Renegades– (X Ambassadors)
A fence can be defined as a barrier, railing, or other upright structure, enclosing an area of ground to mark a boundary, control access, or prevent escape. Fences, coming in all shapes and sizes, differ from a wall in not having a solid foundation along its whole length…a good fence can offer protection for what it holds on the inside, but also offer direction for what approaches it from the outside.
When I was little I loved to ride my bike…I would ride my bike almost every single day. I remember my mom was always telling me to be careful and she would always set these boundaries on how far I was allowed to ride my bike from our house. My mom told me if I rode my bike too far from home it could get dangerous and I could get into trouble…and now as an adult I think the same rule still applies to life. If we venture too far from what we know and trust is right, we can easily find ourselves in trouble and sometimes desperate for help to overcome our struggles. My friends and I had our own little bike gang growing up and we used to ride our bikes too far all the time (ha I’m sorry mom!). One day we found the way to the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) , but it was always surrounded by fences with signs saying “Keep Out.” But every time we rode our bikes to MDOT we never wanted to keep out…we were always testing the fences and eventually we started hopping them every chance we could. We could always see through their fences…all the newest road signs were out on the property in full display. So we saw what they had and we knew what we wanted…we wanted those signs. The new signs were supposed to be protected by the fences but…after a while we decided we would climb over and take a few…Now that was a long time ago, but let me tell you a story about how very recently my own personal fence was tested in the first fifteen minutes it was built…
The 2016 Sugar Bowl was played on New Years Day, January 1, 2016, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana, between the University of Mississippi and Oklahoma State University. I remember I could not wait to get down to New Orleans…in fact the last time I was in New Orleans was for my 21st birthday…a very long time ago. I decided to head down there on my own and hop on the AmTrak train from Greenwood, MS, and take it down all the way to downtown New Orleans to meet my family in the city for the big game. Now obviously I was excited to get to see the Ole Miss Rebels take the field, but another reason that day has a special meaning for my life was because it was the day of my first post in this Ten Days In Love blog. So ten days before the game, on December 22, 2015, I had just made a public announcement on social media all about the launch of this blog, on how I wanted it to be something where people could help each other show love to people on a daily basis, and about how “nothing is impossible…” I wanted to challenge myself for the full year of 2016 to talk about nothing but loving other people…well I had no idea I would be tested in this challenge fifteen minutes after making that post…and I remember it came in the form of a phone call… It was a call from an old friend of mine, a friend who I have not heard from or seen in a long time. He said, “Hey man I just want you to know I’m gonna be down in the N.O. for New Years Eve and the bowl game…whatever you want I got it, I’m serious, I will have everything, any type of drug you want.” Now he didn’t know I had been clean from drugs for years and didn’t know the positive direction my life is going, but my new “fence” I had put out there was being tested, and if you think you won’t be tested when you decide to start making changes in your life, then you better think again…because you will. But it wasn’t the fact that I was tested that surprised me, it was the answer that I gave him that really surprised me…”
What do you do when people approach your fences? Sometimes they even try to hop right over them, right? Have you ever tried to throw them back over and continue on with your life? How do we respond? Do we have something that we are trying to protect? Is there a way we can help guide other people with our fences? And how strong will or “fences” remain the further away they get from home? The real question is how can we really help each other through love, especially if we are scared of each others differences? Well??
“Long live the pioneers, rebels and mutineers. Go forth and have no fear, come close the end is near. And I say hey, hey hey hey, living like we’re renegades…Hey hey hey, hey hey hey, Living like we’re renegades…”
The X Ambassadors are a four-piece American alternative rock band from Ithaca, New York. The band features Sam Harris (lead singer, guitar), Casey Harris (keyboard), Noah Feldshuh (guitar), and Adam Levin (drums). With Sam and Casey being brothers and having known Noah and Adam for most of their lives, the band considers themselves a very tight knit family with a strong message to tell in their music. Their anthem single “Renegades” comes from their 2015 debut album titled VHS. The music video, shot in their hometown of Ithaca, New York, depicts real people with real disabilities working to overcome their challenges. It has a very personal aspect to it, since band member Casey Harris has been blind since birth…When asked about the song and their “must-watch” powerful video, Sam Harris says, “We wanted to make the video emotional and personal. The song is a song for people to embrace their differences…and realize how much of a strength that really is…”
Mark 2:17 | “On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
In the verses before this passage, Jesus had been seen hanging out, having a good time, and having dinner with a large group of sinners. The teachers of the law saw this and asked his disciples, “Why does Jesus hang around these “sinners”? To which Jesus replied the verse above from Mark 2:17. I will repeat what Jesus says again, He says, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” When my friend called me that day and asked me to come hang out in his hotel room in New Orleans…I didn’t say no. I said yes. I obviously was not saying “yes” to what he was offering, but I was not about about to say “no” to him…I just think Jesus would have done the same thing…I told him that I wouldn’t need any drugs but would love to meet up with him and hang out regardless. And the truth is he never called me back that weekend but I was ready to hang out with him…and I would still hang out with him anytime…
We have to remember there are two sides of every fence… You see I had a weak fence around my life for a long time, I was searching for something solid, and I always wanted to get a solid foundation surrounding every decision I made. I had gone far away from what I trusted, I had gone far away from my “home.” I always wondered the purpose of a chain link fence. The holes made it so easy to see what MDOT was protecting when I was little. I wanted those signs so bad. I think we need to let people see through the holes in our personal fences, let them see our love that can shine like a ray of light right back at them. If people see real love long enough, they are going to want some of it…they may even want to know more about it. Walls have a solid foundation, but fences are temporary. So open yourself up to others, no matter how different they may be and no matter where they may hang out…If you get caught up in your “good reputation” you lose track of the purpose of God’s second greatest commandment. I often hear people pray for others by saying “God please just meet them where they are at in life…” and I don’t think that is wrong, remember I don’t have the right answers, I just think sometimes we need to be the ones to actually go out and meet people where they are at in life. I know I was prayed for but it was people who had to come meet me, I wasn’t going to start going back to church through an invitation or a social media post. Some renegades with good hearts came out and spent real time with me. We need to be renegades. If you really believe in loving other people…you can invite people to church and you can pray for friends in a small group, but I say lets go out every once in awhile and just be with other people, get to know them…because that is EXACTLY what Jesus did. He sought people out, met them where they were, and extended grace to them in their circumstances…People showed me love…I was attracted to it. I wanted it. Well I’m gonna show that love right back…Show others your light, let them see it…and if you really do this then you better get ready. People are going to approach your fences. They may even hop on over, but if you fill your heart with God’s love, He will give you walls with a solid foundation. He will help give you the direction you need. He will help you open your fences to others who may seem different to you. Remember it is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick…let’s continue to be thankful for each other and let’s help heal each other with = LOVE. Nothing is impossible…
16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
Watch, listen, and share what happens when you decide to live the next 10 days in love.
(Listen below to Renegades by X Ambassadors)
(Feature post photo by Tanner Van Dera)
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