- Do I have the money for this?
- Do I only want it because it's shiny and new?
- How will this item improve my work/life?
- Have I shopped for the best deal or read user reviews?
- Is there anything more important I should be spending this money on?
- Is this purchase good stewardship of the money God has entrusted to me?
"Your dreams may not be happening, and things aren't turning out the way you expected, but that doesn't mean your life is spinning out of control. It just means you're not in control."
No synonym for God is so perfect as Beauty. Whether as seen carving the lines of the mountains with glaciers, or gathering matter into stars, or planning the movements of water, or gardening--still all is Beauty!
The temple-destroyers, devotees of ravaging commercialism, seem to have a perfect contempt for Nature, and, instead of lifting their eyes to the God of the mountains, lift them to the Almighty Dollar. Dam Hetch Hetchy! As well dam for water tanks the people's cathedrals and churches, for no holier temple has ever been consecrated by the heart of man.
On my last visit, as I was sauntering along the shore on thestrip of sand between the water and sod, reading the tracks of the wild animals that live here, I was startled by a human track, which I at once saw belonged to some shepherd;...and after tracing it a few minutes I began to fear that he might be seeking pasturage; for what else could he be seeking? Returning from the glaciers shortly afterward, my worst fears were realized. A trail had been made down the mountain-side from the north, and all the gardens and meadows were destroyed by a horde of hoofed locusts, as if swept by a fire. The money-changers were in the temple.
"If I was to get down to the brink at all that rough edge, which might offer slight finger holds, was the only way. But the slope beside it looked dangerously smooth and steep, and the swift roaring flood beneath, overhead, and beside me was very nerve-trying. I therefore concluded not to venture farther, but did nevertheless."
"...I was not distinctly conscious of danger. The tremendous grandeur of the fall...smothered the sense of fear..."
- little league games/practices
- a new baby on the way
- the food I should be eating
- the food I shouldn't be eating
- fighting kids
- a growing church
- struggling marriages
- hurting teens
- terrible 2's
- office work
- yard work
- the economy
- worrying about my kids
- hurting friends
- high-maintenance people
- the dog
- upkeep of the house
- broke-down cars
- wanting to keep people happy
- time with God
- putting off life-goals
- being the man Jamie needs
- being the dad the kids need
- being the pastor LHC needs
- serving the community
- unwatched shows on the DVR
- unread books on the shelf
- list of people to talk to
- helping people become stronger disciples
- the lost
- the poor
- the sick
- the victims
- the forgotten
- fat belly
- need to shave
- stuff I need
- stuff I want
- stuff I want that I don't need
- stupid people
- how can they possibly answer all my questions about LOST in the handful of episodes that are left?
- Do I really notice people and listen to them, or do I just use people to accomplish the things I need to do?
- Am I solely focused on my own agenda, or do I give God enough access to my life to let him set the agenda?
- Is there time in your week for helping others, or have you maxed out you day so much that you couldn't serve someone even if you wanted to? What does that communicate to your kids?
- First of all to God, my family, and to Living Hope Church...I'm sorry that I've allowed myself to be defeated by this and live irresponsibly. I want to be disciple/husband/father/pastor for as long as God wants me to be and not a day less.
- Second...I've asked Living Hope's elders to hold me accountable in this issue. To ask me or Jamie if I've actually been eating right and exercising. And to chew my butt if I haven't.
- Third...A good friend has committed to come alongside of me and serve as a trainer/coach to push me harder than I naturally push myself. I'm so grateful for this!
- No strollers
- No food or drinks
- No sippy cups or bottles
- Don't stand there
- Don't touch anything
- No running
- Stay behind the ropes
- No cameras
- No flash photography
- No chewing gum
- No video
- You can't carry your backpack on your back. You must carry it at your side like a suitcase.
- No re-entry
- Don't carry your daughter on your shoulders
- No boys, no!
- Don't do that, girls!
- Don't run!
- No food in the sanctuary!
- You can't say that.
- Don't go there.
- You can't wear that.
- We held our first annual leadership retreat for Living Hope Church this weekend. It was great! I loved the interaction. Loved the opportunity to do some leader training. Loved the location (Occidental, CA). I love the leaders we've been blessed with and if we can accomplish even a quarter of the things we discussed this weekend, we're going to be one heckuva church!
- Phil Lockwood led us in a concert of prayer to kick off the retreat on Friday night. The first part of it was about 15 minutes of us vocalizing 1-sentence prayers just loving on God saying our favorite attributes of His. I don't know any other way to describe it, but God immediately entered that room and I was weeping like a baby. It was really a powerful moment!
- Of all God's creations, the coast redwood is my favorite!
- Jamie turned 38 yesterday, so for the next 3 months she's a cradle-robber.
- We welcomed two new Living Hope babies into the world this last week! Love that "natural" church growth!
- Great worship service this morning. That song "Mighty to Save" slays me every time!
- Borrowed from Ron Hunter's book, Toy Box Leadership, and taught lessons on leadership by using a slinky dog and a weeble. Awesome!
- Learned that the weebles I played with as a kid are considered dangerous and they don't make them anymore. So I got on eBay and purchased a vintage Goofy weeble for $5. (Kinda makes me want to start collecting them!)
- The final season of LOST starts Tuesday. So excited!
- Mollie becomes a teenager on Saturday. So not excited.
2 Corinthians 8:1-15 (ESV)
We want you to know, brothers,  about the grace of God that has beenh given among the churches of Macedonia, 2 for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and i their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. 3 For they gave j according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, 4 begging us earnestly k for the favor  of taking part in l the relief of the saints— 5 and this, not as we expected, but they m gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.6 Accordingly, n we urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you o this act of grace. 7 But as p you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you —q see that you excel in this act of grace also.
8 r I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, thats though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. 10 And in this matter t I give my judgment: u this benefits you, who v a year ago started not only to do this work but also to desire to do it. 11 So now finish doing it as well, so that your readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it out of what you have. 12 For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable w according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. 13 For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness 14 your abundance at the present time should supply x their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness. 15 As it is written, y “Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.”
- We shouldn't be giving to Haiti when we have people foreclosing on homes right next door! --- Yes, you're probably right. Even though millions of people in Haiti just had their homes and the few possessions they owned reduced to a literal pile of dust, it's much sadder that my neighbor has to downgrade from a 5 bed/3 bath/3 car garage home with A/C, satellite TV, a hot tub, and a pool, to a 3 bed/1 bath/2 car garage home with A/C and satellite TV.
- It makes me mad that my tax dollars are going to help people in foreign countries! --- Me too! Please stop this insanity and resume spending my tax dollars on abortions and offensive "art" and war and congressional slush funds and...
- Why would you want to adopt an orphan from Haiti when we have orphans right here in the U.S.? --- Oh yeah, we should all love on orphans the way you're currently doing it. Oh wait, I forgot, you don't give a CRAP about orphans! You just enjoy sounding intelligent and topical at their expense!
As we come up on this MLKJr. Day weekend, I wanted to post Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech. I listened to this speech in its entirety for the first time a little over a year ago and it just knocked me out. It is truly one of the greatest speeches of all time. In fact, I would probably rank it second only to Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. This may be a little forward, but I seriously have to believe that if you can listen to this speech and not, at least, get a little lump in your throat, there's something wrong in your soul.
- our faith increases.
- we care more about the Kingdom, because we've invested in it.
- we are exercising a muscle that most of don't exercise enough -- generosity.
- we communicate to God that He is a priority in our lives.
- the Kingdom advances.
- the church can grow.
- missionaries can be sent.
- the hungry can be fed.
- the "least of these" of the world are served.
- GOD IS GLORIFIED!