Maybe you’ve already noticed that I have “Lead Pastor” next to my name some places. But seriously, can we be real here, I’m an off-the-charts introvert and I still verge on cardiac arrest every time I hear the words “evangelism” or “witness” or “share your faith.” In part because I’m not particularly good at it anyway, probably much like you. Plus, our culture’s kinda goofy about stuff like this too … I don’t want to be rude or obnoxious to anyone.
I was sitting at a picnic table ostensibly watching my girls play in the fenced playground, enjoying the gorgeous September weather and working on our new website. Hup! A text from Pam says time to return home for supper. I get up to tell the girls they have 10 more minutes. That’s when one of the moms whose infant daughter my girls love to smother to death with affection says, “Hey lemme ask you something … is that kids camp still running at your church?” (a few weeks before I had invited her family to VBS).
“No, but we have kid church on their level every Sunday morning, and we are doing a kids camp during school break next February.”
“Can I ask you a question? I’m trying to be good in my life, and do all the right things, and I believe that I’ve got to have faith in Jesus, and I ask him to be around me. I hear a voice talking to me lately … do you think that’s Jesus? I talked to the pastor at Grace Church about trusting Jesus once too, but I wasn’t ready.”
“Well, I don’t know, but I’d say if the voice is telling you to do the right thing and not slip back into those bad habits, it’s probably Jesus telling you he wants you to come to him. Sean Sears is an excellent pastor and Grace Church is a great place to get answers to your questions. We work together. We’re on the same team. Why haven’t you gone back to Grace Church?”
“Just busy with the kids and work … ever since you told me what church you guys go to I suddenly notice your church every time I go down Franklin Street. Never noticed it was even there before. I like to check out different churches. I just keep on messing up in my life, getting drunk when I don’t want to, and stuff like that. But I keep asking Jesus to surround me. I don’t want to pray the prayer to trust in Jesus, because the next day I have to live differently and do all the right things. It’s a big commitment and I just don’t think I’m ready for that. But I know Jesus is with me.”
“Well, all that stuff doesn’t really matter at all. Not getting drunk, going to church, doing the right things sexually, any of that stuff. What really matters is submitting to Jesus. If we do that, he changes us slowly … we don’t have to muscle over those habits because he changes our hearts and gives us strength. Have you ever been at a point where you realize that your sin separates you from God, and said, ‘Jesus I know you’re the only way back to friendship with God. I know you died for my sins and rose from the dead to make me a new person. I want to surrender my life to you and I want to obey you.”
“Yeah, I know, … no I haven’t yet. I’m just not ready yet.”
“That’s ok. It seems like Jesus is calling you to come to him. Seems like you are just trying to find the answers to your questions right now. But you don’t have to get your life just right. All that matters is if you trust in Jesus to bring you to God. If you do that, he’ll do all the rest.”
“That’s what my grandma always tells me too. Lemme ask you this … do you think, you know, with everything in the news, do you think the world is going to end soon, and I will die before I trust in Jesus?”
“You know what, something cool, right now we’re going through the book of Revelation at Brookville. That’s the last book in the Bible and it talks about what’s going to happen at the end of the world. It seems like Jesus is talking to you lately … why don’t you come this Sunday at 10:30. Or go to Grace Church again. You’ll start to get some of the answers to your questions about Jesus. You’ll find people who are asking the same questions and who you can group up with … remember, God doesn’t want you to live in guilt and shame and fear of death. Satan wants that for you. God wants you to know how much he loves you … but I’ve got to go now, because my wife has supper ready. See you Sunday, or we’ll see you hear at the park again soon.”
“Do you really think he loves me?”
“I know he does.”