10 Things I Learned in New York City (Part 1)

In October I was fortunate to have a month-long sabbatical. I am grateful for the grace that my church gave to me to allow me this time to step away. Part of that time was spent in New York City as part of the pursuit of my Doctor of Ministry. This sabbatical time allowed me to make significant progress, and I am deeply grateful.

I endeavored to make the most of the opportunity that was made available for me, and I will share over the next few weeks some of what the Lord taught me during this season. It was a productive and refreshing time! I attended 7 church services from a wide range of traditions and contexts including Brooklyn Tabernacle in New York City, Fielder Church in Arlington, and Primera Iglesia Bautista here in Waco. I was able to visit with 24 ministry leaders including pastors, church planters, mission coordinators, and professors. I read, reviewed, and/or presented 26 books and academic articles. I analyzed 3 passages in the New Testament relevant to my academic project. I was able to be a tourist too, with plenty of photo-ops in New York City! 

I will share “10 Things I Learned from 10 Days in NYC” each week for the next several weeks. These are not ranked in any order, but I hope will give you a window into what the Lord was teaching me…and some other things are thrown in just for fun! So here is #1…

#1 – Buddy the Elf was wrong. It’s not the “yellow ones” that don’t stop. None of them stop! If you are familiar with the scene from the Will Ferrell movie, “Elf,” you will know that he learns the hard way not to walk out in front of yellow taxi cabs. I learned quickly who was a local and who was a tourist. The locals approached an intersection and almost instinctually knew if they could beat the oncoming vehicle. Rarely did they pause more than a second before stopping short or plunging forward. For me, the best way to navigate the crowded streets of Manhattan was to walk one step behind a local. If they stopped, I stopped. If they stepped out in front of a moving vehicle, I took a deep breath and jumped out there with them!

That is not a bad way to navigate life! Make sure you are behind the right person, and if He goes, you go. If He stops, you stop. It worked for the Hebrew people in the wilderness (Exodus 13:21-22). It worked for the disciples following Jesus (John 6:67-69). It is the way of life for all Christians following the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:25). It is the only way to navigate life!

Behind whom are you walking?

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