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From leapfrogging twenty miles to odd coffee cups: the Art of the Unorthodox

January 5, 2018

IMG_7704I think we’ve all had our share of doing odd things in our lifetime.  I recall the time a group of us high schoolers raised money for our prom by leapfrogging twenty miles (you can read about that here) … and that recollection brought up memories of other downright stupid things I have done (you can read about those stupid moments here).  We call those moments “unorthodox”.  They are out of the line of regular activity.  Some of these moments can be ridiculous, but if applied rightly, unorthodox thinking can lead to some downright brilliant creativity.

One of my friends, Ron, has an active ministry in ventriloquism.  He’s ministered from elementary school assemblies to homeless shelters.  Ron is in his seventies and he’s still growing strong after decades of ministry; his outreach is unreal.

A church in Delaware designed their main building into an ark, as in Noah’s Ark.

One of my students at school makes it a regular habit to go sit and minister to the homeless by spending evenings with them underneath the highway overpasses in downtown Knoxville.

One of my favorite unorthodox ministries was a church’s Saturday fix-your-car outreach to the poor in the community.  People would bring in their cars for a free oil change and some minor repairs, a free meal and free clothing if needed, all while good people sat down and shared the Gospel as mechanics worked away.  Did I tell you this was all free?

Unorthodox.  I love the word because Jesus displayed it.  Consider John chapter 2.

In John 1 Jesus had gathered His disciples and then they went to Cana of Galilee.  In performing his first miracle (chapter 2), He showed his divinity at Cana in a way no one would expect: He made water into wine. I mean, consider if you wanted to predict the first miracle of the coming Messiah – wouldn’t it have been by healing someone or maybe lifting a building off of its foundation?  Not Jesus.  He transcends above man’s simple plot lines.  And so He performs the miracle and moves on.  Verse 12 : “After this He went down to Capernaum, he and his mother and his brethren and his disciples; and they continued there just a few days.” Ten miles of desert walking.  Verse 13: “The Jews’ Passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.”  More walking.

Then Jesus goes rogue.   Zechariah the prophet had predicted this;  the Messiah “would suddenly come to His temple. ”  Yes, suddenly is a good word to use.  He moved in unexpectedly and presented Himself in a way that nobody, and I mean nobody would have predicted.

He cleansed the Temple by overturning tables and chasing out the sacrificial on-sale animals.  His official presentation of Himself was not a sermon nor was it a miracle but did it ever send a strong message! By showing His authority to clean the place up in front of the religious leaders and rulers He drew the spiritual line in the sand.  Scores of Pharisees set themselves against Him.

But not all.

One of the Pharisees -remember his name? – changed His life that day.  In chapter 3, we see Nicodemus, “the teacher of Israel” humbly seek and ask Jesus about being born again.

What I’m saying is that God has allowed us to be vessels of His to spread His message, and not all vessels are the same, but they all carry the same Water, don’t they?

Our daughter Julie has taken to a little habit that has caught on in our household.  We Zockolls are pretty consistent in our consumption of honey rather than processed sugar, and so we end up with a lot of empty honey jars.  Julianne loves to use them as drinking glass at mealtimes, and since she sets the table for our meals, I end up with an ornate little glass honey jar for my water each day – look at the top of this blog and you can see the photo of some of the glasses.  At first I was puzzled by her choice, but since the vessel does as good a job as any when it comes to holding liquids, I now find myself even making my morning coffee in an empty honey jar through this Christmas break.

It fits in to what I am trying to say.  It’s an unorthodox drinking glass isn’t it?  But it still does a mighty fine job.  I think you can make the spiritual applications, all of you odd vessels with your many quirks and creative ways of showing Christ.  Go out and reach in the way that fits your character, your ingenuity, your talent, your passion.  Honor God in your unorthodox life and let Jesus shone forth.

And join the clan.



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