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Blog: Tom Job

A Note From Tom: September 21st, 2012

CCC Oak Ridge

Hey, everyone!

Hope you're having an amazing week! Well…maybe it'd be better to say, "I'm so thankful you're having an amazing week!" Because even if you're having a really cruddy, yucky, problem-filled, fun-deprived one, just think!   God, Who is immensely smarter and wiser than all of us put together, knows exactly what is happening to you! And He is using this very week and all of the events and moments in it, to make you more and more like Jesus!

I love those verses where the Apostle says, " Y'know those things that are changing in you? I hope and pray for more and more!" For the Philippians, he asks that their love would grow "more and more"…He asked that the believers in Jesus at Thessalonica would want to please God…and not just please Him, but please Him "more and more"! And love folks "more and more"…and have faith…but "more and more"!

"More and more!"

If God is squeezing out every moment of your week to make you like Jesus "more and more", than it must mean that this week and all it's joys, laughs, groans, and tears are working to make you…
…kind
…sweet
…gentle
…humble
…courageous
…lowly of heart
…servant-like
…trusting
…loving
…meek
…self-denying
…self-giving
…and caring.

And "more and more" of all of those!

If all that's been happening, wow! This has been an amazing week, so far!

I can't wait 'til next week!

Y'know, I started helping and volunteering at the Morgan County penitentiary on Wednesday afternoons and that's been a little tougher than I anticipated! It's like the Anderson County jail environment, but "more and more"!

When you go through all the security checks, then you walk way to the back along a sidewalk. I'm not sure how far it is, but it feels like about a quarter to a third of a mile. I try to bring some sunshine and greet guys along the way, but some of them aren't super cheerful! I waved at some guys in another yard last week and then remembered that a friend of mine who was in prison in Nashville told me that you have to be careful your wave is not misunderstood for some gang sign you didn't know about! Yikes! He did it once but he said that the guys knew he was just a country boy from East Tennessee who wasn't aware of the signals he was sending! I thought, "Surely they can tell I'm the biggest dork who ever walked this sidewalk and I'm just waving at dudes I don't know!"

I volunteered to teach a class on the Book of Romans and I really have a fantastic class of guys! It's super interesting, to say the least! I was asking myself on the ride home, "Why am I kinda drawn to stuff like this?"  I think it might be that if you want to be  a light in the world while you're here, the easiest way  is to find the darkest places you can. Paul wrote once, "You shine like stars". I guess stars shine all the time, but you see them best at night.

But another reason is that there's place in my heart where I love what C. S. Lewis called "fairy tales."  Y'know, the stories where a frog turns into a prince. The one where a peasant girl turns out to be a princess.  

C.S. Lewis, "Jack" to his friends, was an atheist who eventually accepted Jesus. And it all started one day when he bought a book of "fairie tales" (as the Brits spell it) by a lover of Jesus from Scotland, named George McDonald. It awakened in his mind the thought that the reason we love those stories is because every human heart is hoping for one! "Could I be living one? Could a nobody like me, be someone who matters? Could a beggar like me be a prince someday? Could a mess like me have a royal future ahead?"

And Jack heard Jesus say, "Yes!"

A child who has known only hurt and pain can be loved, healed, and crowned by the King!

A convict who has been filled with hate and wrong can be full of joy, love, thankfulness and light!

A heart filled with guilt and wrong can shine, forgiven and clean! Forever!

I've seen these tales come true! Maybe you are living one! I just love watching them happen!

When C. S. Lewis was dying of congestive heart failure, he grew weaker and weaker day by day. In his last days, he drifted in and out of consciousness and often was unaware of, or didn't recognize, friends who tried to comfort him. Near the end, a woman he'd known for years came  to see him one last time. She was warned he wouldn't recognize her. Her name was Maureen and she had had a difficult and miserable life. Until, one day, she heard unbelievable news! A royal baron had died. His name was Sir George Cospatrick Duff-Sutherland, Baron Dunbar of Hempriggs. He was childless. And it turned out that she was distantly related to him. Distantly, but closer than any living person!  She instantly became heiress to his estate and one of only four baronettes in English history!

She arrived at the hospital and found her friend's room. She quietly took his hand and whispered, "Jack, it's Maureen."

"Well, the Lady Dunbar of Hempriggs! How delightful!"

"Oh, Jack! How did you remember?"

"On the contrary," he answered. "How could I ever forget a fairie tale?"

Maybe you're having a tough week. But someday soon, we'll all live happily ever after!