Before I really get into what I am going to say in this post, I want to encourage you to check out the past two Sunday's sermons from my church. The first one is called "A Country in Crisis," and it was an absolutely wonderful message on where we should put our hope during these times, and also a bit about the election. The second is called "From Attendance to Worship," and this was overall another great teaching. If you have ever struggled with, or didn't quite now how to explain the "man is the head of woman" passage in Corinthians you should listen in.
Just go to this link:
The one that is pulled up is "From Attendance to Worship," and the other sermons are listed below. If you do get the chance to watch one or the other, let me know what you think.
What I really wanted to talk about today though, was to reveal a little bit of what I learned on Monday when I was cleaning. I went to Rob Bell's church's website (if you haven't heard about him, it's okay), and I just randomly picked a sermon to listen to. I saw one titled "Shine like Stars", saw that it was in one of my favorite books of the bible, Phillippians, and began to listen. I don't know if it was the teaching (He is a phenomenal teacher with great understanding of Old Testament culture), or the fumes from cleaning, or the fragile state that I find myself in right now, or a combination of all of them coupled with the Holy Spirit, but his words and the message hit me like a ton of bricks.
At first, I was just listening in, happy to have the day off and listening to what I thought was going to be another typical message about "shining like stars" for Jesus. But then he beganto pull from the OT knowledge the that listeners of that day would have had when they heard Paul's words and the significance and it was as if I had never heard this scripture before. Rob talked about humans' need for having to constantly be reminded of things...or we forget. Just like the Israelites we have to be reminded over and over what God has done for us. And then he talked about how when Moses was leading them across the red sea and into safety it says that they kept complaining about the mud between their toes and they were too busy looking down to look up and see what GOd was doing.
And so then we come to Philippians and Paul uses the same rhetoric--to do everything without grumbling or complaining--and the people are automatically reminded of how the Israelites missed the blessing becuase they were grumbling. And then he went off on this whole idea that most of the things we complain about are blessings. For example: I complain about my job right now because I think it's hard and draining etc--but I have a job.
And just when I think, that'll do, Rob, thanks for the message- he smacks me in the face. He began to talk about how so often people think back to their past and think "If only I could get back there, If only...If only...THEN everything would be okay." And he said this:
"You can't go back to how it was because you aren't who you are. Sometimes you just have to grow up...."
Wow. But then he continued...
"When the past becomes romanticized we become paralyzed with thinking "I just wish it was how it was," and then we have a difficult time imagining that tomorrow could be even better. Sometimes you have to be the kind of disciplined person with the kind of character who can continually rediscover your own innocence. We can't go back...
... This life is a marathon. In marathons sometimes there are thousands around us cheering and we feel as if we could run for days. But sometimes we are running up a mountain and there has been no gatorade stand for the past 4 hours and you're about ready to pass out...
...Somethings are really difficult. That difficulty is actually an invitation to become a more grounded, honest, truthful, filled with wonder sort of person. This is part of God's salvation...pary of the way in which we grow."
Wow. Talk about "needed-to-hear-that" learning. It really gave me this new perspective about our move and my job.
Last night Brent and I went to The Post, which is a church gathering for college/20 somethings. There was a guest speaker who talked about letting our lives touch other lives. Brent and I had a great conversation about this on the way home, and I saw how it connected to Rob Bell's message as well. Brent said he wanted to really change his mentality about his job here. He can sometimes feel like what he is doing is fairly meaningless, setting up courts or fields or running and getting gatorade at Sam's Club. But he said that he wants to change his mentality so that he really begins to get to know the people that come to the Sports and Fitness Center. For example, there was an older man the other day who wanted to sign up for a Raquet Ball league but had never had anyone teach him how to play, let alone play with him. So Brent spent the next 40 minutes or so teaching this guy how to play raquetball, and even though he told him to look for him if he ever wanted to play again, Brent didn't step out and be intentional and say "Hey, let's meet same time, same place next week." Brent saw that this was an opportunity for what his ministry here is all about....
In the same way, I see that I should be more intentional about touching the lives of my students. Although sometimes I wonder what this will really look like, I know that just being a constant, and positive figure in a lot of their lives is all they need me to be. I was talking with one of my friends who is also a teacher and she said that she is learning that so many of her students have never been loved in a proper and healthy way. She said she feels like the biggest part of her job is to show them what it is like when you are loved correctly.
So, after this time of remediation, I will head back to the classroom. I will take these lessons and wisdom with me. I will know that I am here for a purpose, that I can't go back because I'm not who I was, that God is using this time to make me something greater for Himself, and that I can touch the lives of each student that walks into my classroom. And unlike the Israelites, I pray that I do so without grumbling and complaining, and I pray that I don't forget what my God is capable of doing.