Lessons from DAYS in Jury Duty… PART 1

Well, last week I was able to fulfill my highest civic duty. At least that is what they told me. Action Jackson began by telling me that more than likely, I would be done by the afternoon and would only have one day of service which made me even more optimistic as I was called away from the masses in the very first group.

I was placed in a pool with 130 other jury candidates and escorted to a beautiful court room. The jury candidate questions began, and to make a 4 day long story short, they asked us question after question, after question, and then countered those with even more questions. In the end, I was praising the Lord because I was not selected to be in the jury. If one day of likely service turned into four days, then who knows how long a four week trial could last. Needless to say, I was ready to get out of that courtroom, but not without a few important observations and lessons along the way. I figured I would take the opportunity to share those thoughts here on my blog. Thanks for reading, I will try my best to be brief.

 

 

This Too Shall Pass

There were so many moments that I was ready to leave that courtroom, but as I reconsider the details today, I thought for just a moment that I would love to be back in that room with those people again. So often we long to be out of our current situation and in doing so, I wonder if we don’t miss out on what God is revealing to us in that moment. Yeah, it may hurt, I know I was sore from that wooden bench after all those hours. Yeah, we may be bored out of our mind. But, a wise man once told me: BLOSSOM WHERE YOU ARE PLANTED.

Application: Even in Jury Duty, God can work in your heart. Instead of trying to get out of something lame, difficult or painful, it is probably wiser to seek the lessons that can be learned and the people that can be served.

People Love To Talk About Themselves

Anyone that reads that title may immediately think that is a completely negative statement, but I don’t think it has to be. If people love to talk about themselves, then they especially love it when you listen to them talk about themselves. While we were in the courtroom, we were allowed to do nothing. I mean NOTHING. No phones, no laptops, no electronics. The guy beside me got busted for sleeping. So, on break I walked over to the Downtown Library to get a book, and before I got to chapter three, I was informed by the Bailiff that I was not allowed to read a book either. What was left? Nothing but sitting and listening. As I listened, I learned so much about many people. It made me wish that I could be assigned to jury duty with the people that I see every day at work, and church, and in my neighborhood. Maybe then I could truly get to know them.

Application: I need to find ways to engage in conversation with people. It is likely that they like to talk about themselves, so if I am ready to listen without distraction, then I may learn a lot.

Four Days Together and We Feel Like Family

This was probably my greatest takeaway. I spent four days with these people, and I honestly felt love towards so many of them. Sounds crazy, I know. But I know their faces, I know their stories. I know where some of them live, their favorite restaurants. I know many of their jobs, and even their spouses job. I know a lot about their personalities, I know the ones who shake when the judge asks them to speak in public, and I know the ones who go on and on and on… 🙂 We spent four days, and I felt like I was at summer camp. These were my new friends and TRUTH: It was sad to say goodbye on the last day. Spending time together with people is a gift, it is a game changer for relationships.

Application: I am so thankful for the time that I get to spend with my family. It helps me  know my kids better. Time reveals so many details about their life, their desires, their heart. I also love the time that I get to spend with people in ministry, and this week made me ask the question: How can I spend more time, significant time, jury duty style time, with new friends, with my choir and the people I lead in ministry, and so many other people in my church that I long to feel like family with.

In Conclusion:

I learned too much for one post, but this will be the first part of my experience and it can be summarized in one word. People. They can be pretty awesome. Jesus thinks so. We should get to know them, serve them, and love them.

A Call to Blog Again… From Canada

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So last week I was sitting at home resting when I received a call on my cell phone that was from Canada!! I was absolutely sure that it was some type of sales call and so I rejected it to voicemail and finished my nap. After a little while I decided to check the voicemail that was left, from Canada, and I was shocked, it was a real person, and they were not calling about business.

I listened to the voicemail and immediately proceeded to call this gentleman back. When I called, Doug answered the phone and said, is this Lee? I responded, yes it is, and he asked, are you the guy that wrote the blog post about Passion vs. Arrogance, I thought for a second and considered, this guy can’t be asking about a blog post that I wrote in 2011 can he? Indeed he was.

He went on to explain that he was doing some research about being a passionate individual and being perceived as arrogant and when he searched those things on google, my little old blog popped up there in the search results.

Later I went back to read the blog and realized that the blog really had no answers, just some transparency about my own struggles and a request for advice from anyone who may have mastered this struggle. If you would like, you can read the blog here: Passion Vs. Arrogance.

So Doug took a few minutes to ask me what I have learned about this struggle. I explained that I didn’t have all the answers, but I am constantly trying to balance my passion with humility, and a sincere desire to listen to others and learn from them. Doug then took a few minutes to share his experiences and then we went back on our separate ways to face our passionate endeavors again.

The one thing that I took away from our phone call that night had nothing to do with passion, or arrogance, but it had everything to do with the importance of sharing the lessons in life that I am working through and striving to grow from. Not only did it encourage Doug in his pursuit, but it encouraged me when I went back and read that post from 6 years ago. I have learned so much since then and while I have not arrived, it is very encouraging to see the growth.

So, here is the moral of the story in one simple phrase, I am going to get back to blogging. Not necessarily for you, although you are more than welcome to join me in my transparency and maybe learn something here and there, but mainly so that I can track my own growth and share the things that I am learning.

In the last week I have thought of so many things that were worth sharing, so I am going to be disciplined about this, and I hope that I can encourage others and at the very least, encourage myself in 6 more years when I consider all the lessons that I have learned and recorded. I am very thankful for a call to blog again… ALL THE WAY FROM CANADA! 🙂

God is Always Good , GOD IS ALWAYS IN CONTROL

These are a few verses and thoughts on my mind lately.

Proverbs 16:9 “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.”

Proverbs 21:1 “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as he rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.”

Have you ever felt like God wants to do something in your life but people keep on getting in the way? Other people keep messing up God’s plan for you? I have definitely had moments where I have struggled with that. Moments where Jesus and I knew what we were doing, we had a plan, but obviously all these other people who keep “getting in the way” are not as “in tune with Jesus” as I am! (wink)
These two Proverbs have reminded me recently that sometimes we start thinking that we are in control of the ship, sometimes we believe that other men (Presidents, Leaders, Bosses) are in control of our lives, changing the very course of our future at a whim.

Rest assured, God is in control. I have seen the masterful devising of men, I have seen hearts both good and bad in authority, but they are not in charge. God is always in control.

What an incredible comfort.

It is my responsibility to live by faith and trust that God is the one steering this ship and even the hearts of all them that lead.

Psalm 37:23  “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.”

I Love Summer Camp!

I don’t have a very good memory, especially in regards to my younger years, but one thing I do remember very well is summer camp. I remember the first time that I went to Summit Camp as a junior camper, I remember going to Boy Scout Camp, I remember my very first trip to the Wilds, and then my second trip, and then my 3rd, 4th, 5th… you get the point. Camp has always been such a special place to me. It is a week where I get to leave everything behind and go have fun and get reacquainted with God. There were definitely years where I was more concerned with having fun than hearing Gods voice, but the truth is, that when I was willing to listen, I always heard God’s voice the loudest and the clearest during summer camp.

11709405_10206886470623934_868633730376910525_nSome youth pastors talk about how much they dread camp, but I have always loved it. From the crazy long van rides, to 1,000,000 gas station bathroom stops, going to camp was always a highlight of my year. While I have not been a youth pastor since 2013, this year I was blessed with the incredible opportunity to experience all those wonderful moments at camp once again.

I was so blessed about 3 months ago when I was asked to consider being the camp speaker at the Midwest Baptist Fellowship summer camp program which was held at Sagmount Baptist Camp. I was thrilled at the opportunity and began counting the days. Before I knew it the time had come, and last week I got to spend the entire week with over 15 churches, and over 300 campers. It was a fantastic week. God did amazing things from beginning to end, and I was so honored that His incredible Grace would allow me to be a tool that He could use to impact lives.

Our theme was Called. Our theme verse was Romans 8:28. I preached both morning and evening of each day on topics including Salvation, Eternal Security, Servant Leadership, Holiness, Moral Purity, Bitterness, and Complete Surrender. It was an encouraging week, a week with lots of fruit. There were at least 15 students that accepted Jesus Christ, at least 15 received assurance of their salvation, around 10 surrendered to full-time service, and many many more made decisions to confess and forsake sin and make restitution between God and man.

Praise the Lord!

As an adult it is so easy to grow a cold and hard heart towards the voice of the Lord. One of my most consistent prayers is that I will always have a soft heart towards the leading of the Holy Spirit. I love how camp is often times like a heart softener. You go, listen, and be half way willing to change, and there is a good chance your heart will be softer towards the things of God.

Maybe it is time for some of us adults to go to camp for a week! Thanks for reading! What are your best camp memories? What are some of the things that God has done in your life over the years while at summer camp?