Monthly Archives: May 2014

Making it Memorable

Amazing what I find scribbled on scrap paper abandoned on my desk.

A few weeks ago, I got cornered by a couple of phrases we use a lot:

  • Walking along side

  • Pour into….

What does that mean? What do we pour? Whole pages were filled with potential answers. I must have written another list after talking to someone or reading something. Maybe I was musing about myself? At a random moment, anyone you are talking to will be feeling or thinking or experiencing one or more of the following:

Hopelessness

Helplessness

Emptiness

A couple of items on the scrap of paper fit with one of those big three. Maybe a person isn’t at the point of feeling and acting helpless, but they are overwhelmed. I don’t know where to put the word distracted. That is not a feeling as much as it is a state of being.

We once had a dog who would never run away, but she could sniff her way lost. She was easily distracted by a sound or a smell and after a few minutes discover that she didn’t know where she was.

After serious thinking, I concluded that we can pour into people that which is eternal. These will last forever: Faith, Hope, Love. (1 Corinthians 13:13.) I wasn’t satisfied.

There was another list which sounded like our Core ministry actions—expressions of faith, hope and love. Written in the largest letters is the word:

ENCOURAGEMENT

On this Memorial Day weekend, I’m going to be celebrating friends and friends of friends who did not come home from some war. I’m also going to celebrate and thank God for those who walked beside me and when they left me at their turn-off, I felt encouraged because they had bothered. Encouragement is such a great result of effort and caring.

That is the highest expression of our brand. When people think of us, I want them to think—he/she encouraged me.

Enrich

Edify

Educate

Energize

Empower

Equip

Embrace

Pour that into the hopeless, helpless and/or empty and they will celebrate you every time your name comes to mind. It is how lives are changed and destiny is forged. I’m wondering if that is the job descriptions of coaches and mentors and people you love to be with. “Hey! Come walk with me.”

Make it a Memory-Making Weekend

    D. Dean Benton

    Benton Quest House—Living the I’m Possible Dream

    Author of Mockingbirds at Dawn

    See and sample– https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/439557

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Don’t forget your sword

Our Daughter Deborah wrote:

As I was driving Hannah to school this morning we passed a 2nd grader. He was alone. He had his imaginary sword out and was battling his way to school. I wondered: when is it that we forget how to slay dragons and vanquish foes, and stop seeing life as a grand adventure? At what age do we leave the sword at home to rust, and instead pick up a walking stick, and begin to trudge?

That may be one of life’s top 2-3 questions. 

 My wife had a birthday recently. She’s kinda bummed about it. When one of her younger “peers” told her she wanted to be just like her when she grew up, I wanted to remind the world that Carole has not decided what she is going to be when she grows up.

At what age…? When we allow others to define us, rather than our dreams and visions.

Debi asked the Don Quixote question. The Man of LaMancha was on a Quest until the Inquisitors “made him see himself—not as he was, but as they saw him.”

“…slay dragons and vanquish foes, and see life as a grand adventure?”

 D. Dean Benton

Benton Quest House—Living the I’m Possible Dream

Author of Mockingbirds at Dawn

See and sample– https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/439557

Oranges and Grape Jelly

If you have any extra Yellow Finches at your house, will you send them over? Carole is lamenting that Finches have rejected her again this year. She puts the best lures out. A Finch will show up and then break her heart by never coming back. She takes it personally.

I see the 56,000 Sparrows that visit daily and assume they are Yellow Finches that just haven’t changed colors, yet.

The Lady and I were contemplating something way more serious while looking out the living room window yesterday and a Baltimore Oriole landed. It was stunning! Since this brand of bird has ignored us for decades, it felt like a breakthrough—we are movin on up. What beauty! I cannot overstate how beautiful that Oriole is.

You know the routine. Now, we have to entice the scout to return and bring cousins. After making a call to her Audubon Society-wise daughter, Carole was on the move.

The view out of our living room window this morning is funny—to me. It appears we are having a post-Easter Orange-Egg Hunt. There are pieces of orange in trees, dishes, hastily built containers and stuck in bushes. In case the Oriole isn’t into oranges today, there are globs of grape jelly strung around.

We are a Baltimore Oriole friendly safe environment. I think the one problem will be that any Oriole scout is going to step in the grape jelly trying to get to the orange which will discourage him from returning. I can see the bird trying to shake the jelly off his toes in disgust. And break Carole’s heart again. She’s been slightly depressed lately, so you may want to pray that God will give us favor with the bird community.

Perhaps I should have named the book, “Baltimore Orioles at Dawn.” (Mockingbirds at Dawn goes to the publisher on Friday.)

The largest church in the region has established a satellite church in our city. It also purchased an empty, abandoned saloon to be a drop-in center. “Dilapidated” doesn’t come close. I’ve visited the rehab project a couple of times and they are doing a great job. They have refurbished the booths, totally gutted and rebuilt the building inside and out.

Some folks who don’t quite get missional thinking are concerned. “I hope they are not disappointed—it is a rough neighborhood.” The visionaries are expecting, drunks, addicts, gangbangers and kids with nowhere else to go.

What kind of “grape jelly” and “oranges” should they hang on the street signs out front to entice people and to get them to come back?

I like what I feel hanging out with the construction crew and the campus pastors. I like the feel of the booths with words and names carved in the wood. I’ve listened to city pastors as they pray over that ministry. I like the sense that this is part of what Jesus had in mind when He said, “You shall receive power to be my witnesses…” (Acts 1:8).

Copyright 2014 D, Dean Benton

Benton Quest House 

Pretty, But Not Even Close

Usually, I have one or two books on amazon.com. Some of the prices are amusing. My book, “Gospel With Racing Stripes” (1976) is a glancing look at the Gospel According to Mark. It was not ready to go to press. I’ve always been slightly embarrassed about that book. One of the Amazon book stores had $78 marked on it. It must have sold because it isn’t on the list anymore.

I checked a couple of days ago. I had five titles for sale. It was a listing of my first four books and Mosquito Park Secrets—How to Live Outrageously Happy and Healthy. It is the description that captured me:

“This is a pretty book. An old fashioned study of child psychology.”

What? Really? It is, in fact, my interaction with the Fruit of the Spirit after heart surgery. Intrigue does not end there. The cover on the display copy is different. The real cover has a shot of me in Mosquito Park looking at the Mississippi River—it is a great photo. But the Amazon cover deleted the river and me and has the title and my name.

What’s going on here? If they had a thousand copies, then they might pay a graphics artist big bucks for a new cover. They have five copies available nation-wide. Where is the cost-effective ratio on that? My wife thinks someone has swiped my name and title and the content has been altered.

It is a pretty book. Cover and content. The Pulitzer people have not been in touch, so I have no delusions, but it is a good read and instructive—Outrageously Happy & Healthy.

If it turns out that some mad psychiatrist has hijacked my title and name, I’ll let you know. I hope the dude finds my name to be commercially successful.

We are using my latest book, On My Family Watch, in our Month of May seminars. We are letting Galatians 5 deal with us—how to walk and live in the Spirit given that the cultural atmosphere is heavy with “deeds of the flesh.” In short-hand terms, the deeds of the flesh are: unhealthy sex, unhealthy religion, unhealthy emotions, unhealthy addictions. Until we deal with the deeds, the Fruit will not blossom into harvest.

If the goal of day to day personal experience is The Fruit of the Spirit, then who and what will you furnish your life with that will grow love, joy, peace, patience…? I offer several suggestions in On My Family Watch. 

In last evening’s session we found anecdotal evidence–people told us examples–of need for at least one: 

  • Provider
  • Priest
  • Partner
  • Protector 

Follow this link to the ebook store. There is a sample for you to read to see if the book will be helpful and/or interesting. Thanks for checking it out. (Make sure the right cover is shown. It has a picture of my Grandmother’s watch.)

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/433198

 ©2014 D. Dean Benton

Benton Quest House

Auction-2

Facebook has built a building across I-80 from Adventure Land. It cost $300 million dollars. The reporter did not know if that included the cost of hardware. Yahoo built a building in West Des Moines at the cost of $1 billion. Inside of those two buildings are rows of servers. Facebook will add 80 jobs to the Des Moines’ workforce in the building which I’m guessing is the size of 5-8 football fields.

On the other side of I-80 one or two miles west is a large “carriage” house. If I hadn’t just wept my way through the sale of my aunt and uncles house which came into the family in the mid-late 1930s for the purpose of being a sanctuary or a family resource that, carriage house would not have elicited the same kind of response.

I was up at 3:45. Distressed over yesterday—listened to Mike Murdock. He said, “Your seed will determine your next season.” I’m wondering what seed I did not plant or what/where I’m to invest the seed to bring about a harvest. Is that what the breakthrough is waiting for?

A building full of servers—a building where we build and maintain servers. A building constructed and manned as a sanctuary and resource.

Greenfield, Iowa is southwest of Des Moines about 50 miles. On highway 25 between I-80 and Greenfield is a huge barn that has been falling down as long as I can remember—that may be decades. The owners have built a new house a few yards away, but have done nothing about that old barn. I think a front-end loader on the tractor would push the building over.

My mind and life has been full of buildings in recent months. I had an emotional connection with that barn. I have a faith connection with the carriage house. It represents vision and instructing gifted people to be servers—in the area of their giftedness and anointing.

 

Dean

Auctions

The auction of my Uncle and Aunt’s estate turned into an emotional day for me. “Emotional” is way too tidy a word to describe my soul’s turmoil. 

            It is devastating to see familiar furniture sitting on the front lawn. I agonized over the nickel and dime sales. When the auctioneer said, “We have here a 7-piece bedroom suit.” (I think that is spelled and some say “suite” but I could be wrong.) Immediately, I recalled Everett & Fern’s wedding reception. You’ve got to know Uncle was a smart man and a business man. He knew how to act in public—he just wasn’t very sophisticated. I just don’t want anything I say about him to be interpreted as derogatory or belittling.

            Back to the reception. After cake and punch, someone was reading a list of gifts that didn’t show up at the reception. The lady announced that Fern’s parents had given a bedroom suit to the bride and groom. One of my cousins leaned over to me and said, “Uncle probably thinks that is a pair of pajamas.”

            Seven pieces of matching high-dollar furniture, dated but in nice condition. Sold for $30.00. The matching 5-piece dining room furniture—I probably wouldn’t have used the desk, but the rest was nice–$50.

            Carole wouldn’t let me attend any of her garage sales because I would go ballistic when someone wanted to talk her down from a quarter. (“Dean, you can’t yell at my customers!”) I had no place for the furniture, so I didn’t yell at anyone. The number one lesson at auctions is that you do not scratch your ear during the bidding. The second lesson is that the market for memories is minimal.

            I’m sure there is a song somewhere about the day when they drag all the stuff you gave your life for onto the lawn and it goes for nickels. Your treasures that are not worth much to others. Made me wonder what I’m giving my life for that will have value after I’m gone.

             He may have been a farmer, but he most of all had a heart for souls. Uncle was afflicted with Parkinson’s during his last years. One of our last conversations I had with him he was sitting in his wheel chair. He said—“These meeting you’re having” (long pause) “are you seeing souls saved?”

            The treasures that shall last for eternity did not get displayed on the front lawn—nor could anyone  bid on them. That transaction was over. Jesus paid the price no one else could.

I have been calculating values the past couple of days. Things that will last for eternity. 

 ©2014 D. Dean Benton