We had a great picnic today. I learned two important things.
Lesson one: Some neighbors gave us a generous deal on their inflatable jumper. The initial set-up went well. There was a problem, though. The neighbor's house I planned on plugging into was empty. I had sent an email two days prior requesting that we be allowed to have a little of their electricity, but hadn't heard back. So, after a few minutes of being plugged in there and not feeling very settled about the situation I elected to get a couple more extension cords and plug into another neighbor's home on the other side of the park.
By this time the jumper has been running for around 8 minutes. Since we were near to our house I walked home and grabbed 150' of extension cord and another 100' from my neighbor. I called Eric on the phone and asked him to go unplug the cord and bring it around to the other side where I would meet him. No, I actually said, "Eric, why don't you ask the kids to get out and go bring the plug around." He informed me that getting them out might not be the easiest of tasks and just asked them to stop jumping. This sounded reasonable. This is where we went wrong. When the plug came out, the air inflated castle immediately collapsed and several little children were suddently unaccounted for. I suspect that several bad dreams may come out of this one. Lesson learned: Get the kids out of the jumper before pulling the plug.
Lesson two: John cooked for us today. His burgers and chicken were amazing. He cooked boneless thighs that he had been bathing in a teriyaki marinade. He also dropped some spicy mango and mesquite breasts on us. No kidding--it was the best chicken that I have ever eaten. I'm telling you they were perfect. I heard one of our guests ask him to cater a BBQ at their home later in the summer. I'll have to try and wiggle my way in as his assistant or something so that I can eat whatever he puts together for them. Lesson learned: Always beg John to cook.
Outside of learning these important lessons, we had a great time. There were five families who joined us for the picnic who have not yet joined us for a service of worship. That was cool. I really enjoy watching the people of City-Wide Redeemer reach out to newcomers and engage them in such an appropriate and loving way. You can't teach that. It comes from a disposition of the heart. I'm thankful to see it.