by Jason Roy
“I’ve been down / I’ve been broken, but I believe what You’ve spoken… You make all things new /
I have witnessed Your mercy, stood in awe of Your glory and none compare to You /
Can’t help but speak of the things You’ve done… So let my life proclaim… I am unashamed /
I won’t hide Your name / So all the world will know, that You, You’re all that I live for.”
These are some lyrics I’ve been working on for a new song called “Unashamed” on Building 429’s new record. As I think about building our communities, the one thing that comes to mind is the idea of hope. Where does it come from, and what can it do? If there’s anything our communities need more of it is hope. It’s in short supply and very few understand that true hope is something that comes from one who was broken but found freedom. Only someone who has seen darkness, despair and loneliness, but was lifted out of that pit, truly knows hope. True hope is not known by someone who has overcome by using his or her own strength, but by the strength of another.
Who does that sound like to you? Honestly, I think it sounds a lot like me. I have overcome great obstacles in this life because He overcame and showed me the way to a better, brighter day. The only problem with trying to build one’s community is that often times we fall prey to the thought that our hope isn’t enough. We believe that no one wants to hear us, meet us, or know our story. But, my friends, if I’ve learned anything in this life it is that our stories are meant to be told not hidden.
The gathering is where we share our story. It’s where we hear the stories of others that inspire us and give us hope. That hope reciprocates to others, and before we know it, one relationship has grown into many that change the very fabric of our communities. For my family and I, we find that our greatest strength is found in those surrounding us who challenge us to do more, to be more, and to dare to believe that we can make a difference.
For us it starts at our church, Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tenn. Grace is an awesome place full of grace and mercy, imperfect but imperfectly perfect. Everyone there believes that the best is yet to come. At Grace, we are surrounded by people who want to be difference makers. People like Mallory Fundora, who had an idea and ran with it. She was just a little girl with a dream, and she created Project Yesu that feeds hundreds of kids in Africa every month. My wife serves on her board. Yeah, a little girl…if she can do that, then what could we do?
Grace was also the starting point for a book club my wife began with other friends from three different churches. It’s a small group of pastors’ wives supporting one another and living life together. Pretty cool! Our church just started a men’s devotional night with over 100 men eating dinner and gathering to support one another and a women’s night with over 100 ladies being challenged and stretched.
With all that being said, I ask, what can we do to build our communities?
“I can’t help but speak of the things You’ve done, so I’ll let my life proclaim.”
1) Show Up. Go to men’s/women’s night, small group, etc., even if you’re scared.
2) Tell your story.
3) Be inspired by the stories you’ve heard.
4) Every once in a while just stop to help someone.
5) Be unashamed of Jesus.
6) Above all, remember that your darkest moments are only the catalyst for the hope that is to come. Have assurance in your darkness, and BE assurance in someone else’s darkness!
In closing, I went and saw Tomorrowland yesterday, and it blew me away. There was one thing in it that I will never forget, and it was this small dialogue:
“There are two kinds of wolves in the world: the wolf of Hope, and the wolf of Fear. So which one is going to win?”
“THE ONE YOU FEED.”
Interesting side note: I looked it up, and you know where that parable comes from? Billy Graham! (The Holy Spirit: Activating God’s Power in Your Life by Billy Graham, pg. 92.)
Now what if Billy had never shown up? What if he never told his story? What if he was ashamed of the gospel? What if he had let his darkest moments define him instead of trusting that hope was coming with the morning?
Let me rephrase it this way:
What if YOUR NAME showed up?
What if YOUR NAME told your story?
What if YOUR NAME was inspired by other stories?
What if YOUR NAME stopped every once in a while just to help someone?
What if YOUR NAME was unashamed of Jesus?
What if YOUR NAME had assurance in the hard times and was assurance for others in their hard times?
Could everything change?
You can’t build your community without being part of a community. So join arms with some friends; don’t hide, and don’t be afraid to be seen. By doing so you’ll find that the hope that your community desperately needs is firmly planted deep inside of you…one spark of hope at a time!
Jason Roy is the frontman for pop/rock award-winning band Building 429. The group recently achieved one million sales in career singles. Moreover, the band’s brand-new radio single, “Impossible,” just broke a radio record with an astounding 95 stations adding the single immediately. The track is the first cut from Building 429’s upcoming studio album slated to release Sept. 25.