Sunday, April 7, 2013

“It is now safe to use approved electronic devices…” the flight attendant’s voice trails off as I stare out the window down upon the city I love. If only it were 5 seconds earlier, I would have pulled out my camera to take a picture. What a shot. A bird’s eye view of the city – my university, my dorms, the GA Dome, the Bank of America building, Atlantic Station, the GA Tech football stadium… Special landmarks and memories right there out my window. What a city. What beautiful sunshine, it’s light reflecting off the city.

We ascend a little higher, and soon we’re above the clouds.

I sit back and remember my brother’s words just a few hours earlier as we drove to the airport, “I love this city. I don't think I plan on leaving it.”

I looked back at him and said, “I know what you mean. It’s a great city. I’m glad I got to live down here for as long as I did.”

The clouds break. I look down at the green earth, the houses, the curving roads, the tall pine trees, the tiny cars…

Louis Giglio’s message from this morning is still processing through my mind. I pull out my Bible and flip to Colossians.

“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:17

I chew on the words. “Whatever you do.” My mind highlights “give thanks.”

That book I mentioned a while back, “10,000 Gifts” by Ann Voskamp, has challenged the way I receive the world.

Receiving is a choice. If someone hands something to you, you decide whether or not you are going to accept it. Sometimes you choose not to receive something. Like, if someone handed me a piece of spearmint gum, I would not take it. (I’m allergic to mint.) I have that control, that CHOICE to say, “No, I’ll pass.”

I also have the power to say NO to fear. Fear is something I struggled immensely with for 2 years. Two years of flashbacks, panic attacks, nightmares… and other post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms. I lived in bondage to fear. But, I didn’t have to. I didn’t know that I had a CHOICE to say, “No. I don’t accept the fear,” that I had power over it.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

These past couple months I’ve been awakened to the understanding that just like I have the power to not accept things, I have the opportunity to accept things – like gifts. And, they’re all around us. So many gifts of God fall in our laps every day, and often they go unnoticed. We fail to recognize that every good gift is from God. (James 1:17). And, as a result, we fail to thank Him.

I think about the city I grew up in – Atlanta. I think about the city I now live in – Little Rock. I think about the people who don’t have a CHOICE, who don’t have power over their circumstances, who don’t know that the opportunity for love and freedom exists… I think about the people I’ll never see because they’re hidden behind the cloak of slavery.

I look at my fingernails. Mom treated me and Katie to mani-pedi’s during my trip to Atlanta. Katie and I chose red nails, except for our ring fingers. Those are white, and each has a red X painted on it.

I look at the brochure folded and tucked inside my Bible with red X’s all over it that Passion City Church passed out this morning.

I think about the people we’re wearing and plastering X’s for … children, women, men … slaves.

Just down the street from where Amy and I lived those two years in college was “the street” where most of the trafficking happens.

Just next door to Isaac’s house is a house they busted as a brothel. We prayed that it would end as we learned about the dire situation occurring in our city – the capital for human trafficking in North America. Our city…. Braves Nation, Hotlanta, host of the 1996 Olympics, The Home of Coca Cola, the Falcons, CNN, the CDC … Atlanta.

In two days, hopefully you’ll notice red X’s everywhere. Maybe they’ll be on cars, maybe they’ll be on people’s hands or fingernails. You’ll see them on TV as different celebrities make public service announcements about the End It Movement.

End what? 

End slavery. 

End this situation where people don’t have a CHOICE.

Whether we realize it right now or not, the issue of slavery hits close to home for all of us, for different reasons, that I'll discuss later this week.

Visit See how you can become a part of the voice that’s shining a light on slavery. And as you do, realize that whatever you’re in bondage to, you have a CHOICE and through Christ you have the POWER to say NO or YES.