One easy way to create a memory with your family this weekend

Don’t you wish you could create more meaningful memories with your family? Are you going to make any memories with your family this weekend?

Your life is busy and and making memories takes too much energy, money, and time right?

As a Dad I’m learning an easy way to make memories with my family.

Last week our family took a trip to San Francisco. As great as San Francisco is, our greatest memory didn’t include the Golden Gate Bridge, Pier 39, Lombard St., museums or Alcatraz.

It was the night we spontaneously tried something new. We decided to check out Chinatown (the largest Chinatown outside of Asia). While driving around I asked my family, “Wanna stop and eat at one of these restaurants?” After a quick yelp search, we picked one.

My four kids were playing with their chop sticks and staring at the large fish tanks. This was their first time in such an authentic chinese restaurant. Even though I lived in South Korea for a year and have visited chinatown in New York, I was completely out of my element.

Everything was going great but our “memory” was about to happen.

I ordered a “safe” appetizer of wonton soup for our family.  A few minutes later our waiter brought a large silver kettle to our table. I poured the soup into our individual soup bowls.

Then the next 3 things seemed to happen simultaneously. My oldest daughter asked, “Dad what are these smaller cups for?” At the same time I spotted our waiter across the room heading to our table with a large bowl of wonton soup. Then I heard my second daughter say, “Dad this soup tastes just like tea.”

I said, “Uh oh. It is tea. Quick! Pour it into your smaller cups. Here comes the soup.”

By the time the waiter made it over we all smirked but had empty soup bowls as if we were experts. When he left we all laughed.

I was embarrassed and proud of our memory at the same time.

The next day at the hotel my six-year-old son spontaneously jumped out of the pool. He ran over to me with a big smile and said, “Dad, remember when we poured our tea into our soup bowls yesterday? That was so funny.” Yes! We’d just made a memory.

So here’s one easy way to make a memory this weekend:

Try something new TOGETHER.


– New restaurant (especially ethnic foods)

– Shop at a new store

– Visit a new city

– Cook an interesting recipe resulting in a “first time” dish

– Try a new sport together (Ginger & I are going to try paddle surfing)


– Give yourself enough time for spontaneity

– Prepare your family for the adventure by researching online together

– Call it an “adventure” so they understand new can be fun

– Choose to have laugh no matter what happens

Make a memory with your family this weekend by trying something new TOGETHER. Afterwards, I’d love to hear about your adventure!

What do you do to help create memories with your family?

Guaranteed Way to Impact Others TODAY

Give someone genuine encouragement and you WILL impact their day.

Stop right now and think about the encouraging words you’ve heard in the last couple of days. If you’ve experienced any, they immediately come to mind.

Why? Because encouragement stands out like an oasis in a dessert.

This presents a HUGE opportunity. Your genuine words of encouragement are more meaningful than ever to the people you’ll see today.

Here’s the incredible part: It costs you NOTHING.

Even though it costs you nothing, it makes a huge impact.

Sure you’ll end up improving your own perspective, become a more like-able person and create a better culture at work and home along the way. But let’s not focus on the many reasons your life will be improved. Just go encourage others!

For good or bad, your words will make an impact today. Make a BIG impact through encouragement!

Pebble Beach Leadership

A guy in my small group was telling me about playing a round of gold at the world-famous Pebble Beach outside of Monterey, California. The green fee (which includes a mandatory caddy) is expensive. Another guy in my small group asked, “Is it worth the expense?” My golfer friend said, “It’s Pebble Beach! It’s the price you have to pay.”

He’s right. I’m not a golfer but the principle is transferrable.

The greater the reward, the greater the sacrifice required to achieve it. Lots of people say they want to become an empowering leader and a difference maker. But few people actually pay the price to do it.

A huge price of growing leadership is this constant tension: An increase in leadership produces an increase in fear. If you feel this tension, chances are you’re a growing leader.

Here’s a perspective that might help: This is a healthy tension. It’s a tension to be managed not resolved.

If you’re leading without fear, that’s dangerous. If your fear is keeping you from leading, that’s a waste.

If you’re leading with fear, that’s healthy.

If you’re leading and feeling overwhelmed at times let me say, “Congratulations”. “It’s Pebble Beach! It’s the price you have to pay.”

An App for your Thoughts

Ginger went to Costco this week to buy groceries and saw these delicious looking pretzel rolls. The nutritional label revealed they were 200 calories EACH. She decided they weren’t worth it and left them on the shelf.

You see Ginger and I recently began using the Lose It App as our “personal trainer”. It’s great! You can scan food for nutritional info. It helps us track our exercises and our food.

My food list from this Tuesday

Don’t you wish there was a “thought app”? After all, you’re consuming thoughts constantly. Wouldn’t it be great if there was an app that displayed the “cost” of your thoughts? Then you could decide if a thought is worth consuming.

It could work like this:

5 minutes thinking about him: Reduce joy by 47% for 3 days

10 minutes appreciating what you do have: Increase peace by 51% today

4 minutes dwelling on your past: Miss 75% of today’s blessings

15 minutes focusing on current opportunities: Kick-start energy by 81%

3 minutes on negative relationship: Increase critical words by 38%

3 minutes gratitude for good relationships: Improve interactions by 39%

Just like food consumption significantly impacts your physical health, thought consumption significantly impacts your emotional health.

Like the pretzel rolls, some thoughts appear delicious but need to be left on the shelf.

10 Ways to Miss the Gift of Today

  1. Ignore opportunities to help someone else
  2. Skip your quiet time
  3. Keep your conversations superficial & scripted
  4. Think about what you don’t have
  5. Spend time doing things for God instead of spending time with God
  6. Refuse to forgive
  7. Spend time regretting the past
  8. Be tethered to your iPhone
  9. Instead of spending time outside, watch TV or get more work done
  10. Compare yourself to others

Who Will Be Holding Your Hand?

I walked into the Intensive Care Unit and the unmistakable smell of blood slapped me in the face. The Social Worker tearfully said, “Mark, I just can’t go in there.”

As the on-call hospital chaplain, I had to go in. First, the Social Worker told me that the young (about 35 years of age) patient had an argument with his wife. During the argument his wife stabbed him in the stomach with a knife. The knife had cut an artery and, despite multiple attempts to give the patient blood and plasma, he was going to die in a couple of hours.

Years latter, the heart-wrenching part of this drama was knowing only one person was at the patient’s bedside during the final hours of his life. The patient’s mentally ill sister held her brother’s hand till the end.

The most sure thing I know is that some day you will die. When you do, who will be holding your hand?

When prioritizing relationships, choose the people you want to hold your hand at the end.

“Keep a clear eye toward life’s end.” – St. Francis of Assisi

An Open Letter to My Dad

I picture a farm house surrounded by a large covered porch shaded by big oak trees when I envision your childhood. I can visualize you, your 4 brothers and two sisters running and playing in the cotton fields occasionally taking breaks to lay in a pasture littered with bluebonnets. I imagine daily Tom Sawyer-like adventures!

Accurate or not, that’s how you retell your childhood. Your outlook always finds the good in your circumstances, in people, and the memories you choose to relive.

Many times you’ve shared the moment you made the life-changing decision to give your life to Christ as a young adult. For whatever reason you immediately went “all-in” with your faith. Soon you “surrendered to preach” even though no one in your family had ever done such a thing.

Eventually, you met and married a beautiful pastor’s daughter even though you thought she was “out of your league”. This year you’ll celebrate 45 years of marriage.

You love ministry, going to church, and preaching God’s word. You love to laugh, eat ice cream, and go to a restaurant for breakfast on Saturday mornings. You love to relive good memories and take long drives in “the country”. You love your family and you love my mom.

Despite an entire lifetime of personal health struggles from epilepsy, tuberculosis, kidney failure, years on dialysis, a kidney transplant, diabetes, and multiple heart attacks, you continue to be the most positive person I know.

Your life of deep faith influences me more and more. I’ve always known I’m sitting on your shoulders with my ministry. As the years go by, I become more and more aware and grateful for the opportunities that your faithfulness has given me.

Some of my favorite moments with you revolve around ministry:

At the age of 12, I remember preaching my first sermon at Park Street Baptist Church. I was standing behind the pulpit and I was so scarred. As I unzipped my Bible cover, I was trying to figure out how I could back out. I looked over and you quietly smiled and nodded. I immediately felt the confidence to begin my 5 minute sermon.

Right after Ginger and I were married we were in town to visit your church one Sunday. During your sermon you said, “I want to welcome ‘the Mark Riggins’ family here today. My son and his new wife Ginger are here.” You smiled and I could tell you were proud.

Last summer I visited you in your hospital room. I told you I thought God was leading me to close the church I had planted two-and-a-half years earlier. I told you I was worried what people would think. You said, “Who cares what people think? If God wants you to close it that’s all that matters.” I already knew that. But it sure helped hearing you say that.

Last Fall you prayed for my family the night before we moved from Texas to California. You were too emotional to complete your prayer as you were trusting God’s will to move me. You didn’t know it but I was recording that prayer on my iPhone. You can watch it HERE.

Dad, I’m so grateful for all that you stand for. My life is so blessed largely because of your faithfulness to our wonderful God. I love you Dad. Happy Father’s Day!

Systems vs. the Holy Spirit

There seem to be two extremes in terms of church leadership:

1. Leaders who love Systems

2. Leaders who trust the Holy Spirit

I notice when leaders talk loudly about the one, they whisper about the other. That’s too bad.

Jesus relied on the Holy Spirit while using a system to produce disciples.

Today we’d call his three-year “disciple-making system” a small group, discipleship development, mentoring, or missional ministry. Whatever the label, it was a system. His system moved men from unbeliever to follower-of-Christ to missionary.

The final essential step? Wait in the Upper Room for the Holy Spirit.

A system doesn’t replace the Holy Spirit it positions people for the Holy Spirit. It seems the Holy Spirit considers systems a friend.

If systems were unimportant to Jesus, when he first saw the disciples he would’ve sent them straight to the Upper Room.

Though you can’t manufacture spiritual growth, you can position yourself for spiritual growth.

The key is recognizing the ways God tends to grow people’s faith.

I agree with Andy Stanley’s teaching that there are 5 ways God chooses to grow people’s faith: Biblical teaching, Providential relationships, Private Disciplines, Personal Ministry, & Pivotal Circumstances.

Other than pivotal circumstances, we can position ourselves into these spiritual growth environments. We can listen to Biblical teaching, join a small group, have a daily quite time, and serve in a ministry.

Church leaders should create strategic systems that lead people into spiritual growth environments.

Without the Holy Spirit the disciples had no ministry. Without a system the disciples wouldn’t have been in the Upper Room when the Holy Spirit showed up.

Systems don’t produce spiritual growth they position us for spiritual growth.

5 Blessings of Having an Enemy

Coke has Pepsi. Apple has Microsoft. The Coyote has the roadrunner. David had Goliath. The Hatfields had the McCoys. Ali had Frazier.

Every great story includes conflict. Does your story include conflict (hopefully not combat)?

“When you know that a person is obsessed with you and is out to discredit you, you are very, very blessed indeed. This doesn’t happen to everyone. You are chosen, for behind your enemy is the hand of God. God has raised up your enemy—possibly just for you! King Saul’s pursuit of David was the best thing that could have happened to David at the time.” – R.T. Kendall in Total Forgiveness

In Scripture, David had Goliath and then King Saul. Saul clearly drove David toward God. After reading David’s story it’s easy to conclude that Saul was actually good for David.

If you lead, you will be opposed. Here are 5 blessings from having an enemy:

1) Keeps you on your toes

2) Increases your appreciation for supportive relationships

3) Reminds you that you have an Advocate

4) Increases your dependence on God

5) Provides a future opportunity to exercise total forgiveness

BTW, Coke rules! 🙂

My Bucket List

1. Baptize all four of my kids

2. Create a home our kids will want to return to with their families

3. Actively enjoy our grandkids

4. Honor Ginger freeing her to become all that God wants her to become

5. Marry Ginger again celebrating our 50 year anniversary (June, 2046)

6. Write a book (focused on encouraging people in their faith)

7. Mentor 100 men

8. Visit all 7 continents

9. Never settle for comfortable

10. Complete a marathon

What’s on your bucket list? Have you already done anything on my bucket list?