Summary: People who know their own God-story have to share it. It is THE method God uses to spread His love and grace to others. Being Christ's witness is the sign of the Holy Spirit in your heart.
If you have a coming-to-Christ faith story, I’d like for you to write down 1-2 names of people who impacted your life for the sake of Jesus Christ; people whom you’d say you’d not be a follower of Jesus, a disciple, saved, regenerated believer if wasn’t for “fill in the blank.”
Did you know over 2 million kids run away each year in the US; more than 2000 kids are reported missing every day.
There's a Spanish story of a father and son who had become estranged. The son ran away, and the father set off to find him. He searched for months to no avail. Finally, in a last desperate effort to find him, the father put an ad in a Madrid newspaper. The ad read: Dear Paco, meet me in front of this newspaper office at noon on Saturday. All is forgiven. I love you. Your Father. On Saturday 800 Pacos showed up, looking for forgiveness and love from their fathers.
1976 I was at a campground in southern Ohio that I went by invitation to an altar; I wanted to see what it was all about up there at that altar thing kids were going to so I went. A person or two knelt with me and prayed I guess. The first initial thought I had at 8 yrs old was, “Sooo THIS is what it’s all about?” I was emotionally neutral, drawn by the wonder. Kids were dismissed to free time, and as I got up to go, the guest speaker stopped me and said, “So Kent, what happened up here today?” I didn’t really know, remember… not much really; but something really was happening I just didn’t know it yet (God works that way sometimes).
With his question came an uncomfortable churning inside. Let’s call the speaker “Ken” because that was his name, followed up with the words something like, “Did you ask Jesus into your heart?” or perhaps, “Did you invite God into your life?” The words aren’t important to me; It was that follow up that made all of the difference for me for at that moment something else happened: I call it “Light.”
I so wanted to tell him “Yes!” I wanted it to be true—I wanted to make that “SO this is what it’s all about” being up here (even though it wasn’t), claimed for something and it was with Ken’s help. God was doing something in me using Ken’s words like LIGHT to my mind and to my heart, and that unknown moment was transformed from a questionable moment into an identified one. God was looking for me because He wanted me just like He’s looking for you because He wants YOU!
Two things I firmly believe because of that event in my life: One is: Spiritual leaders need to know the story of God well enough and be able to help people know where they fit into His story, so that they can teach them the language of their own conversion. [re-Explain]
When you are born again you are just a baby in Christ so you need some people to help you learn the language—not Christianese (too much of that) but the language of The Kingdom.
Ken could have left me in darkness and sympathized with my “uncomfortable inner churning,” he could have left me to figure things out on my own, he could have been distracted by the others (the pretty girls) in the room and had easily dismissed an 8 year old boy. Ken didn’t.
By God’s grace and mercy and work in Ken’s life, Ken spoke into my life the things of God and it was LIGHT. I think that’s why it was uncomfortable. An unknown presence was gaining access into me and something inside didn’t like it.
Do any of you like to be awakened before it is time to be? Ten minutes before your alarm goes off *bing!*—do you like that? Is the word GRUMPY an understatement? Except I was being awakened by God--to come to Him and trust Him; and that was a journey I started several years ago.
Maybe you feel an uncomfortable feeling this morning too.
After Ken asked me that question, something happened inside. My heart was softened in a way as never before and tears came to my eyes which were the words I could not say; I stood there and just nodded to Ken whose face I can still see with his blond hair and those glasses and he gave me a comforting side hug and spoke encouraging words to me—but an inner door was opened to what I call now: God’s love.
Ever felt your heart so softened by God you cried?
The 2nd thing I believe because of this event is: if you are a true believer you have a story that you just have to share!!