The imagery of this Psalm blesses this bearded gospel man.

Psalm 133 [NKJV]

Blessed Unity of the People of God

A Song of Ascents. Of David.

1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is

For brethren to dwell together in unity!

2 It is like the precious oil upon the head,

Running down on the beard,

The beard of Aaron,

Running down on the edge of his garments.

3 It is like the dew of Hermon,

Descending upon the mountains of Zion;

For there the Lord commanded the blessing—

Life forevermore.



That's how I feel when I look at the grace and mercy that's been lavished on me. My cup overflows with it. I can't help but pour it out somewhere. But when I start looking for places to pour out, I'm overwhelmed with my own inadequacy for the task.

That's a good thing, I know. But still. I'm unused to being inadequate for anything. I'm the guy who can do it all. My 4th-grade Sunday School teachers, Mrs. Wilson and Mrs. Williams, told me that. Every. Single. Sunday. "You can do anything you set your mind to, Jeff." Every Sunday that year, and every time I saw one of them until they were too old to remember who I was.

It's a dangerous thing, to think you can do it all. The need for grace and mercy is all around me, and I'm not used to getting out of the way and letting Jesus — the only One who is adequate — do His thing.

Come, Jesus. Keep constantly before me the reality of my nothingness apart from Your mercy and grace.


How I Ended Up Homeless

We didn't want a new place to rent, my mother told me we were anointed by God, we did not have to find a new place to live because Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn and Kenneth Copeland promised us that God would not only forgive our previous mistakes but make a way where there seemed to be no way, and we were obedient, we paid tithes, we prayed, we sowed seeds, we fasted, it was not a matter of if but when. The worse things became the closer we were.

HuffPo - @HomelessGirl1


When it comes to putting hard-luck folks to work...

... there have been a couple of things that concern me. A lot of little contractors like myself don't really have the kind of cash on hand to pay someone until we get paid for the job. That may be as long as 30 days. That's something that's always bothered me, and it's kept me from hiring any temporary help. This morning I got a solid reminder that it's not just my overdeveloped sense of responsibility that's talking to me:

14 “Never take advantage of poor and destitute laborers, whether they are fellow Israelites or foreigners living in your towns. 15 You must pay them their wages each day before sunset because they are poor and are counting on it.

Deuteronomy 24:14, 15a

I guess as much as anything it tells me that we have to be abundantly cautious to ensure that we don't take advantage of a poor person's lack of status. I know there are a lot of contractors out there who intentionally do so, and I would guess that there are a lot of contractors who do so unintentionally. I want to be sure, as I continue trying to move forward in service to the poor, that I'm not making the problem of poverty worse, that I'm consistent in applying principle to my own life and business.



"Next step for the church is to place ourselves in proximity to suffering. People need us more than our used clothes" -@JohnMPerkins

— Mike Rusch (@mikerusch) February 29, 2012

Vision statement (work in progress)

I still don't know what to call this thing I'm working on, but I've got the beginnings of a vision statement:

Fighting poverty in the Ozarks by providing meaningful work opportunities and construction services to those in need.

Call me excited.


Subverting an Empire

I've been talking with a few folks in the last couple of weeks, exploring this idea/vision/dream-thing that God's put on my heart. Yesterday, I hung out for a bit with Mike Rusch from the Cobblestone Project. It's massively encouraging to experience what we cognitively know to be true: That God works through people in similar ways to further His Kingdom purposes. I'm thankful that Jesus has given Mike the grace and mercy to be a vessel for Himself.

One of the things he sent me was a video of Rick McKinley speaking at a conference in Austin. That's about all I know about the video. [Rick, if you read this: I'm not trying to steal your thunder, bro. Hope it's cool that I put the video up.] The talk is called "Subverting an Empire". If you haven't seen it, take ten minutes and watch it. It's like a lot of things in our lives of faith, though: It's a red pill/blue pill proposition. Don't read the Beatitudes if you don't want to know what Jesus thinks about the poor. Don't watch the video if you don't want to be challenged to think differently about how we serve the needs of our neighbors.

I won't say I have any big take-aways to share with you. All I have now is grist for my thinker-mill. I've been interrupted, as I've heard it put, and so, I pray, will you be.


Subverting an Empire - Rick McKinley from Jeffrey Melton on Vimeo.


Calloused Hands: The Road Goes Ever On and On

I'm an electrician. This summer will mark ten years I've been in the trade. If you've followed my story, you know that I've spent a lot of time out of work over the years. That's really just part of being in construction. Those seasons have been challenging for the Meltons in varying degrees, but they've always given me time for introspection: Where am I going? What's God doing?

I take it as an article of faith that the path we walk always gets worked into God's greater purpose. I felt like I just stumbled into electrical work, and have often wondered how my previous experiences would weave into the bigger part of my story. There's still a lot I don't know about that, but I'm starting to see it happen.

A few years ago, during one of those long out-of-work stretches, I started realizing that my construction skills could be used in real service to folks in need. I started looking for jobs in the non-profit sector, and applied for a few. At the same time, I was talking to some people in Northwest Arkansas, asking if there was any way for contractors and tradesmen like myself to connect with people in need. Everyone I talked to thought it was a good idea, but no one knew of anything like that here.

Time went on, I went to work for a local contractor, and the seed lay on the ground.

Over the last several months, I've found myself independently employed again. [I know that sounds weird. I'm not really self-employed; I have a partner, sort of. His business is a sole proprietorship, and we're still trying to decide if a legal partnership is warranted.] Anyway, a lot of the work we've been doing has been in Joplin, MO, and most of that has been in coordination with relief organizations on the ground there.

View Larger Map

And the seed that lay on the ground started to grow.

I started talking to some people, and we're trying to find more people to talk to, and we're all going to try to figure out together how we can involve ourselves in what God's already doing around us.

Here's a little document I put together the other day. It's just a bullet-point flyby of what the idea looks like right now:



I don't really know where this will end up. I'm just trying to roll with it, trying follow through with each step I know I must take.

"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door," he used to say. "You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no telling where you might be swept off to."

I like adventures.



Update: As I edit my framework document, I'll try to keep Scribd updated as well. So, what you see should be the most current working document.


Mastery vs. Competence

I've been putting these thoughts together for a while. Today it gelled into something resembling coherence:

There's a difference between mastery and competence in any discipline. That difference is easy to see, but not easy to measure. Competence is relatively easy to achieve, and as such, is commoditized. Mastery, on the other hand, takes time, and is scarce.

Many (maybe most) of us have thought ourselves masterful when we were only passingly competent. It's only with continued growth in our discipline that we come to know how far from mastery we once were.

If that's tl;dr material, here's the summation:

There are no shortcuts to mastery.