Mr. Corn’s Opus

I had a bit of a “Mr Holland’s Opus” moment this past weekend – you know. . .the moment at the end of the movie where all his ex-students come together to honor/minister to him.

Sonya and Tori playing with Kasen
Sonya and Tori playing with Kasen

Some ex-youth (Is that OK Lorel?) drove down to Lake Jackson to hang out. Sonya Wiggins Hunt and Tori Gracey had heard about our job situation and decided that they would drive down to support Miranda and I. Wow! It’s a beautiful thing (and humbling) to have the very same students that you poured yourself into years ago show up to minister to you. In the past, I ministered to them. Sunday, I was the recipient of their ministry. The script may have been flipped, but the author if that script is still the same – and He’s a great writer.

He has truly done some incredible things in and through their lives.

Sonya has finished school, gotten married and is incredibly active in her church. The pastor has even asked she and her husband to help them plant another church. She has also been a part of a program which works to create community in apartment complexes – taking the Good News to her own neighbors. She told an incredible story about her brother-in-law. He is in the hospital in critical condition after being beaten and shot by members of a gang. She and her husband stood at his bedside and shared the gospel with him. He was unable to respond with anything but his eyelids, but when given the opportunity he gave his life to Christ literally with the blink of his eyes. Sonya is a minister. She takes Jesus to everyone she touches as she lives her life.

Tori is now a teacher in one of the most difficult school in Houston. Her students include a 16 yr old girl who had a miscarriage after 8 months of pregnancy. One day, some students were asking her where she kept her Bible ’cause they wanted to look something up. She asked what they wanted to know, and by God’s grace, it was a verse that Tori and had memorized in her Jr High years when we did a specific study together. She quoted the verse to them and they were shocked. These students come to Tori to talk about their lives. They know she loves and cares for them. They know she’s a Christian. They trust her. She has earned their respect. Tori is in full-time ministry.

Tori and Sonya may not work in the church, but their work is more like that of a missionary – one who takes the Gospel to the people.

Anyway, spending time with Sonya and Tori was truly a joy. As they shared the things God has been doing in their lives and a few of the stories where they were able to be a part of His work, I felt like Mr Holland. I was proud. Proud of who they had become. Proud that I was able to be a small part of their lives. Proud to serve a God who is so active in our lives. Excited to imagine what the future (which is in God’s amazing hands) holds for each of us.

Prayer: God, thank you for Sonya and Tori. Thank you for revealing yourself to them and for the commitment that they have for you. Thank you for your presence and guidance in their lives. Thank you for the opportunities that You give to them. Thank you for placing them in these jobs/positions where You can use them in such mighty ways. Lord, continue to be with them and make your presence known so they can operate in confidence throughout their lives. Keep them close to You and to each other. AMEN.

[re]Understanding Prayer

05-11-25I’ve been reading a book by Kyle Lake lately called “[re]Understanding Prayer.” (By the way, he’s the guy from UBC Waco who was electrocuted recently while doing a baptism.) Anyway, one of the chapters focuses on Prayer as Drama. He talks about how we learn certain “scripts” from the people in our church as we grow up in our faith. We tend to use certain phrases and emotional dynamics which we have learned from others in the church. He goes on to explain that those who have been in the church the longest seem to be the ones who are the best “actors” – they know the scripts better than everyone else.

I’d have to confess that this is true of me. I’ve been in the church long enough to learn the “scripts” pretty well – I can “act” Christian with the best of ’em.

You know, the youth that I work with are always reluctant to pray in front of the group. I don’t believe this is because they don’t know how to talk to God (I mean, they talk to God all the time privately) – I think it’s because they don’t know the “scripts” all that well and are afraid to look like bad “actors.” Why do we as the church create these kinds of situations where we make feel others feel insecure? Do we do it because it makes us feel superior with our fancy words? (Check Mt 6:5-8) I wonder what I can do to combat this issue? I wonder how I can help create an environment where we all can just be ourselves, and be humble and honest in our dealings with God?

I’ve seen alot of bad “actors” when it comes to prayer – but I’ve also noticed that many of them are the very ones who seem to have a passion that goes beyond my understanding. I wonder if their relationship with God is just more open. I wonder what it would mean to be “like a child” when it comes to prayer?

The best example I know of someone to look up to – who doesn’t follow a script – is my friend Jon. He just talks to God, “Well God, it’s me again  and . . . .”

Thanks Jon, I’m learning from you – oh – and also thanks Kyle for your book which has helped me recognize some of this stuff.

And thank you God for giving me the gift of each of these two men.