The Art Of Signing

There’s no doubt in my mind that I should not be where I am doing what I’m doing. I don’t have any deaf relatives or friends. I don’t have a background in Sign Language or speech pathology. Honestly, I really kind of stumbled into this whole sign language thing. I learned about signing in college from a friend whose mom was deaf. She started a sign choir called Vision through Intervarsity. I learned 3 songs and then dropped out of the group. The following semester I took a sign class and began to put together songs on my own. Little did I know that one sign class and the encouragement of friends would change my life so drastically and dramatically!

Since then, God has seen fit to take me into many different and diverse places because of it. Had it not been for this use of Sign Language, I would not have much of the ministry  I currently have with students or adults. Isn’t it crazy that God would do that? Not really. In fact, it seems just like God to do such a thing! He has taken someone like me who majored in English, minored in psychology and intended to be a band director at one point and allowed me to do something completely different and yet entirely fulfilling.

Sometimes it’s easy to try and plan out our life and take all the steps to seeing that plan fulfilled and not realize that God may have something totally different in mind. It’s not that we shouldn’t have a plan. However we must be willing to surrender the plan to the Master. That’s a Master Plan! Anything other than that will leave us empty, longing, and wasting. God’s intention is to use us to equip the Body and build the Kingdom.

I know that you may feel like geometry or government or whatever may never be useful. But that’s not the case. God will use anything we give back to Him. Don’t underestimate what God can do with what you know. You don’t know what He knows and has for the future.

For some reason, I took French in high school and college, while everyone else around me was taking Spanish. Even though I never thought I’d use it, I have! But not in places where I would have thought.  I had to use French in Vietnam and The Republlic of Benin. You just never know what God is going to do with what you know. And just to let you know, it was vitally important that I knew the French at that time! I still need to learn Spanish since we have a ministry in El Salvador, which doesn’t make sense to me either. How can I have a Spanish deaf ministry with so little Sign Language and no Spanish in my resume? Simply God.

So, what do you have to offer? What thing seems insignificant to you that you feel like you’ll never use? Why not write a list of all those things and offer them to God and see what He does with it over the next month. He may just make it the most significant thing in your life yet! He’s an artist with things like that!


Emptiness at Easter

There are a few things about Easter I want to encourage you with concerning emptiness. No doubt in church services throughout the world this Easter, people will attend with a nagging sense of emptiness in their lives. This emptiness is often medicated with sundry things: drugs, alcohol, sex, stealing, and the list goes on. What if there were something this Easter that could fill the emptiness with hope? Or life? Or love? A different kind of emptiness that could make us whole? As I look back on the very first Easter I see much emptiness that now fills my soul and life with joy, peace and hope. The way that Christ emptied Himself to demonstrate love for me has taken away all the other emptiness in my life! Through Easter, Jesus revealed His love and power in three distinctly empty ways.

The Empty Cross.

On that Sunday morning, people from all around would have looked up on that hill of the skull and seen three crosses. The difference with the one in the middle was that it was empty. The criminals on either side would have still been there hanging. Not Jesus. Being that Jesus was crucified on a Friday and had already died, they took Him off the cross and placed Him in a tomb…therefore His cross was empty.

Sin makes us feel empty inside. Even though it may bring pleasure for a time we are ultimately left wanting and dejected with the results of sin. The empty cross is a perfect picture to remind us of the price that was paid to remove the sin and its effects. The blood-stained wood was a visual remuneration of what Christ had done for us. But we must remember it was empty! The emptiness of the cross points to the fact that the payment was accepted. God required a blood sacrifice for sins and the empty cross demonstrated that Christ’s death was sufficient. Otherwise Jesus would still be on the cross “paying” for our sins.

The Empty Tomb.

Not only did Jesus exit the cross but He exited the tomb. The place where Jesus laid was a borrowed tomb, hollowed out of a cave, covered with a huge boulder at the entrance, not to mention the delegation of Roman soldiers guarding it. Securing the tomb this way would have prevented grave robbers or anyone else for that matter from tampering with the body. As the women approached the grave, they wondered how the boulder would be removed. When they arrived they were astonished to find the tomb open and the grave empty! Jesus was not there!

The empty tomb is indicative of Jesus’ power over life and death! Not only did He have to power and authority to lay down His life but to take it up again!  For those who may be dealing with the emptiness from loss or fear of death, the empty tomb can settle your worrisome heart.The empty tomb is comforting in its revelation of a risen Savior. The empty tomb proves that there is life after death because Jesus was not there!

The Empty Clothes.

Stories began to surface of what happened to Jesus: perhaps he had been stolen? Maybe He had fainted and somehow recovered during the time in the tomb and then escaped. Maybe His disciples came and administered some healing power?

After the women and disciples made their way to the tomb, they found something almost as strange as the empty tomb itself! They found the grave clothes neatly folded and left behind! A grave robber or anyone else violating entrance into the tomb would not have carefully taken time to fold the clothes! This detail in the story of Jesus is significant in that it validates a bodily resurrection. There was no dead body…but there was an alive one! Jesus rose from the dead, folded the grave clothes He no longer needed. He left it where it belonged: in the grave! The grave clothes emblematic of death were not fit for the Author of LIfe! Emptiness can be left behind by finding fullness of life in Christ. Robe yourself in Christ and walk in newness of life!