The view from the Casino

My wife and I are in Las Vegas.  We left our home Tuesday morning, leaving Grandma in charge with the kids.  Who got the better end of this deal?

Wednesday morning, we awoke to clouds, snow flurries, and then rain.  It was very cold and the tv stations were just in shock that there was a brief moment of snow.  However, it turned to rain and then the sun came out, and the forecast is for 90 by the weekend.  I heard one weatherman say he never had seen snow and 90 degrees in one week.

As I have been making my way around the strip, I just feel odd.  This is not where I belong.  Many of the dudes here are like vultures looking for a dead carcass.  Some of the females are begging to be hunted.  People are feeding the one armed bandits and gaming tables looking for their fortune.  It’s just a different environment, and one that I fail to see any glory of God in.

Before you wonder, well why did you choose to vacation in Vegas?  I didn’t.  My wife and I are down here for a convention.  This was not my choice of destinations.  However, it is a fascinating place to people watch.  You have to walk through the Casino to get anywhere.  I have yet to gamble one penny.  I farm why should I gambe here?  But watching people is interesting.

For example, this street performer is interesting.  img00031

But, later that night, I saw something I didn’t think existed down here on the Las Vegas strip.  I had heard of “Hookers for Jesus” working here to help get ladies out of that lifestyle.  I didn’t think I would see much of Jesus’ representatives  here.

But as we were walking to supper last night, there was a group of college kids in a huddle.  They were getting ready to spread out and just see who they could impact.  A couple of them were holding crosses.  I didn’t ask what church or affiliation they were with.  Frankly, I didn’t care because I was just amazed that someone was daring to battle on these grounds.  I was thinking, “you kids ain’t got a chance in this environment”.  But then they did something that proved to me, they have something bigger on their side.

img00032It may be hard to tell, but I snapped this right after they were done praying.  Who ever heard of praying in the Devils own front lawn?  Right on the grounds of the MGM, right out in public. I admire their faith.

And sometimes we’re afraid to talk to our neighbor…

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11 responses to “The view from the Casino

  1. It’s funny, I went to a convention in Las Vegas and also felt totally out of place. Found little to nothing there that I enjoyed and found a whole lot that moved me to pity.

    Grace and peace,
    Tim Archer

  2. Amazing isn’t it…to be walking around in the devil’s playground. I’m glad you aren’t there by choice. Equally amazing how many people long for that enviorment. It seems temptations might be harder to fight off in a place like Vegas.

    Enjoy your convention, watch your back and watch your wallet and God Bless!
    Isn’t it wonderful that God is with you in Vegas too?

  3. I thank you for the comments! I see these feelings are shared by others. One thing keeps hitting me: look at the fields, they are ripe for the harvest.

  4. Awesome post Steve! Thanks for taking the time to share your trip with us, even though you’re busy.
    Praying God continues to use you even while you’re there bro…
    Have a great trip!

  5. Great thoughts, Steve. You describe how I felt in downtown San Francisco last Fall. The power of one solitary light is amazing, though. It can lighten even the darkest room ever so slightly but effectively.

  6. Maybe seeing them there was God’s way of letting you know that you weren’t alone. 🙂

  7. I want to thank you for sharing this testimony with us all. It must of felt like David and Galiath for those college kids. I am praying for each of them right now as they are on spring break. I know I could think of a million other ways to spend spring break that ministering in vegas. My heart and prayers goes out to them and the Hookers for Jesus ministry.

    I have learned in ministry that as believers we need to get out of our comfort zone, element and confront satan on his own ground. As Joshua we need to be strong and courageous because the Lord our God will be with us wherever we go. We must remember that when fighting the spiritual warfare.

    I am proud of you brother for not gambling because it can become addictive and lead down a road to distruction for many. You would be suprized how many believers who go to churches on Sunday play the loto or visit the casino’s the night before worship. I think this is something that every pastor should address.

    You do such a fantastic job on your blog and have added you to my favs. Keep up the great work! 🙂

  8. My son who attends Lincoln Christian College in Illinois did a Week of E(vangelism) in the Las Vegas area. Sounds like it could be a group like that you ran across. The group he was with spent a lot of time working with the homeless – in shelter and packing backpacks for kids to take home on Friday so that they would have something to eat over the weekend. It was a real learning experience for a midwestern small town boy.

  9. This is a great blog, Steve! Thanks for sharing. This is right up my alley of things I’m interested in. 🙂 Like “preacherman”, I also think it’s so important for Christians to step out of our comfort zones, and then to be aware of our surroundings. There’s probably a lot more “God” in places like Vegas than we are aware of, since he’s so close to the broken hearted. It’s comfortable and easy for us to emphasize not being “of” the world, but we can easily forget what it means to still be “in” the world.

    Ben and I were also at 6th Street in Austin, TX last weekend (a smaller version of Vegas 🙂 and it was life changing for me. As you know, that’s totally not my world either. 🙂 I definitely did not fit in with the crowd. But, what God helped me to learn is that each of those people have a story behind who they are now, and sometimes we might come to find out that our stories cross paths somewhere, if we’d take a minute to talk to them.

    I learned that God is especially fond of Donald, the homeless man that I met, and of Wanda who works as a waitress and raises her teenage son alone. I also learned that I’m not so different from the two of them, except that they’ve seen a lot tougher things than I’ve ever seen. I was able to have an hour-long conversation with each of them, and as it turned out, they richly blessed my life. Ironic.

    I think I’ll write a blog about my experience in Austin, too. 🙂 Thanks for the inspiration. I miss you guys!! See you at the wedding in a few weeks!

  10. Tucker- I grew up on a farm, have farm land and still consider my self a country girl despite living in the city. Your comment about not needing to gamble because you already farm is dead on.

  11. So many times, I see someone who struggles and think, “That could have been me.” For all my shortcomings and failings, in spite of my past, God gave me so much. I wonder how far away I was from being one of “those people”?

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