Monday, May 16, 2011

Fly Sally fly!!

We have now have chicken! And yes we live in town. I guess the old saying is true, “You can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy.” Now, growing up we didn’t have chickens, we ran cattle so that’s something I know a little bit about…but chickens, well this is a learning experience for me. My knowledge of chicken ranching consists of years and years of watching Foghorn Leghorn, about a 15 minute introduction to chickens training session from our friend who we bought them from, multiple semi-useless factoids that Winston quotes from the best selling novel “Raising Backyard Chickens” and an 11 minute conversation I had on the sidewalk with another chicken rancher. That’s it! Should be enough…right?

With what I felt like was equivalent to a masters degree in chicken produce engineering the boys and I had a fabulous idea, introduce Lacey Lucy and Sassy Sallie to the free range concept of our backyard. In other words, let them out of the coop for a while, they’ll go back in to roost at sunset (learned that in training). We made the necessary preparations like installing lattice along the bottom of the deck so they couldn’t go underneath, checked for any hen size holes in the fence and things like that. Now just before the release, I thought not to myself…

“Self, wouldn’t it be a good idea if we all got acclimated to the chickens roaming peacefully in the yard together?”

“Well yes Self, that is a great idea, you’re so smart!”

“I know Self, thanks for another compliment today!”

So while I was trying feverishly to pat myself on the back I told the boys to get the leashes for the dogs, after all, “all” of us getting to know the chickens a little more up-close meant the dogs too, actually, especially the dogs. The dogs did well with them in the coop but I wasn’t sure how they would do with them in the open without a chicken wire barrier between.

Wyatt was to take our small wirey mutt, Annie and Winston the larger sometimes beloved in need of a hip replace beagle, Missy. Therein lies my mistake!! Giving Wyatt a task that required good judgement, attention and responsibility.

Sassie Sally came out first like a quarter-horse out of the gate or coop if you will, while Lacey Lucy the more mature of the two wasn’t in as big a hurry. As I was encouraging Lacey, and within the first 34 seconds, Wyatt decides to let them meet up close and personal as he “accidentally” let go of the leash.

Did you guys know how well a chicken can fly when it has 7 lbs of hair, teeth and a hankering for nuggets coming at it? She was gone! And had no intension of coming back!

Days have past now and I’m feeling like a scene from the western Open Range is in my future. You know where Kevin Costner and Robert Duval are part of a dying breed of free range cattle ranchers. They wander into a little town that doesn’t take kindly to “free rangers” so they form a posse of sorts to rough them up and run them off. I am fully expecting any evening now for a posse from our neighborhood to show up on the front door to tell me that the last thing they need in these parts is another free range chicken rancher.

And out of all this, as funny as it may sound, Sassy Sally the free roaming runaway chicken reminded me a lot about grace, myself, my church and staff I so graciously get to serve and worship with. The staff from H2O and I just got back from an out of this world uplifting church leaders event called Catalyst. So much of that even spoke to me and I’m trying to mentally digest it. My mind has been especially focused on how big God’s grace is and how awe inspiring he is. For me personally this has been so evident in the fact that God chose me to work in His ministry with everything I’ve done in my past that some of you know about and a lot of stuff only me and God know about. He still chose me and I can hardly believe it! A speaker brought me to tears Friday night illustrating this.

So there I am on stage this Sunday back home at church saying a few things when I looked over the crowd and saw so many faces whose stories I heard about being set free from the coop of man made doctrine, the coop of habitual sin, the coop of religion and the coop of institutions that cling more to their denomination than they do to the cross. In a second I reflected on my life that was set free and so many others…we FLEW THAT COOP BABY, landed in the neighborhoods tallest cedar tree and are never going back!! How big is God grace? I DON’T KNOW, I haven’t seen the end of it yet and am convinced I never will! I’m convinced there isn’t an end!!

Lacey Lucy, the one that didn’t fly away, roams the yard in the evenings but makes her way back in to the coop every night like clockwork. She finds comfort in the confines of the coop. She knows that she’ll be locked up every night and it does not bother her. It doesn’t phase her in the least that by coming back every night she’s not living up to her full potential.

Sassy Sally on the other hand is gone! Is it risky for her? Yes! She has no idea what waits for her on the outside of coop. But that’s a risk she willing to take. She’s willing to choose a risky life of freedom over the comfortable and safe confines of the coop.

For us it’s the same. But once we get a good taste of grace; I mean a GOOD taste of grace, one where we look deep inside ourselves and see where we started and where Christ has taken us, well, there’s no going back to the coop! The risky unknown life outside of the coop with Jesus cannot compare to the shackles that man has created!! FLY BABY FLY!!

I heard a speaker say, “If we aren’t doing something that feels risky in our Christian walk then are we really living for Christ?” That one gut punched me this weekend and need more thought. Something for all of us to ponder!

Galatians 5:1 (New Living Translation)

So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.