Real estate, White flags, and Jonah

In 2005, Tim and I bought a big ole tri-plex that in so many ways we really have no business owning. At the time, banks were giving mortgages to anyone who was breathing, with little to no money down and interest free, if you agreed to the “adjustable” terms of that loan.  We were arrogant and stupid enough to agree to these terms. I remember when we closed on the place, one of the guys at the table said, “Just wait, that place is going to be worth a million dollars in a couple years because this neighborhood is so hot.”  When we drove away from that closing, I wanted to roll down my window and start waving to everyone, blowing a few kisses, because I felt so smart, soon-to-be rich, and powerful for scoring such a great deal.  I’ve heard a phrase that says, “Experience humility today before you experience humiliation tomorrow,” and wow, did we get humbled!  A couple years later, the market changed, and we had a $700/month increase in the mortgage, and we could no longer re-finance it! I was scared and overwhelmed. Our options for help were limited. I turned to God.

I had prayed about our decision when we first bought the house.  But, I really prayed when the bottom started to fall out!  I prayed more fervently, more honestly, and more desperately than I had during the early decision-making process. 

I think my story is fairly common. We usually pray the most when things are the worst, or when we have nothing else to do, or when we have no where else to turn.  

This Sunday, we are continuing our new series called “White Flag: a study of the book of Jonah.” White flags are the universal symbol for surrender. This week we’ll look at Jonah’s prayer of surrender from inside the belly of the great fish – when he had no where else to turn and nothing else to do.  It’s a whale of a tale, and I hope to see you there.


Risk & Opportunity

A couple years ago, I co-opened a business called Sipping n’ Painting; my partners and I recently signed a lease to expand to a second location.  Several people in my life have warned me about “managing my risk” in opening the second studio.  I consider this wise counsel, and I also consider it only one side of a double- sided coin.  What about “managing the opportunity?”  or better yet, “stewarding the opportunity?”  Last year, Sipping n’ Painting received a small business grant, and I think it is just as important to steward the opportunity of that grant and the gift of current momentum in this business as it is to manage the risk involved in expanding.

The same is true for you. God has given you gifts.  You can lead, or teach, or pioneer new things, or host, or serve, or sing, or play, or innovate, or create, or come alongside.  Are you stewarding that gift? Are you stewarding the opportunities in your life today? Jesus told a story where he cautioned his followers not to “bury [their] talents” in the ground.  We can bury our talents (or bury the talents of others) when we become so risk-adverse, so consumed with “managing the risks,” that we lose sight of the opportunity we need to steward. 

Has the Spirit led you to venture into risky territory? What steps can you take today to wisely manage the associated risk AND courageously invest your talents?