Tag Archives: Disney World

Our Magic Moment came at a price

It was our last day at Disney World. We had gotten to the Magic Kingdom at 10:00 am and it was 10:25 pm. We were spent… but wanted to squeeze in one more ride.

When we got to the ride the sign said there was a 40 minute wait. The park was only open for another 35 minutes so we couldn’t use a Fast Pass.

As we stood there talking about what to do an older gentleman who works at Disney came out to chat with us. Learning of our dilemma he told us we only needed to know two words – Magic Moment.

After a bit more chit-chat he took us to the Fast Pass line and sent us through with instructions to tell the ride attendant those two special words.

As we stood there waiting to board the ride Eli said, “You just had your Magic Moment.” He explained that those who work in the parks try to give out special treats like that to help add an extra spark to your visit.

It was a great way to end our fun-filled day at the Magic Kingdom. But I couldn’t help thinking about all those people who had been waiting in line before we got there. They were still waiting when we got on the ride.

Our Magic Moment came at a price.

Those of us who belong to the kingdom of God have freedom from sin and death. We have a new identity and a new lease on life. We have a restored relationship with God and the promise of an eternity with Him forever.

We did nothing to earn it.

We did nothing to deserve it.

It comes to us free, but it came at a price.

It cost Jesus His life.

What will we do with God’s gift today?
***
© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Christianity, Eternity, Forgiveness, Freedom, God, Grace, Heaven, Jesus, Kingdom of God, Love of God, Relationship with God, Sacrifice, Sin, Stewardship, Thankfulness

Our Magic Moment came at a price

It was our last day at Disney World. We had gotten to the Magic Kingdom at 10:00 am and it was 10:25 pm. We were spent… but wanted to squeeze in one more ride.

When we got to the ride the sign said there was a 40 minute wait. The park was only open for another 35 minutes so we couldn’t use a Fast Pass.

As we stood there talking about what to do an older gentleman who works at Disney came out to chat with us. Learning of our dilemma he told us we only needed to know two words – Magic Moment.

After a bit more chit-chat he took us to the Fast Pass line and sent us through with instructions to tell the ride attendant those two special words.

As we stood there waiting to board the ride Eli said, “You just had your Magic Moment.” He explained that those who work in the parks try to give out special treats like that to help add an extra spark to your visit.

It was a great way to end our fun-filled day at the Magic Kingdom. But I couldn’t help thinking about all those people who had been waiting in line before we got there. They were still waiting when we got on the ride.

Our Magic Moment came at a price.

Those of us who belong to the kingdom of God have freedom from sin and death. We have a new identity and a new lease on life. We have a restored relationship with God and the promise of an eternity with Him forever.

We did nothing to earn it.

We did nothing to deserve it.

It comes to us free, but it came at a price.

It cost Jesus His life.

What will we do with God’s gift today?
***
© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Christianity, Eternity, Forgiveness, Freedom, God, Grace, Heaven, Jesus, Kingdom of God, Love of God, Relationship with God, Sacrifice, Sin, Stewardship, Thankfulness

Don’t drop your guard!

They make it look easy. They’re not only having fun doing it but some how magically pull you into the story. They even take people from the audience to be part of it.

I’m talking about the stunt men and women at Disney World who seem to effortlessly fill their roles several times a day. Can you imagine getting paid to have fun like that? What a blast!

Sure they are careful to tell everyone not to try these stunts at home. But this is Disney. The place where wishes come true. What could go wrong?

Apparently, a lot!

About five years ago, according to Eli, the stunt man who plays Indiana Jones made a misstep while going through the spears that shoot up out of the ground. One of the spear tips injured him so severely that it cost him his life.

Others have died from simple tumbling routines that they’d performed hundreds of times.

No matter how routine it might seem to be or how practiced you are, losing your focus for even a moment can be deadly.

The same is true for those who have given themselves to follow after and serve Jesus. We have been called up into a grand story that is bigger than we can imagine. A battle for the very souls of people.

But we have an adversary!

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are. ~ 1 Peter 5:8-9 (NLT)

Satan is the epitome of stealth and cunning; a relentless enemy who knows exactly when to attack us. He knows our weaknesses and attacks when we least expect it or are most vulnerable.

After Paul lists the various pieces of the armor of God in Ephesians 6 he ties it all together with the admonition to “Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” (Ephesians 6:18)

Prayer keeps us close to God and dependent on Him; sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s guidance in dealing with an enemy as crafty as Satan. And we need to be praying for each other.

I don’t know everyone who will read this blog but I am praying that everyone who reads it will take it to heart and draw close to God through prayer; as well as take time to pray for others.

No matter how routine or mundane your schedule may seem to be today…

Don’t drop your guard! 
***
© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Determination, Holy Spirit, intimacy with the Lord, Prayer, Satan, Sin, Temptation

Making the most of our time

We were very intentional with picking our week to visit Eli, our oldest, in Florida and hang out at with him at Disney World. He is doing a college internship there and his little “blue card” allowed us some nice discounts. Woo hoo!

We purposely avoided the week of Spring Break because EVERYONE would be there. But we also didn’t want to go after school let out for the Summer for the same reason. So we pulled the kids out of school and went the last week in April.

The theme parks were busy but not overly crowded. We got to do everything we wanted and never waited more than about 35-40 minutes. But one special feature made all the difference – Fast Pass!

Fast Pass is not unique to Disney World but it is free and very handy. Rather than wait in line you can get a Fast Pass and come back later to use a different entrance and save time. For example…

If it is 4:00 and a ride has a wait time of 50 minutes you can wait or get a Fast Pass. The Fast Pass will specify when to come back such as between 5:00 and 6:00. So you get the Fast Pass and then go do some others things before going back to use it.

With the Fast Pass you enter by way of a different line and it usually only takes about 10 minutes. This way you can do more and wait less.

I know what you’re thinking. “Where do I get a Fast Pass for the grocery store or my favorite restaurant?” Sorry, it doesn’t work that way.

But my point is this: Because we were there for a limited time and wanted to participate in certain activities, we worked hard to make the most of our time.

So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise.Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. ~ Ephesians 5:15-17

Paul encourages the disciples in Ephesus to make the most of every day by doing what is important to the Lord. It means giving everything you have at that moment because you don’t know if you’ll get another opportunity.

None of us lives with the guarantee of tomorrow, and yet we tend to put off the most important stuff as if we’ll always have a tomorrow.

  • Expressing love to those closest to us
  • Extending forgiveness to those who have hurt us
  • Playing with our kids
  • Sharing the good news of God’s grace with those who don’t yet know Him

As a pastor, conducting funerals is not my favorite thing to do. It is a good opportunity to minister to people but the heartache and grief can be tough to handle at times. Yet, I’m always grateful for the reminder not to take life for granted. Each day is a gift from God to be lived for His glory.

If you knew that today would be your last day on earth, how would you live it?
***
© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Children, Choices, Family, Glory of God, God, God's Will, Priorities

Are we being real?

Look at the blue building in the picture below. Notice anything different about it? For starters, it’s not real. Disney is busy reconstructing the location so they put an elaborate canvas over the area so that it doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb.

I can appreciate that. Disney is working hard to create a whole different environment for you to experience and they don’t want this construction zone to distract from the atmosphere of the Magic Kingdom they are working hard to provide.

At Disney World, this is awesome!

At church, this is lethal!

Each of us is an unfinished work of art being reshaped and recrafted by our Maker until the day we go to be with Him. But doing life as a community of believers is part of the process.

When we cover it all up we are protecting ourselves from being judged or ridiculed; which unfortunately sometimes happens. But we also make it impossible for God to use other believers as part of the process of reshaping our lives to reflect the life of Jesus.

I’m not suggesting that we come to church tossing all our dirty laundry around. No one likes to be covered in someone else’s smelly stuff. But I am suggesting that we drop our mask of pretending that everything is OK and just fine.

Church should be the one place where we can experience a lavish abundance of God’s grace so that He can do whatever reshaping needs to be done.

As you gather this weekend, pray for your church family. Then leave your mask at home and go wearing the grace of God that you want others to share in. Lets…

Be the church and be real!

***
© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Authenticity, Brokenness, Church, God, Grace, involvement with the church, Morphing, Spiritual formation, Spiritual growth

A role I wasn’t expecting to play

We got there early and endured a hot sun to have primo spots up front, but it was worth it. A parade at Disney World is nothing short of spectacular; the characters, the music, the excitement.

We enjoyed visiting with the folks next to us who were from Canada and we guzzled some drinks to stave off the heat, but the parade was the big attraction.

As the familiar characters walked, danced or rode by on floats I took it all in and got some great pictures. Watching a Disney parade is great fun but then it happened.

I was standing there minding my own business like every other spectator along the parade route when I suddenly and unexpectedly became part of the festivities.

The wolf from Pinocchio was walking by and along with others close by I stuck my arm out to high-five him on the hand… uh, paw. But he wouldn’t do it.

He stopped, turned to face me and placed his hands on his hips. Motioning for me to lean in towards him he took his cape and used it to wipe the sweat off my bald head.

After everyone had a good laugh he gave me a high-five and continued down the street. No one in my family thought to take a picture but we all had fun joking about it afterwards.

Disney wants you to be more than a spectator, they want you to be a part of all that’s going on; and so does God. 

Christianity, in America at least, has become largely an event for spectators. We show up on Sunday and take it all in then go about our week as usual. But that’s not God’s design.

God intends for each of us to be fully engaged with His kingdom purposes and plans every single day. Some days are spectacular, but most are more mundane. But even our mundane Lower Story moments help to advance God’s Upper Story agenda.

A little, unknown boy was there to supply his fish and bread for Jesus to use in feeding thousands of hungry followers.

Some unknown person was there to provide the animal for Jesus to ride in on for His triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

Someone was there to hold the rope used to lower Paul from a window in Damascus for his middle-of-the-night escape.

Sure it’s just another mundane day with nothing spectacular on the horizon. But that doesn’t mean God won’t pull you in or use you to touch a life in some special way today.

Are you ready?
***
If you’re following along in The Story read chapter(s) 14 this week. To learn more about The Story check out the tab above.

© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Christianity, God's Will, involvement with the church, Kingdom of God, Serving, The Story

There is more going on!

In case you missed my blog from yesterday I mentioned sharing a series of posts based on our visit to Disney World last week. On our first day we visited Hollywood Studios – it’s all about the movies.

Movies in general are a great adventure into worlds unknown and full of wonder. From animated Disney favorites to screen classics of bygone eras.

One of the fascinating aspects of the different attractions is getting an inside peek at how they pull off spectacular stunts. You know… the hidden stuff that makes what we see on the big screen so amazing.

In the Extreme Stunt Show you witness breathtaking manuevers involving cars, motorcycles and falls from tall buildings. And there’s a visit from a real, live Lightening McQueen.

At one point in the show they pick a boy about 11 or 12-years-old to come out of the crowd and help by driving a stunt car using a remote control.

Can you imagine the excitement of that boy?!

After moving the car forward and backward a few times they have him spin it in a 360 degree circle. That’s when you notice a driver on the backside of the car. The boy wasn’t really in control.

That reality, that something more is going on than what we can see, is no where more true than with God.

When the prophet Elisha and his servant were surrounded by a hostile enemy Elisha prayed…

“’Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.’ Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” ~ 2 Kings 6:17

What appeared to be a dead-end situation really wasn’t because God was active behind the scenes.

No matter what we are experiencing…

No matter what we encounter today…

No matter what we think we see…

…there is more going on!

The question is…

In the midst of our uncertainty and inability to see behind the scenes, will we trust God?
***

© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Faith, God, Trusting God

We did not get where we are on our own

Yesterday I blogged about our family packing up last week for a vacation to Florida. Our primary reason for going down was to see our oldest son who is working at Disney World as part of a college internship.

We spent three days at Disney theme parks, then a fourth day at Cocoa Beach and Downtown Disney (shopping stores outside the theme parks).

There were a few things that stuck out to me right away as good material for a blog post but I decided to ignore them and just enjoy being with my family.

It’s easy to get preoccupied and lose the moment. I’ve done that before with taking pictures or video. You get so focused on capturing the next pose that you forget to enjoy simply being with your family and taking it all in.

So I did a week of blogs before we left for Florida and just took time daily to respond to comments.

Then on the last day Susan mentioned that a certain event would make a good blog post and that I should blog about our trip. So I took a few minutes to jot down some ideas and then promptly put them aside.

Now that we’re home I want to do some blogs about our time in Florida because trips are a great source of new stories and it will be a great way to remember special moments of our trip.

My first observation is that we had help getting to Florida.

Of our four vehicles the newest is 15-years-old and our van, the vehicle we would use for such a trip, is 20-years-old. Since we don’t have a vehicle we trust to go that far (1000 miles) and we couldn’t afford to fly, we borrowed my father-in-law’s Honda van (pictured above).

As we soaked up all the sun and fun of being in Florida we were keenly aware that we did not get where we are on our own. And the same is true in our journey with God.

Stop and reflect for a moment on where you actually are in your journey and who has played or is playing a significant part. The older you are the longer the list will be.

Some encourage. Some comfort. Some teach. Some push. Some pray. Some challenge. Some inspire. All play a part in our journey.

We did not get where we are on our own!

Sharing the journey is not an optional pleasantry, but an essential necessity. It’s a God-designed part of our journey toward maturity in Christ.

Who has played a part in your journey? How can you thank them? How can you pray for them? What are you  waiting for?
***

P.S. – Thanks for the use of your van Dad Howard!

© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Christianity, Family, Fellowship, God, Gratitude, Loving others, Morphing, Relationship with God, Spiritual formation, Spiritual growth

Are your ready for the trip?

Last week our family – the four kids still at home – packed up and got ready for a fun-filled week in sunny Florida. We were excited about all of it except for the 16 hour drive.

Our oldest (no at home), Eli, is a junior at Anderson University but is participating in an 8-month college internship with Disney World in Orlando.

Yes – it is a real internship and he is taking classes on-line to keep his hard-earned scholarships.

No – I did not take time away from our family vacation to write this last week’s blogs. I did them ahead of time and just kept up with comments.

Yes – it is a tough gig to get off work and run free around Disney World; but someone has to do it so it might as well be Eli.

No – we cannot adopt you and pass along family discounts. But we’ll put you on the waiting list with others who have asked.

Getting ready for a week-long trip is very different now that the kids are older and able to pack for themselves. The last time we visited Disney World was 13 years ago before Brynden was born and we were chased out of Florida by a hurricane.

Packing for a trip gets easier the more you do it. Knowing when you’re leaving allows for a comfortable pace of getting things ready.

There are those occasions when trips are made unexpectedly. A sudden illness or tragic accident can mean an urgent departure. And those who serve in the military sometimes have to leave at a moments notice.

But there is one journey we’ll all have to make and for most it will be unexpected.

Death.

Are you prepared to enter into eternity? Have you received God’s gift of grace and surrendered to Jesus as Savior and Lord?

And still… even if you are ready for eternity in terms of your relationship with God, are you ready in other ways?

What important matters or conversations are you putting off for another day as if you’re sure you’ll be here for tomorrow?

Family vacations in fun-filled locations are one of life’s most treasured experiences. But nothing in this life compares with the glory that awaits us in God’s presence beyond this life.

Are you ready?
***
© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Glory of God, God, Grace, Heaven, Hell, Relationship with God