On Wednesday, Leigh-Ann and I and our five kids packed into our minivan to drive off to Branson for two days over Thanksgiving break. We made a few stops along the way and were cruising right along until….


It sounded like one of our tires blew out…but it was riding smooth.

It didn’t take long for me to realize it was the engine which sounded like…ka….KUNK…ka…KUNK...ka KUNK…

Within a few miles, I pulled over at a gas station in Lowry City…population less than 700. I asked if there was a mechanic in town…and was directed to head toward the church and take a left…and head toward the end of the road. On my left I would see several cars and the only auto shop in town.

After listening to our van and tugging on some wires, the mechanic whose name was Mike, told me that the engine was in really bad shape and I should try to find a rental.

We went in to the office and started calling….finally, we found one van for rent 45 minutes away. I reserved it, but had no idea how we would get to the van. Mike even suggested that his wife would drop us off…but he only had a car and there was no way we could cram all seven of us plus her into it.

After waiting…patiently….and thinking as calmly as possible while hoping for Mike to offer any sort of solution, I decided to head outside to try the van.

It started up, but sounded the same…so I thought I would try to drive it down the block…ka….KUNK…ka…KUNK…ka KUNK…. As I neared the corn field at the edge of town, I decided to turn toward the highway…and then made the decision to head back towards Kansas City and get as close as we could.

By the grace of God…many Angels…and remaining constant in prayer…we pulled into a car dealership in Kansas City, traded in the van and within a few hours were headed back toward Branson.

The entire trip back to Kansas City, we were just hoping we could make it back…and we did.

Throughout this saga, I must admit, there were several moments, where I had no clue what was going to happen…the mechanic even joked that now we were stuck there…and we might as well buy a house and settle down.

Even I had a hard time laughing at that…

This week is the first Sunday of Advent which means “coming” and at New Life, we will begin a sermon series about the coming of the Messiah. We will study from the prophet Isaiah on the topic of…believe it or not….”hope.”

God’s chosen people were living in dark times…their outlook as a nation was bleak….and Isaiah writes to remind them of the hope they have in the coming Messiah.

No matter how dark or hopeless your future may seem…our study from Isaiah 9:1-7 is sure to refresh your hope.