This past week I “drank from a fire hydrant.”  At least that’s what it felt like as I took in so many powerful and wonderful lessons in a short amount of time.  I returned from the World Discipleship Summit today convicted, thrilled, moved, inspired, renewed and exhausted!  Yesterday, as nearly 18,000 disciples sang “Men Who Dream” tears of joy kept flowing down my cheeks.  I am quite sure God is not through with us and I’m so eager to see God do more than I dare ask or imagine. (Ephesians 3:21) And, I’m eager to let God use my life for His glory.

Processing a week like this will take prayer and time.  It’s funny how things can sometimes come together in unexpected ways. The Summit came together for me on the way home today.  I decided to watch the movie offered by the airline, as it seemed light and fun – and my brain needed a rest.  As I watched the Dr. Seuss film, “The Lorax,” I realized that the simple message from this little film honed my many thoughts. Though it sends a message about the environment, it left with me more of a moving, spiritual application.

As the Once-ler shared his regrets from his selfish past he led a young man, Ted, to the secret of how to help the fallen, hurting and deceived world in which he lived.  Ted was intrigued by some “stones of remembrance” he saw -with the word “unless” etched in one of the rocks.  Facing many obstacles, he gained the conviction,passion and courage to change the world. He had to fight the evil O’Hare in order to plant the one living seed which would give new life to the world around him. Through this challenging journey he came to realize the meaning of the word left by the Lorax – “unless.”   “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

This same word is used powerfully in the scriptures.  Here are just a few verses where this word is used:

Matthew 18:3
And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Luke 13:3
I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.

John 3:5
Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.

John 6:53
Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.

John 12:24
I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.

John 15:4
Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

Acts 8:31
“How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

Romans 10:15
And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

I decided to take this word personally, realizing that it also applies to me.  “Unless” I care a whole lot…I can’t make things better.

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  1. Karen

    Jeanie following you now and this was so Well said! I also attended And am allowing the many things I learned sink in. Take root. Unless I do the many spiritual insights will be washed away in the busyness of life. I am asking what can 1 small disciple do? So cool how in the lorax this small boy engaged in that question

    • jeanieshaw

      Thanks so much Karen. So glad you were in San Antonio. What a memorable, inspiring and changing experience. Thanks for the encouragement!

  2. Marcia Lamb

    On our way home Lorax on our flight. I look forward to applying your article.

    • jeanieshaw

      Marcia, did you like Lorax?

  3. Shari Simpson-Cabelin

    How inspiring, Jeanie! I actually thought of Psalm 127:1 “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.” I wasn’t able to go to the Summit :-(, but I love hearing about everything.

    • jeanieshaw

      Hi Shari…Sounds like your summer is quite busy and exciting. The Summit was tremendous. I’m sure you will hear lots from it. Thanks for your encouragement.


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About Jeanie Shaw

After retiring from forty-five years in full-time ministry, Jeanie Shaw went back to school to earn her master’s and doctorate in spiritual formation and discipleship. She also serves as a certified Christian life coach who loves helping people discover the joy, peace, and purpose that come from finding and following God’s plan for their lives. She has taught classes and workshops all over the world and has written numerous books. She has four grown children, eight grandchildren, and a golden retriever who thinks he is human. When she is not reading, writing, coaching, teaching, or enjoying her family she might be found walking along rivers, learning new lessons about life.

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