Looking back over Friday night's concert with Agape, I am struck by the power of spoken word and music has on the hearts and minds of everyone who hears it. The kids were, of course, absolutely great considering we had the worst sound experience in the last several years. Not sure what was going on, but it didn't prevent the message from going forth.
Leslie did an incredible invitation about "all things new". She said that as she was walking up the aisle on the bus one year, she forgot to put the cap back on the marker thus it left a few "permanent" designs on her white sweatshirt. One student said, give that to me and I will fix it. When Leslie got it back it had a beautiful design of a flower on it. She said that is what God does with us. We may think that we are so far gone, that our lives are so far removed from the presence of God that we can't be fixed, but the complete opposite is true. God sees us as He made us – the beautiful flower – the masterpiece as John Wooden would describe it.
Each day those ladies and children struggle to "clean" themselves up from whatever may have brought them to that place. When your eyes scan the audience they rest on the mother who's newborn spreads joy through its laughter and giggles. Your eyes take in the scene of a woman who want to return to teaching and now teaches others how to get "clean". Your eyes rest on the children who run crazy and see things so innocently and pure. Your eyes catch the pain of women who are struggling in recovery. But your eyes also see past the pain to the heart of the matter, that God loves them. Loves them for who they are – beautiful women who just took a wrong turn. See God allows U-Turns, and thank God He does.
Nothing can erase the images of those women. Women who are on their way up, not down. Who have said "yes" to change, "yes" to a different life, and hopefully "yes" to God. This is why we go out on the weekend. We go out to spread the love of Christ. To share in the journey walked. To walk next to those who may need a shoulder for stability. We join in the majesty of knowing that God has walked with them, sees them, kneels down – spreads wide His loving arms and says "where have you been – I've missed you". This is why we serve. This is why give of ourselves for a weekend.
Hard to imagine this was only our first stop. One down – four more to go.
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