Why It Matters.

On Sunday night I told the little cadre of souls in the living room that I was aching to see, witness, hear, and experience the power of God. In the now.
I was aching to see our unchanging God show Himself in the now as powerfully as He is penned in the Scriptures.

By Tuesday, He answered.


I got a call last week from Jeff – my friend, pastor, and shepherd – that he’d met a young man with a wild story and right away knew I needed to meet him.
This young man was given up as a baby, raised by a stranger, faced disappointment and devastation, and had just heard God introduce Himself.

Tonight he & I met for tea in my new neighborhood, and I was instantaneously drawn into his warm spirit and kind eyes.  I had prayed before getting out of the car that God would carve a beautiful path of conversation and allow for encouragement.
I told him that he was welcome to share any bits of his story that he wanted with me.

And here’s what rolled out…
A few months ago he fell pretty hard for a lovely young lady.  They dated until she pointedly told him that he was coming in between her & Jesus. He had no faith of his own, and she wanted to press pause while she reconnected to her faith and while he found his. She was gentle and loving and wants his wholeness more than she wanted a boyfriend.
He found himself awake at nights, restless and wrestling.  One evening, almost at dawn, he decided to walk the streets around his house to settle his whirring mind.
Though he’d lived down the block from our church for years, he’d somehow never seen it, until that night. He looked at the sign out front, and kept walking. He found his favorite thinking spot at Butler and sat down. The image of our church sign burned in his brain, he couldn’t shake it. He went home and looked us up… read our mission statement and our beliefs.
And he cried.
He e-mailed our pastor at four in the morning and asked what he needed to do to be a part of us.
Jeff wrote him back and told him to come to church.
That next morning he walked in, all alone.

Then what happened?

He told me that he poured himself a cup of coffee and thought it was awesome that we offered it. He told me that some guy named Brandon introduced himself, and then invited him to sit with him & his friends during the service. He said on that first visit he felt welcome, and he fell in love.

That next week he had his best friend, who happens to be Muslim, drive him to a Christian bookstore so he could buy a Bible.  He didn’t know which one to get, so he bought a KJV and an NIV. He didn’t know that it was okay to write on the pages, so he’s been keeping a separate notebook of thoughts and questions as he reads. He didn’t know where to start so he jumped into John. Then Romans.

I couldn’t stop crying.

He told me he wanted to get baptized before May ended.
His dark eyes were full of beautiful light. The newness of joy. The discovery of Christ.

I asked him if he knew what baptism symbolized… if he knew why Jesus came to die for him?
He humbly told me he didn’t know but that he would listen to every word I had to say… no matter how fast, no matter how many, that he wanted to hear all of my words about Jesus.

Praying furiously but speaking softly I worked around the lump in my throat to tell him there was a difference between belief that Jesus existed and belief in Jesus. That Jesus wasn’t just a ‘good teacher’ as some might try to convince us; because if He wasn’t the Lord He claimed to be, than He was an absolute liar.
We talked simply through God’s perfect plan for creation and His kids, how sin and brokenness affected our hearts and His heart, eternity, who Jesus was and is, who the enemy was and is, and ultimately what it means to give our lives to Christ. How it is about so much more what we gain than what we give up.
How, without the Holy Spirit, we live blind & numb to all that life is and all that life means.

It was a conversation that BREATHED NEW LIFE into my soul, because as we talked, and both teared up, I realized that God loves His kids. He orchestrates moments and days and triumphs and tragedies to show us Himself. We break His heart over and over by ignoring Him, both before we claim Him as our Father and a thousand times after.
But He pursues.
He fights.
He speaks.
He reveals.
He loves.
HE MAKES BEAUTIFUL THINGS OUT OF US.

And right in front of me was something beautiful.
Not the tall stature and handsome face and strong arms, but the glory of change happening on the insides of this strong kid.

Creator God was shaping a new child out of a man, Father God was giving that child – whose mother gave him away as a baby- a new identity as His son!

He barely blinked while I fumbled through as much of the gospel as I could get out, he absorbed every single word. I told him to think about it all and to let me know if he wanted to get together again or try visiting our little community in the living room. He said “I don’t need to think about it. When can I join your house church? When can we meet again and talk more about Jesus and the Bible?”
I felt riotous fireworks of purpose explode in my heart. Because nothing else mattered in that moment except the fact that this face a few feet away from mine was that of someone who I was going to spend eternity with!

And what served as a catalyst for that divine appointment?

The folks that brewed the coffee that Sunday morning.
The hospitable spirits of the ones that said hello to a stranger.
The heart of a pastor who sends e-mail replies early on Sunday mornings.
The elders who helped shape our missions statement.
The graphic designer that pieced together our website.
The fingers that painted our service times on our sign.
The musicians that strummed and sung out choruses of worship.

IT ALL MATTERS.
IT MATTERS!

When you roll out of bed fifteen minutes early to show up to the church building so you can be the church – IT MATTERS.
When you invite your friends, when you make new friends, when you pray for hearts in the congregation that are rejoicing or wounded or utterly lost, when you print the programs, when you take care of the kids in Sunday School, when you take a meal or when you sit by a hospital bed. It matters.

I hugged him goodbye after making plans to meet again, both of us agreeing to read Romans 8 every day, and after he was out of sight I cried. My tears were big and filled with joy. Because God had shown His power. The God of the Bible who, page after page, pursues His children – showed me His heart at the corner Starbucks.

I called my brother and spilled the whole story. He sat quietly on the other end and said “Wow. Wow. I was sitting here reading a book on evangelism, and yea, I … wow. I don’t even have words. Let’s pray.”
So we did. As I paced through the Flying Cupcake parking lot, I prayed shouts of praise and for the enemy’s defeat and for this new friend to find his forever love in the Lord.

And I just had to tell you.


Because you’re doing it!

You’re doing all the ‘little things’ that mean someone sees Jesus in a way they haven’t before. You are watering seeds our God has planted in His plans for a beautiful harvest.


AND IT MATTERS.


Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! … Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies ... Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever … Your strength comes from God’s grace … Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name. And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God … Now may the God of peace who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, and ratified an eternal covenant with his bloodmay he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.”
Hebrews 13


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