Changes – (Langhorne Slim & The Law)
Iron Man (Tony Stark) is a popular Marvel Comics fictional superhero created back in the 1960s that became a box office hit in 2008. Tony Stark, portrayed on screen by actor Robert Downey Jr., is an American billionaire playboy and engineer who is kidnapped and forced to build a weapon of mass destruction. Stark ends up creating a powered suit of armor that saves his life and allows him to escape. His new armored suit gives him superhuman strength and durability to fight, give hope, and save the world…as “Iron Man.”
This is a story about a real iron man that helped save my world. He was just a local food sales rep when I first met him…but it didn’t take long for me to see that there was something different about this man…I wasn’t sure exactly what it was but I desperately wanted to find out. I can remember all the times he would come in to the restaurant/bar each week to fill his food orders. (If you want a quick and honest description of him, he was just one of those people who brought a new light to the room every single time.) He was the guy you wanted to be around…the guy everyone gathers around to listen to during a group-telling story. He was gifted with the quick jokes…the small talk…and a genuine smile…But it wasn’t all about the jokes and it certainly wasn’t him putting on a “sales” show. I know this because after every time he left I always had these questions about him…I always wondered where he got his happiness, why he constantly was so kind, and honestly why he even cared enough to sit there and listen to my life stories. There was something different about this man…and over the years I found out where it came from.
I needed someone to turn to for help in my life and he seemed to show up at the right time. It wasn’t long in our friendship before I started to open up about my addiction. Alcohol abuse and drug use wasn’t making me feel good anymore. The results were always bad…I was losing relationships with friends, girlfriends, family members…even God (it felt like). It felt like I had created this secret life that was one big snowball of problems on a constant downward slope…but my iron man told me I was “wrong about that.” One time I was going through a real tough time and I can remember we made a bet with each other at the bar on how soon I could screw up again. (And we still joke about that bet today). I thought being the bartender meant I was supposed to be the guy who helps solve problems, but I found myself engaging him with all of mine. But I wanted to have the same hope, happiness, and purpose for my life that just seemed to glow around him. He always encouraged me that if I wanted real power it would be from God’s words not his…
Proverbs 27:17 | “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
He soon got me involved in a weekly men’s prayer breakfast (We meet every single Tuesday morning at 7 a.m. at a local restaurant in Oxford, MS called The Beacon. If you are ever in town and want to join us, there will always be room at our table). This weekly meeting has been the complete proverb in that we build powerful relationships, share accountability, and learn from each other about how to show God’s abundant love to other people. Even during the time I moved away from the south we kept a good relationship through text messaging, phone calls, social media, etc. When I moved back to Mississippi I was faced with a lot of tough decisions…financial issues, school, job opportunities, and possibly moving away again. I just had a lot of decisions that I was turning into worries. I called up my iron man…and with no hesitation he told me to meet him for lunch at an Oxford local favorite called Square Pizza. I remember nervously telling him my situation (almost feeling like a flashback of me nervously telling him my disappointing stories from behind the bar) and he just looked at me with that genuine smile and said, “Win one Adrian…”
He are just a few favorite inspirational quotes that he has shared with me: “Trust that God will put people in your life at the right time for the right reason…they won’t be there by accident. Trust the magic of new beginnings…because it’s not always about finding yourself but discovering who God created you to be.”
So where does your power come from? Do you have an iron man or woman in your life? Can these people have a real impact in our lives? Where can we find our true purpose? Who do you think God created you to be? How can we build an iron suit for our lives? When you become weak, do you ever feel like you just need to “win one”? Well you can win more than just one and once again I have proof.
“Things could be stranger but I don’t know how, I’m going through changes now…Spend a lifetime trying to figure it out, I’m going through changes now…I’m going through changes, ripping out pages, I’m going through changes now.”
Sean Scolnick, better known as the artist Langhorne Slim, is a singer-songwriter from Langhorne, Pennsylvania. The 36 year old songwriter battled a life of heavy drug use and alcohol abuse for most of his life but at the age of 33 he finally became clean. His latest album, The Spirit Moves, was released this past year and debuted at No. 15 on Billboard’s Independent Chart. It has been described as an album about a “soul being reborn.” When asked about recording this album sober for the first time in his life, Langhorne said, “This went the best that it’s ever gone in my creative and spiritual life…my life before I was sober felt like I was constantly dancing in an intoxicated suit. Now the energy within me has completely changed, there are things that I don’t know how to describe…that I call spirits that I felt and feel around me, and my life changed and my spirit was uplifted…”
You may recognize the song “Changes” in this post from a recent Autotrader commercial…but I can tell you I remember hearing it for the first time and I felt like it was just screaming at me…His haunting testimonial lyrics were all too familiar to my own life. I know now I am experiencing the same “changes.” His name is Langhorne Slim, his album is The Spirit Moves, and after giving it a good listen, well let’s just say it “moved me”…and my spirit.
The fictional Iron Man, once given his new powered suit, was “going through changes”…changes to become a hero. In the movie trailer for the 2008 release of Iron Man, the phrase “Heroes aren’t born…they’re built” pops up on the screen in the middle of all the action scenes. The writers for that trailer were describing the fictional Iron Man, but in a unique way were also describing the truth. My iron man was built with God’s love and he was showing me all about it. That day at lunch when he told me to “win one,” what he was telling me was that I need to turn all these “worries” and all these so called “problems” over to God. Whatever answer I was to receive about the job opportunity, a yes or a no wasn’t going to be the solution. The real solution is trusting God to reveal His purpose in every decision that we face. So we prayed right there at that table inside Square Pizza in downtown Oxford, MS. I knew that day that I wanted that iron suit like he had…I needed it…I was weak…physically and spiritually. But my iron man never gave up on me. He taught me all about God’s grace. He prayed for me, encouraged me, shared verses from the Bible, inspirational quotes, and we continued to meet regularly. One-on-one meetings are always a better way to spend time with someone who needs real help! God wants to meet us one-on-one. I am going to repeat that: God wants to meet us one-on-one. Spend time in His word and talk to Him…The love from God is stronger than any power imaginable! I needed to go through changes and I needed to win one. We can in fact become like iron through building our lives centered around His love.
I want to challenge you these next ten days to show iron love with an Iron Man Challenge. I want you to think about someone in your life who has been an iron man or woman. Think about the person that has never given up on you…someone who feels like a hero to you. And it doesn’t even have to be a spiritual person. I just want you to do this and see what happens. So whether it’s a family member, preacher, best friend, coach, business partner, teacher, you name it, whoever it is that has helped you in life I just want you to reach out to them. You can do this in person, phone, text, or even social media. Maybe even write them a real letter and mail it to them! You don’t have to call them an iron man if you don’t want to but all I want you to do is tell them two simple words: THANK YOU. Be thankful for your heroes, mentors, and the iron men and women in your life. God is placing these people in your life for a good reason so trust Him! Tell these people how thankful you are for all of their love, support, and encouragement…
He was just a local food sales rep when I first met him…now he’s a man of iron…a hero. I consider him part of my family now and will always be grateful for his help through all of my challenges. It’s no secret that we all face tough challenges and we need people in our life to help uplift us. Pray that God will send someone in your life, and trust that He will. Your life may not be the life of “dancing in the intoxicating suit” but whatever is on your heart right now I know it’s not an easy road by yourself. Maybe God brought you here for a reason…did He? We have to build each other up in Christ to build our power. Like Langhorne sings, “I’m going through changes and I’m ripping out pages.” I’m rewriting my life and building a life made of iron. I can’t force you to want the same thing, I can’t force something that’s free. Every day I’m a free man…and it’s not just a “free” feeling I have, it’s a fresh feeling. I lived a pretty stale life for 6 years…but I got help, help from people in iron suits who showed me how to seek real strength and real purpose. God is now giving me both. Do you really want to be an iron man or woman? Just trust in Him, spend time in prayer, spend time in His word, spend time with others who can help you, reach out to friends in need, and I promise He will build an armored suit for your life that is stronger than iron = LOVE. Nothing is impossible…
24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Watch, listen, and share what happens when you decide to live the next 10 days in love.
(Feature post photo by Bethany Legg)
(Listen below to Changes by Langhorne Slim & The Law)
(God speaking: Once I had decided in my mind on what I wanted to write about for this post, I chose the verse from Hebrews about the importance and the need for constant fellowship to encourage one another to show acts of love. Well the next morning my daily devotional app gave me this same verse! Think that’s maybe just a coincidence? The next day after that a friend of mine on Facebook sent me this same verse in a message! Iron building words that will help you “going through changes.”)
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#1 – MAKING THE RIGHT DECISION
Carey Palmquist February 1, 2016 at 8:11 pm
Beautiful story. Thank you for sharing.
Adrian Dickey February 2, 2016 at 10:01 pm
Thank you Carey!!
Nichole February 3, 2016 at 2:58 am
Big love for you Adrian! Another great and moving story.
Adrian Dickey February 3, 2016 at 6:35 pm
Thanks Nichole! And thank you for your help!
Cathy Cox February 15, 2016 at 9:16 pm
catching up with this one tonight.I love the suggestion of telling someone thank you. two of my students, one in a Valentine’s card and one tonight in an email told me I was a blessing to them…high school students! As important as it is to send that message, words can’t describe the feeling of the person who receives it…my heart is full!
Adrian Dickey February 16, 2016 at 9:33 am
Cathy! I just think this is so important and that feeling of receiving it is the blessing of showing real love to others. You are helping change lives!! I think God has put you in a great position and is using you in so many ways to be an influence for your students…This made my day, thank you for sharing and always being so great! Keep showing 1øVE!