"Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:16-20 NIV)
Dear Cambridge Family & Friends,
The last time I wrote you, I had just finished watching ‘The Oscars.’ This month the entertainment world turns its attention from actors to musicians as the Academy of Country Music presents their awards. Unlike the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the ACM Awards don’t have a cool name for their trophy like Oscar. I think they should have a little statue with overalls and call it ‘Bubba’ or ‘Earl’ (or Earline – don’t want to be bias here) or some other cool country name. Country music is not the way I remember it as a kid. Sometimes I can’t tell the country stars from the rock stars and several of them switch back and forth. Steven Tyler, the rocker and former lead singer of Aerosmith has even released a country song. I saw the video and there’s just something about those black painted fingernails that doesn’t match cowboy boots and ‘perty’ little country girls in flowered sun dresses.
Once upon a time, as I recall, Bluegrass was considered country music, but I don’t think that’s the case anymore. Occasionally, Cambridge hosts our good friends from The Jollett Lane Bluegrass Band to come and play a little Gospel Bluegrass. I bet they can also play the classic bluegrass song that begins, “Wish that I was on old Rocky Top,” but since it mentions moonshine and a ‘perty’ little girl who is as “sweet as soda pop,” chances are, you’re not going to hear it played during morning worship.
“Pastor, what in the world does Rocky Top have to do with one’s faith?” you may be thinking. Rocky Top is about an untarnished way of life far away from the noise and pollution of city life. Our youth pastor Claire and some of our young folks are outside the city this week on a mini-mission trip which will hopefully give them an opportunity to feel God’s presence away from the noise and pollution of this word (i.e. distractions such as technology and pejoratively filled media, and pollutants such as gossip, drama, and strife). Hopefully you’ve had a similar experience and been on a mission trip or at least a Christian retreat that has allowed you to remove yourself from the world’s hassles and negative influences, and focus on God’s purpose for your life. The feeling that Christians often have during this time away with God is called a ‘Mountaintop Experience.’ Your walk with God grows stronger, your thirst for God’s Word becomes greater and your faith grows deeper. Several times my Christian brothers and sisters (young and old), and I have returned from these mountaintop experiences with renewed energy and passion to make a difference for the Kingdom.
The Gospel of Matthew tells us about the ultimate mountaintop experience when after the Resurrection, “the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.” There, their walk with God grew stronger, their thirst for God’s Word became greater and their faith grew deeper. Hanging out with Jesus will do that. Eventually, they would have to leave the mountain and return to the hassles and negative influences of the world, but they were prepared, focused and committed. Undoubtedly they experienced setbacks, but over 2,000 years later, their influence is still being felt for the cause of Christ. As we ‘come down from the mountaintop’ of a joyous and uplifting Easter season, let’s be prepared, focused, and committed to the cause of Christ through discipleship and study of God’s Word, regular prayer & fasting and by “serving joyously with our gifts and sharing God’s love with our neighbors near and far.” Who knows, perhaps we might help influence someone who doesn’t know Christ, to have their own mountaintop experience.
In Him alone,
Cambridge Baptist Church