max and his many legged nemesis

Today was our last staff meeting with Jared. It has been a real joy working with him for the past ten years. We have both grown a lot, spiritually and physically (at least I have, weight wise). Anyway, going into our meeting, I wondered what it was going to be like. Was I to impart words of wisdom? A final pep talk? A heartfelt word that would evoke much tears? As I have been learning to do in abiding in Christ, I asked the Holy Spirit for guidance. And He guided indeed. This was to be a meeting of joy, KCF style. Let me explain.

Serving alongside folks over a stretch of time teaches you much about each other. I learned today that Max is slightly afraid of centipedes. We started our meeting, going over the calendar for the next month or so when Jared jumps up saying that he saw something fall from our ceiling. He gets up and walks toward the couch where he saw the object fall. Now our office ceilings are fairly high, around 15 feet. Max was not sure what was going on, munching on organic tortilla chips. When Jared gets there, he looks under the couch and spots a fairly healthy sized centipede crawling around. He moves the couch and sure enough, we all see about a six inch centipede! That got Max’s attention and he begins a hunt for something to get rid of it, all the while shouting how much he hates centipedes.

Fear has a funny way of messing up our judgment and so he picks up a 5 gallon bottle of water for our cooler.

waterbottle

With a determination previously unknown to mankind, he faced his fear head on. From the side, I see Max’s plan and said, “Don’t do it.” But Max was on a mission and so he dropped the 5 gallon bottle on the intruder. Well, he didn’t take into consideration that water is very heavy and the plastic bottle was not made to withstand centipede extermination. The water bottle cracks, water splashes all over and about 4 5/6 gallons of water pours over the office carpet. What happened to the centipede? Well the bottom of the bottom was not perfectly flat but indented in the middle. So the centipede escaped the smashing! But Max had succeeded in drowning it. We all learned that 4 5/6 gallons of water will drown a centipede. All the while, Jared is laughing semi hysterically and having a great time. His final staff meeting with us was a meeting of joy. It was a perfect KCF way to send Jared off.

On the way home, I got to thinking about our memorable staff meeting. What was I going to miss about not having Jared there with us? More than anything, his presence. Going to miss having that day to day relationship with him. Isn’t that what is most important? It’s not the work that we accomplished together. It’s not our serious discussions on football, reality and fantasy. It’s not all the things Jared did for us. It’s not even the gift of worship which is so apparent in his life. It’s the relationship. As we laughed, cleaned up, teased Max, scared him with a straw, it was clear that the best thing about being together on staff was just being together. Relationships.

We are going to miss Jared. But we are also very excited that a new adventure awaits them, Tiana, his wife, gets to go home and God’s kingdom will be extended because of the Miyamoto family. To that, I am grateful and thankful. And I still have my centipede eliminating partner, fearless Max to serve with. And truly the best is yet to come, for all of us, except our friend, the drowned centipede.

I also thought about God and how it really is all about a relationship. Prayer is an opportunity to connect with Him. Worship is an opportunity to express our love and thanksgiving to Him as well as entering His presence. The Bible is an opportunity to hear from Him and learn more about Him. It really is a love letter from an amazing God. And abiding in Christ is staying close and continually being in relationship with Jesus. To commune with Him. With the Father. And with the Holy Spirit. With the beyond-my-comprehension triune God.

I think I’m beginning to get it. Thanks Jared and Max for helping me to see that it really is all about relationships. I am grateful that I get to serve alongside amazing people on our staff, Jared, Max, John and David. Amazing elders. Amazing leaders. And amazing people. I get to do life with an amazing wife and 3 amazing kids. An amazing pup. And an amazing bunny. And all this amazing-ness help me to be more passionate about abiding with my amazing God. Simply amazing.

another step….

in memory of a drowned centipede

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