Sunday Scrutinizations: Light in Dark Places
I didn’t participate in the service this morning, I was teaching Sunday School. I was going to someone’s house tonight for a little get together, I don’t really know why, but it ended up snowing during church and we barely got home. It snowed until around 3 pm and there is a chance of more snow later, so we opted out for going out. We got a whole bunch of chicken wings, bean dip, hummus, veggies, grapes and some coconut oatmeal cookies just sitting around because it’s too much for just one family. You can come over if you’d like, there’s plenty, if you can get here. Well, maybe by the time I post this, it’ll be sleepy night-night pajama time. So… just imagine a lot of food, and you can’t have any. Although you probably have too much food sitting around where you are too.
I’m sitting here among bunches of food watching dudes crash heads and a doofus thinking he went into some lame time machine, wanting to write a bit. So I’d like to write a little bit about the guy who spoke at our Perspectives class last Wednesday night and promote Perspectives a bit.
I’m only in my third lesson of fifteen, but this Perspectives thing is really the real deal of encouragement to go. There has been so many things I’ve heard in such a way as to make think I’ve never really heard anything before. Seriously, it’s really nothing new, but it presents things in such a way that makes me want to know God more, glorify His name like never before, express His kingdom through my life, and see and hear what He has done and is doing throughout this small blue planet He has made in this unimaginably huge universe He has created. If you haven’t heard about it, check it out here. We were blessed here in this community to get this course here because someone in West Plains called Perspectives within a couple of days of another person in Willow Springs, about thirty miles away. If you want some encouragement and you want your perspective on God and His glory in this world changed for good, find someone who has taken it, talk to them and see about taking a course in your area.
John Zumwalt. This guy looks like, mm.. a hippie. I’m not much for knowing and liking the hippie type so I knew that this guy was going to challenge my preconceived notion that hippies are not in particularly good for anything. Then he said something that made me instantly like him. He was talking about his art degree, and he said, and this isn’t a direct quote, “I majored in oil painting and pot . . . I mean pottery.” Okay, so he’s funny. Lot’s of people are funny. What idea is this guy gonna feed me that will make me wake up out of my spiritual slumber? He shared with us the story of where he is now. He lives in a city near Oklahoma City called Valley Brook. He, well I believe it was his wife that opened up a coffee shop in this city. Apparently Valley Brook is a pretty dark corner of the capital of OK. It is full of strip clubs and meth homes and is bordered by a mountainous dump on one side and a sewer treatment plant on the other. At least that is how he describes it. But check out the Wiki page and do some digging to see if it is not true. The coffee shop is called Joe’s Addiction and they recently have gone through some trouble down there. Here is a link to an article and video regarding the issue. (Slight warning on slight language on the video.) The wife has a blog where she talks about this some. This is an obvious case of Satan attacking the light being revealed in a very dark place. Character is being attacked and they are doing some good down there. Sure the shop attracts people of questionable character, wasn’t that what Jesus did? My heart goes out to these people and their desire to share God with wherever they are. It was really an encouragement to me.
John spoke later about the kingdom of God and our thinking about it. So many of us are discouraged by what we see in the world but he only has seen the positive. We can be shut down by our discouragement. Go down into our own little comfort corner and wait for Christ.
“You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” ~Matthew 25:26-30
He spoke of the dark places in this world where there are not the feet of Christians expanding His kingdom, pulling people from their physical and spiritual slavery. Yes it is God who ultimately gets them out, but we are told to go. We are to obey. As I said in my previous post, we are the only seed that refuses to be scattered.
I rarely go up and speak to people who “seem” more important than I. I believe meeting me is not worth people’s time. In our bible study the other night I asked what does 1Thessalonians 5:12-13 look like. “And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake.” I was reprimanded some, because it’s like, “duh?” but I don’t think I’ve ever really done that. I’ve been ignorant and/or lazy in a lot of aspects of my social/spiritual life. And I’d like to thank God for opening my eyes in lots of ways through John Zumwalt and working through the last few years to get me to hear these things as I really should have. It truly is time for change. For too many years I’ve wasted the gifts God has given me. Like I’ve told you as well, I have no idea what God has in store for me, or even if there is a move in store for me in the future, maybe here is where I am to be. But it will no longer be the same. Thank you John. I will pray for these people and all those who bring light to such dark places. Help me find the dark places here where Your light needs to shine.