-hugging hippies. It’s for everyone who is a follower of Jesus. While much in our society leads us to treat the earth as a disposable resource, followers of Jesus are to act as though the earth is the Lord’s . . . because it is! Jesus is about the renewal of all things . . . and “all things” includes our planet. (By the way, those last few sentences are Ken’s thoughts, not mine. They came straight from his book Jesus-Brand Spirituality: He Wants His Religion Back. A great read!).
Hearing Ken speak on this subject was a blessing but an even greater blessing was driving in the car with him to and from the event and eating dinner together beforehand. You see, there are 550 Vineyard Churches across the United States and the national leadership team divided the country into 8 regions to make pastoral care and church care possible. Ken Wilson is the “R.O.” (Regional Overseer) of the Great Lakes Region of Vineyard churches. So there are just 8 R.O.‘s in the United States.
So when my phone rang and I was extended the invitation to drive down with him and one other person, I jumped at the chance. It was a rare opportunity to spend 1-on-1 time gleaning and learning from a seasoned pastor, a published author, and a member of the national leadership team. We had a GREAT conversation, especially on the way back home. The third person in the car fell asleep in the back seat so Ken and I talked about everything under the sun, from pastoral care issues to books he is reading to the environment.
But today I’m paying for it. I’ll be having my second cup of coffee as soon as I post this.
***Please join us this Sunday at The Eastside Vineyard Church. We’ll be continuing our verse-by-verse look at the Gospel of Matthew. Plus, there will be communion, an opportunity to receive 1-on-1 prayer, and worship. April 10th. 6pm. More info at tevchurch.org***