We just rolled out of Ashland City, a quaint town on the outskirts of Nashville. There we partnered with Gateway Assembly, a church located on the main highway at the literal “gateway” to the city. It is also conveniently located next to Wal-Mart. Needless to say, everyone in town knows exactly where the church is. A pastor couldn’t ask for a better location.
On Sunday I shared a prophetic word with the church, “The Lord has made Gateway, the gatekeepers to the city and has called you to bestow beauty for ashes. Ashland will be known as Graceland.” I didn’t realize at the time, where the next stop our next stop would be and how prophetic that statement would be… more on that later.
Gateway is a remarkable church pastored by Chris and Leslie Moore. Chris and I first met during the Brownsville Revival at the school of ministry. His heart for revival and the people of his church and city is evident. Chris was so stirred by the story of the old rock altar in Seneca, South Carolina that he encouraged his church to bring rocks from their homes to lay at the altar that weekend. Gateway now has a growing rock altar at the front of the sanctuary. Something significant has started! I am amazed how the story of the old altar continues to grow.
We left Ashland City to head to Gassville, Arkansas. It’s a seven hour trip that we broke down to two days. That made Memphis, Tennessee the halfway point. There we found a great RV Park right on the Mississippi river fittingly called Tom Sawyer RV Park. It’s a great, full hook-up campground with level concrete pads. Jenna smiles when she hears those words (It means long hot showers, and less shaking in the coach). I’ve enjoyed morning devotions by the river!
The moment Reijah heard we were going to Memphis she got excited. “Can we go to Graceland!” Not sure how it’s happened, but my little nine year old is an Elvis fan. So today was a daddy-daughter to the home of Elvis Arron Presley. The Norris family left Ashland and went to Graceland. How fitting!
We we arrived to Graceland we found out they are about to open a brand new entertainment complex, leaving several attractions closed. Fortunately we still got to tour the Mansion, the car collection, and the airplanes. We even got to sample the king’s favorite, a Fried Peanut-Butter and Banana sandwich at the Rockabilly Diner. I believe, today was the last day Rockabilly is open before it is permanently closed as well.
As we toured the grounds I couldn’t help but think how tragic it was for someone like Elvis to die at 42 from a drug overdose. In the world’s eyes, he had everything a person could ask for, yet was never satisfied. I noticed several books throughout the house that belonged to Elvis. Even on the tour, Lisa Marie Presley shares that her dad was always reading. She said they were mostly spiritual, “He was always searching.” The scripture is true, “what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, but lose his soul.”
Two nights ago I met a precious couple in Ashland who work hard every week just to make ends meet. They live pay check to pay check. However in spite of their lowly financial status, they have found their Graceland. They had a joy and peace that cannot be bought. They’ve only known the Lord for three years. Their story of salvation is radical. Truly they’ve received beauty for ashes. I then leave this couple and find myself here at the empty home of a man who lived in a place called Graceland, yet his life ended tragically in ashes.
This is what drives us down the trail of fire. We passionately long to offer anyone, everyone the Lord’s beauty for their ashes. To take them from their “Ashland” to the true King’s “Graceland.” To give them what the world can never offer. Oh how I long to see this nation experience such grace! Lord let this be the year.
Also on the Road Cast…
Make sure you check out this episode of the Road Cast as we share how we are living Debt Free in 2017. That’s right! What many people are working hard over years to do, we accomplished by making this one radical step. In the Road Cast we share our monthly expenses for January. We managed to save over $1,000 this month in our housing costs over last year. How did we do it? We tell you.