My first hint that things were changing was the Storm Troopers suddenly patrolling the parking lot. Then I saw the man with the floor-length wolf tail. Followed by seeing X-Men in the hotel lobby.
Our grandson's on a mission to Asia today! Literally, retracing much of my first overseas ministry trip many years ago.
When he texted about his landing there, I had a flashback. Of the people at the gate.
As I emerged from customs, here was this sea of people, waving signs with people's names on them. Folks they were looking for. Family members. Limo passengers. Business associates. Best friends.
That's what I want to be. Because an awful lot of people don't really like the kind of Christian they're seeing. And that's a big deal. Because it's keeping them from Jesus.
The woman I loved since I was 19 was that different kind of Christian. You could tell by the mountain of tributes I received after she went to be with Jesus a little over two years ago. Those tributes had a common theme - "she made me feel..." They would finish the sentence with words like "loved...heard...accepted...worth something...believed in...I mattered."
It started out as just another day driving a school bus for Ponderosa Elementary. By that night, Kevin McKay would be hailed as "the bus driver from heaven."
In between, the most deadly wildfire in California's history exploded.
On the morning of November 8, McKay had just dropped off his students when he saw the smoke. Ten minutes later, the evacuation order. Ultimately - and quickly - nearly the entire community would be consumed by flames.
I owe Native Americans so much. We all do.
They helped the Pilgrims stay alive.
They helped create our Constitution with their model of representative government. They helped in every war our country's fought - in larger numbers per capita than any other ethnic group in America.
And they helped me.
The First Americans. The forgotten Americans. Native Americans.
They may never know how many died when the tsunami swept over the city of Palu in Indonesia last week. So many were just swept out to sea.
The videos are absolutely heart-wrenching. Those people were gone before they even knew what hit them.
It's that time of year again. When a lot of us are feeling - well, religious.
You've got Lent. And Good Friday services. And Easter services. And if you're Jewish, the millennia-old observance of Passover.
And that's all good. In fact, social researchers tell us that religious folks are generally happier and more satisfied, less likely to get divorced, more likely to volunteer - lots of positive effects.
Again and again, cable news networks announce "Breaking News." All too often it's heart-breaking news.
A school shooting. A quake or a crash. A storm, a fire, a flood.
It's hard to be a news anchor or politician at those times. Trying to find the right thing to say. Often, they will simply say, "Our thoughts and prayers are with you." Or the social media version of consolation, "Sending good vibes."
We knew it was coming. With each passing birthday, we knew a spiritual giant of our lifetime would be in heaven soon.
It's still hard. And even more real for me, having just come from Billy Graham's funeral service. For so many of us, he embodied the best of Biblical faith. Even though his last crusade was in 2005, there's still this sense that we have lost something irreplaceable.
Leaving many asking the graveside question his pastor posed: "Billy's gone - what happens now? Who will take Billy's place?"
I was privileged to touch just the edges of Billy Graham's life. He touched mine all the way to its core.
There are many who knew him intimately. What he taught me often came just by watching his life. And sometimes through connections at Billy Graham events where I had the opportunity to speak over the years.
But the Jesus-power and Jesus-presence reflected in Billy Graham's life radiated far and wide. I probably learned more about a Christ-honoring life from him than any other single person I've known. Sometimes you have to see it to be it. In Billy Graham, I got to see it.