Thursday, September 30, 2010

Cape Town Ministry- Three Adjectives

Let me make something very clear-- we feel that we only know a fraction of what is to come in this next season of our ministry. We have a deep sense that the Lord is about to change us forever. That said, in our recent trip, we got a small glimpse into what we will be doing.

Here are a few characteristics of the ministry that our family will be doing in Cape Town. Each are particularly different from what we have been used to here.
  1. Active. The great commission says GO! Jesus SENT disciples out to be people of peace and grace carrying the gospel to those in need. Tricia and I have done church where "they come" for our whole lives. Now, we are about to do church "we go"! Literally. Each day, we will go to the neighborhood that the Lord has called us to and GO! Walk, talk, meet, greet, play, love, eat, share, minister and be carriers of Jesus. It will be active, not passive. Yeah, I know it sounds odd. But, this alone will rock you and stretch you. It did us in 2 days.
  2. Holistic. We will enter the neighborhood God is calling us into with a holistic approach. Meaning, that we aim to love people totally. This will look different for everyone. Some will need shoes. Others food. Others a roof. Others counsel. Others to cry. Others to play. Others to be heard. Others to be hugged. Others to be given water. Others to need a ride. Ministering holistically means that you start wherever people let you in....and you pray that the Spirit of God makes them hungry for more. Then, you give them the reason for the hope that lies within you. Jesus! For some this will take a day. Others a week. Others a month. Others a year. Others longer. You wait. You love. You believe.
  3. Specific. The teams at all nations (we will serve on ONE) are about 5-20 in size and are each sent into ONE township (maybe 1,000-40,000 people). And that team is a church. They are sent and called out ones into that town. They love that town! Pray for it daily, fast for it, yearn for it, walk in it, and believe God for it. That is their ministry as a team or "church." They meet to pray, study, disciple each other, play, eat and build relationships (sound like Acts 2?). But their hearts and lives are dedicated to THAT TOWN! It is specific. And they carry the transforming gospel to everyone that will open their hearts in that town. We will go from street to sidewalk to yard to threshold to living room. I have never been a part of a church that loved a single community with their hands, money and hearts...full time called ones into a single neighborhood for the sake of the gospel. This will be too cool! And life-changing.
This is a start. But just there three characteristics alone have the potential to change the way that Tricia and I live, lead and do church for the rest of our lives. And we are not even there yet. This is going to be crazy.

(In the above picture, the guy on the left just surrendered to Jesus 2 weeks ago and the guy in the middle is discipling him.)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Review: "The Book of Eli"

While the air about 38,000 feet over top of India last week, I watched the movie, "The Book of Eli." It had been recommended to me by numerous people. Here are a few of my thoughts:

The story revolves around Eli, a nomad in a post-apocalyptic world, who is charged with delivering the last remaining Bible, to a safe location on the West Coast in California. The history of the post-war world is explained along the way as is the importance of Eli's task. Through many challenges, Eli makes it to the west coast and delivers the Bible to a place that ends up being the printing press where Bibles are reproduced for many more to have.

What I liked:
  • I think the Denzel Washington is a fantastic Actor. He always captivates me in any role he plays. The film held my attention.
  • Eli's commitment to the task of delivering the Bible to it's destined location was extremely deep! He was determined and courageous.
  • I loved watching a movie where the main character was focused on reading, memorizing, carrying, protecting and delivering the Bible! Pretty awesome.
  • Although twisted at times, the movie communicated a strong message that the Word of God has significant power. And it does!
  • I really loved the scene in the movie where Eli talks about the days when we appreciated nothing (now). This was especially highlighted when the context of the film was one where water, shampoo or a KFC hand wipe was a reason to party! They had nothing. We have everything.
  • I loved how Eli dictated the Bible to the printer at the end of the movie--from his heart. It had been "hidden in his heart."
What I did not like:
  • The physical violence. Especially since it does not match the heart of the "Jesus of the Book"!
  • The bad language. Language never adds to a movie for me. It always subtracts. In fact, I tend to think that even "carnal" people would never leave a movie and be impressed with the language. I do not think that I have ever heard anyone say..."Man, that movie was awesome! I really loved the foul language!"
  • While I love the word of God, I do NOT love it more than the God of the word. In this movie, the Bible is the focal point while the teachings within it are not always lived out. This troubled me.
That said, it was full of messages that need spread, and reached people that you, me or a church may never reach. I am sure that God can use it. Liked it!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Pastor's Heart

I am really looking forward to the next two Sundays at CCF. As the time of our transition has approached, the Lord has impressed different "words of encouragement and grace" into my heart that I feel I am called to leave with CCF. So, in obedience to the Lord, I will be preaching a series the next two weeks called "A Pastor's Heart"! Each Sunday, I will leave five words of wisdom and encouragement for the church as final words of grace. Pastors SO often leave on bad terms. I cannot tell you how thankful I am to be leaving in love! I believe this series will communicate the love I have for this flock. I will share my "Pastor Heart" these next two weekends.

Hope to see you there!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Reflections from our time in Cape Town...part one of many

It is quite difficult to figure out where to start. While we were only in Cape Town for about 4 days, our eyes were wide open and our senses were peeked to every detail that we could take in. The lens through which we looked at everything was so different than any other trip we have been on. Because THIS is the land to which God has called us. So, we picked up a lot of details and registered a myriad of emotions and feelings...which will take time to communicate. So, stick with us for a few years.

We will be posting more blogs along the way, but for today, let me just jot down a few random bullets that will help me start to download and share our experience.
  • Make no mistake, the flight is LONG. About 19 hours in air and about 24 total travel time no mater how you slice it.
  • The Cape Town region is simply majestic! See pic below. Never in my life have I seen a more beautiful display of God's creative ability. My best description would be: the Rocky Mountains meet the Caribbean waters meets the Northern California/Oregon Coast meets San Diego weather. In other words: HEAVEN!
  • All Nations (the ministry organization that we will be serving with) was impressive. Mainly because the obvious favor and blessing of God on them. In just over 3 years in Cape Town (longer in other countries around the world), they have fantastic campus, over 40 Staff members and are doing powerful ministry in the region. You can see from the moment that you arrive that God is at work blessing this ministry.
  • We either met or met with about 15-20 All Nations Staff. In each conversation, we got more of the heart of the mission. It was neat to see how each person is playing to their gifts within the flexible system they have established. They clearly put the bunnies where they hop.
  • We were not as sure before, but now we can confidently say that, we will be in school for the first 6 months. We will be a in church planting school (CPx) with 30-50 students from around the world. However, this school will be about 50% teaching and 50% implementation. This will be really focus 6 months of our hearts and lives into learning more about church planting. This will be relatively new to both of us and I think will really help prepare us for the future.
  • From the first day we arrive, we will begin ministering to people in South Africa. While the region contains the greatest beauty we have ever seen, it also contains the greatest poverty and brokenness we have ever seen! See the difference in the pics below. These 2 pictures are taken 10 minutes apart from each other.
In my next post (probably tomorrow), I will write more specifically about the needs of the are present in this nation and how we will be ministering into those needs. I think that it is going to be transformational-- for us and them! In just 4 days, the Lord began to shift and reveal powerful stuff in us. His call and will is being confirmed!!

One last thing...yesterday, Lia, one of our MST members asked us to describe our trip in one word. Tricia said "Life-Changing." I said "confirming." That pretty well captures it.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Weight Loss Update...from Overseas

I wanted to offer a quick update for those tracking with my in my weight loss journey. I was not sure how this trip would be on my progress. In some ways it has been easy and in other ways it has been hard. I am not doing the “program” that I was doing, but I am making the best choices I can. The problem is that there have been plenty of time in these weeks where I had no say, no choice and you eat what is set before you.

I do not feel like I have lost any weight, but I don’t think I have gained any, but I have not seen a scale, so I have no idea. It has not been easy, though! In fact, this is one of the things I miss about “home” the most. Cannot wait to get back into my routine. I feel like this trip, I had no choice but to hit pause. I look forward to hitting play again in about a week.

Look for the next update on my weight loss journey to be around October 1st.

Thanks for your support!

Awake in Dubai...

Today was weird. Tonight was powerful.

First about today…

When we realized that we would be laying over in Dubai on our way from Shanghai to Cape Town, we inquired about how much it would be to extend our layover a tad. When we found out that it was $20.00, we jumped on it. So, today we spent the day in Dubai. It was, for lack of a better word, weird.
  • It was dead. The roads were empty. The stores, restaurants and attractions were empty. Where are all the people they built all this for? Maybe we were just here on an off day.
  • Everything is overdone. As you move around Dubai, it seems that they try to do everything over the top…I guess because they can. Tallest, biggest, most extravagant, nicest, etc.
  • There are only about 1.8 million people of Dubai, of which about 70% are foreigners (typically from other Middle Eastern locations and India). Kinda weird for locals to be outnumbered so strongly, huh?
  • We learned that it is really cheap and easy to put a branch of your company here in a big skyscraper (no tax). We were amazed at the amount of American companies with locations here.
  • It is really, really hot here! And the haze from the heat makes it very hard to see the impressive towers they’ve built.
  • Dubai has WAY too many construction projects going at the same time. Two different local taxi drivers I spoke with today offered this as the main criticism of their home. They need to finish what they start before they start new projects. The result of this issue is that we felt like we were in a city half built. Weird.
Honestly, overall, we were not as impressed as we thought we would be. Frankly, if you are thinking of coming here, be sure you shop for really good rates, or I am afraid you may get here and regret it. It was neat to “check it off the list”, but it is not somewhere we would necessarily return to.

Okay, so that was all mainly practical, because some of you asked me to share about this place.

Now about tonight (more spiritual)…

As we walked around today, we saw so many Muslims!! It was like nothing either of us had ever seen. To walk through the mall and every 4th person was in Traditional Muslim dress and to see Prayer Rooms everywhere we went…so different. As we walked around today, I told Tricia that if felt overwhelming to me. There are so many people that have not met Jesus yet. After being in China (mainly Godless) and now the Middle East (mainly Muslim), the need for the truth of Jesus seems so great, but the people here sharing it are so few. Honestly, it felt overwhelming. Where do you start? Prayer and relationship are certainly near the top of the list…but…

Well, tonight God has me awake and broken. Spent some time worshipping, looking out the window of our hotel and praying. I have not wept like this for the lost in a long, long time…if ever. The need is so great in our world. Jesus is the giver of true peace we all seek and the forgiver of the sin that we all fight every day. HE is the promise of life abundant and eternal. Oh, how he wants the people of every land to turn their hearts to him and him alone.

Jesus, you are the one true God! I know that, and I worship you! But, Lord, there are so many who do not. I feel like there is more I am supposed to do, but I don’t know what. Keep leading and guiding me. And call your representatives and messengers to those who do not yet know the life changing truth of the gospel. Father, I promise to do my best to live into your Great Commission and to be faithful to urge others to do the same…so the world will come to know you.

“And the gospel of the Kingdom will be preached to all nations, and then the end will come!” Matthew 24:14

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Next Steps of our Trip-- Itinerary Update

Tonight, we head to the airport to catch our next flight. We fly out of Shanghai at 11:30pm local time and land in Dubai (United Arab Emirates) in the early morning hours of their time. We are spending an intentional 36 hour layover in Dubai. We will explore this city for a day. We have heard that is is truly fascinating! We really look forward to checking it out. May hit the tallest building in the world, the indoor ski slope, and the palm shaped island.
Then, we fly from Dubai to Cape Town, South Africa on Monday. We are SOOOO excited to see Cape Town for the first time. We hope that we will be able to update and share what we are experiencing. We will be in Cape Town Monday through Friday.

Appreciate all your prayers and love...especially for our remaining 40+ hours in the air!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Missions Epiphany, The Master Trade Agent

Yesterday, the Lord met me and imparted something deep into my heart. I want to share it with you.

Over the last 5 years or so, I have been developing a personal philosophy of missions. While I am tempted to borrow linchpins from other people or Organizations (and I will), I have been asking the Lord to reveal to me through his Spirit some personal missiology through experience-- I tend to think those realizations will impact me deeper and stick with me longer. Over time, I will develop and share what I am learning. Here is one such pillar that God has revealed to me on this trip!

God is a master tradesman. I believe that he is pleased in assigning and re-assigning people around the world.

Let me explain more using China and the United States as a case study.

God sending people from America to China: As you know, there is a massive number of people in China who have not met Jesus. For years, America has been preparing and launching people into missions in China. Many people have sacrificed and risked to bring the gospel here. And many lives have been transformed because of it. Entire villages may not have been saved had it not been for the ministry of international missionaries. These servants were called and used of God! And their impact was perhaps even greater BECAUSE they were foreign. The fact that they looked different, talked different, thought different and believed different may have been the very reason that locals perked up and listened-- curiosity of what this stranger was all about. And in that way, God used them to bring new breath and light! And people meet Jesus and are transformed-- which is the heart of missions.

God sending people from China to America: I am American and so I am speaking as such. I am also a Christian and speaking as such. As Tricia and I sat in some of the gatherings this week, something hit us. The people in these gatherings are mainly Pastors, leaders and Chinese brothers and sisters that sense a call on their life for missions. While we were in one of the gatherings, a conversation began and some of the folks were expressing the fear that they would have if they were called to missions work in the USA. They were afraid that they would be unwanted or unneeded. All of the sudden, I felt the Spirit of God speak to my heart with a realization that I knew I had to share with this room of about 100 people. So I did. I said this (which is the thrust of the missions realization I had):

"As we have been with you this week, you have challenged us and inspired us. Your passion for God has convicted our complacency. Your hunger for the Spirit has highlighted our lukewarmness. Your prayer has reminded us of our lack of it. And your worship has made ours look like performance. You have inspired us to love Jesus in a new way. And that is EXACTLY what most of America needs...a fresh passion for the things of God. We say we are Christian, we think we know it all and have it all....none of which is really true! If I could take 25 of you back to our home church, I know that you would inspire us to come alive for Jesus in a fresh way-- something we so badly need! If you Chinese came to us with this passion for God, you would cause more people to meet Jesus and be transformed by him-- which is the heart of missions! So do not fear. You can answer God to GO as he calls you. Will you face challenges? YES! We always do in mission. But the cause is certainly worth it!"

So, there you have it. I believe that God is master trade agent. He has a way of trading people between nations so that he can see the dream he laid out in Matthew 28:18-20 be fulfilled.

Might I recommend that you be in close contact with the master trade agent to see if you are assigned to the right place for the sake of the Kingdom.

Congratulations On Your Pain!

I discovered some really encouraging news while reading John, chapter 15 this week...

All of us experience pain! We go through trials and and hurts and challenges. All of us! There are many places in the scriptures that give sense and meaning to our pain. Consider it joy when you face trials for it leads to maturity, blessed are those who are persecuted because theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven, etc...

While reading John 15 this week, verse 2 jumped out at me in a new way! It says this:

"He cuts off every branch of me that does not bear fruit. And every branch that is fruit bearing, he prunes back so that it will bear even more."

First, understand that pruning is cutting. It hurts. It stings. But, it helps. It produces health and the short term pain is nothing in comparison to the long term results.

But, the encouragement I see in John 15:2 is this: If you are being tested, pruned, stretched, and feeling pain...according to this verse, you must be bearing fruit!

Congratulation!!! If you were bearing NO FRUIT, you would just be cut off. Instead, you are BEARING FRUIT, so God is pruning you so you can bear MORE FRUIT! If you can stay connected to Jesus (remain in the vine), you are promised to bear MUCH FRUIT! An abundant harvest!

Hang in there. And Congratulations on your pain. It means you are doing something right. And I think there are great things ahead for you!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Dangerous Comparison

She's a dropout. He has a Doctorate.

She's an Executive. He's a Janitor.

He's the President. She's a beggar.

She's beautiful. He's crippled and deformed.

We are locals. They are foreigners.

We fight. They have a perfect marriage.

Everybody likes him. Nobody likes me.

People hand things to her on a silver platter. I get no breaks.

They get away with everything. I get away with nothing.

In the journey of learning to love people like Jesus, I am realizing the danger in comparing people against others...or yourself to another. It is rather natural and a part of our sin nature. But, it is no good for you, no good for your relationships, and not pleasing to God.

Since when can we compare one to another? We have all sinned. We all need a savior. We all are grace cases. We all have our issues. Get your eyes off of others and onto Jesus. Give people your love, not your jealousy. Comparison is counter-gospel and hurting our cause as followers of Jesus. And YOU are probably guilty of it.

Lord, help us all to compare ourselves to Jesus, causing us to become humbled by the realization of how much more we need of you.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Updates and Toilet Paper

Here we are checking back in with you again from Shanghai, China. Wish we could update more often and share more info with you regarding the exciting things that we are experiencing these days....but things are as they are, and this is the best we can do. There are no lack of stories. Just lack of ability to share them all.

Here are a few quick updates....

1. Noah is attending meetings and discussions with over 100 others. More on that when we return.

2. We are continuing to learn that it does not take a house to make a home! Tricia did an amazing job of making our hotel room our home. There is a school table, a play area, a closet and clothing corner, a food/snack counter, the office, the bathroom and the bedroom! It is impressive the way we have settled in to our space.

3. Getting over this jet lag with Davis has been a real challenge (very different than when I travel alone). We have only managed to sleep about one hour later every day we have been here...12am, 1am, 2am, 3am and today until 4am! We are on track to be normal by the weekend. ;-)

4. Davis has been totally impressive in his ability to adjust in a new culture. He is full of joy and happy as he can be. He is greeting people and thanking people in Chinese...ALREADY! When I flag a taxi down on the road, Davis is the first one opening the back door and starting to getting in. Amazing. He is loving being out of the car seat. He climbs all over the back seat. When in Rome... Oh, by the way, he is now posing for pictures without a fuss. He's caught on fast.

5. Honestly, I expected this experience to much more challenging for Tricia than it has been. She has been a real champ! Today, she is taking Davis out on the town and doing some shopping without me while I am in sessions. She felt comfortable getting a taxi and heading to the local shopping area-- just she and Davis. They are getting some medicine for Davis who is congested and they are picking up some toilet paper...

6. Speaking of toilet paper...Chinese TP is TERRIBLE!! See this picture here. This is real. No exaggeration, it is about 1/4 the size of American TP. You get about two #2's out of it. Then, you are at the front desk begging for more...and they cannot understand you act it out and use hand motions. Are you tracking with me?

7. But Chinese people...they are beautiful people. The followers of Jesus we are meeting are passionate, committed, hungry, gracious and humble. They hang on every word of the faith. I could listen to them pray or worship all day! Yet, there are so many that do yet yet know. Remain in prayer for this powerful nation...a kingdom tool!

8. And...
-Someone just lent us a local cell phone which is nice in case we need it.
-We are finding fun things to do with the other day, may hit an aquarium soon too.
-We may be going go to a massive Bible printing press in the next few days. It will be a couple hour train ride.
-Several other familiar faces will be arriving to join us in the next few days. That will be nice, especially since there are kids on the way for Davis to play with!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Checking in from Shanghai, China

(This blog is being posted for us by someone in America. China does not allow us on Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, YouTube, and more...bummer.)

We are getting well settled in here in Shanghai, China. Here are a few updates and highlights so far.

From Noah...

I still cannot believe what a smooth trip it was. If I told you that Davis did not touch an iPhone, iPad or iPod for the entire trip, would that help you understand what an awesome trip it was?!?! Well, it's true. We played Bible Go fish (25 times) and colored and opened up a present every hour (that he was awake). Thank you, Grammy for the backpack full of wrapped gifts. It worked like you hoped! We are just finally over jetlag this morning. Recovering from jetlag with a toddler along is quite different than when you are alone.

We spent the morning yesterday (Sunday) in downtown Shanghai. It was really cool because we arrived there at about 6:30am before it got busy (read: a gazillion people everywhere!!) and the only people around were the elderly population all playing badminton and doing eastern exercise, employees of companies and hotels doing morning PT and people walking dogs and babies. Got some cool pics and met some nice people.

I have been to over a dozen Chinese cities in three trips, and NEVER have I experienced what I did yesterday. Davis was a MOVIE STAR!! At one time we had nearly 20 cameras circling us as people took pictures. The common thing was to 1) touch his head or face, 2) guess his age (almost always accurately) and 3) take his picture. He did not know how to react. I just kept kneeling down, explaining what I could and ensuring him that he was safe with us.

Yesterday afternoon we attended Abundant Grace International Fellowship, an English speaking International church led by Pastor Nate Showalter (brother of Richard Showalter). You may recall Nate and his family as the folks who so graciously let a group of us stay in their lovely home in 2009 while they were away. AGIF is a fully legal, government allowed Christian church! In the words of one Leader yesterday: China allows you to believe whatever you want in only monitors how you express those beliefs publicly. The church experience was shocking for lack of a better word. I felt like I was in one of the better American churches that I have ever attended. It was like Willow Creek meets NCC meets North Point meets CCF. Extraordinary diversity, excellent worship, relevant preaching, media, rocking kids and youth ministry, coffee and brownies at the newcomers reception, and a small groups ministry with a goal of seeing 100% of Sunday attendees in a Small Group. We met people from all over the world and had an awesome experience. This is the first English speaking church I have attended in China.

From Tricia...

Wow...What Noah said!!! I can't believe that I am in China. Never thought this day would ever happen and I am so blessed and honored that it did. We had a great flight here and I was so very proud of Davis. He was a real trooper! Noah says we are past the jetlag but I'm not sure he is right (the boys are, I am not). I feel like I have been beaten and I am feeling more tired today (Monday) than yesterday. Yesterday we felt like bad parents because we would not let Davis fall asleep for long and he wasn't happy with us when we woke him and wouldn't let him go back to sleep. We managed to keep him awake until 9pm last light and this morning he is wide awake and full of energy (unlike his Mommy).

We had a great first day here in Shanghai and I am looking forward to the next 2 weeks. Later today we make our way to our next hotel, where will stay for our remaining time. Please continue to pray for us on this journey and for us as a family! We sense God with us.

We will post and blog as we can....likely will be limited until we are out of China.

Love you all


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Around the Globe

We are off on a trip around the globe...Tricia, Davis and I.

Trip will contain:
  • San Francisco, CA (layover)
  • Shanghai, China (2 week event)
  • Dubai, UAE (1.5 day "sightseeing layover")
  • Cape Town, South Africa (exploratory trip)
  • London, England
  • 60 hours of flight time!
  • 4 continents (if you include North America)
  • Selecting a school for Davis
  • Important meetings for our future
  • Family Bonding
  • Character building (traveling the world with a 3 year old)
  • Relationship building with leaders in the Kingdom
  • Enlarging of heart and call
  • Jesus being glorified
  • The unexpected...
I am so excited that Tricia (and Davis) are coming. Every time I have been overseas, I have dreamed of the day Tricia could come with me. That dream comes true tomorrow.

We will do our best to update online as we can.

Grace and peace to you and yours!

God's Satisfaction Barometer

God's satisfaction barometer is way different than ours. The other day I was meeting with a friend and Pastor and he shared something that I thought was profound.

God sees the multitude in the few. And He sees the end in the beginning.

When God created man, he made one that he could love billions! He was satisfied with what he had made, because he could see the ending outcome in the seed beginning.

Think of Abraham...God promised that he would make him a great nation and then gave him one son and asked him to offer him as a sacrifice. In the few, God saw the many.

When Jesus came, he reached a few disciples, but envisioned the WORLD being discipled through them. And that excited him and satisfied him.

He can see the 50, 100, 200 people at your church and simultaneously see the thousands and tens of thousands of lives that you are destined to impact over time!

And in these things, I believe God is satisfied. He understand the principle of the mustard seed. He knows what the yeast does to the dough. He see faithfulness in the small, and wants to give you many. Hang in there. Press on. Do not despise the day of small beginnings.

...And ask God to give you his satisfaction barometer when you feel discouraged or impatient.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Hurtful Humor

Last week, I stumbled into a powerful conversation about humor and began thinking about some things. I thought I would share them with you. You test them and see what you think:
  • People abuse and misuse humor...and it hurts others.
  • I often observe people using jokes as jabs to devalue and invalidate people. And it is sad.
  • Passive aggression is often quite noticeable in people's jokes. Folks that are too cowardly to say something to someone in a healthy and constructive way, will take the "easy" way out and tuck it into a joke.
  • I have often said that there is a certain percentage of truth in every joke.
Here's the deal. I catch myself doing this too...and I do not like it. I want to raise our awareness to be people of peace, integrity and honesty. If you need to say something to someone, you owe it to them to say it straight so they get it, not tuck it into a joking jab!

Pay attention to your dual-intentioned comments.