Seat of Honor

Today I finish a project that I have been working on for a while now, but I’ll start at the beginning of this journey.  Last fall I signed up for a volunteer position in a program that helps reduce recidivism in juvenile offenders.  I came on as a mentor, and things were going great until I was called into a meeting a few months ago to hear that they made a mistake in pairing me with my mentee and no longer had a position for me as a mentor. They opened an opportunity for me to stay on the staff just to keep up with the youth, and attend the meetings.  I accepted.  I left the meeting a little discouraged, but since I was still able to have a relationship with staff and the ability to see the program succeed I was ok.  The next day I got an email from the directors that said that a “light bulb went off” when I left and they immediately had another position that they wanted to know if I would be interested in.  I met with them the next day and they asked me to write a portion of the training manual for the program.  They said that they recognized that I was knowledgable in criminal justice and that they wanted to use it for the portion of why Juveniles commit the crimes that they do.

The other day while I was driving and thinking about all of the big projects that I have completed since January I realized that I have been writing from a place of influence.  I’ve written a major part of a training manual, I’ve written recommendations for a police department, and recommendations for corrections.  I was blown away by the opportunities to do all of these things.  Then I heard “I’m placing you in a seat of honor and influence, your words are powerful.”    I recognized it as scripture so I went to look it up when I got home, and I found this passage:

Luke 14:8-35 New King James Version (NKJV)

“When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place, lest one more honorable than you be invited by him; and he who invited you and him come and say to you, ‘Give place to this man,’ and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place. 10 But when you are invited, go and sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher.’ Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you. 11 For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Things I learned…

1.  Do not despise low beginnings.  Walk in humility.

I knew that I had a lot of knowledge on the theories of why people commit crimes.  However, I went into my program just as a mentor with no ulterior motives to change positions or move up.  When I was told I was no longer needed as a mentor, I could have turned down their offer to still come to staff meetings, but that may not have provided me the opportunity to write for the program.  With an attitude of humility I received more than I expected, and was invited to share the knowledge that I had.

2.  So often we limit our gifts to doing ONE thing, but God is so much bigger than what we THINK our gifts are for.

I’m a spoken word artist, and blogger.  While I knew that my words have power outside of these tools that I use to reach people, I believed that my words only had “real” power in these two arenas.  However, it is a great mistake to only think of yourself as a minister when a platform is provided to you in church.  Our daily lives should minister, I believe that is what God was showing me with these opportunities to write and propose solutions.  God is not limited to the gifts that you use in your local church, but he wants to use you in decision making on your jobs and in your field as well.

That’s all for now.  For more on humility see my post “Small or Low” Here: https://peaceofmyheartandmind.wordpress.com/2014/09/24/small-or-low/

Sidenote: I haven’t been posting due to me being busy with the above…but I’m back! 🙂

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Love.

It’s 9:37 PM.  I’ve been writing a poem about what happened after Jesus was resurrected since about 3:00PM which means that I’ve been reading the bible for that long as well.  Two things about Peter stood out to me.

1.  In Mark 16:7 when the angel appeared to the women at the tomb he said:”Now go and tell his disciples, including Peter, that Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you before he died.”

This of course was after Peter had denied Jesus three times, as Jesus already told him that he would.  I thought it was interesting how the angel made sure to tell the women at the tomb “including Peter.” Even through blatant and intentional betrayal, Peter was not counted as unworthy of Jesus’ love on the cross. Good news…neither are we.

2.  In John 21:15-17, Jesus asks Peter three times “Do you love me?”

So after Peter has denied Jesus three times before he was crucified, and now he is given the opportunity to tell Jesus that he loves him three times.  This can be representation of the redemption that we received through Christ’s death.  Another opportunity, another chance to live right.

I love the fact that Jesus doesn’t not come in condemnation.  He didn’t get up from the grave, appear to the disciples and tell Peter “Nah, you’re done!” Jesus is so full of love and mercy!!

Which led me to: “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

Overflow.

I haven’t posted in a while because in so many words I’ve been under construction.  I seen this worship video last week and I’ve been stuck on it.  The song that they were singing was “fill me up.”  That seems to be a common theme in my private time with God.  Part of the reason why I couldn’t post anything is because I was empty.  You can’t pour anything out of a something that is empty.

As I have been singing that song over and over, one thing that came to mind the other day was the fact that when you have a cup that has something at the bottom of it, whatever that something is eventually comes out of that cup with the consistent pouring of liquid into the container.

Picture a clear glass with dirt at the bottom.   The dirt can represent worry, doubt, fear, or whatever is going on in your life.  If you fill that glass to the top with water, the dirt will mix in for a second, but then eventually settle at the bottom again.  It is not until you consistently pour water in that glass not only to the top, but until it OVERFLOWS that the dirt will eventually come out of that glass.

My story today, is that I was that glass with the dirt at the bottom, but because of my prayers for God to fill me, the dirt did not just settle back in the background of my life, but through CONSISTENT pouring of God’s spirit, presence, and word I feel like I’m at the point of overflow.  Cleansed, new, fresh, and swimming in his presence.

It took time for me to get here, and because I’m not perfect at some point I will find myself here again.  It is so rewarding to be washed in God’s presence.  You cannot pour out without being filled up, and you cannot be filled up without being emptied out.  Enjoy the process, God’s presence is life changing. Let him fill you until the issues of life empty out of you and you’re experiencing his overflow.