My Spring Break: 30 Takeaways

Over my Spring Break, I was fortunate enough to go, for a second time, with a group from Lipscomb to Ft. Worth, TX.  We partnered with a church there named Siempre Familia (“Always Family,” for you non-Spanish speakers).  We painted a little inside the church building, and spent a lot of time in fellowship with families in the church.  It was a great experience! I learned a lot, so I thought I would just share some of my takeaways from the week. They are as follows:

  1. Always, double, triple, even quadruple check your backpack for knives before trying to go through airport security.
  2. There is a place at the airport that can store said knife until you return, BUT it costs $10.
  3. The first time around, it takes 4 or 5 people to inflate an unfamiliar air mattress.
  4. Quinceaneras (what hispanic girls have on their 15th birthdays) are INSANELY FUN.
  5. When in doubt, DANCE.
  6. Sometimes it is ok to make a fool of yourself, encouraged even.
  7. Getting a good group picture with a mariachi band is more difficult than you would think.
  8. When you don’t know where to start, do something (anything is better than nothing).
  9. When you think you have been to Home Depot enough, you haven’t.
  10. Having music playing makes every activity more enjoyable.
  11. Always double check paint colors before slapping them up on the wall.
  12. You can save a lot of money on paint colors by mixing the ones you already have.
  13. Tamale making is an all day job.
  14. Most people end up being way cooler than you originally thought.
  15. Speaking another language is tough.
  16. A smile means the same thing in every language.
  17. Ask people for their input. Two heads are better than one.
  18. A lot of times our comfort zone is not the zone we need to be in.
  19. Find what other people’s passions are, and listen to those people talk about them.
  20. Share your passions with others.
  21. When you see something awesome happening, get out of the way. You don’t have to be the at the center of everything.
  22. Do more of what you’re good at and less of what you stink at.
  23. Sometimes God drops opportunities for Kingdom conversation out of the sky, and right into you lap.
  24. When #23 happens, don’t freak out. Pray and trust that God will speak through you.
  25. Just when you start to think about how awesome you are, God shows you otherwise.
  26. God uses broken people to make things whole.
  27. Wherever you are, God has a purpose for you there.
  28. God puts things on our hearts. let the Spirit lead you.
  29. Relationships built in a week don’t have to be one-week relationships.
  30. God provides.

Those are just 30 little nuggets that I learned from my experiences last week.

Above all else, God is.

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Lost

Yesterday in Sunday School, I had the task of teaching a group of 4th and 5th grade boys the story of Zacchaeus the tax collector and his interactions with Jesus from Luke 19.  For those of you not familiar with the story, here is a brief rundown:

  1. There was a man named Zacchaeus, who was a rich tax collector.  Tax collectors = despised amongst Jews; Viewed as dishonest and greedy; “sinners.”
  2. Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus, but he was really short, and there was a crowd. (I feel your pain Zach) So…
  3. He climbs up into a sycamore-fig tree. In case you don’t know what in the world that is: Image
  4. Jesus looks at him and says, “Get down, I’m coming to your house.” (paraphrase)
  5. Zacchaeus obliges.
  6. People talk bad about Jesus because He was hanging out with a “sinner.”
  7. Zacchaeus comes around, claims that he will give away half of his stuff, and pay back anyone he has cheated financially 10x more that he cheated them out of.
  8. Jesus says that “salvation” has come to the house, and that He has come “to seek and save the lost.”

After finishing the story, in one of my most fantastic teacher moments, I followed the lesson plans given to me by our children’s minister.

I asked the question, “Have you ever been lost? How did it make you feel?”

The responses were actually really good.  I got the typical responses. i.e. “I got lost, and I was scared.”  That was good.  That was what I expected, but then a couple of answers caught me off guard, and I am so glad they did.

One of the guys told the story of how he was lost one time.  He said it was fun at first, until he realized he was in trouble.  What he said rang ever true in my ears.  Isn’t that what I experience so often?  Something seems like such a good idea.  Something harmless.  Something fun.  Something that surely won’t get me into any trouble or a predicament.  There are so many lies that Satan is constantly whispering in my ear.  These lies show their true colors down the road, even if at first it seems like fun, or it seems like it won’t come back to bite you.  

Another one of the guys told the story of getting lost in the library.  He and his sister had walked a little ways from their mom and sat down on a couch in one of the reading areas.  He said that he and his sister didn’t even know they were lost until their mom, who had been frantically searching for them, found them.  This was also deeply stirring for me to hear when thinking metaphorically.  It made me wonder about a lot of things.  

  • How many people walk through life thinking that they are doing great when, in reality, they are so far off from where they need to be?  
  • Am I walking through life unaware of how lost I actually am?
  • How do we avoid becoming numb to God’s calling in our lives?

I think that this tends to be incredibly common in our churches.  Here in the “Bible Belt” of the U.S. it is really easy to get comfortable in our faith.  I see so much comfort that sometimes the church looks a lot more like an inexpensive country club than the living breathing bride of Christ.  I think contentedness can be a huge enemy of the mission of the Kingdom.  When we become ok with the things of this world, and content with how far we have come, we become lost.  God is calling us to be people who have a mission and a direction here on earth, but when we become lost in this world, we are not living to the calling that God has for us in our lives.  

lost: adj. Unaware of one’s whereabouts.

I pray that we will be constantly aware of the situations that we find ourselves in.  I pray that when we find ourselves to be lost, that we will be found.  I pray that we realize we are lost, and that we need to be found.  Jesus came to seek and save us from the things of this world.  Let us not go on being unaware of our state, but let us be found in the great salvation afforded us through Christ.

Today, salvation has come to this house.”