While He Was Young
I hope you’re enjoying a bit of a reprieve from the heat. On this beautiful, 74-degree morning, Pastor Kimani (from ReBuild) and I met and prayed for you, that God would enable you to experience his strength and power in your lives.
I have a friend whose name is Eddie. Eddie lives two thousand miles from here but he continues to be one of my most respected and cherished friends. For several years, Eddie and I met almost weekly to pray and his humility and dependence on God served to encourage me deeply in my faith. As for Eddie’s personal spiritual journey, it has been a long one with many toils and snares.
When Eddie was a boy, he was faced with the cruel task of choosing between his mother and father. In the middle of a toxic divorce and bitter custody battle, a judge offered Eddie two options: you can live with mom or dad. It’s up to you. Mom was very stoic and intensely interested in her own affairs; dad was alcoholic with a big personality and a flair for disorder. Not surprisingly, Eddie chose the latter.
One problem continued to surface, however: Eddie was given freedom to live how he wanted and to do whatever he pleased. His dad was seldom around and when he was present, he was often recovering from an all-night bender. Occasionally, Eddie’s dad would take his teenage son to the bar at night and hand Eddie the keys to drive home after he, the father, had imbibed one too many drinks and instigated more than a few altercations. Eddie didn’t have his driving license, but he didn’t want to disappoint his father who taught him that being a man was about taking risks, being true to yourself, defending your honor, and hooking up with as many ladies as possible.
By God’s grace, Eddie lived in a neighborhood with a couple of Christian families. From the time he was nine or ten, these families welcomed Eddie into their homes and poured into his life. They actually listened when he shared his thoughts with them. They even invited him to their church’s Vacation Bible School (VBS) and AWANA ministries. Eddie took them up on their repeated invitations, hiding God’s Word in his heart even when he thought he had no use for it.
When Eddie was eighteen, he joined the Marines. The unbending structure helped with some of his distractions, but it did nothing for his soul. The rules gave him a sense of safety, but no peace.
One evening, after a particularly rousing weekend, God brought to the surface some of those Scriptures that lay deep in Eddie’s heart. He was desperate to know if God was there. And what would it be like to know this God? Incredibly, Eddie recalled lines he had learned in VBS; he even remembered the old English cadence: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Over the ensuing days, God would capture Eddie’s heart and bring this young, hard-hearted Marine to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, the very one who demonstrated the life-surrendering love that Eddie recalled reading about.
Eddie was never the same. Like every Christian, he continued to struggle with sin but the burning desire of his heart was to please and exalt his Savior. As an adult, Eddie has led mission trips, taught in AWANA, counseled hurting couples, volunteered in his church’s VBS, served as a life group leader and coach, and been a vessel of God’s grace (1 Peter 4) to many. His life has been testimony of God’s mercy and faithfulness.
Here are my questions for you: Could there be an Eddie in your neighborhood? Is it possible that there’s a boy or girl just a few houses down who doesn’t know Jesus Christ, and still stands separated from the God who made him or her? Might God use your invitation to our VBS to bring someone to saving faith?
Northpoint’s VBS, Galactic Starveyors, runs from July 10-14 (5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.). Registration is simple; you can sign up HERE.
The Apostle Paul calls the gospel “the power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16). The gospel will be clearly explained and presented in its glorious fullness throughout our VBS. Who will you invite to hear it?