Greater life is found in the actual encounter

FAITH & REFLECTION -- My whole childhood was filled with the knowledge of the Disney experience.

by guest pastor Shawn Acheson

FAITH & REFLECTION — My whole childhood was filled with the knowledge of the Disney experience. Every new school year began with many kids telling stories of their summer trip to Disney Land or Disney World. Our family watched The Wonderful World of Disney every Sunday night. I had an imagined version of the Disney experience I used to help me engage in the conversations the Disney experienced kids were having, but I really had no idea at all.

I was 27 years old, on my honeymoon, when I had my first genuine personal encounter with the Disney experience, at Disney World in Florida. I was astonished at how perfect everything was, neat, clean, manicured and everything in its place.

The sudden appearance of the tickertape parade, billowing paper streamers into the air the whole length of its journey. It was awesome, but more awesome was the gas powered vacuum machines subtly following along, erasing all evidence that a parade had ever happened.

We ate at a restaurant designed like a movie theatre, the ticket counters were where you ordered, behind that you could see the bustle of the open kitchen. I was placing my order when suddenly loud music was booming, the girl taking my order was now standing on top of her counter dancing and singing in perfect choreography with the cooks and kitchen staff. Then as quickly as it started, they were back taking my order as though nothing had happened.

It was a magical experience beyond my imagined dreams, as an adult, I was able to enjoy the wonder of ‘how did they do that?’ as much, or more, as the excellence of the experiences themselves.

Walt Disney was masterful at creating these experiences, and then making them better and better. He would ask people their opinions, while dressed as a customer, trying to evaluate the experience from every angle possible. He wanted to make everything the best it could be, constantly upgrading even the smallest details. This penchant for excellence became known as the Disney way and was so infectious and contagious that it is still at the core of everything that happens at Disney today.

Walt Disney called it plus-ing, his continual adding of something more and always looking to increase the value of what people saw, heard, smelled and experienced. What a truly remarkable way to live life.

What if your life could be plus-ed along the way, and you became an ever improving plus to the lives of the others in your world?

Would you want that? Life becoming greater, you becoming greater and everything that touches you, sees you and hears you becoming greater too.

Imagine how fulfilling life would be if more of us, or all of us were to get in on this kind of plus-ing.

There is a greater life for all of us. God’s abundant life puts us on the ‘plus’ side of life’s mathematics. And our lives multiply the blessings of God to others around us.

Like my Disney imaginations, the greater life is found in the actual encounter, not in our self-styled imagined version of the God experience.

I encourage you to make your way to church in the near future, be it ours, or another. Open your heart to Christ and consider God as the plus-er of your life, not your ideas, but His.

Jeremiah 29:11 MSG I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.