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Unlike Other People

In recent years much has been marked by many debates in Congress, increasing campaigns by Presidential hopefuls, and a vast array of movies characterized by special effects. We have also seen the passing of influencers and among them is John Stott, whose influence has been profound and whose example is inviting and intimidating at the same time.

Let me give a personal note. In the early 1990’s I heard John Stott preach at All Souls in London. I was a college student and the impact was enormous. I was new to the Christian faith and seeking like mad for knowledge and understanding. After the message, I promptly visited the bookstall, purchased ‘Basic Christianity’ by Stott and read it until the binding failed. Over ten years later, I helped lead a group of high school students to London and I brought them to All Souls for worship on the Sunday morning we were in the city. Stott not only presented the text clearly and with power, but afterwards he went out of his way to greet us a group and warmly introduced himself to every member of that team.

Nearly ten years after that, I still read books and listen to audio sermons by Stott and thus have been guided at a distant by his work for almost 20 years. With that said, I have so much to learn. His example will likely, in my opinion, be one written about for decades to come, not unlike the way some people talk about Jonathan Edwards or other historical figures. He was unlike other people.

Perhaps, it’s because he wasn’t trying to be. Check out this clip (you may have to turn the volume up, but the message is worth reflection). Stott doesn’t say, ‘be more conservative’ or ‘more liberal’, he simply reiterates a point: be yourself, but don’t settle for the world’s definition of yourself.

I have been seeking this truth for almost two decades now and am fumbling through the truth of being myself in a world that would rather conform me to some other image than what the Bible teaches. My guess is that I am not alone in this struggle. Today, maybe you will find this little clip a good reminder from an elder statesman.


As we all move around our respective worlds, becoming truly us and putting forward the best of who we are will be increasingly important. Sure, we can talk about ourselves on social media, but that’s not the same as producing the work that only we were created to produce. If it’s true that every person has unique fingerprints, then isn’t it also true that these hands are capable of unique work. Unique art. Unique products. Unique contributions that reveal who we really are….After all, you are unlike other people.

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As a University director of study abroad in Central Texas, ideas and stories matter. These reflections are for pilgrims making progress.