Living in the Land of Good Intentions

Broken piles of bricksGood intentions are just that, good intentions. While the intent behind them may be good, they have the ability to do an amazing amount of damage to your character if you’re not careful with them.

Take a look at Luke 14:28-30

“But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. They would say, `There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’

When we verbalize our good intentions to others but don’t follow through, we make a mockery of ourselves. We lose face, we lose favor, we lose trust.

It doesn’t matter if your good intention is taking someone to coffee, or launching a bold new campaign, before you verbalize it, you need to commit to it. Plan it out, calendar it in, gather support, protect it at all costs and stick with it til the end.

If you can’t commit to it, can’t follow through with it, then don’t communicate it.

“Salt is good for seasoning. But if it loses its flavor, how do you make it salty again? Flavorless salt is good neither for the soil nor for the manure pile. It is thrown away.” – Luke 34-35

Shopping List

I asked my kids to make a grocery list so I could go to the store today. This is what they requested:

Fiber One Bars
Goldfish
Popcorn
Ice Cream
Capri Sun
Orange Juice*
Stick Butter
BBQ Sauce
A1 Steak Sauce
Salsa
Tortilla Chips
Baking Cups
Tangerines*
Blueberry Muffins*
TP*
Noodle Boxes
Bisquik
Freezer Bags*
Pepsi
Mini Marshmallows
Choc. Chip Muffins
Cookie Mix
Sprite
Dr. Pepper
Rootbeer
ChexMix
Club Crackers
SunnyD

80% of the items on this list I would classify as goodies, treats and snacks. I love all of those things, but I have to keep in mind that . . .

If I give in and buy all these items,
I’ll have no money left to buy the good, healthy stuff.

The way we choose to spend our time is very similar. Movies, Farmville, Survivor, Hobbies are all good and fun things, but I have to keep in mind that . . .

If I allocate too much of my day to these kinds of pleasures,
I’ll have no time left to spend with God.

Salinas Mission Trip – Monday

Monday we got up and met everyone for Breakfast at Denny’s at 9am. Pastor Shankula shared a really good devotional that reminded us that we don’t need much in order to share Jesus with others. We don’t need money, we don’t need fancy technology, we don’t even need to be a great speaker.

He shared a few passages that reminded us as long as we are present, have our testimony, obey his prompting, and allow his spirit to work through us, we have enough.

When we got to the church in Watsonville it was great reunion to see the Peña family and Alma again. After lot’s of hugs and smiles we all got to work setting up for the day.

3:30pm rolled around and the only kids we had were the Pastor’s. So we decided to wait a little while and by 4:15, twenty-three kiddo’s had arrived.

Our first day’s lessons got off to a rough start. We hadn’t planned to have a translator but added one at the last minute and that takes some getting used to, so it threw the flow of the lesson off a bit. Still, two girls had accepted Christ before the end of the program that day. What an exclamation mark to the message Pastor Shankula had delivered in the morning.

On a personal note, the craft I had agonized over, went really well. We had the kids decorate pillow cases with fabric paint brushed onto large sea shaped stamps. The kids got super creative and they all turned out really cute.

My favorite part of this trip is watching the older boys come and participate. There are six of them between the ages of 14 and 22. They are wearing name tags, listening to the lessons, playing games and yes, working on the crafts. The oldest told one of our team, he doesn’t believe in God. So Luis and Ben chatted with him a while and explained the gospel and who God is. We could tell that he still left uncertain, but curious.

I wonder what tomorrow will bring??

A Nervous Choreographer

I feel like one of the choreographers on “So You Think You Can Dance.”

As the Designer of Children’s Outreach and Special Events I just finished the week spearheading our largest outreach event of year. This past week we hosted 1300 kids on campus and 450 volunteers for our annual Summer Blast (VBS) week of fun.

It was an amazing week, but like any event had it’s ups and downs, some brilliant moments and yes, many glitches.

I just finished sending an e-mail to all the parents and all the volunteers asking for their feedback. What they liked, disliked, their ideas and suggestions. It’s almost like getting voted on. Do you love it, or do you not.

Crazy thing is, I really want to know what they think. I want the specifics. I can only improve our event when I have an opportunity to see it through other’s peoples eyes and experiences.

I’m sure some of the feedback will bring much joy, and some much frustration, but each piece is important and I’m ready for honesty.

Bring it all on, I’m ready to hit the ground running for next year.

TV Influenced my kid, how about yours?

My 9-year old son, Brendan, had a friend over after church last Sunday. They played out in the yard all afternoon and had a great time.

When I went to put him to bed he proudly said, “I ate a cricket’s head today.”

cricket1

“Wow! . . . Um, why would you do that honey?” I asked.

“Joel and I were playing Man vs. Wild.” he answered.

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I’m not opposed to the show Man vs. Wild, and I think it’s kind of funny that Brendan actually ate a cricket, but I’m left wondering what else is he picking up from watching TV? Is it good, is it bad? Am I monitoring it enough? How much time IS he spending in front of the TV?

If you don’t think TV has an influence on our young people, good or bad, you’re fooling yourself. If my real-life story isn’t enough proof, check out some of these studies:

What do I need to know about children and TV
Lots of stats and interesting information. 

Children And Watching TV
Good insights on actively participating in viewing with your child.

As parent, it’s your responsibility to know what your kids are watching and the message that their absorbing. Make a commitment this week to track the hours they spend in front of the TV and take time to watch some shows with them. Then filter those influences against God’s word and decide for yourself what should be allowed and what shouldn’t. 

Zazu – A 25-Year Reminder to Pray First

Curious Zazu - Senegal Parrot
Curious Zazu - Senegal Parrot

 

Last Mother’s Day, I decided I wanted to get a parrot. I had talked to some family and friends who have birds and it sounded like a fun adventure.

I spent a few weeks talking to people familiar with birds. I did research on the internet checking out breeds. I gathered information on the proper feeding and care. I even watched some u-tube videos explaining how to train birds. Like a any good pet-owner, I did lots of research and homework in my process of deciding whether or not to add a new pet to our family.

However, unlike any good Christian, I didn’t take time to pray about it.

And now I regret it. I let the fun and excitement of a new pet overshadow the need to ask God his opinion. I pretended that doing all the good research and getting educated was like seeking God’s direction. But I never once stopped to ask God if adding this new pet would be his plan for our family. 

I’m sure if I had taken the same amount of time praying over this decision as I did researching, I would have come back with a clear answer from God, “No. this is not a wise choice for you.”

Now, I’m paying the price of not praying. I have this senegal parrot that will be with me for the next 25+ years. Making a mess, stealing my food, acting like the family alarm clock and getting on everyone’s nerves. That’s a pretty stiff penalty for running ahead of God and not seeking his direction.

Zazu loves to eat people food!
Zazu loves to eat people food!

 

Let this be a lesson for you to not forget to ask God for his input on the decisions you are making. When we wander off God’s path in the wrong direction, we ultimately pay a price. Sometimes big, sometimes small, but there is always a cost.

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P.S. Zazu is a very sweet bird, he does just what birds are supposed to do, and when I have the time to devote to him, he is a lot of fun.

On the bright side of things, I now have 25-year reminder to always pray first.