(Or it might be 21 years!) I made a re-commitment, I prayed a prayer about following Jesus for the rest of my life, about turning away from the wrong ways I was living and asking God to fill me with his Holy Spirit. It is a day I look back on when everything changed.
This Easter we have been out and about talking to people about Jesus and inviting them to make the same life changing choice to follow Jesus, or re-commit to following him. I wonder where some of these people will be in 20/21 years time?
As I thought about inviting others onto this life changing journey, and thought about being invited onto this journey I thought about courage and bravery.
On of my colleagues invited me along to her Church, and I kept on finding excuses not to go, until one day I unthinkingly let the girl who only worked at the weekend have my Sunday afternoon shift as her hours had been cut, and I realised I had painted myself into a corner, and had to come along.
It would have probably been easier for my colleague not to comment, not to issue the invite again when the answer would have probably been no. The Pastor there threw out a random prophetic word which hit me between the eyes, and at the end of his talk he made a gospel appeal, again a brave thing to do -what if no one responds?
Perhaps if they hadn’t taken some uncomfortable and brave steps of faith, I might be living a very different life now?
This made me ask, and wonder, do I do the same steps of faith for other people? Am I sometimes too keen to be polite and nice, giving people a comfortable out instead of the uncomfortable challenge which may result in them being transformed in their relationship with God.
I have often thought about the significance of coming to faith on Easter day, the resurrection day, it’s the greatest day in the history of this planet, and it is the greatest day of my life.
Yet Easter too often gets forgotten amongst the bank holiday weekend and insatiable desire for chocolate, and my personal Easter story gets lost amid the cares, frustration and stuff of life. It is too easy to let other things crowd out this event both in our celebration of it as a festival, but more as a daily changed life reality.
I am anxious about telling my salvation story, as although I am happy to tell it, the question is not “how did you come to faith?” -although that is the question that people often ask?- but rather what difference does coming to faith make in your life today? How does the resurrection impact your every day life.
So, today I think about my 20 year journey, not always plain sailing, with bumps and valleys along the way at times, but I still wouldn’t change it and don’t regret my choice to say “yes to Christ”, but do I offer people the chances I was given? I don’t want to be the kind of person who has had every opportunity given them but kicks the ladder away from those following us, instead I want the people following me to be given more and better opportunities to hear and respond to the gospel of the resurrected Christ.
So, 20 years today.
Am I still fresh? Have I lost my first love?
Do I still believe I have something wonderful and transformative to share with the world?
Do I hold out the word with the same bravery, courage and faithfulness that the people who encouraged me to accept that invitation?
what can I do to offer that same opportunity to as many people as possible?
And how can I make it as easy as possible for them to accept this?
And how can I nurture them that 20 years from now they are still walking with Jesus