Sunday, February 25, 2007

On Location

Andy finished a great series today at church called “On Location.” It was an amazing message about being a light for Christ wherever you are, wherever God has placed you on location.

It’s not about standing on a corner with a sign yelling at people at a Braves game, that’s just obnoxious. It’s about allowing God to live the Christian life through you in those places where He has placed you.

It’s about conversation, not confrontation.
And it’s about everyday, not just Sunday.

It’s about being the only light for Christ in your family, or being one of a few Christians in your workplace. It’s about realizing that we have been strategically placed by God in our various environments for a reason.

But I think sometimes the danger is results. We are such a results driven society that even Christians have a tendency to always want to measure effectiveness. Are we impacting people? How many lives have been saved or changed? Is church attendance up or down? You know…all the “what are the results” questions.

And to a certain degree these are important things to consider but I think it is easy to get too caught up in results. One of the things that Andy shared that really hit me was his reference to one sermon that Jesus gave when He told his followers “You are the salt of the earth.” To be honest, I had never really understood what that meant until this series. Salt is a preserver and what Jesus was saying to his followers was “You are the preservers of this earth.”

In His eyes, they represented hope.

And our mere presence in certain situations and locations today also represents hope to God. This has really helped me better understand my placement at my job right now and it has really helped me better understand my placement as a small group leader for second graders.

Trying to control ten second graders is a crazy thing (especially when eight are boys). I go through the planned activities with them and try to share insight with them so they are reminded each week that God loves them. But sometimes it just gets chaotic, like glorified babysitting. I wish I could do better at telling them when they do a good job instead of just calling them out when they misbehave.

But this series has taught me that my mere presence of sitting Indian-style (I mean criss-cross apple sauce) in the circle with them on a weekly basis represents hope in the eyes of God. And even though on some Sundays I don’t feel like I am able to get them to understand everything we talk about, I still show up.

I’m there. I’m on the scene. And God tells me that I represent hope.

I have a strong feeling that this principle will come into play in South America. Especially, once I have been there awhile and my tendency to measure results kicks in.

I will need to remember that my mere presence in South America = hope to God.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

My Mission, Should I Choose to Accept It

Dear SAMS staff,

Thank you so much for the invitation to be a missionary candidate.
Please consider this letter my formal acceptance to that invitation.

It was a tremendous pleasure to spend time getting to know all of you during the recent Crossroads Conference and I look forward to continuing to develop those relationships in the future. I was overwhelmed by the family atmosphere at the SAMS office. Your support of each other and the SAMS missionaries really shows.

As I shared at the conference, I want to minimize regrets in my life. The last thing I want is to go through my life and wonder what God MIGHT have done through me. Life is just too short for that. In so many ways, I feel like God has strategically positioned me for this moment – strategically positioned me for missionary service. And I believe that He has blessed me with relationships within the Anglican and SAMS communities for a reason. I don’t believe that I am where I am in my life by accident.

Throughout this whole process, all the way from my short-term trip to Bolivia last summer to the Crossroads Conference in January, I have felt God confirming over and over again that I am heading in the right direction. I really feel that I am exactly where He wants me to be.

I am so excited to go to South America as a representative of Christ in the lives of the children there. I look forward to the deputation process as I begin to share the burden that God has placed on my heart with my community and as I begin to raise funds to support that burden.

Thank you again for the invitation. I accept the invitation with all my heart and I look forward to representing Christ to the community in which God calls me to serve.

I also look forward to discussing next steps with you as I begin my deputation process.

God Bless,
Curt Little

“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”
– 1 Timothy 6:17-19

Thursday, February 15, 2007

And in this corner...

Big shout out to Warren T.
Check out this article from the AJC today. My man lost 94 pounds in a year and earned a nice little story in the paper because of it.
What an inspiration.

And in other news...I received an email today from SAMS telling me that they are pleased to invite me to be a missionary candidate. The official letter is in the mail. They have suggested that I pray about it and then mail them a letter in return if I decide to accept the invitation.

I had a good feeling that I would get an invitation. But still. It becomes a little more real when it actually happens. Am I really going to go through with this?

Now where is that acceptance letter that I already wrote...

Friday, February 09, 2007

False Creeds

So I have to admit, one of the things I really dig about theatre is that sometimes I learn about events in history that I might not have otherwise ever known about. I really think this is one of the powerful things about theatre, movies, and just storytelling in general. And this is the case right now with a play that we are about to open called False Creeds.

It’s just cool to occasionally have that “if we were not producing this play I would have never known about this” feeling.

False Creeds is about The Tulsa Race Riot of 1921.
You can read about the event on Wikipedia if you are so inclined.

Darren Canady, the playwright of False Creeds, just recently graduated from school and this is his first play to be produced. The play is the winner of our Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Competition which is an annual contest that we have that (WARNING! Marketing lingo ahead) supports our commitment to fostering the next generation of playwrights. Every year, we invite graduating seniors in playwriting from the top universities across the country to submit a script to us. The plays are judged on a variety of levels and then the winner’s play is actually produced as part of our following season.

Our competition is a one of a kind program in the U.S. It normally takes a playwright about 10 years to get their name on the map and we take someone just out of school and give them a full scale production. We treat the play just as we treat any other play that we do – all the way from the sets and costumes to the marketing.

Darren found out about the Tulsa Riots from his grandmother, who was living near Tulsa at the time and remembers refugees coming into town as a result of the riots. What I like is that the story of these riots has rarely been told. And many argue that the story has just plain been covered up over the years.

Anyway, it is a reminder of one of the great benefits of theatre. Granted, I still don’t think that selling theatre tickets means as much to me as potentially serving street kids and orphans in South America. But still. It’s nice to remember that plays can be both entertaining AND educational.

Darren is also blogging about his experience if you care to learn more in his own words.

I usually just get excited about the big commercial musicals but it’s nice to be reminded that it can be about so much more than that.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Super Bowl ad or 37,000 goats (a cost benefit analysis)

Ok. I work in advertising and I have to admit that the majority of advertising I see on TV today is a complete waste. ESPECIALLY some of those bad Super Bowl ads yesterday. There were a few good ones but most of them were struggling. And each 30 second commercial during the big game this year cost 2.6 million dollars. That’s just the air-time; it doesn’t include the cost of actually producing the ad.

Anyway, I thought it would be cool to list some other things that could have been purchased during those 30 seconds.

For the 2.6 million dollars spent every 30 seconds, one of the following things could have happened…

  • 289,000 hungry babies could have been fed for a week
  • 75,000 orphans could have had meals, lodging, healthcare and education for a month
  • 37,000 families could have had their very own goat (My personal favorite)
  • 13,000 children in Africa could have had reconstructive surgery
  • 13,000 families could have had an emergency shelter to help protect them from the cold, wind and rain
  • 325 schools could have been built for impoverished children
  • 174 churches could have been built in Sudan

Not that ad money would be spent in this way but it’s just an interesting perspective to think about what changes might have happened in this world and how many people could have been impacted if say had run two commercials instead of three.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Quotable quotes

Before I started this whole online thing I kept a written journal for about a year and a half. My hope was to track God’s thumbprint on my life so I would never miss a blessing or an answered prayer.

But since I have the Blog now I haven’t been keeping up with the written journal which is a shame because the written journal and the Blog are totally different. I didn’t think they would be but they are. You just write differently when you know there is an audience.

It’s different when God is the ONLY audience.

Sometimes I think I need to write in my journal again but then I remember how tired my hand would get and I just forget about it. I think I'll just pray thank you very much.

It was just funny. I was looking back through my journal because I had the idea of posting one of my past entries so you could read what was on my mind say two years ago. Until I read back through my entries and remembered how personal they were.

But what I DID find in my journal was some quotes that I had written down from various books I read about a year ago. These thoughts are in no particular order and they are somewhat disconnected but I found some inspiration in them and I thought you might as well…
  • Every relationship for a Christian is an opportunity to love another person like God loved us.
  • When we define our happiness by some point in the future, it will never arrive.
  • If you really think about it, the need to blurt out our feelings is usually motivated by selfishness, not by a desire to enhance the other person’s life. We want to know if our feelings are reciprocated, and we can’t bear not knowing how the other person feels.
  • Live your life in a way that reflects the changes God has made in you. Don’t live the way you used to live. After all, you are not the person you used to be.
  • Today, you took a step. You either moved closer to or further away from what you hope to be.
  • Every day of your life you go head-to-head with a master strategist. One who hates you. One who is intent on depleting your character of anything that in any way reflects the nature or fingerprint of your Father in heaven.
Oh…but here is the end of my last journal entry on August 15, 2006 (One month after I got back from my mission trip to Bolivia)

The more I stare at the picture from Bolivia on my desk at work the faster I want to get back there and the less interested I become in my job at the Alliance. This can only be explained as a God thing. Who else could take a career path that consumed me for six years and say…“Just drop it?” I just pray daily that God’s will is done and I know that if He needs me in Bolivia He will get me there. Father, lead me to the ministry in Bolivia where I can make a major impact for your kingdom. Show me that there is more to this life than what my culture has conditioned me to think. Enlarge my border and ministry. Send me where you need me the most. Whatever the question is Father…the answer is “yes.”