Hi! I have decided that this looks a little like a Dr. Seuss illustration! I love Dr. Seuss, so it’s no surprise to me. Life is a little like a Dr. Seuss book too! You never know what rhyme the next page will bring! Dr. Seuss says, ” From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere.” (from One Fish Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish) Dr. Seuss’ illustrations are always a little weird, on the far side, make you think, look twice, etc.. Some of mine are a little like that too. In order to ” get them” you have to know the “rest of the story.”
Well, in our House of worship there’s always a lot going on. This past Monday night we had a ladies meeting at our downtown campus, ” Out of the Box.” OOTB is a place that is on Main Street and it has a coffee counter, WIFI internet, pool table, foosball, chairs, couches, TV, projector, a stage for a band or a speaker and a safe place for teenagers to hang out. It is also a place for teenagers to meet God and to build Godly relationships and have fun in the Lord’s House. A place of safety where there are no drugs, no booze, none of that “stuff” that our teens face on a daily basis. There are Godly leaders, with Godly principles and morals, who hang out there too. They are the youth leaders and Pastor, and they are just like us, they like to have fun, they like to goof around, they like to play pranks, tell jokes and beat you at a game of pool! They also face the challenges of the world, just as we do. They are full of God and full of His wisdom. I love going to OOTB and hanging out there. It makes me feel young again! The “funny” thing about OOTB is that it doesn’t LOOK like a church! Why? It is in a storefront building located on Main Street.
Where did this idea come from? Well, our youth and leaders went on a mission trip last summer and they visted ” Christ Chapel Sportstowne” in Macon , Georgia. Here they were met with extreme hospitality, generosity, and an extreme God. http://www.christchapelmaconga.org/ Check it out! OOTB was born in this trip. To read more about thier story and find out what this drawing means please visit: http://imagebearer.wordpress.com/2009/03/17/
This drawing came out of the message that we heard from Beth White, the Associate Pastor at Sportstowne. She was in town visiting and she dropped by OOTB to join us. What a blessing she is! She is anointed by God to tell HIS story through her life, studies and experiences. She is like a firecracker for God. My soul was touched when she shared her thoughts on Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead from John 11:38-44 ( MSG)
Jesus Raises Lazarus From the Dead
38Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39“Take away the stone,” he said.
“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”
40Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”
41So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
43When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
Beth spoke of how Jesus said to “THEM” ” take off the grave clothes and let him go.” She pointed out that Lazarus couldn’t do anything until he was unwrapped, unloosed, unbound. It took the people standing around him to unbind him! Jesus brought him to life, but the people helped to free him from what was holding him back…the grave clothes. When she said this, my mind went ballistic with creativity! I could see this in so many ways drawn on paper with a pencil. I have been processing it ever since. Yesterday I watched a video of Beth and her husband Dave preaching. The sermon was called, ” Mistake or Masterpiece.” (You can find this on the Sportstowne page listed above.) In this message they both spoke of the “baggage” that we all carry around, each different according to the person, but the same in the weight. Our baggage keeps us from doing God’s work, just like the graveclothes would have kept Lazarus bound. It takes others to help rid ourselves of the baggage. It takes time, patience, perseverence and persistence. Kinda like quitting smoking. You have to keep on keepin’ on. I have been blessed to have many Godly helpers to unwrap me. Part of my unwrapping has been with the help of OOTB, the youth, and it’s leaders. I don’t think they realize it, but it’s true. On Ash Wednesday I stood before God & 45 youth and the leaders, to do a live drawing on a sheet, with chalk, to music. I have never done anything like this before, just watched others do it on YouTube. I’ve wanted to try it for a long time, but have been too scared to let go of my own baggage. I have been discerning God’s calling for awhile, as we all are. Just like Dave said in the message at Sportstowne, God kept calling, even when I didn’t want to hear him, or refused to hear Him. The people around me tried to tell me, but I ran the other way, in fear. I carried the baggage of fear around with me like dead weight on my back. Over time and with much prayer, counseling, discerning, I finally began to let it go. I was being unbound!
The night I did the drawing, I was extremely nervous and kept quoting scripture in my head. I was focused on my nerves and not on God. Just before I approached the stage to start, something ( prayer from others) yanked me back into focus and I began to draw on the sheet. What I drew, or how I did it isn’t really what’s important. What IS important that I was finally being OBEDIENT and STEPPING into the water. As I began to draw, my focus was totally on God and the Holy Spirit took over. It was a feeling like no other and it is hard to explain. I was in “another world.” It wa awesome! To finally place myself in God’s will was a relief. It was sweet.
OOTB is like that sweetness too. It has been unbound. The graveclothes have come off and Out of the Box has risen from the dust! Not just any dust…but the dust from the beautiful feet of the weary, yet encouraged and excited youth, pastors and leaders. In ridding ourselves of the grave clothes, we tumble out and begin to tell our story, God’s story, the story of Out of the Box. OOTB is doing what Starfield sings about: changing lives for Jesus.
I will go, I will go
I will go, Lord send me
To the world, To the lost
To the poor and hungry
Take everything I am
I’m clay within your hands
I will go, I will go, send me
Let me not be blind with privilege
Give me eyes to see the pain
Let the blessing You’ve poured out on me
Not be spent on me in vain
Let this life be used for change