I was a fourth grade teacher at Harvest Christian School in Riverside, California for six years before moving into pastoral ministry. Having those 9 & 10-year olds with me day in and day out for nine months of the year taught me a few things about investing in people for the long haul. Looking back seventeen years to that first classroom, I can now see that what each of those 147 students carried as a destiny was often hidden behind a variety of external circumstances, behavior issues, personality defects, and bad habits.
To dig a little deeper under the surface, I find these four limitations when living under the Honor Shortage Emergency Ordinance like Jonah:
- COMPLEXITY: The number of decisions I face on a daily basis is already daunting. From getting dressed, to breakfast, to conversations, to work, to play, to grocery shopping I expend a large amount of energy making decisions. Life only increases in complexity when I must additionally decide who is worthy of honor.
Ignition Week involved special times of prayer scheduled at the church over five timeslots, directed by various leaders in the church, for five days in a row. Turnout to each timeslot was greater than anticipated, and people have already asked when the church will do this again. Over the course of those five days, two people accepted Christ for the first time, a few were healed spiritually, and ten people received physical healing!
My dad taught me to take care of the yard work when I was young. I was instructed how to make straight, overlapping passes across the lawn, how to handle the weed eater along the edges of the yard, and the basics of taking care of the gas mower and weed eater. I was also shown the joy of sipping iced tea from the front porch after a job well done. But, I always hoped the lawnmower would break down beyond my abilities to fix it so I could slough off my duties for the week.
I'm not sure it's a hard fact in life, but it seems doing something right with the wrong motive produces wrong or incomplete results. The opposite seems true as well: doing something right with the right motive produces right and complete results.
I wasn’t raised in a Christian home. When I began a relationship with Jesus no one explained what to actually do with the Bible. So, I came to the conclusion it was the pastor's job to read the Bible and tell us about it every week. I HAD a Bible, KNEW it was important, but didn’t know HOW to practically incorporate it into my life. In case anyone has come to the same conclusion, here's what I do with my Bible:
Dear Citizens of Exeter,
For the past four years I have seen an amazing degree of positive change come from reviving an age-old concept— honor. My church and I want to see that positive change amplified further this 9/11 at a special service we are calling, We Choose. We believe this is something you could stand behind! We believe you could be an additional agent of change to see honor restored in Exeter!
Over four years ago my friend, Rusty, was pulled over while test-riding his scooter. Through a lengthy process, that incident sparked a change that has resulted in harvests of Kingdom fruitfulness (and a ticket with a hefty fine:). What began as a humiliating moment became a journey, toward confronting internal prejudices regarding authority figures and identifying a missing ingredient in my life- honor.
It bothers me that ever since Columbine I have honed a set of skills for dealing with horrific atrocities. In tragedies of the past I’ve used hashtags, watched the news, read articles, researched explanations, raised awareness, prayed, preached, changed my profile picture, read the Bible, cried, discussed with others, and listened. But this time I just numbly experienced what have now become familiar emotions and actions flipping through my mind and on my screen. So I just sat. And initially felt bad for sitting.