Relational Gift Giving

For the past two seasons we’ve done a relational gift exchange with our community group. Here’s how it goes:

  1. Everyone thinks about and writes down something they want to do/a way they could be served/something relationship building that isn’t too weird (i.e. ‘a date’). Gifts have been anything from borrowing someone’s favorite book, to help with shopping, to a plate of brownies, to jars of soup, to collaborative painting, to watching sports. Be creative, and be relational!
  2. The gifts are then shuffled and then randomly passed out to everyone in the exchange.
  3. Gifts are written anonymously but read out loud so that everyone knows what is available.
  4. Starting from the youngest the game then revolves around typical “white elephant” rules: stealing gifts (up to 2 or 3 times depending on the size of the group), or standing pat, until the last person has gone.
  5. Set a time line for when the gifts need to be “given” (a couple of months is probably a good idea…people get busy and things can be forgotten).
  6. Have fun, make memories, take a picture, and get more creative next year!

Vacation, 3rd Tri, Perfection, etc…

What a week this has been! Vacation is wonderful. Sometimes you don’t realize how much you need it until you are in it. One of my favorite books is The Old Man and The Sea by Hemingway. At the end of the book, the old man questions himself: “What beat you?” And he answers this way: “Nothing, I went out too far.” And that is how I feel about this last year. This week has been good for my soul, a pulling back in and putting back together.

Amy and I spent last weekend in the Berkshires eating wonderful food, resting, celebrating, and having great conversations with our good friends.

Then I jumped on a plane to southern california and spent two days with Rob Bell and 47 other people who love Jesus and lead and create and also needed to be put back together. More on this next week.

Then 12 hours of reconnecting with some more great friends, and then back on the plane.

Upon returning home my body, unsure of the time zone, could not sleep so I watched the Giants game that night…just so happened that Matt Cain throws a perfect game!

And then, we went to the doctor yesterday and everything continues to check out well as we enter the 3rd trimester…3 months until we get to meet our new family member!

More updates and thoughts to come…it’s been a good week!

Baptisms and Block Parties

We had another full and crazy weekend! Graduation ceremonies, work, Cinco de Mayo block parties on our street, sermon prep, sermon delivery, free student lunch (last one of the school year), and a baptism celebration. All of which was really, really good. The highlight, though, was to be able to baptize my friend, the legendary Cuban John, yesterday afternoon. Sometimes, in the busyness of life and the semester I can lose track of progress that is being made, or the transformation that is happening over time in people’s lives. It’s so good to have a moment to recognize the journey that someone has been on. I needed to see that!


We had a great Easter Sunday yesterday. Unofficially 650 people came to REUNION (Sojourn’s church partner), which will be a record. I love the energy in the Hilton when the room is so packed.

And, we hosted friends and family in our home afterwards. It is always great to bring family, church, students, and Amy’s work together in one place because it doesn’t happen often (or at least as often as we would like). It was on mission, and most of all it was FUN.

One of my all time favorite Easters!


[REUNION] held a baptism celebration this week, and it was awesome to watch 5 students get dunked! I always love these moments, but I found each of the stories to be especially moving this time. One of my favorite stories culminated in watching Eric baptize one of our BU students. Eric got connected to REUNION/Sojourn through mutual friends from California (the Derricos) who has become a community group leader with his wife. So great to watch all of that work together for a great Kingdom story!