Who would have thought doing your taxes could be a holy moment. It sounds strange but God showed up big-time this year as I got things squared away with Uncle Sam. Let me explain . . .
April 15th is fast-approaching and every year I have my taxes already filed and my tax return already spent by now. But with a newborn baby and a newly born church, getting my taxes done is still in my “inbox.”
As I was gathering all of my receipts I could not locate the booklet where I track all of my business miles. It must have gotten lost in a box during the move from my Kensington office to my basement office. I put about 3,000 miles on my car last year for church-related driving so this is a sizable deduction for me. After searching in vain for the booklet for an hour or so, I decided to “fail forward” and stop searching for it.
So I was forced to go into my Microsoft Outlook calendar and review 2010 one day at a time, looking at my appointments for each day and tracking the mileage for each one that involved travel.
At first I had a real attitude about this. A real attitude.
Then I realized God wanted to use this exercise as a time to remember.
If you’ve ever read the Old Testament, you’ll see over and over again that God commands – not suggests – but commands His people to remember. For example, as they are about to enter the Promised Land, God says, “But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth…” — Deuteronomy 8:18 (That’s a good thing for all of us to remember, by the way).
Why does God command us to “remember” so many times?
Because we tend to forget.
We forget how God answered that prayer we desperately wanted answered. We forget how God provided for us. We forget how God led us. We forget how God convicted us. We forget.
And the only way to combat our forgetfulness is to spend some time reflecting and remembering. Hitting the pause button on our ultra-fast-paced life for a few minutes.
As I sat at my computer and began reviewing my business appointments each day, memories began flooding my mind as I saw each appointment come across the screen. Here’s a small handful of memorable events of 2010:
March 12-13, 2010 – a trip down to Vineyard Central in Cincinnati, Ohio for a church planters boot camp. This is where it all began for Kellie and I, where we felt God call us to plant a church.
April 9, 2010 – the day Kellie and I met Jim & Megan Pool at Loui’s Pizza in Hazel Park (the best pizza in town!) and then drove to downtown Royal Oak to hang out at Starbucks. It was at Starbucks where Jim (who is a regional church planting director) encouraged us plant the church by Easter 2011 while we were thinking more like 2012 or 2013.
June 17, 2010 – I met Beau McCarthy for lunch in Royal Oak. Beau is lead pastor of Genesis the Church. Nothing incredible happened at lunch that day but seeing that appointment reminded me it has been too long since Beau and I have gotten together.
August 5-6, 2010 – I officiated a wedding at Greenfield Village but that isn’t why I remember these two days. It was what I did after the rehearsal and wedding on both nights. I met Kellie up at Sterlingfest and we sat on blankets under the stars with the rest of her extended family and listened to some amazing “tribute” bands to The Eagles and Journey while the kids danced and jumped. It was the highlight of my summer.
September 17, 2010 – This was the day I presided over the funeral of Jonah Chrisman, a 15-year-old boy who died way too young of Osteosarcoma. Parents aren’t supposed to outlive their children.
2010 was an amazing year for Kellie and me and I forgot most of the details of it. Until the past few days when God orchestrated me losing my business mileage booklet.
May this blog compel you to hit the pause button on your fast-paced life. Whether it’s for a few minutes or a few hours. May the Holy Spirit flood your mind with things you have forgotten, both recent and distant memories. May you reflect. May you remember. And may you be blessed as a result.
***Join us this Sunday March 6th. Craig Mayes will be preaching at The Eastside Vineyard Church. In addition to being my longtime friend and mentor, Craig is a phenomenal Bible teacher. His mid-week teaching at Kensington Church is stuff of legend. March 6th. 6pm. Info at tevchurch.org***