"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" II Corinthians 5:17
Last week, God demonstrated that His life saving power is still active and alive. We now have a new sister in Christ. Last Tuesday, a young lady who is working at our church to fulfill community service hours, came into my office to help me organize my bookshelves. I was furiously working on getting things done for ministry, planning out and writing lessons for our Wednesday and Sunday youth services and I was pretty locked in. As she began to organize the books and try to begin to make sense of them, I was prompted by the Holy Spirit to stop "working on the ministry" and begin to work "in the ministry". I know that as a pastor, sometimes I get so caught up in getting things done for God like meeting deadlines, organizing and planning events, making sure programs are running efficiently, etc., that sometimes I forget that the primary reason and direct mission given to me from the top Senior Pastor of Sunrise Church, and all Bible-believing Christian churches, and Jesus Christ, is to, "Go and make disciples..." Matthew 28:19.
So, I began to talk with this young lady and ask her questions about her life and then I transitioned the conversation into a spiritual conversation. I asked her, "Who is Jesus to you?" This led to about a half-hour conversation about Jesus and I was able to share the gospel with her. I then asked her what prevented her from accepting Jesus as her God and the forgiver of her sins; she said that she was too ashamed of her habit of cursing and using bad language. I chuckled a bit and was able to share that if that was the case, then probably the majority of us could never have a relationship with God because even if we didn't use curse words, we've all certainly thought bad thoughts towards others and we would all be just as guilty as her. I told her that God is waiting for her; that He wants to have a friendship with her, and that He accepts her just as she is.
Later, my assistant Tracy spoke with her and was able to share with her a bit about her own story and how she came to Christ. Again, I felt prompted to ask her if she was ready to follow Christ and she said, "Not yet", but also said that she would be willing to go through the follow-up with Tracy the next day.
I saw the young lady the next day and asked her if she had chosen to follow Christ and she said, "Yes!" It was such an exhilarating feeling to know that I now have a new sister in Christ, and that she is a new creation! I know that this may sound chiche, but she really had a certain glow about her and a beautiful smile that stretched from ear to ear! She is now a follower of Jesus Christ and is on the greatest adventure that God has to offer.
My encouragement to all of us is that as we are living our lives and running back and forth from the many things that we must get done, that we ask God to show us the people who are in our network of people on a regular basis, that we can share God's message of hope with them through Jesus Christ, and then step out in faith and actually do it. We may be the one that God uses to prepare the groundwork, or plant the seeds, maybe water the seed, but ultimately, it is God who produces the fruit and brings those around us into a relationship with Himself as they respond to His message of faith, hope, and love.
Posted on Mon, June 6, 2011
by Kevin Ibanez