The other day, I got a voicemail from Gerry Beauchemin, author of Hope Beyond Hell. It was good to match a voice to a face, even if we didn’t speak directly (we played phone-tag, but now he’s out of the country, so I’ll have to catch up with him later). Then yesterday, I got a call from a friend from my former institution (i.e., church), just to say hello, and I still need to call her back. Cyberspace is awesome for connecting with each other, but there’s something more personal about a phone call, or better yet, face-to-face interaction.
I’ve really missed connecting with other believers since I stopped attending the institution. But I have also been basking in the glorious freedom to be who God created me to be. I’ve experienced many opportunities to demonstrate God’s love, even though I don’t have an official ministry-stamp-of-approval. But I’ve missed out on hearing about a lot of behind-the-scenes spiritual activity. God is constantly involved, with His sleeves rolled up, elbows deep in our lives; unfortunately we view His activity through a small, foggy lens. We sometimes overlook the individuals for the masses, and since the masses tend to make a mess of things, we don’t see the unique displays of kindness, love, patience, and hope in the everyday.
I had a dream one time about trying to convince people who were watching fireworks on a tiny black and white T.V., one of those old ones with bunny-ear antennas and snowy interference, to come outside and see the real thing. I guess this blog is an invitation for people to come out and see the fireworks!
Regardless of whether one attends the institution, there’s one thing we all have in common – unique gifting from God to accomplish various assignments in His Plan of the Ages as the seasons of our lives come and go.
Maybe your divine appointment was to let someone else do something for you – to humbly accept that we depend on each other and that you are no exception. Perhaps your mission for this particular season was to do nothing – recharge your spiritual batteries, be quiet, and rest with a clear conscience knowing God has everything under control without your help. Maybe your calling was to put your time and talents to use in a physically exhausting yet spiritually invigorating task.
Assignments can last a very long time – years or even decades. They can be something very simple, such as leaving a very generous tip or picking up a piece of garbage. My assignment for today (I’m not sure if it is self-assigned or God-assigned. Nevertheless…) is to return that phone call and to remind blog readers, whether believers or normal people, to connect with and encourage each other as we come and go.
As I said in several recent blogs, I’ve been inspired by Frank Viola’s blog. He took some time off, but now he’s back at it again. One particular aspect of his blog that I appreciate is the sense of community he fosters by offering people the opportunity to participate in various ways – other than just leaving blog comments. I’d like to emulate his technique by giving you this opportunity to share how someone you know connects with, encourages, or demonstrates love in a practical way to others. This person does not need to meet any specific criteria or hold any particular position in the institution or an official 501c3 organization. On the other hand, if the person you have in mind is involved in this kind of thing, that’s okay, too! Maybe you know this person very well, he or she is a stranger you bumped elbows with on only one occasion, or an individual who you have never met who has made an impression on you by way of cyberspace, the news, radio, or other media.
You have two options for giving kudos to others:
1. Leave a blog comment on this blog. I can’t guarantee how many people will read it, because I’m still learning how to use my stat tracker and I have yet to learn where to find stats blog comment views. I know there are people who hover and never comment, because they tell me so in private emails.
2. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. In the subject heading write “kudos”, and be sure to include photos, links, or anything else that seems important. I’ll feature your information in a blog either by itself or along with other responses, depending on how many people respond. This will be viewed anywhere from 34 to 649 times. (I got those numbers from Google analytics of my single-day stats: the least-viewed blog is the first one in an ongoing series, “Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell” and the more recent, most-viewed blog “Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: Saved by Whose Choice?“). These days the blog usually averages somewhere between 40 and 80 views per day, and this number increases if the link to the blog post for that day is shared. It’s like a wave that gradually dissipates in cyberspace. Some waves keep growing, though. You never know!
Please feel free to forward this invitation to your friends. I’ll wait one week to allow time for people to respond.