I wasn't popular in school. Shocking, I know. I'm not sure if it was because I thought it was cool that I could turn my feet almost completely backwards, or if it was because I liked to wear a suit and tie sometimes - maybe both? Anyway, It's a fact, I wasn't the coolest kid on the block.
I loved art. It was one of my favorite classes. Painting, drawing, making little clay dishes, all that stuff - LOVED IT! My high school art teacher, Mrs. Morrison, was (and still is) literally the best. She would walk into the room and command respect. Not an inch above 5'4" with bright orange hair, she was a fireball. I still remember in vivid detail how every time we would begin a new project she would start by showing us examples of what the finished product was going to look like. My first thought every time was, "Yeah, okay... Jason Talley's isn't going to look like that...ha!" These things looked like masterpieces! There's no way I was ever going to be able to do something that perfect. Then, she would give us detailed step-by-step instructions. Walking around the room as we worked, stopping and helping as we needed. In the end, somehow, we would do it. Boom! A finished masterpiece that I thought wasn't even possible.
Every time I'm back in my hometown and school is in session, I stop by the high school to say hello to Mrs. Morrison. I still have my senior painting project form twelve years ago. It reminds me that anything is possible and that I need to have more faith in myself, because I've never been short of excuses to throw in the towel.
ENGLISH IS MY FIRST LANGUAGE
In elementary and Jr. High I was in special education math and English classes; I also had a speech impediment. This comes as a shock to some folks when I tell them this because you might not be able to tell now. That's partly because when It came time for high school, I made up my mind that I was going to try my best to change. I was going to figure out what I was good at and run towards it and nothing was going to stop me.
One thing I found that I loved was music. I joined the marching band and started playing the saxophone. It was a wonderful community. Part of that community was a girl named Alisa. She played the french horn and walked with the the kind of posture that would make a Chiropractor weep. She actually lived across the street and two doors down from me and we would hang out and do stuff often. She was a great friend.
One of the best gifts she gave to me however, was her family. Her mother would speak with a kind of diction that I had never heard before. Every word was intentional and enunciated to perfection. I would love to listen to her talk. I would go places with them and would just sit and listen as words just seemed to effortlessly flow and thoughts would just be more clear and planned out. I was almost embarrassed to speak.
There were several times that I would bring up a point or start to speak and without hesitation she would stop me mid-sentence and correct me. She didn't care who was around or where we were. One time she said, "Young man, if you say 'um' one more time, you will not be allowed to speak at this table again..." Seems harsh - I thought so at the time too. But now I know, she was giving me a beautiful gift. She would show me the proper way to speak and then tell me what I needed to do.
HAVE YOU HEARD OF OUR LORD, JESUS CHRIST?
Have you ever had someone knock on your door and tell you about Jesus?
Have you ever knocked on someone's door and tried to tell them about Jesus?
My granny used to make us turn out all the lights and not move until those people left our front door. Why? Because is there anything more awkward than someone trying to talk to you about Jesus? It's a short list, for sure.
I've been one of those people that tried to just tell people about Jesus many times in my life. Part of the reason I'd struggle to make friends in school was because I dressed like an old evangelist and carried my big Bible just so my friends thought I was "spiritual". I would hit people with what they were doing wrong or how they are going to go to hell because they cussed, smoked or had sex. Truth was, I was no better than them. I might not have smoked, cussed or had sex, but I lied, talked bad about people, cheated, watched pornography, and was full of pride.
Truth was, I was no better than them.
It took me falling to the lowest of the low to realize that in the end, we all are humans reaching for grace. I'm no better and you're no worse, we're all just broken looking for a healer.
WE ARE JESUS' PARTNERS.
Did you know that? Jesus has a mission and he asked us to join him - to seek and save the lost. But he didn't tell us to go and point people's faults. He didn't ask us to even politely tell folks where they are wrong. He asked us to love. "By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” - John 13:35
The fact is, there are too many people out here telling others about Jesus and not enough people showing folks what Jesus is like. Looking like Jesus means loving people that hate you, doing good to those who use you, helping when you don't feel like it, and giving everything away. It means being honest, teaching truth, and standing up for justice. It means having patience and being kind even when it doesn't make sense. This is how we're going to change the world.
Looking like Jesus means loving people that hate you...
The Bible says that every human being is made in the image of God. We are supposed to look and act like him. Jesus came to give us a sample of what the finished project was supposed to look like. Sometimes, it might seem like that's an impossible task. Jesus, like the fireball that he is, barged into the room and said, "Here's the next project... look and act like me!" and all we could think was, "Yeah, okay... I'm not going to look like that...ha! But soon, after watching and learning, you can speak up and say with confidence that you are in fact, a masterpiece that He created.
Don't get confused and start telling before showing. Jesus asked us to show people what He is like, then, without a doubt, they'll beg you to tell them why.
Until next time,