Monthly Archives: November 2014

Black Friday

Black Friday this year was the worst Black Friday in the history of Black Fridays. I haven’t heard any stories of crazed shoppers fighting over the last Furby. I haven’t listened as family or friends recounted their horrific shopping experiences at *large discount retail chains.* I also haven’t heard the cries of my newborn baby, and it’s killing me.

Katie and I were due to have a baby today. We weren’t expecting to be able to travel to Florida to spend the holiday with my family. We were banking on late night feeding, the nastiest poop diapers, and we couldn’t have been more excited. For one brief week in March, we were on top of the world. That position came toppling down on the most excruciating Thursday. My vote would be for the last Thursday in March to be called Black Thursday, but I don’t want to further memorialize a day that I won’t ever forget.

Miscarriage is an interesting thing. Most people will tell you that your body is much smarter than you realize, and the female body miscarries for a lot of different reasons. Neither of these things is any condolence.

(Track with me on this one) Miscarriage is also like hitting the lottery. When people find out it has happened to you, everyone you don’t quite know or haven’t spoken to in years wants to become best friends. Obviously not seeking a piece of the prize, they want to share the intimate details of their own experience. For an introvert that was involved in an emotional landslide (who also hates crying in front of people) like Katie, it was extremely difficult. Not being introvert and always willing to cry in front of just about anyone, it was equally traumatic for me but probably easier to process.

One of the most helpful pieces of advice we received was from a fellow Portico girl that Katie grew up around. Katie was very familiar with her experience, so the advice was welcome. She told us that it is ok to be angry. She told us that there will be days that we don’t want to sit in a worship service and pretend everything is ok. There will even be days that you don’t come to church because you just can’t make yourself do it. And all of those things are ok.

Today, I am not holding my snugly, warm baby. I have not been pacing a hospital in the most intense anxiety. I am cuddled up in an uncomfortable condo bed in Florida. Katie and I have been emotionally raw for 8 months now. We have been drained. We are empty. We have very little to offer. We fight on. We fight on because running a marathon in quicksand is a horrible experience. We fight on because, though the emptiness feels like a never-ending hole, we know that only the Spirit of Christ can fill such a hole. Sometime that is hard to see or believe. Often, it is difficult to accept. This Thanksgiving holiday has been one of meager, sparse thankfulness. Today, on the Blackest of Fridays, I declare that I am thankful for a Savior that meets me in the mess, a Savior that loves me in my grief and shame, and a Savior that is a strong reminder that death is not the end. When talking about eternity, Death is only the beginning. #Death2Life

by Philip Haley

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I Gave My Daughter A Cookie by Jarod Stokes

Here is a section from Randy’s Letter:

“The reality is that for the last couple of years, the amount given to Portico has declined.  That brought our church to a budget crossroad this year (Portico’s fiscal year runs from October 1st through September 30th).  Either we could cut the budget to reflect the amount actually given during the previous fiscal year(Literally having to cut all of our ministries) or we could adopt a budget that exceeded the amount actually given last year.  The church opted to do the latter at the September HUB.

Therefore, I am asking you to do two things.  

  1. Pray about the amount God would have you give to support the ministries of Portico Church.  
  2. Faithfully give that amount.


”

When my daughter and I go to the mall, we typically go to Chick-Fil-A, followed by shopping or errands. But on the way out, sometimes we get the mini double doozies. She really likes the M&M ones. So, at first we would just split it and I would tell her, “This is for you and Daddy.” This became our thing: we would SPLIT it. So, one time for whatever reason (maybe because I was watching my weight…doubt it), I didn’t give her the instructions to split it. Looking back, I realize that she knew I had not requested a SPLIT. When we got to the car, she had eaten a little more than half. She then gave me the cookie and said, “Dad can you save the rest of this for after my nap?” I said sure, and we pulled out of the parking lot. I wish I had watched her more in the rear view mirror; I wish I had seen fully what was going on. We got about five minutes down the road, and she says, “Dad I want you to have it!” I said “What?” She said, “It’s too much for my tummy, you have it.” Not wanting to pass on the teachable moment, I said, “Thank you. I’m so proud of you for sharing.” So I gave her a small pinch back and ate the rest. Since then she now just tears off half and gives it to me. She smiles real big and says, “Here you go daddy!”

I don’t care about the cookies (that’s not true, I love double doozies), but in comparison, I’m so pumped and overwhelmed that my daughter wants to share with me what I’ve already shared with her. I’m not asking you to give more for the sake of giving more, I’m asking you to share the way Jesus shared. I’m asking you to give like God gave. I’m asking you to be more like Christ. God doesn’t need your charity or your money. He simply wants you to smell like him. He wants you to be his fragrance on earth.

At Portico we have a tube mounted to the wall. It is my favorite avenue of giving to date in my church history. Why? Because you have to think about it. You have to consciously think about putting it in there. Some people have made it a habit… good for them. But giving isn’t really an after thought or a moment of knee jerk adjustment once the trays are being passed. That’s my spin on the TUBE. Some people blame the tube, some people say they’d rather give to a need, some people forget, others just don’t think about it, and some have other reasons for not giving.

HERE is the need. Here is what to remember. This is what I need you to put in the tube…

We will be handing out and mailing covenant cards. We need to manage our budget effectively to be good stewards of what God is giving Portico. These cards will ask you to commit to giving a certain amount to Portico weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly. You have two options: anonymously, or you can put your name on it. This is not an accountability exercise. It can be if you would like someone to hold you to that, however, we just simply need to know where every penny is going.

We want our kids’ ministry, creative ministry, outreach ministry, worship ministry, and others to be able to do what we believe God has called them to do. Our church is in need for the money to support those ministries.

Please pray about it. Pray for WISDOM for our leaders. Pray for growth in our giving. Pray for humility, and most importantly pray that the Holy Spirit is moving us all in the direction we are to go as church.

At the end of the day my daughter and I share cookies all the time. She loves to make them for me, and I love to give her an extra one when her mom is not looking. God wants a relationship with you that is deeper than a Sunday experience, more than song, more than a tithe, and more than an after thought. He wants you to actively and passionately seek him with all your heart. God has blessed you with a church who loves you deeply. Let us know how we can help you GIVE in ways that bring eternal life to this community and those around us.