Philadelphia, PA recently launched a mini-I Am Second campaign in their city. Here is an amazing story of God’s transformational love in that community:
A member of our church began a Bible study at the factory where he worked as a chaplain. 29-year-old chef Steve from the café began attending regularly. Blake invited Steve to church for an I Am Second sermon series after they had walked together through the Bible for seven months.
Steve was going through a very ugly divorce due to his affair and other indiscretions. As he began attending church with Blake, the movie theater where the church meets became a good place for Steve and his wife to exchange their young daughter. They were distant and cold toward each other at that time. As the series continued, Jess began sitting through the service with Steve and their daughter. She brought divorce papers one Sunday and Steve signed them.
The next week the church showed the Scruggs video about a restored marriage after divorce and an affair. Steve and Jess both sensed their hearts changing. The divorce papers were already turned in, but they had failed to get them notarized so a new set of papers were given to Steve. After the sermon he told Jess that he would sign them after the 13 week sermon series ended. Each week they were moved by the videos and the sermons.
Finally, after meeting personally with the pastor for several weeks, Steve responded to the gospel and was saved. He was dramatically changed over the next few months and Jess noticed the changes. She also heard the gospel but has not yet responded.
Over the last eight months their marriage has been put back on a path to restoration. They now live together again and are in counseling. This couple was as good as divorced when God intervened and used the IA2 series to introduce them to Jesus Christ. Next week Steve is proposing again to his wife that they might renew their vows.
To connect with the movement in Philly, visit http://www.riversideconnect.com/connect/i-am-second.
That’s what we call her. “Hey intern! Can you grab this for me?” Ha! We’re always messing with her, though! Actually I just came from breakfast the I am Second intern, Miranda. She’ll be headed back to college today, and we’ll definitely miss her. I wanted to share with you some of the amazing things that God has been showing me through her life. These lessons can change the way you live and think.
EXAMINE THE WAY YOU LOOK AT PEOPLE. God has been working on both Miranda and me this summer in the way that we look at others. . “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:5-6. This has several applications. First, you should show love to everyone, because everyone is on a spiritual journey. It’s our duty to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” So whether the person is an atheist, or if they just came back from a mission trip, spur them on towards Christ. The second part of that is that all people are just people, so be careful not to judge. If they don’t know Christ yet, don’t be upset when they act like an unbeliever. How can we expect that person to act as though they know Christ when they don’t? It’s not our place to judge, just to show the love of Christ.
BE ONE MISSION EVERYWHERE. Where ever you are, whoever you’re with, whatever you’re doing, you can show the love of Christ. You don’t have to be overseas to tell people who He is. You don’t have to have tracts with you. You don’t have to know everything about the Bible. You just have to be willing to serve others and tell them about the love of Christ.
LIVE EVERY SINGLE DAY TO THE FULLEST. If all you had was today, would you be satisfied with the way you glorified Christ with your day? We went to a Switchfoot concert last night, and the weight of their lyrics was heavy on my heart. “I dare you to Move” “Gone” and “Meant to Live”. All encourage us to live life to the fullest: TODAY. “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34. Like the scripture I referenced in Colossians, “Make the most of every opportunity.” Don’t wait to tell your best friend what Christ has done in your life. You may only have today. Don’t wait to start serving those in need. You may only have today. Don’t wait to make amends with those you’ve hurt. You may only have today.
It’s been incredible to see her grow in these areas, and the way that she’s ready to take these concepts back to school with her. (Let me brag on her for a second) It’s been incredible to see the way that as she let’s God in, He is changing her heart to be more like His.
One more thing we talked about was encouraging others when you have learned something about Christ. So that’s what I’m trying to do here: sharing with you the way God’s been showing me how to live.
So my challenge is to show someone the love of Jesus TODAY and EVERY DAY from here on out. J
Around here, one of the biggest things we try to drive home is that everyone needs Christ. Everyone. So don’t miss an opportunity. The sad thing is that sometimes we get caught up in the “how” and miss the heart of the matter. We need to show love. This song has been on my heart lately so I thought I’d share it with you!
Let me know what you think!
I have the joy of getting to read the testimonies that come in to I am Second on a daily basis. I’m always amazed at the way that each story brings to light a new truth or something worth thinking through.
One particular story submitted by a guy named Ray was particularly intriguing because it falls perfectly in line with the things I’ve been talking about over the past few posts: sharing with your friends. Read part of his story:
“I had all these great plans on going to culinary school to become a great chef, but on July 12, 1999 as my truck spun out of control on the way to work I thought my life was over. What seemed like forever it was all over in seconds I came out untouched, WOW! As I stood in a field I called my Dad, told him to come and get me, waiting for the police and ambulance to show up I said to myself there has to be more to life than what I have made it out to be the last three years…
The day of my crash, believe it or not, my truck was still drivable and I told my dad that I wanted to go to work anyway. A bit bruised and shaken I had to be around people that day. That day my Jesus Freak buddy Ben was working and after a few hours of pondering that there had to be more to life than getting drunk and high every weekend maybe it was this Jesus dude, maybe there is a God. It took me a couple of more hours to get enough nerves to approach Ben, I asked him you know that church you are always talking about and inviting me too is it possible that I am still invited, I asked. With the biggest smile I have ever seen and to my amazement Ben said absolutely. It was then that an over whelming excitement came over me and I knew then that maybe there is a God, a higher power, a purpose in life, maybe Ben is authentic living out God’s word.”
It’s good when people know what we’re about. We obviously don’t have to be obnoxious or over-bearing, but we should stand firm. That way, when someone wants to know more, he or she will know to come to you. I’m interested in getting some discussion around this topic as well. What do you think are some good ways to let people know what you’re about (being second)? (Try to take out the Christian-ese) Where do you start if someone is suddenly interested?
Let’s hear it. J
I have a new friend named Ben. He’s a goofy guy, but he encourages me frequently with a phrase that I find myself trying to stick to in all situations. “Does this show the love of Christ?” So when I’m debating whether to have a conversation with a friend who I know doesn’t know Christ and I keep my mouth shut, is that showing the love of Christ? When I see someone with a need I can meet, but don’t choose to meet it, is that showing the love of Christ? When I see two people in a spiritual argument and decide to jump right in for the fun of it, does that show the love of Christ?
This hit home when I was watching Priscilla’s video yesterday. Her friend (now husband) was willing to put himself in danger in order to share with her how much Christ loved her. That definitely was showing love! Look at where her life is now. She has completely given her life over to ministry, and it couldn’t have happened without one person being willing to put himself second to her needs, and showing love.
We’ve been so blessed with the love of Christ changing our lives; why not show it to others, too? I read something from C.S. Lewis a few days ago that actually startled me. In Mere Christianity, he said, “As for the unbelievers, they will no doubt cheerfully use the word [Christian] in the refined sense. It will become in their mouths simply a term of praise. In calling anyone a Christian, they will mean that they think him a good man.” I don’t about you, but I definitely don’t think things panned out this way. Many people’s perception of “Christians” is far less that “a good man”. Maybe we can start changing people’s minds by showing them love.
So my challenge for you is to show love to 3 people a day for the next week, and if ever they acknowledge that you’re being kind or nice, be sure to tell them what compels you to be so loving: Christ.
Let me know how it goes-