Last night at CHAOS//Sunday Night Benji and I led the students through an exercise as a part of our Crash Series (series dedicated to shamelessly pursuing the mission of Jesus Christ). We encouraged the students to ask themselves a few questions about their relationship with Jesus and in the midst of this establish their story. This practice is not something revolutionary to the church, but it is a form of evangelism that seems to be effective when it comes to truly loving people in the name of Christ. With this being said, we asked them to think about what their lives were like in these three situations
Before they met Jesus
When they met Jesus
After they met Jesus
Each of these stages of their lives, no matter where they were in their relationship with Jesus, brought to life some important ideas and reflections. But it got me thinking about my story, so I thought I would share it with you.
Before I met Jesus...
I was raised with two parents that felt it would be beneficial for us to go to church. Therefore, my family and I attended Harvest Christian Church in St. Charles, MO. This was the place I was introduced to the idea of church and what it meant to be a regular church member (not necessarily a follower of Christ, for I was still 5 years old when we attended here), but this was the place my mother decided to follow Christ for the first time. It was a long journey for her, but you will have to ask her for her story. Shortly after this my father got a job in Wellington, FL and we were off. Our next stop in this journey of faith was at New Hope Community Church. This is where much of my religious beginning took place. I began to realize what the bible was, who God was, and Jesus' purpose for coming to this earth.
When I met Jesus...
Only a few years later, I attended a Vacation Bible School (super cheesy I know), and during their invitation time with my group, I found myself walking toward the front of the room. I was not sure why, but I merely felt a tug on my heart that being in relationship with Jesus was the purpose of our lives here on Earth. It was like that missing piece that I did not even know was missing was finally in my grasp. Little did I know, my father was attending a Promise Keepers event in Atlanta, GA and during the same week he encountered Christ for the first time. He too chose to follow Christ with his life, giving me the push I needed to follow in his footsteps and be baptized into the faith. There is just something about a father son relationship that brought us together that day and I will never forget it.
After I met Jesus...
Although I was now in relationship with the savior of the world, I was quickly learning that there were a lot of problems in this world and I was going to have to suffer through a lot. Just a few years later we were relocated away from our church home back up north to Illinois. This was especially hard for our family because we truly felt our family was in Florida, but we chose to trust God and he brought us, as a family, to Bloomington-Normal, IL. We then found a church home at Eastview Christian Church and me with OASIS Student Ministries. These years in Junior High and High School are what led me to believe that the Lord was calling me into vocational full-time ministry. Before this was able to happen, I had to endure some suffering. During my 8th Grade & Freshman year of high school, I struggled with severe anxiety and depression. It was a long battle that God led me through, but as he finally did, he set on my heart that I would never allow a student to feel inferior or worthless. But now it was my job to teach students of the hope and power that comes through a relationship with the living God. Through much prayer and conversations with men I trust, I came to the conclusion that I would pursue a degree in youth ministry from Cincinnati Christian University. It was at this point that Jesus truly made me into the man I am today. At college, I was given the opportunity to work with Bloc Ministries in Price Hill and for some reason he gave me a hurt for the intercity students in Cincinnati. Not to mention he allowed me the privilege to marry the most amazing partner in ministry Jennifer Schroeder (#31012). As I continued on my journey the Lord led me to Groesbeck United Methodist Church and CHAOS//SM to do ministry alongside Benji Sayre and the rest of the staff at Groesbeck. TO BE CONTINUED...
As I look back at my story I hope that it will change of the lives of those who read it, not because it is about me, but because it will show people the power of the cross and the redemption that is found in a relationship with Jesus. I pray that as you read this you begin to write your story for the Lord is speaking to you everyday and even today he is adding a line to the poem that is our lives.
till another day,