Matthew 18:20 (NIV84)

20 For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”

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Last week my family and I went on vacation. Our favorite place to to this is in the Smoky Mountains.

This year we all completed a life event together. We hiked to the top of Mt. LeConte. This is more than a “nature hike.” It is hiking to the highest point in the Eastern United States. That’s 6593 feet into the stratosphere.

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There is no way that I can explain this experience. The most flowery of words, the best photographs and the most passionate plea cannot do justice to what we shared together.

At the end of the day (an 11 mile day!) we were all very tired. We were sore. We also were extremely content with what we had just done together.

While driving back to Townsend I began to think about Donald Miller’s book A Million MIles In A Thousand Years. It occurred to me, I AM writing a better story with my life and with my family.

We spent the day away from iPods, iPads, MacBook Pros and even radios. All the way up the mountain we talked between moments of silence and reflection.

We spent the entire week walking, hiking, swimming and camping in a tent. We sat around campfires, roasted marshmallows, cooked chili, ate hamburgers, trail mix, drank water, tubed in the mountain waters in Deep Creek. We enjoyed a break away from all the things that make our life convenient and realized that they make life complicated.

I enjoyed my son walking up to me out of the blue and patting me on the back and even hugging me. “Out there” I found out that I listened to him because I could hear him.

At the end of the week we spent two days and one night with my cousins Joey, Debi, Caleb and Annie Porche in Kingsport, TN. This was two days filled with the love, fellowship and worship with extended family. Joey, Wesley and I prayed together for our families, our service to God and our King Jesus. We were led in worship by Caleb at a discipleship camp with 60 other students under the stars. We were writing a better story with our lives…together.

Joey and Debi introduced me to a friend of theirs named Scott. He is a children’s pastor, that used to be a “real pastor.” He talked to me about how God had led him to resign from being a “real pastor” and reapply at the same church as a children’s pastor. We discussed our ministry assignments, joys and frustrations. At the end of our conversation he says, “Hey, let’s pray before you go.” (Remember, this is a  guy I met 20 minutes ago). All of this transpired in the entry way of a Food City in Jonesboro. We were writing a better story…together.

I am beginning to see prayers answered. The prayer, “Father, let me see the Kingdom you have been pleased to give us.” I didn’t feel like a guy that “does church” I felt like a citizen that was in a Kingdom with other citizens of that Kingdom living in submission and pleasure under the reign of a righteous and loving King.

I can’t live “on vacation” but I am realizing that I CAN LIVE in the Kingdom.

The citizens of His Kingdom can write a better story…together!