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Some things are just strange aren’t they? Just yesterday I received a message from a friend of mine thanking me for ministering to her the day before.

Day 232

Red Vines can help you minister to others.

As I sat looking at the message, I wondered what in the world she was talking about. I quickly went over the day before, and couldn’t see any way that I had ministered to her. So, I took stock of the day again, this time much more slowly, and still, I couldn’t come up with a thing. As far as I could see, it was just another Sunday.

I though about asking her, but then thought “no”, because really it feels like a stupid question. Someone tells you that you helped them a bit, ministered to them (which is a little step up from just helping) and then you don’t remember what you did? I mean really, aren’t we supposed to remember this sort of thing?

Finally, after a couple of hours of coming back to it and wondering about it, it dawned on me that I just had to know what on earth she was talking about. So, I contacted her and her answer was simple. Red Vines.

Red Vines. The red, tasty licorice candy that’s low in fat and high in sugar. And, because it seems to chew forever, makes it feel like you’re eating a lot of the sugary treat when in reality you’ve only had a twist or two. Okay, maybe three, but that’s not the point.

Her answer left me more confused than ever, I realized that I had given her a box of Red Vines, and they weren’t even mine. They were hers. I had bought them for her when we were at the store the day before. She left them at my house, and, I knew I would see her the next day. So, I took them to church with me to give to her, praying all the while that they wouldn’t melt into some weird red gob of gooeyness as they sat in my hot truck during the service.

When I gave them to her, as far as I was concerned that was the end of it. But, for her, it wasn’t. The act of my remembering to giver her the box of Red Vines reminded her that someone thought about her, remembered her and cared enough about her to make sure that she could enjoy something she liked.

Later, I got to thinking that that’s really what ministry is all about. Thinking about someone, remembering them and then caring about them enough to do something about it. It’s in this very way, in the small things of life, that we can show others how much God thinks about each one of us, remembers who and what we are, and loves us enough to want to be a part of our lives.

“As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.”

Psalm 103:13-14

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Rain is rare in the San Francisco Bay Area dur...

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The other day my son hopped into the Blue Beast after his junior high youth group, pulled the door shut and before I could put the truck into gear handed me a white paper.

“You need to sign this,” he said, adding “please” before I had a chance to comment on the reality that just because you’re now officially a teenager that doesn’t mean you give up being polite.

When we got home, I looked closely at the paper and immediately I smiled as I read what it said.

“It’s a permission slip,” my son informed me in a tone that only a teenager can.

I looked at him and resisted the urge to roll my eyes, like only a parent can.

“I know that,” I said, but my mind was off and running elsewhere along paths into the past.

Nowadays with budget cuts, education requirements and all around liability issues, children just don’t go on very many field trips, either with school or anywhere else. So, the sight of permission slip is a rather rare and unique experience.

But, I remember back when I was in school, that wasn’t the case. As I looked at the piece of paper in my hands, I was taken back to that time when I would bring home different colored permission slips for different field trips, yellow, pink, blue, and, yes, white. I knew every time I brought one home that we would be going to a fun and exciting place.

I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, and, every year my school would go on a field trip to Marine World ( this was before it moved), to Angels Island, to the theatre, to the symphony, to any number of wonderful places. Just the thought of them still gives me a warm feeling as I remember getting on the yellow school bus with my friends and classmates, and chugging off to a wonderful destination.

All of those trips and the things we learned on them, along with the feelings of excitement, anticipation and feel goodness all began when I brought that permission slip home for my mom to sign.

It made me realize that many times, we consider a life with the LORD as the end of permission slips and all the wonderful things that go along with them. The excitement. The anticipation. The journey. The adventure.

On some level we think that He’s not going to give us permission to do anything we want, anything we desire, that He’s all about taking things away and not giving anything back. Yet, there is nothing further from the truth. The longer we walk with Him, the more we realize that He’s all about giving us the permission to be who He created us to be, and there is nothing more exciting that.

“Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!””

2 Kings 5:13

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