Every year in April, our church hosts the annual Blessing of the Bikes. It’s an event that started when 4 bikers from the church approached the pastor with an idea to bring their friends to church. The first year, there were 162 bikes, and our town wondered what in the world was going on as they all rolled through. Over the years, that event has blossomed and is very well-known in the area. Our town actually sends the Mayor and emergency workers now, and even shuts down traffic for a while, to allow the event to be held. It’s a completely free event, because, in the words of our pastor, “so is a gift of salvation”. This year, on the 20th anniversary, we estimated approximately 15,000 bikes piled in – to our parking lot, and the adjacent streets, and the parking lots along the highway. Figuring many bikes had 2 riders, we’d say there were A LOT of people who turned out for the event. For the past 13 years, I have had the privilege of participating in the music for the service. This year, our good friend Dave Smith, sang a song called “Jack Daniels & Jesus”. I’m pretty sure there wasn’t another church in the country that sang that song on Sunday.
(By the way, I think there’s a message in here somewhere about starting a “movement” – it doesn’t take something BIG to make something BIG – it just requires someone to dream it and make it reality).
I am watching life unfold for several young adults – some of them are making some very good life decisions, and some of them are making some incredibly bad life decisions, some of them very, very public, and some of them very private. My heart breaks. In almost all of the cases, I say to myself, (and I’ve heard their parents say), “but they were raised differently than that” and then I remember the words, “somewhere between Jack Daniels and Jesus” and remembered that we’re really ALL somewhere on that journey. I haven’t had Jack Daniels in over 30 years. One REALLY BAD experience with it all those years ago, and I can’t even smell the stuff to this day…. And I was raised differently than that…. Still, I made some poor life choices along the way – hopefully, ones that I have learned from, and that have made me stronger. By the grace of God alone, He brought me through those poor choices and gave me a second chance, or maybe a third and fourth. And, by the grace of God, He will bring those folks through their choices as well, allowing U-turns to correct their course. Pray for them, will ya?