Tag Archive: second chances


so yes, i thought CCDA stood for ‘Christian Community something something’ but after last nite’s session and God speaking to me after last nite’s section and just the general worship vibes here and then this morning’s session, i have to conclude that at least one of the C’s has to stand for ‘cry’ – i have been on the edge of emotion for these last powerful 24 hours and wish all of you could have been at this last session with me cos words are going to horribly fail to convey much of what happened.

Lisa introduced the session by mentioning a book she had recently read called ‘Everybody poops’ which sums up so much and which i’ve been saying for years [your poo is the same colour as mine, whichever power-hungry attention-seeking celebrity you are] and was a great way to level the playing field.

today’s focus was young leaders and specifically emerging marginalised leaders so we had mentors and young people on stage as a panel and they shared testimonies and were asked some questions. and after last nite’s proclamation that i pretty much mostly only stand up for Jesus, i was the first one on my feet after Daniel who has cerebral palsy finished his speech… yes, speech, a guy who battles to speak coherently introduced by a beautiful spirited african american woman who began by telling us to “Stop what you’re doing and listen!” – put your pens down and your cellphones away and just concentrate and you will begin to understand what Daniel, who struggles to speak in a way we can clearly understand, is going to share with us.

and it was so completely powerful, and i definitely needed the introduction that called me to listen and validated his voice as someone speaking for the physically challenged [i am so over PC’ness and can never remember which term or label is okay so sorry to whoever i may have offended if i did but get your head out your ass and can we just see people already – enough with the labels! and the constant microscopic dismembering of them. rant over.] but i stopped and listen and heard [a lot, not all, but a lot] of what he had to share and to hear Daniel talk about his ministry and his mission and his gifting and how he takes opportunities – flip it just blew me away [i later wrote in my notes ‘i want to be a person who really listens to people’ – i think i am a fairly decent listener of people but i don’t know that i would have ever recognised that Daniel even had a valid voice – largely cos of my fear of what if i don’t understand, what if this becomes awkward or embarrassing? you know what? so what? work through the awkward and embarrassing together]

so yes, i stood up and applauded loudly and was deeply moved by him, and the lady that so lovingly introduced him and helped validate or give foundation or invitation to his voice… 

and then they followed it up with this young woman [well young to mid thirties maybe] whose name i missed who started by saying a picture often speaks 1000 words and showed five pictures of herself looking pretty hectic which i only realised later were her five conviction police line-up pictures. She had gone to jail five times for stealing and had done a bunch of drugs “I spent 20 years with a needle in my arm” and was just a complete mess, until someone took a chance on her and made her head of Restorative Justice in some organisation and when she said she had no clue how to do it, her mentor responded with ‘learn. google it. read. figure it out.’

she is now the director of Restorative Justice and two semesters away from getting her degree and about to be married in January – a whole bunch of stuff she thought she would never be able to do because of who she was and what she’d done and the addictions she had been involved with and in.

she shared how at one point she used to live on the second floor of a building opposite a church and on Sundays she would sit on the balcony with a beer and look at all the pretty people going off to church and she wanted to cross the street and go with them: “I didn’t know how to cross that street. I just wanted to get across that street!”

she reminded us that “you’re dealing with a lot of young people who don’t really believe in themselves” [echoing the Unconditional Love we were reminded about last nite]

she told us that when she met her fiance who was brought up in a Christian home and had a faith background he didn’t want to know about her past in terms of letting it define who she was but was more interested in who she was now and who she was going to be.

She finished off by telling us that if we see someone in the street we should extend the hand and offer to try to lift them up. It might be hard for them. It might be hard for you. But just do it. Cos that’s what we’re about, right? Being our brother’s keeper? 

i finished the session by writing this in my notes: I want to stop being afraid of people I can love/help because I might “do it wrong” or not be able to understand them or know how to help.

man, this account doesn’t even start to capture today at all. just imagine a really emotional and really profound experience of viewing lives that had been touched and changed by other people who took the time [and often it wasn’t easy and often the stories don’t end like these ones] and energy to build into their lives – to love them and believe in them and offer them an opportunity to live and thrive and have another chance at being a world transforming person.

every person has value. do we see it? 

[To see the start of this series of talk summaries and moments, click here]

arr, so last nite of crew before baptist summer camp 1 (1000ish young people) arrive and my friend Craig Fincham leads a devotion/crew-building moment and confesses some stuff to the team and God who has been loudly whispering (well i have been incessantly converting His calls to a whisper so as not to pay too much attention to them) to me decides this is a moment of truth (MOT) moment to SCREAM at me – okay buddy, choose this day whom you will serve… i knew i had to and it sucked a lot (cos of the impending disappointment and hurtment that i knew tbv would experience and of course – once again – the embarrassment of not being big or strong or real enuff with this thing i’ve been struggling with for most of this last year, or maybe more accurately not ‘struggling with’…

and so i had to (take 2) confess that once again i got caught up in online pokering and while last time i confessed i left a back door which enabled me to fairly easily slide back into it, i knew this time it had to be kill kill kill (which is not easy cos i really enjoyed playing online and it gave me both an escape and an outlet for my competitive vibes) and so i have come home and deleted the software, this time with the knowledge that i cannot start again if… it is gone, finished, and i know that it won’t be a problem again in that regard cos the only reason it was able to become a problem again was cos i left a backdoor…

and so it was tough and it sucked to have to admit to her i’d been caught up in it again, but at the same time it was amazing and incredible and much needed and it really was (again, you’d think i would have learned last time) like getting a huge chunk of my life back again (and time which i need for book-writing so super stoked and excited for everything the time will free me up to be and do) and it was SO INCREDIBLY TIMED cos i knew deep within that as much as i was ready for summer camp and the workshops i had prepared and to serve and so on, that i wasn’t and i absolutely needed that moment to happen so i could stand in front of 1500 young people absolutely compromise free and not hiding my secret sins while admonishing them to be free of theirs.

burden lifted. thank you God. thank you lovely wife for your grace and forgiveness and lack of judgement.

thank you God for 15th chances… help me not to need a 16th… free me from my addictive personality that quickly gets my feet wrapped up and entangled with sin or distractful things which masquerade as not sin.

hebrews 12.1-3 starts with ‘therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw of everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles…’

%d bloggers like this: