Monday, November 01, 2004

One the road again, and again, and again

And, for those who are interested, we are on our way back to Portland. Tonight, I think, we are in a town an hour and a half due east from San Francisco. Tomorrow night we stop outside of Redding, and the next evening we will be back in Portland. Then we'll take trips out from Mocks Crest and back again for our last 11 shows. 31 down. Can you believe it? How did Fiddler on the Roof run for something like 6500 in a row.

Halloween part 2.

So, yes, after church I went home and slept for several hours, waking up to hack up more bits of my lungs and rolling over. That evening I was feeling better, so I grabbed my costume and headed to another of our houses. Most of the girls were going trick or treating with their host family's kids, but three of us stayed home and watched Princess Diaries for Julie who hadn't seen it, and Finding Nemo so I can quote it with my sister when I get home.

My costume: A homeschool mom. Complete with pregnant belly and denim jumper.


Yesterday was Halloween, which should have been loads of fun, but of course I caught a cold from the Ichaw Bird. One big problem with traveling with 12 people all the time is colds go around like the plague. And my body doesn't react well to Dayquill. Well, my body does fine, my brain takes a hiatus.

So yesterday I was well enough to go to church at Sunridge Community Church in Temecula, California. I really enjoyed the church. The band at the front was great -- especially the front row guitar on the left who reallys seemed to be enjoying worship. They sang some songs that I knew, and some that were completely new. The sermon (whose notes I'll post somewhere -- I liked it that much) was on finances. It wasn't a sermon on percentages, or contribute to our building fund (Thank God. I realized recently that I haven't gone to a church in my life that hasn't either built a new sanctuary, or put on a new roof at least). But it was about spending money wisely. They had given about a dozen people $100 dollars several months ago saying that it was God's money, and had to be used to build his Kingdom, but with no other restrictions. The places the money went were as varied as the people. One lady took her money and raised more for hurricane relief for a church that was leveled. Another lady gave a hitchhiker a meal, fixed his broken bicycle, and gave him the rest. Another gathered enough money to ship baseball equipment to Cuba for a church hat was starting a program. Another made morning and evening aid boxes for missionaries. And then, one lady heard of a young girl diagnosed with cancer, who wanted a real hair wig (which costs between $1,000 and $1500). Her money went there, and she got the word out to her friends. One of their friends' five-year-old son heard about it and started a lemonade stand to help. Construction workers came by, and the boy told them why he was doing it, and he alone raise almost $500. At five years old.

That was the set up for the sermon on giving. It was mainly about why God gives us resources. He read some of the passages directed to the "rich man." Then he stopped and told us that most of us just zoned out what he'd just said because we're not "rich." Guess what. If you have food, clothing that isn't worn out, a shelter that doesn't leak, and reasonably reliable transportation, you are part of the wealthy 15% on our planet. If you own two vehicles, congratulations, you are the top 5%.

One of the testimonies from the "Kingdom Assignment" that really got me was a lady who realized that it isn't the big sacrifices that matter. Anything you can do to simplify your life and give to others will make a difference, not only to someone else, but to your own outlook on your God given resources. She looked down at her hands and decided to give up her weekly manicure and put that money aside to be given away instead. The pastor went a step further. Do your really need that bigger house? Second vehicle? Expensive hobby? What can you do to simplify that would mean a difference in the way you use your money. And the closing thought was, maybe God gives you more prosperity not to increase your standard of living, but to give you more opportunities to give to others in need.