Diligence vs. Hastiness

At times I can be a busy man. I lead our student ministry at Journey, our first impressions teams, media, marketing, some weekend experience stuff, and occasionally some other things that come along. I also lead an adult small group and a high school small group. I am also a husband and father of two (soon to be three) girls. Now, I like being busy. I actually would rather be too busy than not busy enough. I'm a doer. I like to get things done. I enjoy staying busy. I'm not one of these guys who thinks being busy makes them more important, I just enjoy having stuff to do. 

Now, there's nothing wrong with being busy, but sometimes it becomes an obsession for me to see how much I can cram into every day, and that's probably not a good thing. It's the difference between diligence and hastiness. If your busyness is a sign of your diligence, that's a good thing. But too often what happens is we try to cram in so many things we end up making hasty decisions for the sake of expedience. 

Proverbs 21:5 says, "The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty."

The other day, I had a busy day. I had multiple back-to-back meetings, and I was late for the first meeting which became a domino effect and made me increasingly late for each following meeting. Now, I started the day with my Jeep's tank on empty. For the sake of time I continued to push it. I actually prayed that God would not let me run out of gas but would help me get to each appointment. At the time, stopping for gas seemed unwise. I thought I needed those few precious minutes to make up for lost time. I actually went the entire day with my gas warning light on. I never stopped for gas. On my way home, I was going to stop at the gas station that is about a mile from my house. But by then I was running late for the meal that my wife had prepared. So I decided to pass by the gas station. I figured that I could simply get gas on the way to work this morning.

So this morning I left my house at 6:00 for a 6:20 appointment. I got down the road in our neighborhood when my engine died. I had to run back to the house to get the gas can that goes to my lawn mower. There was not much gas in it, but I thought it would be enough to get me to the gas station. I grabbed the can, ran back to my car, put in the little bit of gas, ran the can back to my house (I didn't want it to sit in my Jeep and stink it up all day), and headed to the gas station. By then I was running late, so I had to call my 6:20 appointment and let him know that I was not going to make it. While I was on the phone with him, my engine died again. Now I'm stranded between my house and the gas station, and I don't even have my gas can. So I called my wife (who is not a morning person), explained to her my situation and asked her to grab the gas can, come pick me up, and take me to get some gas. We argued about it because she didn't want to wake up our girls (3 years old & 2 years old). I finally decided she was right. So I walked to the gas station, bought a new gas can at an outlandish price, bought $3 in gas, walked back to my Jeep, put in the gas, drove back to the gas station, and filled up. By then I had missed my second appointment of the morning!

In an effort to save time, my hastiness on a previous day ended up costing much more today. It caused strife with my wife. It cost me money for an item I didn't need otherwise. It caused me to miss two appointments. There is a big difference between diligence and hastiness. I always want to be diligent to use wisely the small amount of time the Lord has granted me. But if I am not careful, busyness can result in hastiness which ends up actually wasting more time than idleness! 

I'm not usually a big fan of The Message, but occasionally it has a unique way of expressing the meaning of a passage of scripture. This is one of the times. The Message translates Proverbs 21:5 like this:

Careful planning puts you ahead in the long run; 
   hurry and scurry puts you further behind.
 

It certainly put me further behind today. For the sake of being good stewards of the time that God has given us, may we all be diligent and never hasty.

Cell Phone Fun – Quarter Sleeve

On Tuesday nights, when I get home from work, I give Kelly the night off. As soon as I walk through the door, she is free to go do whatever she wants, wherever she wants. That means, at home, it's just daddy and the girls. You can imagine what this means. The girls love their daddy time, and we usually find some daddy-time-only fun (or trouble) to get into.

Last night Cana asked if she could have a tattoo after dinner (she received two full pages of temporary tattoos for Christmas). Well, one thing led to another, and soon enough we were digging through the remains of her stocking to find every last tattoo. What resulted was Cana's first "quarter sleeve." You can see the results for yourself. She's my little 3 year old rocker chick!

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How Does MY God Speak to Me?

Right now I am in my car traveling home from celebrating Thanksgiving writing this from my phone. We have on the DVD player for my girls. They are watching Flo The Lying Fly. In this movie God speaks audibly to Flo several times. So we're riding along and suddenly Cana asks "How does God speak to me?" So I paused the movie and began eplaining how this was a cartoon and that cartoons are just pretend. So in this catoon God was speaking outloud. To which Cana responded: "But how does MY God speak to me?" So I began explaining to her that God speaks to her in her heart. And then I asked her: "Would you like to try it right now?" She enthusiastically said yes so I led her in this prayer: "Dear Jesus. Could you please speak to me in my heart?" Then I told her to keep her eyes closed and to listen with her heart. After a few short moments she opened her eyes with a big smile on her face. I asked: "Did he speak to you?" "Yes!" she said. "What did he say" I asked. She looked at me with a beatidul smile and simply responded: "He said I love you."

I'm a happy father right now.

Happy Belated Thanksgiving

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. I certainly did. Still, I have to admit that I'm struggling to reconcile with the fact that we express our thankfulness to God through the act of indulging in gluttonous behavior. I feel that we may be a bit like that Corinthian church that was being gluttonous and getting drunk during the Lord's Supper. Apparently they thought it was completely couth to express their gratitude for Christ's sacrifice by indulging in sinful behavior. Apparently, we feel the same way. Maybe that's a bit harsh. Maybe not. 

ViaFam08-2Nevertheless, my Thanksgiving was filled with family, fun, and fowl. I hope yours was as well (unless you are a vegetarian, in which case you can substitute "fowl" for whatever healthy garbage you eat). This year in particular God has caused me to be especially grateful for the many blessings he has given me. I love my family. They are certainly God's greatest blessing to me. I am grateful for my wife who is the most loving, gracious, and caring person I have ever met She's also extremely hott (with two "t's"), which I must admit that I am very grateful for! I am grateful to have been able to gather the entire Via clan together again. It won't be long before we have to rent a convention center to hold us all!

Happy Thanksgiving to all, and to all a good bowel movement. 

Perpetual Holiday

I'm a sucker for great quotes. I ran across this one today, and I loved it.

"A perpetual
holiday is a good working definition of hell."

George Bernard
Shaw

I love this quote, even though I have mixed feelings about it. My first thought is that my good buddy George must not have had the kind of family that I have. I love holidays, because I love spending time with my family, both my immediate and my extended family. My wife and I have two beautiful children and another one on the way. God has blessed me with the most amazing family. In ministry, I am busy through the weekend, so I take one day during the week to just relax and hang out with my family. I look forward to it every week. I feel that way about holidays as well, only magnify that feeling by a thousand. It gives me more time to spend with my family. But not only is it MORE time, but it's PURPOSEFUL time. My oldest daughter Cana, is three and she is just getting to that age where she is really beginning to understand and enjoy holidays. Recently she has been asking why Christmas is taking too long (to get here)! I love to see the joy that family togetherness brings to the faces of my wife and girls. It brings me joy and inner happiness. So in that since, a perpetual holiday is probably more like heaven!

I was also raised in an awesome family. My parents and four boys and one girl! Add to that a friend of ours who moved in with us and became assimilated into the family. There are few things that I look forward to as much as when we all get together. There are only a few times a year that happens: family vacation, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. These are my favorite times during the year because I love my family. It's awesome. We all love Jesus. And we all love each other. When I'm together with my entire family, it makes me never want to leave. It's just too much fun. Again, I have to think that this experience must be a small taste of heaven!

On the other hand when Ol' George said "holiday" he probably meant it more along the lines of "vacation." And here is where I can relate to his statement. Vacation is a time when you relax, there is no agenda, there are no appointments to keep, there is no schedule. Now, that's awesome… for awhile. Everyone needs time to stop and take a break. But if all of life was lived that way perpetually, there would be no purpose, no meaning, no drive. Nothing would get done. I am consumed by the gospel. I believe that we are in a battle against the Ruler of this world. I believe that souls are literally at risk. And I believe that I can make a difference. I believe that I am called to make a difference. That is my passion. That is what drives me! So in that sense, a perpetual "holiday" where I am ignoring the call of God on my life, living aimlessly, and simply cruising through life… Yes, that would be a good working definition of hell for me.

Lillian Kalemera

For this week's message we are doing a video piece about generosity and giving. I wrote part of the script for this piece about a close friend and hero of mine. 

I thought that I would post this portion of the script on my blog for several reasons. Lillian is very dear to my heart, and what is below I have voiced to many people in the past month or so, but have never been able so say it quite so clearly or concisely. Also, her life was about impacting people with the love of Jesus. There were often times when I thought that her face literally glowed with the very love of Jesus. So I pray that this short recounting of her story will impact you in such a way, that you too will give your life away. And in giving your life away, that you may truly find it.

Have you ever
met someone who was so selfless it changed your entire perspective on the
world?

When I was 17, I
had the opportunity spending several months in Uganda, Africa working with some
locals who ministered to the poor, the downtrodden, the widows, orphans and
aids victims.

In a country
where there is so much need, the work is never done. And it was there that I
met a woman who forever altered my perspective.

Lilian Kalemera,
a Ugandan national, worked with Arise Africa. In the past few years, her heart
has been drawn more and more to thousands upon thousands of orphans that walk
the streets and dusty paths of Uganda.

Lilian has been
in bad health for many years. Many of her American friends have offered to
bring her to the states so that Doctors could properly care for her needs. But
most often she refused stating that she had too much work to do in Uganda. Who
would care for these women and children if she left?

This past
August, I had the opportunity of spending some time with her again. She was as gracious
and loving as always, but I could tell she was not in good health. One morning
I asked her “Lilian, how are you feeling?” Her reply was “God is good.” To
which I responded, Lilian, I know God is good, but how are you feeling. She
said, “What does it matter, how I feel if God is good?” I asked her, Lillian,
what can I do for you? She asked me to pray that God would allow her to build a
playground for the orphans so that just once a week they could forget the pain
in their lives and just be normal children.

On Sunday, September 7th 2008, Lillian went home to be with Jesus. In very literal sense, she had lost her life for the sake of the Gospel. But in the end she gained an eternal prize, and she heard those words I long to hear: "Welcome home, my good and faithful servant."

Cell Phone Fun – Dad of the Year

This was my Saturday afternoon.

Cell Phone Fun – “Oh No He’ll Never Let Go”

If you are a parent of young kids you know how difficult car rides
can be, especially when it's past the kids' bedtime. Last night we went
to an engagement party for Matt Scott and Stacy Morin (By the way, the
Morin's really know how to throw a party! Thanks for a great time
guys!). The drive home was about 30 minutes, and it was getting late.
To top things off, Kelly had to stop at the grocery store to pick up a
few things. Sitting in the car, on a rainy night, when it's getting
late, with two cranky girls who have been loaded with sugar and junk
food, what was a dad to do?

Why, improvise of course! It's
amazing how many times my smart phone has saved me in such instances.
I've included one of many clips from our layover in the Lowe's Foods
parking lot.