Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Post-vacation mind purge ...

So I just had a much needed, way-too-short vacation. I spent the first few days just relaxing at home and then from Thursday 'til Monday, I was in Dallas with David Pryor and Alex Romo.

The first weekend of my vacation (the weekend of July 25th) was pretty similar to any other weekend, and it really took me a few days to start to unwind and disconnect my mind from work. By Monday, I was starting to relax but I ended up having to do some work on Tuesday and then lead my GrowGroup that night, so it was weird having a few days off, then working one day, and having the rest of the week off.

On Wednesday I relaxed some more and prepared for my trip on Thursday. Thursday morning I left to Dallas and what should've been a 10 hour trip turned into a 12 hour trip because we left later than what I had planned, we made a couple of spur of the moment stops, and ended up getting a little lost in Downtown Ft. Worth, thanks to bad directions on the Google maps app on my iPhone.

We spent pretty much all Friday at Six Flags in Arlington (which was awesome and better than Six Flags in San Antonio, I think), and on Saturday we went to the Dr. Pepper museum in Waco, then met a friend of mine in Ft. Worth, and went to a campus of LifeChurch.tv there afterwards. After that we met a friend of mine back in Dallas at Speedzone, which is an arcade with outdoor go karts, a drag racing track, and some other stuff like bungie jumping and such.

On Sunday morning we woke up early and went to The Potter's House church, which was a really interesting experience. The building was massive, and there were SO many people there! We had to park across a highway, walk over a steel catwalk to get to the parking lot, then walked into the building and had to walk up to the balcony because it was so packed. When we got inside to our seats, the joy and celebratory spirit was amazing! There were thousands of people there singing out to God, celebrating the spiritual life that only He can give us.

After almost an hour and 45 minutes of singing and stuff, T.D. Jakes finally came up to preach but by that time, we had to leave to go visit another church - First Baptist Church of Dallas, right in the heart of downtown Dallas. What a difference going from a massive, contemporary, charismatic black church to a very traditional, upper class, Baptist church! They were both so different, but I really enjoyed both experiences and I think it was good for us to see those different expressions of worship. It just goes to show that God is so big and great that there are many ways for us to worship Him.

After that, we met my brothers Aaron and Aramis for lunch, then went to the Sixth Floor museum, which is in the building from which Lee Harvey Oswald shot President Kennedy in 1963. After being there for awhile, we headed off to Watermark Community Church in northern Dallas for their 5:30 pm service. Of all the churches we went to, that would probably be the one I would want to go to if I was in Dallas. I loved the environment there, and I was incredibly impressed by all the stuff do for the community, like a mentoring partnership with an impoverished school, giving a truckload of food to a food bank, sending their youth to work at a Christian summer camp for disabled kids, and having a beauty day for prostitutes in Dallas where they gave them a makeover, manicures and pedicures, and took glamour shots as a way to remind them that they are women of great value to God and to His church. I was also impressed that during the pastor's message, I saw most of the people with open Bibles on their laps and taking notes not on a provided outline, but on their own notebooks that they brought themselves. It really was a great experience there!

Afterwards we went to Panera Bread, then went to the hotel and chilled for awhile before going to bed. The next morning, we hit the road to come back to El Paso.

So all in all, it was a great experience. I had a REALLY good time with David and Alex, we had so much fun, had great discussions, joked around a lot, and just enjoyed our time there together.

As I got my mind off work, got out of town, and asked God to open my heart and mind to what He wanted to speak to me, I kept sensing His reminding me over and over and over that He is God, He is Lord, He is in control, He is good, and He will be faithful to provide. Most of all, He kept reminding me that He loves me. And that's enough for me.


Kacie said...

Hi! I just happened to search twitter for Watermark Church to see if I could find anyone that I go to church with - and I stumbled on your tweet and then your blog about visiting Watermark. Glad you liked it! Similar things impressed me when I visited two years ago, and I'm still there. You're right, the way they emphasize acting out faith is pretty awesome.

In any case, just wanted to say hi!

Ariel said...

Hey, thanks Kacie!

I REALLY enjoyed my time at Watermark, and I really enjoyed talking with some of the staff there.

I was blown away by my whole experience there, but I was most impressed by all the service stuff and by seeing so many in the crowd with open Bibles, taking notes.

I really truly hope and pray that God continues to bless Watermark as long as you all bless Him.