Throughout scripture, we see how our Father made sure that we get a great variety of stories, each of which reveal His heart. He did not hide the fact that even His most devoted followers made major mistakes. Each story we read reveals different aspects of His character but always leads us to the same conclusion, that He and His ways bring life, and the devil and his ways bring fear and death. As I think back on this last week in Las Vegas, I feel as though I am recalling a month’s worth of activity. So much happens in such a small amount of time, that I feel my emotions roller coaster as I see the devastation of poor choices…then I remember the moments of greatness.
My week began with the arrival of PBR great Austin Meyer, who had flown in to be part of his retirement ceremony. As he and I swapped stories of the highs and lows of his career, I felt a sense of true joy as he recounted his career as an intense training ground to prepare him for the rest of his life. There have been so many men that have come and gone throughout my time with the PBR. It is men like Austin that give me the courage to continue. From that point on, the week seems like a blur as I try to recall the many interactions with PBR staff, riders, and fans. Each encounter provided me with an opportunity to see that the Holy Spirit is at work, moving in the hearts of people. I see that an army of radical lovers is being assembled.
To top everything off, the last 24 hours of my trip went something like this; I stood on the sidelines of my ten-year-olds championship football game and watched my little guy play his heart out, only to fall short of a victory. Following their defeat, I got to hug and comfort this group of tear-filled eyes and remind them they are still loved and valued, and that this game didn’t change anything.
Leslie and I got on a plane to Vegas, arrived just in time to get rushed to the Thomas and Mack Center where we met with a group of four families with the Believe in Tomorrow Program. Each of these families had children dealing with critical illness, and we were able to give them a celebrity entrance into the PBR world finals, and several hours of a welcomed break from doctors, hospitals, and medications.
Then I walked into a room that Leslie, Shelly Queteri, and Debbie Mitchell had arranged to let the wives, girlfriends and family members of athletes get loved on, encouraged, and fed!
Following that, I was grabbed by Cody Nance, who asked me to come and join him in praying for a family. As I listened to Cody pray over this young man who had suffered a brain injury, I felt a peace come over me as I realized how these men in the PBR have learned to love.
The next morning as we were preparing for church, I watched our team of volunteers diligently work to get everything set up, Leslie and Dusty Lapp were filling the room with worship, and I sat at a table talking with Frank Newsom hearing what’s on his heart.
As the service unfolded, hundreds of PBR fans and myself got to not only hear the words of Frank Newsom but see a display of what happens when the love of God invades a human heart. Through tears, Frank described the challenges of the week and how he had to forgive a great offense in order to be positioned to be a pastor and mentor to one of the riders he had taken under his wing. He was only able to love this deeply because he himself had been loved in the same way by our Father. Following church, Leslie and I walked into the arena just in time to see PBR world champion JB Mauney publicly present his round winning buckle to one of our handicapped PBR fans. Following the performance, RHM had the huge honor of conducting a wedding of PBR rider Luis and Megan Blanco. Earlier that week Luis had a severe injury to his leg that had required surgery. In attendance was a dozen beat up and wore out bull riders, one of which was in a brace, due to a broken neck. Again, it is love that motivates men to do the right thing which was shown by going through with the wedding and supporting one another. If you are looking for it, you can see these beautiful pieces of evidence of love all around us. Thank you for continuing to send us to be a part of this revival that is taking place in the PBR. That was only a 24-hour snapshot, and I could tell hours of stories, but I think you get the point. We are only able to do this because of your generosity, and prayers.