I was on break, sitting there on that red bench, looking out into the parking lot realizing the importance of consumerism (sarcasm). I started to look past the parking lot and saw the mountains of Burbank gloating with its rich houses and beautiful sunset as its neighbor (my neighbors yell and beat each other, at least that’s what it sounds like). So ya, I was a little jealous of that mountain.

As I sat there I started to think back. I remember walking home from school and just listening to every sound. I remember observing the leaves blowing at my feet, the crunch as I stepped on top of them, and having that warm feeling inside, that holiday “spirit” knowing Halloween was quickly approaching. Besides the candy and cheap costumes, I’ve always loved Halloween because it meant Disney Channel’s count down to Halloween filled with semi funny, super not scary movies (I’ve of course grown out of that phase). I remember just feeling so good inside knowing that this was the start of the “good holidays” – it only gets better from here. I remember having pretty much no cares aside from homework and how good I was going to be at kickball tomorrow. There was no “WHY” in anything I did. Whenever I did anything, it was just because I could.

Just then I was rudely yanked out of my daydream like a kid being pulled away from something that caught his eye by his mom. Sitting there, back to reality, I started to realize that I wouldn’t be going to Africa this summer. I decided to rack my brain for ideas on what I could and should be doing this summer. I only had about 5 minutes before I had to go back and bag diapers and alcohol for the next 6 hours. Then I had an idea! I sent Pastor Scott a text, a text asking if I could be his body guard. He said no, but that I could be an intern. “Just as good,” I thought to myself politely. I had been praying for something and I felt like this could be it, I mean, if the whole bodyguard thing wasn’t going to work out. I was excited. I was moving out to San Dimas to intern for Lifehouse and I felt good…

“What…did I get myself into?!” I exclaimed at myself, as I realized I poured way too much coffee in the filter. It was Sunday morning again and I was in charge of making the coffee. “I have just ruined church,” I thought to myself. “Don’t worry Max you still have plenty things you can excel at this morning,” I reminded myself. The signs still have to be put up, the nursery has to be moved, the chairs have to be set up, the PowerPoint has to be perfected, the slides, the kids….how do Linna and Scott do this? And have kids? And have jobs? And volunteer for random things? This is simply crazy. I stopped and looked around and everything and everyone was moving so fast…

I start to see families walk in, with huge smiles and beautiful kids, and I’m filled with this warm feeling inside. It reminds me of when I was a kid. I thought to myself, “Family.” I took a deep breath in. This…is church.

When you’re a kid, walking home, you enjoy life more because everything is done for you, the street you walk on was paved by others, your meal at home was made by someone else, you don’t have to buy your own clothes, there’s no budgeting, or bills. I had nothing but time to observe when I was a kid. These past two summers of my life have not been about me at all, and I’m glad. I’m learning to live life not focused on how I can serve myself, but how I can look out for the interest of others, and serve them. Church is about our relationship with God and our relationship with each other. I’m learning that life only gets busier, and amidst serving others in our church, our jobs or whatever it may be within our routines, we can’t forget God, we can’t forget others…we can’t forget WHY we do things. It’s up to us to stop and listen and appreciate the leaves blowing in the street.