Do your kids consistently overfill their glasses in an effort to defy gravity (or to raise your parental blood pressure), just to see how much they can liquid they can get in there?   It’s like each time they pour anything liquid, they intend to experiment with the scientific limitations of surface tension.  Who knew liquids could be mounded so consistently up over the lip of their cups…that with just the slightest touch of the hand or the lips, gravity wins and the contents gush down the side of the glass all over the table?

I’d like to think this is the Holy Spirit’s vision for His filling in every Christian–filled so full of Christ that we defy the physical capacity of our souls–brimming over–that at that slightest interaction with another human being, the surface tension breaks and Christ spills out.

Maggie and I had that experience at breakfast recently.  In our sweet conversation as dad and daughter together she would often pause to wipe away a tear brimming in her eyes–just over little things about her everyday life as a kid and our everyday experiences as a family.  It doesn’t take very long for us to be reminded with gratitude that I’m still able to take my daughter out for breakfast–that’s probably why that meal was so tender between us.  A bump and a spill.

Just a few intentional minutes alone with my lovely daughter draws up deeply satisfying joy within me.

This is all part of my master plan as a dad this new year.  Still inspired by Case Seymour’s Legacy Parenting talk from last year’s Men’s Retreat here at Blanchard–I’ve finally “put my money where my mouth is” and have started the process of, as Seymour urged, taking each of my girls out for alone time with me at least once a month.   I’ve bought each of them a journal as well, with the intent of teaching them how to write down their own personal interactions with God and Scripture down so we can talk about them as we get together.

During our first breakfast together, I encouraged Maggie to take a Psalm she could read while inviting the Holy Spirit to speak to her each day–maybe before she turns on anything electronic in the house– a good discipline even for her techie dad.

Later that night as I tucked Maggie in bed and she said her prayers, she beautifully weaved a promise she had read that day in Psalm 17 into her conversation with her heavenly Father, asking God to hide her ‘”Opa” in the shadow of His wings”‘ as he continues to recover from his stroke.  Another bump and a beautiful spill.

I’ve been discussing the topic of “church effectiveness” with several key leaders at Blanchard Warrenville lately.   Inspired by my breakfasts with my daughter and my experience in ministry, I deeply believe the more intentionally we choose to “bump up” into one another and spill out Christ’s abundance, our church will continually grow in effectiveness–not only by growing up as more and more mature followers of Christ, but spilling over with our neighbors, co-workers and friends who don’t know Jesus yet.

The statistics are brutal at our church and many others when we avoid the mess of relationship–it (and we) won’t survive.

When we resist being in intentional, discipling relationships with one another, whether out of fear, our past, our pride or our busyness; we fail to live life as God intended it. We wither.  We drift.  We disengage within our own ghostly emptiness.  We dodge and weave to avoid the messy spills.  We die of thirst with water all around us.

How wonderful and pleasant it is when [God’s people] live together in harmony! For harmony is as precious as the anointing oil that was poured over Aaron’s head, that ran down his beard and onto the border of his robe. (Ps. 133:1-2 NLV) 

Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again.  But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” (Jn. 4:13-14 NLV)

How’s the quality of your relationships these days?  What changes can you make to purposefully spill over into someone’s life?  It’s a beautiful mess.