Apparently I am on a bit of a kick related to these “God Stories”. I recently finished organizing and leading a course called “Man School” at my awesome church. Week 4 of Man School was entitled “Leading in Sacrificial Love”. During that lecture, we discussed dating, marriage, sex, porn, friendship, etc, and how men are called to humbly and courageously serve, lead and protect God’s daughters.
For that lecture, we showed the brief video story of “Ian and Larissa Murphy”. This story shows such a compelling example of the CHOICE and POWER of intentional, Holy-Spirit-driven love. Ian and Larissa met each other in college and “hit it off”. Around when they had been dating for 10 months, Ian got in an accident that caused severe brain damage. The traumatic damage severely impacted his mind, speech, and body.
After he regained a higher level of mental ability… they decided to marry, despite the difficulties and challenges. It is pointless for me to describe the video and story any further… you should watch it.
You may or may not have seen this viral video before.
Carlos Whitaker is a fantastic musician, worship leader, leader, dad, and Christian man. He has a high traffic blog, where he writes about life, worship, adoption, parenting, Jesus, and brokenness. He has been blessed with a platform that he uses well for the glory of God.
While the camera was recording as he sang… Danny, a homeless guy, walked up to him. At first, he was quiet and pensive. He seemed touched by the message of the song. Then he started free-styling with him. It is incredible!
I have seen this video probably 20 times. Every… single… time… I cry like a baby. This video always reminds me of how interconnected we are, how uniquely God created us, the power of music & worship… and the power of our testimonies for proclaiming the beauty and glory of Christ.
This God Story also always challenges me with the reality that we are often presented with divine appointments. The question is… how will we respond.
God, please keep changing my heart to see, serve, and love your people as you do.
Bonus Video: “All The Single Ladies”
Incidentally, another interesting tidbit about Carlos Whitaker and his family is that one of their home videos went viral in in 2010. The original video has almost 6,000,000 views! In the video, the Whitaker family is in the car while Beyonce’s song “All the Single Ladies” plays in the background. Carlos’ [adopted] son, Losiah, starts happily singing along from his car seat. Carlos then jokingly tells Losiah that he can’t sing along because he isn’t a single lady… his son then has a melt down. It’s funny.
The video also won a People’s Choice Award. Carlos ended up being interviewed on the CBS Early Show and the Today Show. One of my favorite things about this story is that Carlos used the platform to talk about the importance of adoption and beauty of Christ’s love.
Disclosure: I read the “NYC Taxi Driver” written knick-knack on Facebook. I hate that my critical mind immediately resolves to: “This REEKS of being a chain letter or creative writing”. Nonetheless… real experiences like this do happen AND it is a sweet, short, and thought provoking story.
It’s amazing how incredibly profound simple love, kindness, and consideration can be. It’s also unfortunate how intermittent and scarce it can be throughout our days. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, and self-control may not always be easy, but the mechanics are decidedly simple. It merely involves surrendering our hearts, preferences, and lives before God… gosh darn that whole “dying to self” calling thing.
Many small acts of love, care, and kindness in marriage, family, and in seemingly benign daily activities can surely write a wonderfully compelling life story that points to and radiates Christ-likeness. These moments indicate the Holy Spirit’s movement in our lives. They also allow us to experience deeper redemption and sanctification that can bloom into more wholly pursuing and fulfilling the Great Commission in many ways.
Small decisions of love add up. Small decisions change our hearts day by day. Small decisions are acts of surrender and selflessness. Small decisions transform and renew our minds and hearts. Small decisions pave the way for more small decisions. Small decisions allow us to experience the Truth of scripture and promises of Christ.Small decisions increase in magnitude and impact. Small decisions can initiate an unstoppable chain reaction. Small decisions move people and infect community. Small decisions provide a foundation for a powerfully big life story that impacts and create generational legacy. This is our calling, opportunity, and invitations as servants of Christ.
My lovely wife volunteers in the elementary-aged kids ministry at our church. Tonight, our church offered a couple special Saturday evening services to accomodate the influx of church visitors for Easter remembrance and celebration.
My wife was teaching the 4 year old kiddos about Easter and asked them, “Do you know why we celebrate Easter?”. She was fully expecting an answer about [the illogical connection between] stealth-ninja, egg-painting bunny rabbits, ultimate kaleidoscopic scavenger expeditions, and the inevitable free-range parental consent of sugar-comas.
This precious little boy said “I know! I know!” and offered a beautiful and perfectly complete answer that illustratively explains the simplicity of the Gospel…
Again, Easter offers an odd dichotomy for Christians: horrible pain and transcendent celebration, overbearing weight and jubilant joy , total depravity and complete grace.
We know there is overwhelming evil in the world. We know we “are not perfect”. We know our actions… much less the depths of our thoughts. This is called sin. Sin creates debt. However, there is a problem… how can the debtor pay this debt? The debtor cannot undo what has been done. For humans, time is linear. We live and die.
Romans 3:23: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
The past is unchangeable. Justice and the satisfaction of “payment” must be made. This is not optional.
The payment is Jesus’ death.
John 3:16-18: 16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.