John Alan Turner

Writer, Theologian, Consultant, Speaker, Teacher

A Memorable Memorial Day Weekend

I had dental surgery on Thursday afternoon, and it hurt. I've got a gaping hole in my mouth where my tooth used to be, and the worst part is one of the four stitches came out and started floating around in my mouth while I was speaking to a group of singles at their Memorial Day Weekend retreat on Saturday night. Good times.

Actually, it has been good times here this weekend. I'm in Panama City Beach, FL. The North Atlanta Singles' Retreat was this weekend, and I was honored to be invited to speak to about 65 young adults about their expectations and how our expectations sometimes set us up for all kinds of disappointment.

We talked about our expectations of God and learned from the apostle Paul how to stop expecting God to improve our circumstances and start expecting God to show up in surprising ways in the midst of difficulties. Then we talked about our often unreasonable expectations of ourselves. We learned from Nebuchadnezzar how crazy we make ourselves when we forget that we're not God and try to live with just our own strength. Then we talked about our expectations of others, and we learned from Solomon that the thing that often makes our relationships so disappointing is that what people really long for is unfailing love. People just can't offer that -- no matter how hard they try. Finally, we talked about how Jesus taught people to pray -- specifically how he taught his earliest followers to close their prayers: "Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever". If God's is the kingdom, then our response is to surrender. If God's is the power, then our response is to ask. If God's is the glory, then our response is to worship.

It was really a good time -- hopefully, it was a time folks will remember for a while. I was surprised by God once again, because I was pretty unprepared for this weekend -- what with my face going through so much trauma and all. I came down here with something of an idea for what I would say in the first two sessions, but not much beyond that. Still, God showed up and surprised me. The vicodin helped a lot, too. Hopefully, others were helped too -- by the messages -- not by the vicodin -- I'm not sharing my drugs with anyone.

If you'd like copies of the cds of the sessions, leave me a comment here, and I'll see that you get them. If you were praying for me, I appreciate that more than I can say.

The best part of the weekend, however, is the time I've gotten to spend with my wife and daughters. We played on the beach and made sand castles and went out to dinner and shook hands with a dolphin. We watched some college students do a high-dive act. We played and walked and talked and had a really wonderful time. And the folks at the retreat loved on my kids so much! They treated them with respect and sat in the middle of the floor with them, had conversations with them, swam with them. I love watching other adults treat my daughters well.

All in all, it's been a very memorable Memorial Day Weekend for us.

Now we just have to drive home tomorrow. (pray for us please)