Categories
Christian Living

Repurposed

I’ve passed the same dingy white cargo van on my way to work two days in a row now. Emblazoned across the back it says “Locksmith,” but the doors are bungee corded shut.

He can’t fix his own lock?!

But the second day I overtook the van I noticed more details. The word “Locksmith” is faded. And, as I passed him, I noticed the company name and phone number were scraped off.

Maybe this isn’t a locksmith’s ride anymore.

There was a time when I felt like that faded old van. At 18 I entered the ministry as a worship pastor. Later, a bachelor’s degree in music and a master’s degree from a top seminary set me up for a life of fruitful ministry. Over the next 14 years, I served churches in three different states. But at the age of 32 my marriage ended and my God-called career came to a screeching halt.

The sparkling white van that said “minister” across the back now had the name and number scraped off the sides. And to add insult to injury, a tattered bungee cord was the only thing keeping the cargo doors shut. I felt like a complete and utter failure.

But God had a plan (Jeremiah 29:11; Ephesians 2:10).

The path back to wholeness hasn’t always been rosy, recovery from life trauma seldom is. Yet I stand here today happily remarried and 17 years into a successful career as a public educator.

Perhaps you can relate, kind reader? Your life, at some point, went off the rails—so to speak. But God is faithful.

Do I have a witness?!

“I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.”

Psalm 37:25 (NIV)

God is the ultimate repurposer. Our “ride” may change, but if we’re still alive it’s not too late. So let’s stay on the anvil my friends!

“The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; your love, O Lord endures forever—do not abandon the works of your hands.”

Psalm 138:8 (NIV)
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Do you have your own “repurposed” story? If so, I’d love to hear it! Because stories matter. Comment here, or write your own post and tell me where to find it.

🙏❤️prayers and love.

Categories
Christian Living

Why Do We Run?

It was to be a stress-reducing two mile run after school. Taking off from the flag pole, I planned an out and back route designed to avoid clusters of children walking home.

But as I rounded a corner, there they were: four kids spaced out on the sidewalk like cones on an obstacle course. “Hey! You’re one of the teachers!” “Yes,” I stammered, weaving my way through them.

Then one of them gave chase. This happens sometimes: children follow me down the street—in hot pursuit, like kiddie-cops. Today’s “police interceptor” was a precocious third grader named Danny. He caught up with me, screaming over and over, “Mr. Duncan, why are you running!”

I picked up the pace. “Surely, I can drop this kid,” I thought. But he matched me stride for stride for about 40 yards! “Mr. Duncan, why are you running!” “Because I want to,” I yelled back. Finally, he turned around. I was alone again.

Once I rounded another bend, I started to walk. Why? Because I’m a middle-aged man who just drag raced a nine year old! Still huffing and puffing, I pondered. “Because I want to.” What kind of answer is that!? What I really meant to say is, I NEED to.

I’ve run early in the morning and late at night. Dodging traffic and snarling dogs, in the rain and under the blazing sun. Simply because I love the way it makes me feel.


The apostle Paul felt this way about sharing the message of Christ: “Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” – 1 Corinthians 9:16b (NIV) The love of Christ compelled him; it moved him to extremes (2 Corinthians 5:14)

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?
Run in such a way as to get the prize.” – 1 Corinthians 9:24 (NIV)

Here and now I must sheepishly admit that personal evangelism doesn’t always excite me like running does. I don’t often feel driven to share the gospel.

But maybe that’s because these two words -personal and evangelism- bring to mind the street corner witnessing of my Baptist youth. Handing gospel tracts to strangers never felt like a natural way to share my faith. However, answering (kindly) someone who asks me to speak up for the hope within me does. – 1 Peter 3:15b

Why am I running in this faith race? Because the love of Christ compels me!

Photo by Snapwire on Pexels.com

Categories
Christian Living

Postage Due

The faculty prayer group at my school meets every Tuesday morning. Last week, one of my colleagues brought three cards for everyone to sign. Two were get well cards (for other faculty members), and one was a sympathy card for a teacher who recently lost her father.

The dozen or so people who attended our prayer group that day signed the cards, but there was still plenty of room left for more well-wishes. So I asked one of our assistant principals to help spread the word to the rest of our faculty. She sent an email inviting everyone (over 100 staff members) to sign, and left the cards by our head principal’s in-basket.

When I picked up the three cards two days later they were completely covered with handwritten words of encouragement! All that was left to do was to put them in the mail.

But I forgot to bring stamps.

“Maybe I have some in my desk,” I said to myself, hopefully. Now, I’m one of those people who stuffs their desk drawers full of anything that might even REMOTELY be needed in the future. But did I save any stamps?

I foraged through the drawers one at time—rooting around like a frisky ferret. Nothing. Finally, I checked the top middle drawer. And right there in the tray, next to the paper clips, were some first class forever stamps.

Wanna guess how many?

Not two, not four but THREE. Exactly the number I needed! I said a joyful, “Thank you, Jesus!” and got those letters in the mail.

Where God guides, God provides.

The Lord knew all along when I would need those stamps. I can’t even remember when I left them in that drawer! But they were still there when the time came.

I’m not saying the creator of the universe is like a gumball machine. But He DOES get the job done—especially when His glory is at stake (Isaiah 48:11b).

It’s impressive that God also used three people, who each filled distinct roles, to make this ministry opportunity happen. One thoughtful teacher provided the cards, our assistant principal got out the word, and I put them in the mail.

“By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped” Ecclesiastes 4:12

Do you have any “three stranded rope” friends in your life? I hope so. Humans (especially Christian ones) are designed for interdependence—not just with God, but also with each other (Romans 12:19).