In the name of Jesus, in the name of Jesus, we have the victory! – Ancient Chorus
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved – The Disciples of Jesus
Friends, Jesus is the one thing in this life that makes the difference. It is why this blog exists. Here are some stories from the week.
Last Sunday we wandered down to our Community Centre to see who might be around for Discovery Group. Sam, the person we least expected to see, turned up. We had a great time. Sam is a young kid, and we sat and listened to his story – a bright boy with everything to live for, a year ago he was hit by a motorbike and is now racked with pain. Along the way, he became addicted to prescription drugs, and smokes weed in large quantities to dull the pain. Out of all this though, Sam is interested in the person of Jesus. He would like to be healed. We read some passages together about how Jesus healed so many people, and then prayed (and continue to pray) for healing. One day we hope to write more on that story.
Mid-week I met with an old church friend, and we had lunch together. Sadly, while we talked of all things church, we spoke little of Jesus. We talked of sermons and pastors, buildings and congregations, whether this church might be a better ‘fit’ for his family than that one, but little of Christ. We didn’t pray (it wasn’t Sunday).
When Jesus isn’t part of your life, it leaves the door open for you to interpret how to live. Your kids can live together, and you say ‘it’s okay.’ You can pursue a life that is really no different to the world, give a tithe away each week and believe that you are saved – you might well be saved by the way, but Jesus doesn’t call us to live like the world. If we do, then tithing won’t fix it either. Yet, we hear this so often, see it so often. Jesus, noticeable by his absence.
I stepped out of lunch into an Uber, where I met Reg. Reg was about as ocker as they come. Guess what his first sentence to me was? ‘Jesus Christ….’ This would be interesting. Reg used more expletives in his sentences than ordinary words, and I wondered how Jesus would fit into this conversation? Surely a challenge too great. The conversation quickly slid down into all things degrading and Reg asked how the women in Sydney were?
“I’m not sure Reg, I’ve been married to the same one for 26 years,” I replied. “Jesus Christ, how did you manage that?” Because of Jesus Christ, and so he came into the conversation.
Turns out Reg has been married three times and lived with another for a length of time as well. He shouldn’t have let her go, but I guess fronting up a fourth time was just too much. Here’s the thing though friends, and this never ceases to amaze me. When Jesus was brought into the conversation, the tone of the conversation and Reg ‘s demeanour all changed. Gone were the expletives, and the talk of all things sexual. I didn’t say a thing to stop it.
It was replaced by a quizzing of what ‘church’ looks like for us, how you can actually have a relationship with God, through Jesus, how we can become part of God’s family through him. Reg was intrigued. From here, out came the stories of a broken life, trauma as a solider in Vietnam, no money (3 wives will do that to you) and at an age of retirement, working long hours to recover. More still, the broken family relationships. We left with me praying for Reg outside the airport, as the tears welled up through the conviction of the Spirit. I was sad to leave.
I pray Reg, the next person who comes along who is a believer will spend the time going deeper into Jesus than we had time to do. I hope he’s your neighbour or your friend, and because Jesus is his all, he is not ashamed to explain the glorious relationship he shares with this God and man, Jesus Christ.
Could it be you, me? We can be that person.