I had flashbacks this past month. Not the bad flashbacks, the good ole remember when kind. The gym was packed full of kids and teachers, and I had them all singing, doing hand motions, and listening to what I used to call “Silly Songs and Stupid Stories.” Probably not the best title for the children’s time during our weekly worship service, but it worked back then.
This time was very different. I’ve got way way more grey hair in my beard; the fact I can grow one now says something! Let’s just say it’s been a hot minute since I’ve led kids in some of our original kids music and tied a story to it.
Now your looking at this photo and I’m sure you’re wondering if I’ve gone too far. Think Blues Clues meets Pee Wee Herman and let your sanctified imagination do the rest.
I’m doing my best attempt to recreate a scene from Finding Nemo. Remember, I’m talking to mostly littles in the gym. For the sake of this story, high school seniors are littles too. Maybe you remember the scene. Nigel the pelican swoops down to heimlich his choking fellow birdsman gagging on the dock. Astonished when Marlin and Dory pop out onto the deck, Nigel realizes the imminent danger of the swarming seagulls.
This is the part I don’t want you to miss. This is why I’m overly animated in this photo.
Nigel says one phrase of enormous spiritual implications, and even as I write this, I’m still overcome with emotion. With his pelican beak opened wide, he squacks out this phrase, “Hop into my mouth if you want to live.”
It’s the most diametrically opposed suggestion a small fish could possibly entertain. To hop into a pelican’s mouth would be certain death. What Marlin and Dory didn’t realize in the moment was Nigel had arrived to save their lives, not destroy it.
Fortunately, our flopping fishy friends were scooped up into Nigel’s roomy beakdom and flown to safety from the impending doom of the flock of seagulls.
Don’t miss this. I mean, who knew a Pixar film would be laced with one of the most deeply rooted theological premises of our Christian faith!
To surrender is to live!
It’s easy to think surrender means forced slavery, abandoned dreams, or even death. But surrendering to the welcoming safety of the Kingdom of God is to choose life! Let’s learn from our friend Nigel and his words of wisdom. Hopping into the embrace of Jesus and following Him is our moment of saying, “YES!” I want to live!
I hope these kids never watch this movie the same! Even more I hope they see how much the Father loves them when he says, “It gives the Father great happiness to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32)
Whatever place in life you’re choked up in, freedom is one surrendered moment away. Listen to what the Spirit of God is saying to you and obey. It’s just that simple.
A couple days after I shared at chapel, a package with a smile on it arrived at our little apartment. My secretive wife was sheepishly grinning when she told me to open it. She always opens the packages first, so I quickly realized this gift was mine. Out popped my very own Nigel! He sits on my desk at work to remind me of the joy of surrender.
I’m pretty sure he’ll be an addition to my Discipleship Training School teaching on the same subject in a couple weeks. I’m sure he’ll have a big impact!
Christian Heritage School’s motto is, “Discipling the Nations through Education.” Amy engages with these students daily in her role as a volunteer high school vice-principal and teacher. I’ve been so encouraged this semester to come alongside and serve at CHS as well. Pray for this next generation so they will surrender completely to the Lord’s desires for their lives.
Thank you for your continued support in financial gifts and prayers. Both are equipping us to do all that God has called us to here.