Thursday, June 5, 2014

a good story about outrageous love

When I was five, my mom told me about Jesus and I gave Him my life. 
For 21 years now, I've been getting to know Him and watching Him love people with a strong strong love. 
Even after 21 years, the intensity of His love is still surprising me. 

There are a lot of things I love to do--riding roller coasters, eating, catching lightning bugs, hugging kids, laughing, going to Goodwill--but there is one thing that surpasses them all.
My all time favorite thing to do is to tell someone who is unfamiliar with Jesus about who Jesus is and what He does. 
That's the winning activity on my favorites list. 

Sometimes I start getting bummed in America when I go a long time without getting to do my all time favorite activity.
 I start to feel useless and restless and begin wondering things like, 
"what am I doing with my life?"
I've now been in America for over six months, and will be here for at least six months more. 

Yesterday I had a fun day with a friend at Kentucky Kingdom. 
When we were leaving the park, weaving our way through junior high kids who were there on a class trip, I heard the best question my ears have ever heard. 

"Will you tell me about Jesus?"

I looked down to see a kid sitting there, looking straight at me. 
I was sort of caught off guard, and assumed that I had a t-shirt on that said, "Ask me about Jesus" or something. I looked down at my clothes but didn't see anything about Jesus.

"Do I have something about Him on me?" I asked. 

"No. You just look like you'd know. You look godly," the kid answered. 

I kept making a confused face, trying to get ahold of the situation. 

"Are you a Christian?" to which the kid replied, 
"No. And I don't know much about God. I just want to find out."

The kid had a buddy sitting next to him who piped up, 
"I'm a Christian! I've been talking to him!"

So from what I could gather, these two kids were sitting here, and one was telling the other about his faith.

I said, 
"So, you're not a Christian but you want to learn about Jesus?" to make sure I understood clearly. 

The kid said, 

"Well, I'll tell you."

For the next five minutes I told Patrick, that's the kid's name, about the God who is Love. 
"He wanted someone to love, and that's why He made you," I told him. 

"But why did He make the world?" he asked. 

"Because He wanted people to love. Like, a really nice husband and wife want to have a baby so they can love it and take care of it. It's sorta the same with God. He made the world and people so He could have people to love and take care of."

Then I told Patrick how people really messed up, decided they didn't want God, and the awful thing that sin did--
separated us from God. 

"It's like sin puts a big wall up between us and God so we can't be together. God hated that because all He wanted was to be with us. Jesus came to destroy that wall. When He died on the Cross, He took the punishment that you and I deserve for all the nasty stuff we think and do. Sin has to be paid for, it's a crime, so God paid for it with Jesus' death. Now, when we ask Him to, Jesus comes and totally removes that wall, makes us clean, and sends His Spirit to live inside of us."

By this point, Patrick's class was getting ready to board their bus and head home. 

"On the bus ride, or when you're home tonight, you can tell Jesus that you want Him to forgive you. Ask Him to be in charge of your life and to help you. He will."
(a lot of this is paraphrased, I don't remember the exact words but this is close)

"Thank you for telling me about the Lord,"
Patrick said. And he smiled a lot during that whole bit about talking to Jesus and the redemption that takes place when we talk to Him for the first time. 

My friend and I, sort of in a daze, left Patrick and walked towards our car. 
"Let's go back and get a picture," I said. 
So we did. 

After Patrick and I posed together, I told him that I'm sort of like an evangelist, which is someone who tells people about Jesus, and that I've travelled to different places in the world to tell people about Jesus. 
"Of all the people you could've stopped today, Patrick, you stopped me. That's God that had you do that because He wanted you to learn about Him. He really wants you, buddy. He's crazy about you."

Maybe you've noticed that what happened here was a couple different beautiful things. The biggest and most beautiful thing was that God was drawing Patrick to Himself. The Holy Spirit was calling Patrick, waving at him, beckoning him to come close. God made a promise that when we look for Him, we will find Him. But another thing that was beautiful to me personally, is that God knows the desires of my heart, the biggest being to tell people about Him, and He gave me the desire of my heart. Ah! That the Painter of the Sunset would care about the desires of my small weak heart! And then fulfill those desires!

He's so personal. He's so kind.

Will you pray for Patrick? 
Pray that he starts reading the Bible, going to a spirit-filled, Bible-believing church, that God brings him Christian friends, and that he begins walking with Jesus. 

God really really loves people. 

This is what the Sovereign LORD says: "See, I will beckon to the nations, I will lift up my banner to the people.."
-Isaiah 49:22

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."
Matthew 7:7

Draw near to God and God will draw near to you.
-James 4:8

Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
-Psalm 37:4