Thursday, April 23, 2009
By Kirk Cameron
Chelsea and the kids and I had been out to dinner. I returned home and was walking down the hall toward my bedroom, when I almost stepped in it. I looked further down the hall and saw another small pile of "don't step in that". How many more might there be? I found more on the kitchen stove. Another one on the top of the living room chair. Like Sherlock Holmes, I searched for clues and followed the trail and found more on my bedroom rug. I turned toward my daughter's bedroom and noticed things were a little more disheveled than usual. As I tiptoed into a dimly lit bathroom, I found lotions, papers, and other various things strewn all over the floor with more mystery goo in both sinks. Whoever the intruder was, I was closing in on him.
I flipped on the lights. Suddenly, from behind me, I heard a sheepish "Braaaaaaaaaak, brak, brak, brak..." I turned around. It was "Whitey"- one of our pet chickens! She sat perched upon the edge of the tub, blinking her eyes as she adjusted to the bright lights, and had an incredulous look on her face, almost as if she was saying, "What?! Why are you looking at me like that? You're the one who left the door open and forgot to tell me the dog was in the house!! How do you think I've felt hiding in bathroom for the last five hours?!" I laughed, picked her up, and carried her out to the rest of the family, and demonstrated my macho, manliness by declaring that Dad had "solved the mystery once again, and the Cameron family could safely return to their rooms."
I know what happened. Whitey, not content to peck and scratch in the backyard with the other chickens, ventured up to the house, saw an open door, and made her bold move. She entered the forbidden territory. No sooner were her feet in the door when a savage beast (our dog Sadie) lunged at her with teeth barred! Fearing for her life, she let out a squawk and flew to the top of the stove! Then to the chair, down the hall, into my bedroom, into the bathroom, up on the sinks, kicking everything off the counters, trying to find a safe place from the vicious enemy. (Obviously, the reason she left so many piles of converted grass and bugs in my house was because she literally had them scared out of her as she fled for her life.)
There are times, as a Christian, I've felt a lot like Whitey. I'm often discontent with the typical Christian lifestyle and instead look for an adventurous life lived on the edge of faith. Specifically, I want to step out of my comfort zone to seek and save the lost. So I rub shoulders with sinners. I see an open door to share the gospel, and I make my move. "So what do you think happens to you when you die?" I ask.
Every time I do this, I enter forbidden territory--the enemy's domain. All of a sudden, out of nowhere I'm attacked by the savage beast of fear. It lunges at me, and I panic! In my mind, I squawk and struggle not to fly away. I try to reposition with another question like "Would you consider yourself to be a good person?" But the fear doesn't let up. Like an unrelenting hound, fear has even sent me running into the bathroom to pray. I pray for courage. I pray that God would soften the heart of the one to whom I'm speaking. And I thank God for my own salvation, determining to be a true and faithful witness for my Lord.
In case you are wondering, Whitey is doing just fine. In fact, I think she's even bolder now because of the experience. I have no doubt that she will enter the forbidden territory again, because it's in her very nature to do so.
As a Christian, you have been given a new nature. You desire to enter enemy territory and sharing your faith, but perhaps in the past you have allowed fear to keep you from even getting your foot in the door. Take a lesson from my pet Whitey and just go for it. Make a bold move and fight the good fight of faith for the sake of the lost. Put it all on the line for someone you love. God is with you. You may feel like a chicken, but the experience will make you bolder in the end.
May it be said at our funerals and written on our tombstones, "Here lays a faithful servant of Jesus Christ, a truly courageous chicken."
If you want to read more about his ministry go to www.wayofthemaster.com
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Several times in my early childhood when I had to stand up in front of my classmates and give a presentation, I began dreading it weeks before. Just the thought of speaking to a big group of people made my heart pound in my chest, my face would get red and feel like fire, and my stomach would tie up into so many knots you could use it for a fisherman’s net. The moment I was walking up to the front of the classroom, I would think to myself, “Yep. This is it. This is how I’m going to die.” I would stumble through every presentation. You’d think that after five years of ballet, being on a stage with audience eyes staring at me would not be a big deal. But in ballet, one doesn’t need to speak. I would just enter the stage, dance, exit the stage. End of performance. But when I was ten years old my mom found a theater class that she thought I would enjoy. Remembering all my previous “near death” experiences, I exclaimed “I don’t want to go! I don’t like speaking in front of people!” My mom, looking at me with the ‘I know you very well, trust me’ look said, “It’s only a ten week class, and there are non-speaking roles. Just go. You’ll have fun!” So what could I do but go?
During the first class I learned a secret to not being nervous by imagining everyone in their underwear. I found that disturbing and never used that tactic. I did however, learn that the more times I’d speak on stage, the less nervous I would get. So I made the leap. The leap I never thought I could make. The leap I compare to Jackie Chan’s stunts. I was scared just like Jackie is before he goes flying through the air. But I did it anyway just like Jackie does when he pushes his fears aside. It was the leap that I took to start speaking on a stage. When I made that leap, I discovered that I really enjoy the theater.
When the ten week class was over, I wanted to take more theater classes. I jumped at every opportunity to be in a play. I still do. I am such a crazy, animated person that it is great to have a place where I can focus that energy. When I’m onstage, and the lights are on me, and the whole audience is wondering what I am going to do next, I feel like I have the responsibility to give people a good show. I feel that whatever character I am, I need to make it the best it can be. Whether I am sassy, evil, clumsy, stupid, mysterious, cocky, or proper it needs to be convincing. I want people to walk away from a show thinking “Wow. Who was that girl that was completely into her character?” I have been in a total of seven plays since I took my first theater class, and I’m currently preparing for a skit that will be performed in June. I am also proud to announce that I no longer have a phobia of speaking in front of people. That fisherman’s net has turned into an excited swarm of butterflies. Recently I found a community theater in Vancouver called Magenta Theater, and I have been working with them since September 2008. The artistic director of Magenta is ironically the same woman who taught my first theater class. Theater has become a passion, and my career choice.
As I recalled this life changing event, my mom smiled and smugly declared “I told you so!” Sometimes I wonder where I would be today if my mom hadn’t talked me into going, and if I never made the “speak on stage” leap. Even though I was scared at the beginning, I tried something new. When I did, I learned something new about myself. So, if Jackie Chan is scared before he does a stunt and goes through with it anyway, I know that I can face my fears too. Now I depend on my voice and actions to entertain. I am very grateful that my mom talked me into trying the class. So the next time you’re scared and don’t want to make a leap, think about it a little bit more. You never know what could be hiding around the next corner.