Learning to Receive

Last week was one of those weeks where we saw the generosity of God show up in our lives several times in really tangible ways. It started with getting a large check that was totally unexpected from our mortgage company explaining that they had miscalculated something over 1 year ago and they needed to give us a refund. Then, someone in the church anonymously gave us money to get tires on our car replaced. And then a friend found out about a kind of bike I wanted to get, happened to have one laying around and brought it over and gave it to me.

All this was crazy, and honestly a bit overwhelming, but I had a hard time with it. When I think about generosity, I tend to like to be the one who’s generous. I like to be the one who anonymously gives a gift, or who gives up something that I have to help someone. I like to be the one who gives, but it’s hard for me to be the one who receives. When I get something, I want to have done something for it…I want to earn it, or deserve it. To simply receive something makes me feel a bit off kilter.

But really, a part of generosity is learning to receive. There can be no generosity without a recipient.

I’m learning that generosity isn’t always about what you give, but it’s about living with a certain posture. A posture that says everything belongs to the Lord. That sort of posture should make it easy to give, but really, that sort of posture should also make it easy to receive. Because just as I am generous with what I have because I believe that it really belongs to the Lord anyways, I should be able to receive it well also because it wasn’t theirs either…it was the Lords.

So, maybe in a culture where we are conditioned to feel good about ourselves by what we do for others and where we see generosity as an action that we do for someone else, maybe we need to learn instead to see generosity as a fundamental posture of how we live. A posture that lives with open hands that says everything is the Lords, and so all that I have is the Lords and all that I receive is the Lords.

Maybe for some of us, a part of learning to live generously will happen as we learn to receive well.

Christmas Starts This Weekend!

Christmas starts this weekend at Parkcrest.

It kicks off at our 7th Street Campus with their Urban Angels event on Friday night for women.

On Sunday we begin the first 3 of 7 Christmas Services at our Heartwell Campus, where we’ll have the final 4 services on the 24th.

At the Lakewood Campus on the 24th, there will be a Christmas Open House with a petting zoo and Christmas pictures.

And then all of our campuses will be having a special service on Christmas morning.

If you’re in the Long Beach area, we’d love to see you there!

Change of Place

I’ve stolen a mantra from Mark Batterson over the last few years. Change of Pace + Change of Place = Change of Perspective. Sometimes just changing the environment that you’re in can give you a whole new perspective on something you’re working through.

Today, I packed up and headed to the coffee shop to work through some of my Christmas message and a few things that need to get written in the next couple of weeks for early next year. Sometimes that simple change can spark something that sitting in my office all day can’t.

For me,  sometimes I’ll leave and take a 20 minute drive without the radio on, or I’ll write in my moleskine with a nice pen instead of writing on the computer, take a walk around the office, or I’ll simply change the music that I’m listening to to something completely different. For me, I’ve found that those little things can help get me going when I’ve hit a wall.

What are some of the ways that have been helpful for you to change your pace or place?