It just seems so cliche to say, "Oh, we have been sooo busy." Don't you just want to say, "SOOOO WHAT!" Yeah, I know what you mean! But truth be known, we have been bogged down quite a bit lately. All good things mind you like a staff retreat, but little blog time has been available. So, with this blog entry, I'll attempt to bring you up to speed.
Before I get to our family update, I thought I would just share a word or two about the staff retreat which we participated in this last weekend. It was held at a beautiful house in Lake Arrowhead, owned by a very hospitable family from Kingsfield Church. The house is right on Lake Arrowhead and is spacious enough to accomdate our entire staff, which has grown by 2 people since our last retreat, which we took back in October. I have taken the opportunity to provide a few pics from the weekend.
The retreat itself was very fun, relaxing and challenging, if that can be believed. Usually, those words don't exist in the same sentence or happen in the same weekend! But God was gracious, and the staff enjoyed each of these sensations in good measure.
The spiritual challenge was to check our motivation for ministry. It was clear that each of us wanted the Lord to increase a love for Himself in our hearts, so that the ministry that would come from our staff would originate out of that motivation. It seems subtle, but it is one of the most vitally important distinctions that needs to be made by anyone in ministry. There was a song that we used to sing at Redlands which said, "Reduce me to love." That I felt, was the theme of our retreat.
The highlight of each retreat though is the gamesmanship that takes place on the last night. It's guys versus girls, usually with catchphrase as the great equalizer. However, as much as that game has been the traditional plumbline between the guys and the girls, in a strange and mystical turn of fate, somehow, someway, the game was "forgotten." Hmm... Of course, nobody thought much of it at the time, but if you are a fan of Oliver Stone's "JFK," one might be a tad suspicious.
Thankfully, or regrettably, a game was found: Guesstures, which we soundly defeated the women in the last time we played. However, this was the old Guesstures, so immediately, we were faced with a challenge that went beyond simply defeating the women, which had been our habit. This version of the game required great skill at charades, and great fingers to keep the cards from falling through the cracks. Two entirely different disciplines for guys, especially since we are immediately handicapped due to larger fingers!
The ladies torched us in game 1 of 3. They were admittedly hungrier for a victory than the guys, seeing that they had taken home the bitter taste of defeat each previous occasion. When you are used to winning against a certain opponent, the tendency is to slack and expect a victory. Unfortunately, sometimes expectations are simply unmet. While we played an impressive second game, we could not get over the hump, and subsequently fell to the ladies, 2 games to 0.
At first, I admit that I was disappointed. It's obvious that the ladies that were added to the team this year, Brenda Paternostro and Carrie Allen, fellow blogger and newest staff addition, were the difference makers in this latest round of combat. However, when thinking about perspective, one might easily surmise that even the lowest team on the totem pole can take down the champs on any given night. The L.A. Clippers had a really bad team this year, and EVEN THEY beat a few great teams. If one were to examine the records, they would look like this: Kingsfield Guys Staff, 5 wins, 1 loss; Kingsfield Girls Staff, 1 win, 5 losses. Which team would you rather be on!? Ladies, I predict that your reign will be short and that the next time, us men will not be caught without the proper games, or mental attitude!
At the end of the day, these retreats are truly marked with a genuine love and care for the fellow staff members. I really am grateful to be working with each one, and am looking forward to spending some life with these great, insightful and creative people, who are dedicated to seeing God move in a great way at Kingsfield Church.
So, how's the family?
• Let's start with the kids. Renae is about to finish her second Kindergarten year. This, I remind you, is her 5th Kindergarten class. She is right where she needs to be skill wise. She is quite the prolific reader and her penmanship looks at least as good as her Dad and Mom's! Caleb is enjoying gum and soda, the right earned after he turned 5 last month. Lizzy is still a brute force of nature, unintentionally hurting everyone around her because of her reckless energy. Not a day goes by without a below the belt hit or a head-butt to the nose! She is the Kimbo Slice of our family! The current movie du jour is "Pippi In The South Seas." I admit that I at one time, used to watch this movie, as a child. Every time the kids are watching it, it brings back memories, and is at the same time endearing because of it's ridiculous humor.
• Lela has finished her first year as the worship leader for the Women's study. In the time that she has had, she has returned to the keyboard to write a few worship tunes. As many of you might remember from the Packinghouse days, Lela wrote "Let Me Cling," "I Believe" and "Worthy To Be Praised." The Lord has given her such a gift to be able to write worshipful songs and if she did not have to attend to her four kids, she would likely be a professional songwriter! Maybe one day, we'll have the ability to play some of her tunes right here on this site. For those of you who are Lela fans, be praying!
• Frank (me...I...the author...oh, you know what I mean!) has just finished teaching through a series entitled "Autonomy, Authority And The Man Of God" with the Kingsfield Men. All the notes are on my Bible notes blog, which you can access on the right hand side of the front page. On a more recreational note, I just bought myself a mountain bike. I bought it using the Pennysaver, and did in fact save some pennys! I don't think that I can go wrong for $80, especially since it rides like a charm (whatever THAT means!). I am currently able to go a mile or so. I'll keep you abreast of any changes that occur in that number over the next several months.
We love you guys and thank you all for checking out our page. We sincerely miss everyone from Redlands to Spain, and hope that you are all doing well and are blessed in your walks with the Lord.
Blessings...To Our Friends,