Monday, November 09, 2009

Malia and me at Awe Star Ministries, iGo Missions Conference this past weekend! It was amazing!

This past weekend was powerful! We had over 200 students from around the country who came to our Missions conference. God blessed and moved over us in amazing ways. Many are seeking His direction for serving on upcoming trips. Most went home with a passion to serve where they are now!

I love working with this generation of students. Their passion for our Savior is unequalled. Their love for one another is inspiring. Their desire to be found obedient is refreshing.

One such student attends Boyce Bible College in Louisville, Kentucky. I have not yet met him, but hope to soon. He recently got in touch with me and over a period of days, shared the following stories with me.

"Sometimes I look back on life before I was in high school and what my friends and I were like. Then I start to think about how we all changed when we got to high school. Now in college, I wonder what happened. The one thing that pops out the most in my past of high school, was a young man that moved to the school my freshman year from Carmel, IN. Though, at the time I was not a Christian, but after his example I became a Christian a little over a year later. Half of America today claims that God doesn't exist, but how can God not exist when a 15 year old boy laid down his life for the Christ. BJ, oh how I wish more would have realized how real the God is that you lived and died for. Today, I pray that you continue to be an example and help the lost in this world realize that your God is real...and I know this as fact because I know Him too!"

Example? Yes BJ is an example. But so is this young man!

We will call him Shawn.

Shawn grew up in central Indiana. He has three siblings. He was raised in a family who did not believe. Well, at least Shawn didn't.

As reasons for not doing so go, his was perhaps more understandable than most. Shawn is the oldest of four children. He found it impossible to believe for a long time. Impossible to believe that a loving, Holy God could exist with what he had witnessed.

When he was five years old, he was beside his mother and two of his three siblings, when the unthinkable happened.

His mother was murdered as he stood holding her hand.

A five year olds view of life is unique. An experience like this would cause many to be pressed to disbelief and an inability to trust. I cannot imagine the brokenness of watching the life ebb from my mother, as I stood over her.

Unforgiveness claimed his heart. Hate became his sidekick. He would never forgive one who would commit such a heinous act! Who could blame him?

Ten years later, a young man moved into his school district. He came from one of the premier schools in the state. This did not earn him favor among other students.

He was different. He was consistent. He was unusual because he regularly told people about his Savior. His words matched up to the way he lived his life. Others took notice. Shawn took notice.

He said, "It brings tears to my eyes when I think about how BJ treated me even when I wasn't a Christian, but he treated everybody else like that too.

A young man carrying bitterness... a deep secret that BJ didn't know... was impacted by a life of one who reached out to others, in love. He ran contrary to the world, and showed people that caring about others was important. Important, because His Savior loved. His Savior forgave.

Shawn had not spent much time contemplating forgiveness. His heart was hard towards the one.

But seeing the life of this young man brought new questions to his mind. He genuinely cared for others, and in the process, made him curious about this Savior.

He watched BJ spend time among those others cared nothing for. This spoke with significant volume. Who would do that. Why would they do it?

Later in life, Shawn would say, "The thing that struck me the most is that he would hang out with kids that others didn't want to hang out with, or made fun of, and he still never failed [to hold] his ground, even though it did get to him. It reminds me of what Jesus did throughout the Gospels!"

After he heard about BJ's death, he was drawn into deeper contemplation about what real "Truth" is. It caused him to begin to search. He connected with a youth pastor that took him under his wing. He learned more about forgiveness. He begin to long for it. He would surrender his life to the One who would forgive him.

He found his own sinful stench to be a wall that prevented him from forgiving himself, even after he had forgiven his mothers' murderer.

He bought "I Would Die for You," upon it's release. He learned more about loving and forgiving.

His youth pastor guided him into the deep forgiveness of self that had eluded him longer than anything else.

His life forever changed when He found Jesus Christ, the Saving One. When he learned to forgive a murderer, he eventually learned to forgive himself.

The Lord used a young man who loved Him so, to reveal His own likeness into the life of a bitter and broken soul.

Now he seeks to walk a similar life to that of His Savior. He attends a Bible College and is seeking to become a youth pastor! He is praying about joining us on the mission field next summer!

I praise God for Shawn. I am thankful that he was delivered from such a vile offense that caused him to rebel and grow bitter.

Today, he weeps for his former classmates who don't get it. They are seeking hard after the world, when Jesus is what they need. He wants to know, "who will tell them?"

He has surrendered his own life to do so. He is hoping we will surround him and do likewise!

Praise God for this generation of passionate students!

Oh, how He loves them so!



At 2:06 AM, Blogger Mayumi Wardrop said...

Hello, I'm from Sydney Australia and I only just read and heard about the story of BJ. I'm so encouraged and I was in tears at just how much zeal you as a family have for Jesus.

I'm about to embark on a short term trip myself and I'm all the more excited and passionate about it since hearing BJs story.

Keep spreading His word,


At 8:21 AM, Blogger gilbert said...

How wonderful - another glimpse of the harvest being gathered in from BJ's life. This challenges me again to live all for God like BJ.

At 6:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

God Bless,
Greenfield, Indiana


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