You never know the impact your prayers and friendship can have over the course of a lifetime, sometimes well beyond what you can see or even imagine. Truth has a way of catching up with all of us. ♦
The small group of middle-school girls thought they were only supporting their friend. They didn’t know the impact they had. She had a new boyfriend, an unchurched one no less. As this group of girls met weekly in a Bible Study youth group, they prayed for the unchurched boyfriend. As he was invited to various social events at their evangelical church, he was met with nothing but kindness, friendship and acceptance. No one pushed him or proselytized, they simply befriended him and made him feel welcomed without strings into a community of Christians that was safe, fun and attractive.
The unchurched boyfriend continued for months to attend different activities with his girlfriend and her friends. One evening an outside Christian speaker named Ken Poure came to that church. He spoke to a youth group of about 100 students in the building basement and then upstairs in the main auditorium for the adult evening mid-week service. The young man was riveted by the facts presented by the entertaining and knowledgeable speaker. He stayed for the second hour service upstairs with the adults and his friends.
Ken Poure presented a compelling Gospel message about Jesus that the young man had never heard before, really. He was familiar somewhat, but this was different. He was driven to get serious about his choices in life, even as a 14 year old. As he responded to the invitation at the end of the sermon to rise and come forward for those who were thirsty for a new life under a new authority, Jesus Christ, he was unaware of the excitement of those friends around him. Excited for a life that was changed that evening.
Thank you Laurel, Linda, Julie, Stacey, Cyndy, Barbara and others in that youth group.
You see, that unchurched boyfriend was me.
“That’s Nice, Honey”
I went home that night and told my mother what had happened. She said “That’s nice, Honey.” She literally did not understand what I was talking about. She just didn’t know. Eventually my mother, sisters and brother made that same decision to follow this Jesus of the Bible as their savior and new guiding authority, the Lord of their life. My father delayed his new life decision for another two decades until he got a diagnosis of terminal pancreatic cancer. Just before he died he told me that he wished he’d done it sooner. He said that he just didn’t know. (See Biblical Viewpoint post It’s Never Too Late.)
I didn’t understand much in those early days but a whole new world was opening up to me. I was given a book, More Than a Carpenter, written by Josh McDowell, the great apologist for the Christian faith. This led to other books and growth in knowledge, teachings and Christian theology. I couldn’t get enough of it. A lifetime of information was gathered over subsequent decades.
All You Need to Know
But in truth, all knowledge and information is merely the structure on top of a firm foundation. The correct foundation.
“For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 3:11
I was fortunate to hear this Good News while still relatively young. Here is the basic information I received from Ken Poure that first night. It was all I really needed to know:
- The God who created everything loves his creation, even you and me. – We were created, not randomly evolved. And the Creator has a personal imprint of love and purpose on each of us.
- Man is separated from God, born into this separation from the beginning. – Adam, the first man, sinned and broke the connection to God subsequently for all of mankind. We are therefore born into this separation from God.
- Jesus Christ is God’s provision for man’s sin and separated plight. – God plan for man’s redemption and return to connection was begun early (see Genesis 3 and 12). Jesus entered human history as God in flesh. His life changed the world. He is the only way.
- We can receive new life and experience the love and purpose of God. – We can reestablish the broken connection with God through repentance and submission to Jesus as the Son of God.
All of human history builds on this. Broken and separated, even distant and self-serving, Man has often been determined to define life apart from the truth of his God and Creator. You can read the origins in the Bible’s Old Testament. You can follow the defiance and struggle of centuries and generations of people, good and bad but separated, even as God decreed to Abram his plan for redemption (“and all the peoples on earth will be blessed by you” – Genesis 12) through his offspring, eventually Jesus in the New Testament.
It’s a story of love and restoration. Of brokenness and a path to wholeness. Real Truth.
I just never knew. Now I do.
“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and does not obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” – Matthew 7:24-27