March 13, 2017

Called to a Song of Unity: A Faith Story

By Justin Harper

God grows on you. Or for some…God grows IN you. Sure, we can grow in God, but have you ever thought of it like this: What if when God calls YOU out, it is at just the RIGHT time and at just the RIGHT place? HE searches for YOU…everyday.  It took me a few years to learn that.

Justin leads in worship with children and youth in Belize

I always had a desire to help people and wanted to do good things, but never really grasped the importance of having religious views. With all the turmoil and separation of humanity that ‘religion’ has caused over thousands of years, I thought, “why complicate things?” I was about 18 when I realized that Jesus Christ and I had a lot in common. And one day, it just clicked. Jesus came here to teach us the truth. He taught us that LOVE and SELFLESSNESS and SUBMISSION TO GOD and FORGIVENESS are the way. He told us to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth, not because we are good people, but because the WORLD NEEDS A SAVIOR. Its not just, “Hey there’s Jesus, OK…let’s hang him up on a cross and leave Him at church.”  Rather, it is about what HE can do THROUGH US. Taking His light and His Spirit with us everywhere we go.

You know, technology has changed; infrastructure has changed; the population has increased; but the reason that Jesus came to Earth has NOT changed. People were separated from God then, and people are separated from God now. History moves on…Christ’s legacy goes on, but hopefully not in vain because WE are the tellers of the story now– by the way WE live our lives, by the way we LOVE others, and by the CONNECTION that we have with each other in Jesus as a Savior and a Friend. Remember how Jesus did it? He didn’t just stay in a church and wait for the people to come to Him. He got out there. His feet got dirty. Jesus knew what poor folks smelled like.  Jesus knew what depression looked like. Jesus experienced temptation, hate, & even death.

One day, the Holy Spirit just came out and hit me, BAM! Has that ever happened to you? This overwhelming feeling that you HAVE to do something, and you have to do something NOW is screaming from within your soul?!?  Or this burning light of inspiration about an idea won’t stop going through your mind? It has just been getting stronger and stronger in my head, and I didn’t really know where I would end up…but I know its God.

So as the Spirit has been calling me, I’ve begun this ‘journey.’ Everyday I can feel myself getting closer to a clearer answer. Everyday one door opens and another one closes. Everyday I learn something new about what God has in store for my life. With all these unclear thoughts, I do know that God has given me a job to do and it involves people and it involves music.

Encouraging musical experience on mission in Belize

I believe that the world can be a better place if there were more people who play and experience music.  A calling has been placed on my heart for music. God has blessed me with a talent that fills me with purpose and exuberance. Music is a tool for communication that can be powerful in invoking worship, teaching a lesson, or simply bringing rest to one’s soul. I have pursued my calling in the public school system and also through my service to the community. My ministerial goals have led me to further my understanding of how God can use my vocation as a mission. I am looking to discover how to use my talents to create opportunities for those who need music in their lives.

I believe that music helps society portray a better understanding of multiculturalism and human diversity in the spirit of peace and religious toleration. Christ’s Kingdom will not be honored in an exclusionary world, rather through an openly inclusive and welcoming song of unity.

 I hear Jesus say in Matthew 25:40, “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'”  I want to use my time left on this Earth to honor God’s plan.

I want you to know that His voice is there and if you have never heard it before, I pray that your day will come soon, because I know I can’t live my life without Him.  He has gotten me out of some tight situations and some pretty dark holes. He gives me life and breath everyday so that I can go on doing His work. If you haven’t heard Him yet: start praying, start listening, He is calling for you everyday.