Here are a few things I am seeing and experiencing in us as a family. I write to you as a father and a friend. One who loves you deeply, honestly and completely.

Intention does not steal. To be deliberate in one thing does not mandate a lack of it in another. In fact, intentionality in one area of our lives breeds the same in all areas. If we are not seeing this principle at work, we are not being intentional. We are being selfish.

To be candid, I am sensing a lack of intention in our relationship with the Lord. Decided time with and attention on the Person of Jesus is the linch-pin to deep and abiding intention everywhere else in our lives. Here are two areas of consequence I see as being affected by this lack:

Connection: When our relationship with the Lord is short and shallow, so are our relationships with people. Abiding connection with God always breeds desire for abiding fellowship with people. A lack of genuine connection with God creates a deceptive need for isolation or shallow human connection. We will feel the need to “get away”, be alone and “rest”. If we do gather with people, we will want it to be more social in nature rather than centered in Him. There is no greater rest and restoration than intentional connection with God and His people. Anything else is like drinking soda when you are really thirsty. A momentary refreshment ultimately leaving us bloated and unsatisfied.

Giving:  “We cannot give as much because we need…”  No financial need or decision should ever negate generosity. Saving, budgeting and cost-cutting are good but fall short of the divine mindset. God thinks in terms of stewardship. A good steward doesn’t just save or devote money to one or more “important” areas. A wise steward has a godly heart toward money and all he or she owns and is committed to. And the greenhouse of stewardship is time spent with the Father. He is the owner of it all. If anyone knows how to save, spend and give well, it’s Him. He would never allow a lack or need in one area to steal from the others in His life. Wisdom is good to all. Being intentional with your wealth is its best protection.

In my role at WHO, I am the fortunate (and unfortunate) receiver of the verbal commitments of many. In a genuine moment of excitement, passion and intention, one shares with me what they are committing to. I am convinced that most often, the commitment is Holy Spirit inspired. As time passes, often so does the excitement and passion of that moment.

But the One who inspired the commitment is unchanging. So what happened? I submit to you that our intentional connection with the One who inspired us faltered. If He is truly our culture, our atmosphere, whatever He breathed into us is not only maintained but fanned into a roaring fire.

As I write, I encourage you to not hastily make a commitment to gather with folks, be at church more often or give more financially. Instead, simply spend more time with Jesus – intentional, imaginative and inspiring time with Him. If anything is to last, it must have the Eternal One at its center.

I desire the best for each one of you. An abundant, fulfilling and impacting life. Time spent with Him is the best advice I could ever give you.

In love,

Mark