The Keys

Review of Brent Grosvenor’s latest original musical now touring the West Coast.

Saw “The Keys” in Fallbrook, California this past Sunday Night. Wow!! It’s an innovative live music theater experience being teched & performed by our friends–Brent & Tami Grosvenor.

The show is fascinating and moving.

Made me hunger to live fully & to forgive. Heightened my sense of God’s closeness—even in the kind of pain that makes Him feel far & makes loving so hard. I was reminded there is a Master Plan.

The show tells a story, and it’s also a daring, fast-paced glimpse into the heart of someone being overtaken by a Greater Force.

If you live on the West Coast find a way to make it out to the show! If you’re a leader, schedule Brent to do the show in your area at a community center, theater, school or church. He will perform free of charge. Brent has been on Broadway. Hundreds of thousands of people in Europe and the US have watched his original theater live and been touched.

They’re coming to our home city, San Diego, to City View Church, SEP 23, SUN, 6pm.

Other Dates Include:

While living in Connecticut, my wife and I got to be stage crew & actors singing in two productions, Lost in Vegas and the Passion of the King. I got to grow this striking beard for 6 plus itchy and meaning filled weeks leading up to Easter 🙂

It’s some of the most fun and special time we’ve spent as a couple, doing many shows in East Hartford at Crossroads Community Cathedral, and taking it on the road to Valley Forge, PA, Washington D.C., & Massachusetts.

If you can make it, you’ll love “The Keys”, but most of all, & I mean this—you will never be the same after you meet Brent and Tami Grosvenor.

They’re just so rare, joyful and winsome— swashbuckling adventurers of life—serving and loving people as God keeps fueling them forward.

http://lightsup.org

Lemonade Stand

Hanging out with my niece and nephew is awesome. It’s eye opening, energizing and taxing physically because of their youth and vibrant imagination! One minute we are talking about the value of telling the truth, the next about farts, doing the Dab, and dancing to Crazy Frog or Michael Jackson’s “Bad” on YouTube.

It’s been a busy year, I’ve become a dad, done a ship deployment, and begun a challenging new assignment. So having their parents & them visit this summer from Minnesota was special, sharing new aspects of our life, and a great change of pace. Sometimes it’s a little tough to shift gears between work, being a husband, dad or host, but I wouldn’t miss it to see them.

Their first 4 days I spent away at San Clemente Island for training, so when I came back I knew it was Uncle Time!

That next afternoon I took them to Dairy Queen. On the way home, tummies full of Oreo, M&M & Reese’s Blizzard, we stopped at a big local GasMart called the NEX.

I gave them each $2 and said that this was their budget to find something they liked. E., my nephew, quickly settled on a candy Pushpop but wanted to double-check the cost. I said, “It’s $2”, he corrected me, “Actually it’s $1.93, Uncle Kristian.”

M., my niece, wanted to spend her $2 on a couple poster boards to help advertise a lemonade stand. We proceeded to the register for the big purchases.

E. must have taken three minutes to pay using at least 18 pennies and assorted coins. The patient cashier with respectful diligence counted and stacked them and gave him his Pushpop. Carrying the candy and big posterboards we walked out of the NEX.

Let me be honest. E. & M. had been enthusiastically talking about this stand for what seemed hours. E. wanted to offer free rides in my ’95 Nissan Pickup as an attraction. He had helped me wash it, prepping it for sale the day before.

He was sure that rides would bring in the kids.

M. was more concerned about offering multiple flavors, like pink lemonade, and using fresh squeezed lemons and real sugar. She suggested we sell it for 10 cents.

You know sometimes you don’t realize you are getting old and too logical, but this happened to me during the lemonade stand planning cell meeting we had there riding around in my Red Ford Taurus.

I told M. that she had to sell cups for at least a quarter. After all real lemons would be involved!

In my heart I was just playmaking and thought,

They don’t even live in this neighborhood, and we don’t know the neighbors well, who will come?

My logic carried on, maybe this will happen in 3 or 4 days when I have a weekend…but probably the idea will fizzle out.

I asked them, “what’s pink Lemonade made from?”

E. said, “I think it has Grapefruit in it.”

Then I thought of the girl three houses down who already had a monopoly on the lemonade market. (I think she sometimes used a megaphone and coercion that the Marines would get you if you didn’t make a purchase.) No, we can’t compete with her, things could get ugly.

Fast Forward. That next morning I put on my boots and Type 3 working uniform, and noticed an unusual quiet emanating from our back patio. Yes silence has a sound all its own to a parent!

And there were M. & E. working, they had mostly knocked out their initial promotion poster boards…and they looked good!!

I confess I still wasn’t a believer. I gave them a hug and some cheap but well-meant words like, “Wow, great poster boards, so much detail and excellent marketing too”, and left for work.

I came home that afternoon to a surprising scene.

There they were, with customers!! Rocking that lemonade stand.

I rolled my window down.

“I’d like one! Looks delicious!” I wanted to act like a stranger to add to the vibe of excited customers.

“Can you make change?” Handing my niece a $5 dollar bill. She said “Sure!” and went right for the petty cash jar that was formerly our coin savings bank, once located on the Kitchen Counter.

Her sign read, “LEMONADE. 10 Cents!”

“Just give me $4 back”, I called out from my car.

Now a young boy came, stoked to see Ice Pops available too, for 10 cents.

Man!! They had held out on me regarding their marketing strategy. It was so hot in San Diego. What a stroke of genius.

Then my nephew said to me and to the boys gathered. “Hey, do you want a Bible? They’re really cool!”

What? Giving out Bibles? E. had literally raided this Chaplain’s garage and taken out my “Daily Strength for The Battle” Devotionals by Chaplain Scott McChrystal and was sending handfuls of them away to kids and families who stopped by.

Umm, yes he’d skipped asking permission to give out these little books (written to shore up military families with stories and truth from God’s Word) but I don’t blame him. Should we ask permission to give away a Bible book not being used?

As my vignette here comes to a close, I must say that I got into what they were doing that afternoon! I felt like Robin Williams back in Neverland, almost like a young Peter Pan, who’d learned to fly again. It was invigorating and fresh to my Spirit.

How had they pulled it off? It was ice cold. It was tart and zinged! It had the right balance of sugar, yummy and sweet. They had brand new plastic cups–where had those come from?

And the stand of books were all laid out in neat rows.

I want to make an observation, M. & E. did more outreach to my military housing unit in 2 hours than we’d done in 3 years! My eye had been on my shipmates back onboard the Cruiser; my heart focused on my wife, a new mother, and our sweet joy, little Isak.

But where I saw inadequate planning and resources, not enough time, not a large enough market–this 7 & 9 year old duo saw fun, opportunity and a whimsical “what-if-wouldn’t-that-be-so-cool” childlike kind of dream to bring to life no matter what!

They met tons of kids in those two hours. They made good money. People gave way more than 10 cents. One guy handed a $5 and said “Keep it!”

He got it. I on the other hand didn’t really until it was done.

They shared and showed Jesus’ love so naturally.

•••

My devotional time with the Lord has been a little scarce as a new dad. So I guess, knowing that, He mercifully threw in some lessons from the Lemonade Stand to help me along. Here they are.

“Love your Neighbor”, is part of the greatest command from Jesus. And I need to do it. Like E. & M did to our whole neighborhood that afternoon.

“Out of the mouths of infants You have ordained praise.” Forgive me Lord for missing Your hand moving through these children. You are awesome and bigger than my adult-minded limitations. Give me “Faith Like a Child.” And may I always give a seat at the planning table, or a microphone, to children to help lead us on mission (trips) and in worship.

Bibles are cool. They are God’s Word. And without shame E. gave them out. Wow. I want to be like that.

“He will give you the desires of your heart.”

May I be more tuned to the Holy Spirit when he puts zany ideas in my son Isak’s mind (or in my wife’s heart or mine), not crushing them with self-protecting cold hard logic…let me dream a little and tread carefully on what could soon become Holy Ground trimmed out with a Lemonade Stand.

*I want to dedicate this story to Romina, M. & E.’s mom. She was the force that God’s Spirit used to bring dreams to life.

**If you enjoyed this reflection check out Bob Goff’s book “Love Does”. A mentor, pastor Sean Wiles, recommended it. It’s about whimsical, Holy Spirit-led, unlikely and amazing happenings in his life worth hearing.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13497505-love-does

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Worthy Heroes

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This Thanksgiving, Kinser Chapel’s congregations along with the Camp Kinser Community, had the opportunity to serve Marines and Sailors a special Thanksgiving Day dinner. It was a beautiful moment, when young and old volunteers, many ovens across camp, and leaders joined in to show love to our warriors who serve here far from home.

As I recall yesterday’s meal, and remember those strong, fine young Americans, relaxing at the table, I can’t help but think of the communities that they represent.  Many at home long to see them and to spend time with them during the holidays.

I think it’s safe to say that many of our Marines and Sailors are considered with a hero-status by their younger siblings, nieces and nephews, and communities back home. With that in mind, let me share two thoughts with you.  The first is that being a worthy role-model is needed by our Country today.  The second is this, if we are to be worthy heroes, it helps to have worthy heroes ourselves. This is because the level of greatness that our heroes have attained often becomes the maximum level for which we ourselves are reaching.

There was an early Christian leader named Paul who said, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ.”  He was very focused on the one whom he considered his hero. To the extent that his hero loved, served and humbled himself, Paul would do the same.

I am proud to serve among American warriors in Okinawa.  They inspire me daily. This holiday season may each of us recognize the incredible strength of the example we provide to our families and communities. When we feel the pressure of our burden of duty, may we remember worthy heroes who inspire us to reach forward gladly, with all our strength.

Picture: Volunteers from Camp Kinser Chapel’s Thanksgiving Day Dinner. Yep, the children volunteered too. They kept the Marines entertained, and carried more than their weight.

Choosing Heroes

Choosing Heroes

Did you have a childhood hero? Heroes have a special quality about them…sometimes charisma, other times beauty, or perhaps intelligent creativity. Whatever it is, they have a greatness in them that we admire and to which we aspire. It can be dangerous to have the wrong heroes. This is because the level of greatness our heroes have attained becomes for us the maximum level for which we ourselves are reaching. As you’ve likely noticed, heroes often fall short. As you listen to today’s sermon, test this statement out, “Show me your heroes and I’ll show you your future.” In the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians, notice how Jesus-focused he is. In the first 34 verses of his letter to this church, he mentions Jesus Christ 22 times. He is absorbed in wonder at this person Jesus. “To me to live is Jesus Christ,” he says. Good thing Paul chose the right hero. He goes on to tell the Philippians, that they, like him, should make Jesus Christ their model. “Have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.” To the extent that he loved, served and humbled himself, they should do the same. Due to Jesus Christ’s obedience and commitment, even unto humiliating death on a cross, God exalted Him to true hero status, and has given Him the name LORD, at which every knee will bow and every mouth confess that reality. Who is your hero? May Jesus capture your heart and be the the standard for your greatest aspirations.

Click on link to hear sermon:  https://soundcloud.com/kinser-chaplain/choosing-heroes-philippians-2

 

Operation One Macedonia: The Call to Unity

Operation One Macedonia –The Call to Unity

In a fractured world of broken families, warring nations, and self-focus, Christians find themselves in enemy territory. Strangers to this world and to the things it holds most dear, God calls us to be united citizens of his coming eternal Kingdom. The Apostle Paul brought word of this truth to the Philippian Church of Macedonia in a letter written from his prison cell in Rome, 62AD. He told them to “stand fast together. Conduct yourselves in a kingdom-of-heaven manner worthy of Jesus. Be courageous in the face of sufferings given you by God. You are sharing these pains with Jesus, even as they confirm your commitment to Him. The courage you show in your Gospel mission is a sign of God’s salvation power and of your enemies’ soon rendezvous with judgment.” Unity among God’s people is a critical strategy of Jesus’ Kingdom advance. That unity is made possible by something potent and uncommon on earth: selfless love. This kind of love is the way of Jesus. It’s the way to live peaceably and purposefully among each other. Such love reaches hardened hearts with the hope of Eternity and forgiveness, revolutionizing the world.

Click on link to hear audio message:  https://soundcloud.com/kinser-chaplain/operation-one-macedonia