Monday, August 9, 2010

Words of Encouragement

In memory of a dear sister, Sister Bessie Parks

Theme: Women charged by the Spirit

Preached Metropolitan Church of God (part 2 of 3)

Detroit, MI, 2007

There is a kid’s movie “Rudolph the red nose Reindeer” that I thought about when I prepared this message. I see things in the everyday. If you remember in this cartoon, there was a group of toys that were rejected so they were sent to the island of misfits. There was a train with square wheels, and a jack in the box, with the name Charlie, who wants to play with a jack in the box named Charlie in the box? There was a boat that didn’t float. These toys wanted to belong to someone, but they could not fulfill the purpose of what the toy should be, so they were rejected.

Rudolph, who was a misfit himself, went to this island and met the misfit toys. In the course of the movie, Rudolph found his purpose. That stormy night when they thought Christmas wouldn’t come; Rudolph’s nose, (his time to shine, his bright light) was what was needed. That nose of his that everyone laughed at, talked about, and said didn’t belong, was just what was needed to help. And you know what happened, that misfit Rudolph didn’t forget about those that he had met on the island of misfit. He went back to that island and got those misfits. He helped those misfits find places of importance. I hope you’re following me.

There are many women in our world that are misfits. We have some that have been banished to the island of emotional misfits. They have been hurt by life. They have been so wounded that they don’t fit in anywhere. They feel discarded, angry, lonely, hurt and the list is endless. They don’t know if they’ll be able to make it, so instead they are left stranded on the island of emotional misfits.

There are some women that are banished to the island of worthless misfits. They have been told all their lives they won’t be anything and will not amount to much. Nothing they do seems right. They have sought approval from one relationship or another, but again they are abandoned. So instead they are stranded on the island of worthless misfits.

There are some that are banished to the island of rejection misfits. They wanted to belong somewhere, but everywhere they went, they were told you are not good enough. You are not smart enough, you are not pretty enough, or you just are not our choice bunch. So banished they are to the island of rejection misfits.

What will get them from those places? That is where we, as the church come in. Each one of us was a misfit. We didn’t fit in somewhere. Some were in the pitiful group. Some of us didn’t trust, we didn’t have faith, we flip-flopped in our decisions. We didn’t understand fully what we were supposed to be doing. Jesus didn’t choose you or I because we were the best or the brightest. Sometimes I wonder why he chose me at all? Yet he did. He chose us and what he did was tell us to come and follow him.

When we do, he promises us he will give us his Holy Spirit to equip us for the task ahead. What is that task, to tell others about the transforming power of God.

What does a transformed woman look like? A transformed woman is one that has been changed; she is no longer the same as she was before. She doesn’t walk the same, talk the same nor does she think the same. There is a conversion that takes place. The old self is exchanged for a new one. In other words, the old man is dead and the new one is made alive through Christ Jesus. There is a switch that takes place. Jesus took your punishment and mine so that we would not have to, and he replaced our old, sin sick spirit with a new one, a cleansed one. So when we accept Christ the first thing he does is give us his Spirit and we must give him access so he can transform us. If each of you stood up and gave your testimony of where God really brought you from, we would rejoice in hearing how great a God we serve.

Unfortunately, we are too afraid sometimes of being transparent before others. We are afraid others will judge us, or look at us crazy because of where we came from. But let me tell you this that is especially the reason you have to tell. There is someone stranded on the same island of misfit, that you were rescued from. You have to be like Rudolph and let your light shine through the elements that blind others from seeing, so you can help them get off the island. See misfits know where other misfits are. You know what someone looks like that is depressed, if you fought with depression. You know the signs of someone lonely if you faced loneliness. Jesus came for the ones in need of healing. He came for the sick in soul and spirit. He needs you and I to go and offer this gift of transformation to the other misfits.

If you look up misfit, I believe my picture might be under the definition. If you look at me, it doesn’t look like anything could have been wrong with me or in my life. But I was a broken child, who became a broken woman. I was on my own at the age of 14, looking to find somewhere to live. I lived with my father, but his live in girlfriend hated me. She would not allow me to eat in the home unless I did things she told me to do. She had my father put out all of my other brothers and sisters and moved her nephew into our home. This nephew tried to rape me. When I told my father, I heard his girlfriend say, I was a liar. He never stood by me. When I had to go to court for this, he stood with the accused. Talk about rejection for a young girl.

So I went to live with my mother. That wasn’t any better. My mother had become an alcoholic and my stepfather was verbally abusive to my brother and me. He was physically abusive to my mother and I would hate to see the bloody fights and having to leave the home with my mother drunk, hoping that wouldn’t be the night we died at her hands. My stepfather thought it was his responsibility to tell me daily I would be nothing, I would have nothing and no one would want me for anything other than my body. He tried to sell me to the old men in the neighborhood, and when I refused, he made a joke about me being gay. What made me decide to leave my mothers home was she was fighting with my stepfather with a gun and it went off. She told me to come get it, but I thought if he kills me, she’d probably still be with him, so I said no. I decided then I would leave. The day I left my mother’s home I thought to myself, is this all there is to life? These were just a few of the scares because I had others. I was sexual abused, the first time I was seven years old and the last time when I was raped in college. Not by the same person, but by 5 different, random people. Truly something had to be wrong with me, why would these things happen to me? I had to be defective or something, right?

So you can image I was a misfit with residency on several islands. I could not image me being useful for anything or anyone. Yet, one day, Jesus said, follow me. And I did. He took this broken person and created something wonderful inside. He took the ashes of my life and brought beauty from it. When the Lord called me to preach I couldn’t accept it, because in my mind the words of my stepmother rang in my spiritual ear, she is a liar. Yet God told me, I know you. I have tested your heart and I know you.

You expected one person to be standing here today, but in his own way and for his own purpose, God ordained for me to be standing her. That’s what is so wonderful about our God. I might no be well known, I might not seem to be one chosen to have entrance to see the president, but that doesn’t matter to God. His Spirit worked things out so that this once misfit could tell some other once misfits and current misfits the good news. See there is somebody stuck on the island of misfits waiting for you. You have been charged by the Spirit to go and rescue them (come back next week for the final installment).