by | Mar 28, 2023 | All, Houseparent Blog | 0 comments

What is in, will come out, one way or another.

I once heard a Christian musician say that what happens on stage at his show should be an overflow of what happens backstage. It shouldn’t be a performance. It should be an overflow.

What is overflow? Clear and unmistakable evidence of the excess in our lives. The surplus.

What comes out, well, that’s determined by what we put in. The excess, the surplus will be evidence of what we have been putting “in our cup.”

So, what SHOULD we be putting in our thoughts? Our Spirit? Our habits? Our lifestyle?

Well, I am a big fan of clear directions. Perhaps this is why Micah 6:8 is one of my favorite verses. Another is John 13:35 :”By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35

Having grown up in church I know that lots of people, in lots of churches, get hung up on “the rules”. “We” do this, “we” do NOT do THAT.

However, experience tells me that rules don’t change people. Relationship does. And overflow comes from relationship – and the quality of those relationships come from overflow..

Jesus taught relationship – showing the importance of relationship in many ways: in the parable of the lost sheep – leaving the 99 to find the one. He showed it as he walked with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day (Genesis 3:8). When he called his disciples he said “Come, follow me . . .” (Mark 1:17); not to “Come on, follow my rules . . .” And these are only a few examples.

This truth was “brought home” to Gene and I just this past week. We have worked with other people’s “kids” pretty much our entire lives and last week we had an opportunity to go see one of those “kids” – who is now almost 30. The last time we saw him, the three of us determined, was about 15 years ago – we had been his life group leaders. Yet, here we were, experiencing overflow. Hanging out like we hadn’t missed any time, talking about what was going on in our lives. Asking thoughts and plans for the future and answering questions. Reminiscing and realizing, “In the end, it was the relationships that mattered. Those are what changed us.” Those who invested the time, not the lip-service. The people who knew the why behind the what – the feeling behind the behavior and walked through both with us.

Gene and Bethany Collins with John Panzer

Relationships win the day. People will do things for love they would absolutely never consider otherwise.

Ask Jesus.

And these relationships make all the difference. In ways we expect and ways we do not.

For example, through our relationship with this young man, we were able to meet Colton Dixon. Because of his relationship with Colton Dixon, he was able to ask him (and did so without our mentioning it) to sign a couple shirts for our kids and make a video for them.

Colton Dixon signs shirts for each of the Joy Ranch Cottages

What is your overflow saying about your relationships? What is it saying about your relationship with God? Are you headed on a trajectory that is taking you towards the person you want to be, or not? What are you willing to do about it?

These are questions we ask our kids often. And we remind them that “good enough” isn’t good enough. Sometimes a small win feels like so much relief that they are not motivated to go for the bigger wins. We tell them, getting out of a cage is one thing – but heading out towards the horizon and seeing what’s beyond the mountains, well, that is completely another.

In the words of Colton Dixon: “Don’t stop at walking, you were made to fly . . . .”


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