Little Adventures Make for a Big Life

Being a parent is a wonderful thing. The responsibility of lovingly forming little humans, giving them experiences and seeing them dream and flourish is all a gift.

But parenting can also come preloaded with a weight of expectation. How do I compare to others, how will my children ultimately be prepared to compete with others and will they meet the cultural standards of success.

Challenging those cultural standards is for another post, but what of helping our kids or even ourselves dream and flourish.

I think a helpful tool toward a big or full life is little adventures.

We live in a time where experience is becoming an idol. We follow Instagram profiles that make money making experience look amazing. Maybe it’s travel, food, or you name it. Everything has to be just right for the photo so we assume it is amazing. And we end up trying to replicate it. Even beyond experience idolatry, we can be consumed with “going big or going home.” We think we have to make every moment over the top to excel at parenting. Every party has a theme and must outdo last year’s.

Where those things may be worthwhile occasionally, they can’t be the mainstay for parenting in the real world.

Our attempt at a solution for that? Little adventures.

Doing things that are not extravagant but new or with added twists to engage our kids.

A recent little adventure for our family was a train ride to the coast for a day of fun and being together. The kids devised a checklist of things to find looking from the train, we studied the transit schedule, we walked along a pier, had a picnic on the beach and played with new friends we met who were adopted from Eritrea. The whole day was as expensive as $2 train tickets and a round of milkshakes.

A little adventure that left our kids dreaming and scheming. All of us are a bit more “full” on our way to a big life.

What are some of the little adventures you can take? Maybe go to the top of that hill or visit that historic house. Engage and have some fun.

You might be surprised by what awaits you.

Generosity Exemplified

Today I wrap up a preaching series on the awkward things of Christianity and being part of the church. This sermon was on generosity.

Of course through our study these last weeks we have seen a number of examples of generosity formed by the grace of Christ. Oh may the Lord make us generous! Here are some of them that didn’t make it into what was preached.


In this series, we have met some characters that live it out. Zaccheaus gives over most of his wealth because of his encounter with Jesus. His whole purpose of life changes… to restore what was broken through generosity. “Zacchaeus’ giving is not an entrance requirement or necessary model of our own application of the gospel. But it is a model of the proper and natural response to God’s saving grace toward us. Grace frees us to give freely and boldly as we trust in God to meet all our needs (Matt. 6:25-34).” – Gospel Transformation Bible

Or the call girl that weeps at Jesus’ feet, how she spends all of herself for her glory. Her money, the jar of ointment, and he identity, everything extravagantly at his feet.

We see other stories… of the woman giving pennies out of her desperation more honored than the rich… Luke 21:3–4 “And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. [4] For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” (ESV)

We hear what the kingdom is like – Matthew 13:44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” (ESV)

In his joy – cheerfully giving everything else up for what was truly of value. This is counter-cultural, this can make us uncomfortable… but it is so good.

Roots over Reach to Eventually Reach

The reach of a tree depends on its roots. Choose roots over reach.” Karen Swallow Prior


A few weeks ago my wife was cleaning or just moseying about when she bumped into one of our house plants. I love house plants. My desk is a miniature jungle and while we are not the best at keeping things thriving we give it the old college try.

When she made contact with the plant she noticed that it strangely moved. On closer inspection, the plant seemed to be rootless and not tied to the soil. It was without an anchor in a ravaging world of dogs, active Children, and a woman who dusts. It was befuddling because without roots surely a thing which is a plant must be dead. This plant, however, had the green appearance of life while actually producing no flower or other sign of life.

Thinking likewise of the church or even one’s faith, it must have roots to absorb nutrients, to sustain life and to grow.

As a small church pastor, I can get so wrapped up in a “blooming” church or the desire for a significant reach that I neglect the roots. The long process of being settled dug deep into the rich soil of the Biblical gospel and grace drenched community. It is the roots that determine the reach. And even if something seems to have broad leaves, without broad roots, it may be dead.

The stronger the roots are, the more sunk down into Jesus we are, the more likely we will go further.

We hate it though because we want results now, line items to prove and donors to appease. But life is in the roots. It is from them that fruit eventually comes.

May we sink the roots deeper that we would be truly alive and not just in appearance only.

Jesus. People. Place.

As I continue on this journey of life and ministry I was reminded this week that our posture in building a church, discipling those around us, and sending people out to do the same must be founded in and focused on three things. Jesus. People. And Place.

Jesus

“For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:2–5 (ESV)

Gospel-centered, Christ-centered, Jesus people, pick your description, Christians are meant to be “all about Jesus.” Paul says it here reminding believers in Corinth that that is all he offered, Christ and him crucified. A finished work of the cross. A Savior who died for us. Then the rest of the New Testament keep rolling with the same point.

As we preach him, as we center our life around him, he works, the Spirit empowers us and faith is birthed in us and those in our hearing.

The implications are broad but they are all a narrowing to that which is most important in the life of a believer and the church, Jesus.

People

“All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:18–20 (ESV)

While the introverts among us might prefer the Christian life just be “me and Jesus” he actually makes us part of a family or other people that trust in him. And the purpose of that family is to serve as ambassadors for Jesus, God making his appeal through us. Imploring reconciliation to God.

While it is easy in the Evangelical world to recognize the need “over there,” awash in statistics of unreached people groups, most likely God has surrounded you with people he loves and desires to call his own. So as you cling to Jesus, you notice the people around you and you love them as you have been loved.

May the Lord increasingly give us a vision for how much he loves the people we come into contact each day that we would implore them to reconciliation.

Place

“And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us,” Acts 17:26–27 (ESV)

Finally, God in his sovereignty has put you in a place. While that place may change over time, while you are there you are meant to recognize your placement, proclaiming Jesus to the people there, and endeavoring for the good of that city (or town or borough, etc)

In the exile, God would tell his people to labor toward the prosperity, or flourishing of the city they were in. As those living in boundaries determined by God claiming it as our own, becoming a champion of “local” for the good of the people around us that they might meet Jesus.


For me, this works out as a steadfast determination to know nothing but Jesus as I preach, have conversation and disciple those in our church, Reservoir. It also means I want to clearly see they image-bearers around me and reveal my own need for Jesus that they would recognize theirs. All while loving the place I live, where I am called (Escondido is my hood).

It also means that members we encourage, leaders we train and residents we prepare to send out all have to be conditioned likewise, to be about Jesus, People, and Place.

Are you down?