Many of you know that my husband and I drive a big rig all over the USA delivering Broadway shows into venues. Often we do what is “driving team,” that is we need to get a show into a venue quickly. Sunday evening we were one of the many trucks who pulled into the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts in Houston, Texas to load out Hamilton, a play about the life of Alexander Hamilton, one of the founding father’s of America. We are told that Hamilton is the hottest ticket to pursue for theater goers. Although Jim’s granddaughter has never seen the play, she knows each and every song that’s in the score. We brought the show into Atlanta on Monday, almost 800 miles. So, this run required us to drive team. Jim does the overnight driving while I sleep (or depending upon the road, attempt to sleep) in the bed in the back of our cab. Then while I finish the drive during the daylight hours, he takes his turn sleeping. I have to say that he got a little better sleep than I did, because the roads that I traversed through Alabama and Georgia were much better than the roads he drove in Louisiana and Mississippi. I try to keep the truck quiet during his sleep time, so I often pass the time listening to podcasts from talks at NorthRidge Church, located in Plymouth, Michigan (it’s the church I attended when I lived in Michigan).
In the early afternoon, I was treated to a podcast from August 27, 2107. The guest speaker was Mike Foster. This was the first time that I had heard of Mike Foster, the “Chief Chance Officer” at People of the Second Chance. Evidently, Mike has quite a following, and after listening to his message, I can understand why. He offers encouragement and doesn’t hesitate to let people know that he too, has messed up his life, messed up big time. I think that everyone can benefit from his words of encouragement.
Upon pondering our human state, I am lead to think that there’s not a person that I have ever known, myself included, that has not messed up to some extent. Sometimes we make huge mistakes, sometimes we have failures of epic proportions, sometimes not so big. Not many of us like to admit our mistakes and failures to others, and I think that’s because the world frowns on mistakes, frowns on mess ups, and often condemns failures. It occurs to me that this condemnation is one of the very favorite tools that our enemy, Satan uses to erode our self-worth, and our faith.
With that in mind, Mike’s message is like a breath of fresh air in a dry, parched, weary land. I want to share here some of what he shared to NorthRidge Church.
“The world says shame on you, Jesus says shame off you.”
“There is nothing so broken in your life that God cannot mend it, there’s nothing so lost that He can’t find it, there’s nothing so dead that He can’t resurrect.”
“Our past doesn’t disqualify us, our current circumstances doesn’t define us, our weaknesses are not our limits.”
“Your setbacks are your superpowers.”
Mike goes on to say that our experiences, our failures, and our setbacks are not something to which we should be ashamed. Each and everyone of us have come through situations that while they were meant to crush and defeat us, they have actually shaped us, we’ve learned from them, we’ve grown through them. Whatever those situations are, be they divorce, addiction, miscarriage, infertility, betrayal, abuse – whatever they were, you have become refined. You’ve become qualified. You have insight and experience that can be used to help someone else, another of God’s children that are struggling with like circumstances. That’s what Mike means when he refers to your setbacks being your superpowers. When you know just who you are, as a child of God, when you know that God has forgiven you, that God has given you strength and insight, you then have the power to step into the world and help others.
Mike also offers his strategy: it’s called tiny greatness. Perhaps you are not called to effect the world in some grandiose manner, but perhaps you are meant to offer help, God’s love, in a small way. Mike suggests bringing hope to people, and loving them well. And when I think of people who make a difference, it leads me to my friends Donna Chappell, and her daughter Amanda Bussey. Together, this dynamic duo, as I like to refer to them, actively seek to feed the hungry year-round. They use their superpowers of couponing to stretch the funds that are donated to their mission of Chappell Karate Basket Brigade, into complete dinners (extensive) meals, along with encouragement, and a Bible, to over 500 families just this last year. I doubt if they’ve even heard of Mike, but they are using his strategy of tiny greatness to bring hope to people, loving them right where they are at, and helping. They indeed are what Mike calls a Grace Flavored Snowcone in a hot, judgmental world.
I encourage you to listen Mike Foster’s talk to the NorthRidge Church (podcast from August 27, 2107), you too will be inspired and encouraged. Check out the Chappell Karate Basket Brigade, a 501(c)3 charity (http://chappellkaratebasketbrigade.com/) to see what they do.
For me, I am hoping that my musings are indeed “Grace Flavored Snowcones in a Hot, Judgmental World.”
Think about it, how can you be a “Grace Flavored Snowcone in a hot, judgmental world?”
“Blessed are those who are generous, because they feed the poor.” (Proverbs 22:9 NLT)
“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” (Hebrews 13:16, ESV)