Oh the Joy of Improv…

Last week, I was chatting with my friend Kelly about college. A great memory came up from sophomore year, while I was in Survey of Old Testament class. Please join me for today’s edition of Early Morning Reminiscence – complete with fantastic cliches.

It is around lunchtime on the Oral Roberts University campus, the hero of our story, Joy, had just recently picked up a quick lunch at Chick-fil-A on her way to the chapel. Today was the day of the big presentation. Since she was an honors student, Joy and her teammates had to give their presentation not only in front of their small section group, but also in front of the entire class of around 200. Everyone but Joy had their speeches down. Their topic: Jeremiah 1. Of the group of four, Joy ended up with the “application” or devotional section. As the team was preparing backstage before the big speech, inspiration hit Joy like a bird runs into a large glass window.
A few minutes later, our favorite foursome was on the ORU chapel stage, speaking to a few hundred students. One by one, the members of the team presented. Then the time came – Joy stepped up to the podium, and the words of improvisational eloquence flowed freely, much like a waterfall flows over a rocky cliff. The speech went something like this:
“Jeremiah 1:7-10 (NIV) says,

But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.
Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”

Wherever we go, we are to be the embodiment of Christ. It doesn’t matter how old or young you are – because God is always there with us. Here is a practical illustration of this principle:
In my hand, you can see a pack of Chick-Fil-A French fries. Our spiritual walks are much like French fries. Follow me on this one.

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When we start out as Christians, the seed of Christ is planted in our hearts. This begins to grow and grow! We are so excited about how much we have grown and may even become comfortable in that. Then, God uproots us – brings in an uncomfortable situation. We may say, ‘But God! Didn’t you see that I was growing? Aren’t I supposed to keep growing?’ He will say, ‘You were doing a great job growing, but there is a new season ahead!’
Then we move onto the next step – the shaping process. At this point, we find ourselves getting peeled and cut into shape. It is painful, but when we are done, we look so good! Look at this gorgeous cross-hatch pattern! But God isn’t satisfied with just a cross hatch pattern. He sees more potential in us.
That brings us to the last step. Let me ask you a question – when you are done eating French fries, what is left on your hands? (At this point, the audience yelled out, “Grease!”) Yes! Grease! That grease is symbolic of the Holy Spirit. When we are done getting cut, God puts us in the fryer and infuses us with the grease of His spirit. Then everywhere we go, we leave a reminder of Him!
In conclusion, I would like to remind you that though the process isn’t always easy, you will come out beautiful and, (at this point, I took a bite of a French fry) oh so delicious at the end. Thank you.”

When Joy left the stage, the audience erupted in applause. It was a truly shining moment that up until this post, not many people knew was pure improv.

Go be a French fry today!

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