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Learning From My Children

          This summer as I have made the transition to my new role at DaytonUMC it has been difficult in being apart from my family many days of the week while we wait on our house to sell. I especially miss times with my children as they grow into the people God wants them to be. I’ve been amazed by my nine year old son’s gift at the piano for years, and then this summer my daughter wins best of Show a  the Indiana State Fair for both color and black and white photography.
            Then this past Sunday she sang in public for the first time and it was just beautiful and I was reminded of a lesson I learned from her some four and a half years ago.  As part of my sermon Sunday, I shared that story, and I share it here with you today.
          The whole thing started on a whim, really. One day, when she was seven, I ran across a newspaper blurb that said that Beef and Boards was holding open auditions for the part of the Von Trapp family children for an upcoming production of The Sound of Music.   That year we had watched that movie more times than one can imagine and knew the stories and characters inside out, so I asked her, "Mia, would you like to audition for a role in the production."
                  As we talked about it I explained that it would be highly unlikely that she would get a role. I told her that there would be hundreds of kids auditioning, many whom by age five, six and seven, would have more theatre experience, vocal training, and dance training than ten other people she knows would have combined in their entire lives. I talked with her about the process, and how after an initial audition there would be a call back for finalists and then someone would be chosen. My goal was for her just to have the experience and we understood that a call back was unlikely, and that on the million to one chance she got offered a part we probably wouldn't take it because 56 performances in seven weeks might be a little more than would be healthy to do.
                  Mia thought about it for a couple days and then on Monday told me, "Okay, Daddy, I'd like to audition for the role. I know I won't get a call back or a part, but I'd just like to try."
                  The day before the audition we decided that since the auditions were musical ones we better pick a song to practice. Mia sang through a bunch of things she knew and she picked Fairest Lord Jesus as her audition song. I then played the melody for her from her piano song book a few times to help her prepare.   The rest of her preparation consisted of her laying in bed on Saturday morning singing hymns with her mother.
                  We arrived on time for the audition, along with hundreds of other people. We brought in our snapshot of Mia in front of a Christmas tree for a head shot, and carried our little book of Hymns for piano. We watched as girl after girl came in with their full page resumes, their professional eight by ten photos, and their large books of "show tunes for auditions for children" and the like. We sat in our corner and listened to conversations from experienced theatre moms. We heard countless stories of "Remember when we did this production?" or, "You were so good in the little mermaid," and the like.
                  After a while Mia was on deck and we moved into the hold room with just one other girl, and a photographer from the Indianapolis Star who was doing a story on the auditions. The girl in front of Mia entered the audition room, and Mia moved up next to the door and I stepped out of the room.
                  The audition was short. Just a couple minutes, and she came out to me and said, "Okay, Daddy, I'm done." I noticed she had a piece of gold paper in her hand, and then she said, "Oh, and I have a call back at 4:00." I looked at the paper and it was like the gold ticket from American Idol. I just wanted to shout, "We're going to Hollywood."
           As we were preparing to leave the reporter came over and asked for Mia’s name and said he was doing a story about the auditions and that he had some great pictures of Mia and wanted to feature her picture and her story in the Indy Star the next day. Mia looked at him and said, “No thank you.” He kept trying to convince her and he wanted to show us the picture but she didn't want to look. As we got out of the building we talked about it and went back in to look at the picture. It was fabulous of her studying her song before she auditioned. He told me it was his best and favorite picture of the day and would be using it if we would let him.
                  I left the decision up to Mia, and she talked with him for a moment, and kept saying, "No thank you" to him. I finally told him, "It's her decision, and I'm going to respect her." He told me I should be proud of her for her audition and for her politeness, not many kids would turn down a chance to be in the paper. I thanked him and we went to the car.
                  In all, over 151 girls auditioned for one of the five girl parts in the production, and about thirty-five got call backs. (The call-back story is for another time). My untrained daughter whose father took her on a whim made the cut for this professional production. But that result is not what I took away from that day.  Rather, I remember what she taught me in the car after it all was over as we drove home to prepare for the call back.
                  I asked her, "Mia, you are sure you don't want to be in the paper? We can still go back."
                  She answered me, "Daddy, I don't want to be famous. I didn't go and sing today so I could have fame. I sang because Jesus lets me sing, and I just wanted to sing for him."
            So here I am years later and this last Sunday I listened to her sing in public for the first time. Her words then still are her words today. “I sing because Jesus lets me sing, I just wanted to sing for him.”
           I have so much still to learn from my children.

Posted by DrDavidA Baillie with

Donuts, Burritos, Burgers and the Gospel

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Making the move to Lafayette has been an adventure.  One of the first and most important things we have done, in fact we did it the day of our visit, was to find the iconic local donut shop.  Before we had even moved here I had my first visit to Mary Lou Donuts!  I had done a similar thing when  I moved to Greenwood six years ago and Long's Baker and Daylight Donuts were quickly on the the top of my list there.

Since arriving I have found that there are some other very key places for meeting my dietary needs in the area .  Chipotle and I have been seeing each other for well over a decade.  In fact when I was at my church in the Chicago burbs and my children were young you could find as there every Friday enjoying the food, chips and time together as a family.

Five Guys burgers and I have also had a longstanding relationship.  I've done some of my best fellowshipping there. Something about the way they are put together, those fries, and my deep desire to load my body with those healthy proteins and vegetables just makes it a place I love.

Most of us have those places where we love to eat. We go, and we enjoy.  We hunger for those tastes and those flavors, and we find comfort in them. We gorge on them.  We don't need them to survive, but we just can't seem to get enough of them.

Wouldn't be incredible if we hungered for God in the same way?  We go and we spend our money and feel the presence of those foods and know that all is right with the world.  What if we desired to be with God the same way?

Right next to us and all around the world there are people who are starving.  They starve not for those donuts, or that burger, or that burrito, but rather they starve because relationships in their life are empty and void of meaning.  They starve because they don't know there is a God who can fill them in such as way as to provide for them forever. 

The last time I went to Five Guys my bill came to $12.03 for me.   If I take my family the bill comes to about $35.00 to feed them all.  So now I ask myself an interesting question.  What would happen if I redirected those funds I use to feed myself to funds that were used to feed people who are starving for God?

On any given Sunday here at DaytonUMC we have 250-300 families represented in our worship. On most of those Sundays 100-115 of those family units give to the church financially to fulfill the mission God has called us to.   What would happen if each of us who are already giving to the mission just gave up one Five Guys meal or something similar in a week and added that to our usual giving and used that to feed those starving for Jesus?

One individual meal per week for 115 families would bring in an additional $1383 per week and $71,916 per year.   One entire family meal per would be equal to $,4025 per week and $209,300 per year.

Could those funds make an impact in ministry for the kingdom of God?  It cost us about $3,800 to send 31 elementary age kids to camp this summer and during that time 18 made first time commitments to Christ.   One week of families giving up one meal could pay for those lives!

That kind of generosity is the kind that moves a church from the "Can we pay for this" mentality to the, "How can we use all of this to bless the world around us" mentality.

And that impact is just the impact from those who already give to Dayton UMC.  What if every individual/family who attended on a Sunday gave up one family meal a week for the kingdom?  Just think about it.   260 families at $35 dollars for 52 weeks.  $473,000 EXTRA dollars to spend on ministry to the world.

So I guess the questions are simple.  How hungry are we and what are we really hungry for? 

Posted by DrDavidA Baillie with