We could almost smell the pizza.

Dear Family,

We could almost smell the pizza and feel the padded rocking chairs as we trudged along the last two miles of our 14-mile hike in Yosemite in August, 2016. (OK, 13.8 miles if you want to be technical). My twin brother Dan and I were on the Pohono Trail which goes from Glacier Point to the Wawona Tunnel. I cringe at this picture below. Check it out but don’t laugh too hard.

I mean, what a Weekender! Get a load of me – blue running shoes, dark “Dad” socks, cargo shorts and a cotton T-shirt. Oh, come on! What serious Yosemite hiker dresses like he’s making a Costco run on a Saturday morning in June. In my own defense, this was 2016 and we’ve since upgraded our hiking gear. Now we only wear Columbia hiking pants and shoes with Vibram outsoles. So there.

But back to my story. The last mile of the Pohono Trail is downhill sequence of concrete steps that are designed to tear up the menisci of hikers pushing 50. What motivated Dan and me to finish the hike when we were hungry, tired and harassed by yellowjackets? Just this: the thought of an extra large pizza and comfortable rocking chairs.

See, we would soon exit the wilderness and enter the equivalent of the Yosemite Promised Land: Curry Village with the Pizza Deck Restaurant. What would we choose? The Mother Curry? Half Dome? No, we had our hearts set on the El Capitan, with Marinara, Cheese, Pepperoni, Sausage and so on. Here’s a picture of Dan at the Pizza Promised Land happily resting in a rocking chair on the deck of the Curry Village Lodge. (This picture was last June after our hiking wardrobe upgrade. Notice Dan’s Columbia nylon hiking pants. His hiking boots are out of view, but trust me, he’s not wearing blue running shoes.)

Chapter 7 of The Story: Entering the Promised Land under Joshua’s leadership

This Sunday we’ll explore Chapter 7 of The Story, where Joshua leads the Children of Israel across the Jordan River and into the Promised Land. Did they have pizza when they entered the land of milk and honey? No, but they enjoyed, for the first time, the agricultural abundance of Canaan.

Josh. 5:11-12 And the day after the Passover, on that very day, they ate of the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain. 12 And the manna ceased the day after they ate of the produce of the land. And there was no longer manna for the people of Israel, but they ate of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.

Of course, there would be challenges ahead. Receiving the gift of the land from the hand of God would be a rather complicated affair. We’ll talk about the dynamics of receiving a gift from a generous giver who is also a king with expectations.

We’re honored to have Valerie Hill visiting us.

Before the message, we’ll hear from Valerie Hill, the Executive Director and CEO of RealOptions Pregnancy and Medical Clinics. She’ll share about her own experience with an unwanted pregnancy and how God has transformed her life. Now the Redeemer uses her to help other women. She’ll be talking about abortion and so we encourage parents to decide if the subject matter is appropriate for their children. Please check out the RealOptions website: https://www.realoptions.net.

We’ll be under the sun on Sunday (no canopies)

Just so you know, we’ve taken down the canopies because of the wind. And so if you plan on worshipping outside this Sunday, please bring a hat or an umbrella if you don’t want that much Vitamin D.

For the Giver,