Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Entry number 5 South Florida 10-3-17

  I haven't posted a blog lately. Eric and I have been in South Florida since 9-28 and for some reason the internet at the condo is not working (because it's me, pilot error is the likely cause). There is much to discuss since 9-24 and I wasn't sure if I should post multiple entries or a single one. I'm easily confused and the idea of structuring several individual blogs made my brain hurt. So, one it is.
  Bear with me as this account will only be mostly chronological. There have been quite a few brief spiritual assignments/encounters with folks we've met on our journey; breakfasts at the hotels, stopping for nuts at a roadside shop in GA, servers at restaurants, many things of this nature. It's very easy to be preoccupied with your own life issues as you deal with people in various settings each and every day, often missing what He is doing in our midst. I have been guilty of this more times than I'd like to admit. My problems are so big that I simply lack the energy and will to be as considerate as I should be. People can be exhausting. I'll leave you alone, you leave me alone. Today, more so than ever, this is the societal norm.
  It shouldn't be. It's clear to me that when your focus is on following and obeying His will, you see how important every soul you have the chance to touch is. Eric and I are traveling with the stated goal of ministering. But for all of us as Christians, this "stated purpose" should always be a given. To my shame, it took a "mission" for me to see what is plain as day. Taking His name (identifying yourself as a Christian), obligates you to be constantly ministering (serving). And here's the amazing thing: you will be blessed as much, or even more, than those you minister to. "Preach the gospel always; use words when necessary" (I think Francis of Assisi said that, but I'm not sure). By the way, don't use this quote to justify never actually speaking the truth to others (see 1st Peter 3:15). Know that your main job is to shine the light of Christ, always. Do it with customers; do it as a customer; do it when treated well; do it when treated shabbily. When you are serving Christ, you will be found serving man. Bitterness, envy, selfish ambition, spite, and hate will keep the "peace that surpasses all understanding" from you. I was too slow to see this. Don't be dense like me. You're a Christian, that means you're on a mission. It really is that simple. We all need to work constantly as ambassadors of His kingdom. Each of us should be having so many of our own "Christ stories/appointments" daily, that we can't even recall them all individually. That's worth shooting for.
  I'm not going to go into specific details about any of these "little" divine appointments Eric and I have been blessed with, but that does not diminish them in the least. They may well be where we have our greatest impact. We don't necessarily always see where the pebbles we throw end up. We don't even know if they hit a pond and cause ripples or not. But we're gonna keep chucking them. Yep, we're gonna keep chucking them.......
  Eric has always been very interested in Biblical archaeology. We were in TN and that is where the "Ron Wyatt Museum" is. As you likely inferred, Ron Wyatt was a Biblical archaeologist. He passed away in 1999. Eric contacted the museum and discovered that they are only open for private tours. We scheduled one for Monday 9-28. We enjoyed a Green Bay Packer victory on Sunday (I did, not so much Eric), and left early Monday morning for Cornersville, TN where the museum is located.
  We knew that Richard Rives (I wrote it down as Reeves which is how it's pronounced), Wyatt's former business partner and friend for the last ten years of his life, would be conducting the tour. We had no idea how many folks would be there, or any other details. Richard lives right next door to the museum, and when we pulled into the parking lot he came out to greet us. There was no one else on his schedule that morning, so to our delight, we were given a private tour.
  I'm speaking more as a spectator than participant at this point because Richard and Eric are in another league from me. I was trying to learn the language of Biblical archaeology that they were speaking fluently. But I can tell you this, it was a privilege to have Richard Rives talk with us and show us artifacts, some from his own personal collection.
  As I looked around the museum, I noticed that Reeves (phonetically pronounced), was actually spelled "Rives". Interesting spelling, I thought to myself. Richard could not have been more gracious as we talked. Our conversation covered many topics. When Richard mentioned his son David, the name struck me as familiar. Then it hit me: David Rives hosts one of my favorite shows on TBN called "Creation in the 21st Century". I asked Richard if this "David" was the same one. He was! Richard kindly offered to show us his son's new production studio nearby. We eagerly accepted. Richard brought his other son Murray along with us, who is also heavily involved in the ministry. Murray was every bit as gracious as his father. Eric and I both felt very privileged to have, not one, but two private tours in the same day! I told Murray and Richard how much I admired the work that David does. "Too bad he's not here. I would have loved to have met him," I said. We invited Richard and Murray to join us for lunch. Murray had too much work to do but Richard accepted.
  Here's where I get a bit muddled on the exact order of events. Everything is accurate, I'm just not sure what, if anything, was established at the production studio or if it all came together at lunch. As best as I can recall, the next two days were scheduled at lunch so that's what I'm going with.
  In our discussions, the name Dr. Kent Hovind came up somehow. I don't remember why or even the context. Dr. Hovind is very well-known in academic circles by creationists and naturalists both. Naturalists despise him. He will debate anyone anywhere about the lie that is Darwinian evolution. If you want to know why they despise him, just YouTube any evolutionary debate he participates in. They hate him because they can't beat him. Dr. Hovind was falsely accused and put in prison on trumped-up charges for tax evasion (research this yourself if you don't take my word on it that he was indeed railroaded). I didn't know if he was out of prison or not so I asked Richard if he had any knowledge about his status. Richard said that he had been released from prison (after serving 8 years), and that he had actually just spoken with Dr. Hovind within the last couple of days. And to our surprise, he then asked us if we would like to meet him! I enthusiastically told Richard that I would love to have that opportunity. Eric was unfamiliar with his work, but nevertheless agreed to drive to Lenox, AL to meet Dr. Hovind the following day. We would not have been able to schedule this meeting without Richard's help. To our further delight, we also learned that David Rives, Richard's son, would possibly be able to meet with us the day after we were to meet with Dr. Hovind.
  We left Tuesday morning for the five hour drive to Lenox. Actually, it turned out to be a total of a ten hour drive for us that day because we returned to Cornersville, TN that night. After meeting with Dr. Hovind (and others) we were happy to learn that David Rives would be available to meet with us Wednesday morning.
  Dr. Hovind has about one-hundred and fifty acres of land in Lenox. He is working on creating a dinosaur theme park and creation science museum geared primarily for youngsters. Eric has always known that Darwinian evolution is a lie. I was agnostic most of my life and absolutely believed in it. Dr. Hovind was a very positive influence helping me see that not only is Darwinian evolution a lie, it is mutually-exclusive with a Biblical worldview and a very real danger academically. We are not animals! But why are we surprised when we see "beastly" behavior from those who have it drilled into them from grade school through grad school that they are nothing but animals who evolved from amoebas?! Let me take a moment to encourage you, if you believe in Darwinian evolution, to look into both sides of this theory. I was convinced of Creation while trying to prove to my brother that Darwinian evolution is true. It's not.
  Eric never needed such proof, and honestly, he didn't seem too interested in Dr. Hovind's work. That's why I was there, he was there for something else. Among the volunteers working with Dr. Hovind was a family who earlier felt led by the Holy Spirit to come down to Alabama from New York. It was obvious that Eric was sent there for them. He had encouraging words for the wife and felt led to give her a copy of his book In His Service. To Eric's surprise, she later commented that her husband had heard of Eric's book! I was very gratified to meet Dr. Hovind, but while these things are hard to quantify, I would have to say Eric's encounter was more spiritually significant.
  We went back to Cornersville on Wednesday and had a very educational and enjoyable experience with Richard, Murray, and David Rives. Richard and David joined us for lunch. Once again, Murray was hard at work. We exchanged contact information and Eric and I both hope our paths with them will cross again. I expect they will.
  When we first left Bristol,TN, we had no idea what was in store for us. I would have scoffed if someone had told me that I was going to meet with Dr. Kent Hovind and David Rives on successive days! Eric would probably have done the same had you told him he would get two private tours and two lunches in three days with Ron Wyatt's closest friend, Richard Rives! Not that we're star struck. In fact, we're all merely fellow servants of our Lord. But who knows what these, or any other connections we've made or will make, might lead to. What we look at as being of no significance may be of the greatest significance. Point is, we don't know anything except to keep chucking. And, Lord willing, that's what we'll do!     


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