Monday Mind Dump (2/8/21)

February 8, 2021  |  Luke Simmons

• Happy Monday!

• Had a fun finish to last week, both on the ministry and the family side of things.

• Spent last Thursday with some of the leaders of R/Tucson, a number of whom are newer to their team.

• One of them, Marcus Doe, recently joined their staff and has an incredible story — he grew up in the upper-middle class in Liberia (west Africa) with a dad who worked in security for the government, but ended up as a desolate refugee by the age of 11.

• He’s a remarkable man and leader, and I loved the time with him.

• He shares some of the story in this TEDx talk he did in Denver:

• He’s going to be a gift to that congregation, and I think will really be a blessing for Dave Goffeney, the Lead Pastor.

• Hearing him tell some of the history of Liberia made me also realize how out-of-the-loop I am when it comes to other parts of the world.

• We also looked at some potential options for a longer-term facility for R/Tucson.

• Of all the congregations, they’ve probably been the hardest hit by the pandemic in terms of meeting space.

• The school they were using has remained closed and unavailable, so they’ve been using some other local churches on Saturdays — been pretty hard.

• I also just enjoyed being in Tucson.

• A lot of us in Redemption like to make fun of Tucson, but it’s really a decent place.

• The highlight of Friday night was definitely the Daddy Daughter Date Night at Gateway.

• My six year-old, Mary, has been pumped about it for weeks, and we had been counting down the days.

• It did not disappoint — great food, awesome environment, so much fun dancing, and really sweet to give the girls another taste of ‘normal.’

• Saturday we helped some friends move, watched soccer, and hosted a going away party for a girl in Abby’s 9th grade small group.

• It was a big surprise and a lot of fun.

• So many girls were there, as were their mentors.

• Watching those women in action as they love, care for, and encourage the girls is really special.

• I’ve said for a long time how thankful I am for that student ministry, and Saturday was another picture why.

• I also was touched by the gift they gave to their departing friend — each girl wrote her a few notes that accompanied a situation in which she should read them (“when you get a mean text,” “when you feel at home,” “when you need God’s help,” “when you feel ugly,” etc.)

• So cool.

• Yesterday was a fun day too — was invited to preach at R/Gilbert so that their Lead Pastor could have a week off and get some time away.

• I hadn’t preached there in many years, so it was fun to be back to the congregation that sent me out.

• Plus, I got to preach a message that I’d already done at Gateway from the passage that God used to bring me to faith (watch here).

• I heard that Arnold preached a solid message back home at Gateway, which I’m looking forward to watching as well.

• It was fun to see some familiar faces at Gilbert, as well as so many folks I didn’t know.

• That congregation has been through a lot in recent months, and it was a blessing to serve them.

• Then last night was the Super Bowl — my prediction was way off!

• I didn’t really have a dog in the fight, but I was at least hoping for a competitive game.

• Oh well.

• Still fun to watch Tom Brady, with all of his elite greatness.

• The guy really is amazing.

• I remember watching him when I was in college and he was playing at Michigan and he was very average.

• I guess some people just get better over time.

• But it was fun to see a game where it felt like the stadium had people (not as many as it looked), where there was a normal half-time show (that I didn’t have to cover my eyes for), and a bunch of good commercials.

• I found it fascinating that so many commercials had nothing to do with the pandemic and didn’t show anyone wearing masks.

• It’s kind of like the market researchers know that the public is burned out on Covid, the politics of it, and all the virtue-signaling that accompanies it.

• I expected a lot more than there was.

• My top 5 were: (1) No Way Norway, (2) M&Ms, (3) Toyota’s Jessica Long Story, (4) Doritos Flat Matthew, and (5) Alexa’s Body.

• The one that got us talking the most at our watch party was Jeep’s ad, The Middle.

• Some folks liked the appeal to our need for religion and God, while others thought it was syncretistic — acting like faith in Jesus and love for America are the same thing.

• In the end, we enjoyed it all, ate great food, had fun with friends, and shared some laughs.

• Plenty going on this week too.

• As the week starts, I’m chewing on something I noticed yesterday when I took my older girls into the Prayer Space at Gilbert.

• It’s a beautiful room, and one of my favorite aspects is the entrance.

• It’s a slight ramp going up and the hallway narrows as you approach the entrance.

• As I watched my girls go in, I noticed that the design of the space subtly, but effectively, said to them, “Slow down and quiet yourself.”

• That’s effective and beautiful architecture.

• But it was also a lesson and an invitation that I’m trying to lean into, especially after a busy week and weekend.

• God is inviting me to “slow my heart” and “quiet myself before him.”

• Makes me think of Paul Miller’s quote: “Learning to pray doesn’t offer us a less busy life; it offers us a less busy heart.”

• So join me this week in having a heart that can slow down, notice God’s world around us, and enjoy his presence wherever we go.

• All of life is all for Jesus.