Tuesday Mind Dump (5/11/21)

May 11, 2021  |  Luke Simmons

• Hope you had a nice Mother’s Day.

• Ours was fun around the Simmons’ home.

• Was fun to preach on parenting this past Sunday (watch here).

• A little bit funny and odd to preach it with a few of my kids listening in at the 9:30am — talk about accountability!

• I’m so thankful for Robbin Howey and all the help she was in my preparation, as well as in the parenting resources page she put together.

• If you’re a parent who wants help or guidance, be sure to connect with Robbin and she can point you in a good direction.

• One of the funny things I listened to as I was preparing was an episode of The Daily podcast called “The Agony of Pandemic Parenting” (there is some bad language, so listen at your own discretion)

• It helped me try to put myself more in the shoes of a wide swath of people who have been navigating a tough season.

• The decisions parents have faced are just incredible.

• And, as of today, there’s a new one — getting teenagers vaccinated (or not).

• I had to laugh when I was listening to a news story that was gleefully reporting that, for those ages 12-15, the vaccine is nearly 100% effective against Covid.

• I laughed thinking, “Being 12-15 is also nearly 100% effective against Covid.”

• Of course, teenagers can get it and spread it, but they are at virtually zero risk themselves — which made it all kind of funny.

• I’ve resolved that the main way I’ll get through life these days is to just decide that things are funny (instead of infuriating)

• Wish me luck with that. 😆 🤯

• One of the highlights for Mother’s Day was trying out cooking a sous vide steak for the first time.

• I got a sous vide setup for Christmas but hadn’t gotten around to using it yet.

• If you’re not familiar with Sous Vide, it’s a process of cooking vacuum-sealed food slowly in water (here’s a 1-minute overview).

• I got some nice strip steaks from Costco and made a good meal, featuring a number of excellent recipes from my go-to cooking source, America’s Test Kitchen.

• The menu:

Sous Vide Steak with Montreal seasoning

Sauteed mushrooms and onions

• The best baked potato I’ve ever had

• A new approach to skillet-charred green beans

• Trader Joe’s lemon arugula salad kit (plus I added some fresh goat cheese)

• It was a great meal and a lot of fun to prepare.

• Cooking is a bit of a hobby and stress reliever for me.

• I think it might be because I have a job as a pastor that is never quite finished — but in cooking, there’s always a nice, clear completion to the work.

• Speaking of that unfinished work, it’s a pretty typical week for me — except that tomorrow is our “Leader’s Collective,” a gathering of leaders from across all ten congregations that we do every few months.

• Tomorrow I’m helping lead it, which is fun and a bit of pressure (which makes it fun).

• It’s always sweet to gather with folks from across the congregations and get a sense of how God is working beyond Gateway.

• To that end, it’s actually becoming easier and easier to get a taste of what’s going on around Redemption — just subscribe to our Redemption Church Arizona Facebook page, where you’ll find a bunch of cool stories and photos of things that are happening around our extended church family.

• And, here at Gateway, it’s been a remarkably encouraging spring.

• I’m constantly meeting new people — many of whom have been “attending” online but are just now coming on-campus.

• Lots of them are going through Start Here and Rooted, the classes to start getting connected and building community.

• And week-by-week, I keep seeing familiar faces returning to campus.

• It’s encouraging and sweet.

• And here’s a crazy little statistic…

• Here’s the attendance for the last 7 weeks at the 8:00am service: 159, 157, 157, 159, 158, 159, 159.

• I mean, what in the world?!

• In 15+ years of church leadership, I’ve never seen something like that.

• Another remarkable thing is that even though our in-person attendance is about 75% of what it was last spring, our giving so far is about 96% of what it was at this time last year (which is still over our budgeted need thus far).

• And last year we were in the thick of a 90-Day Tithe Challenge.

• Believe me when I say that I know that these kinds of numbers aren’t everything — but I think they’re an interesting and encouraging sign of life and commitment here at Gateway.

• Well, that’s all I have for today.

• Oh, except for this quote:

• Yes, rest in him.

• All of life is all for Jesus.