As a preachers Kid I grew up in church. Yes, I’ve seen a lot of things; I’ve seen the positives and negatives in people and church life on extremes, most good, but some bad. I’ve seen imperfect people behaving imperfectly. I’ve seen the same thing in families, on jobs, and in neighborhoods that I’ve lived in. It’s human nature.
To help people get into a relationship with Jesus we don’t have to be perfect, non Christian people are not expecting perfection from Christians, they’re just expecting honesty. Wanting us to be true to who we say we are. They are looking for authenticity and sincerity. It’s ok not to be perfect, but it’s not ok to be pretentious.
I’ve seen hypocrisy and pretension at its height in my life growing up, and in my adolescence I was confused about my identity, who I was, or what God really wanted for me. All I knew for sure, I wasn’t going to be a phony or a hypocrite.
I just didn’t understand grace. Grace is the idea that if we choose to live in relationship with Jesus and commit our lives to Him, He will give us the ability and power to live our lives for Him, Grace is the unmerited, undeserved, unearned blessing and favor of God on our lives.
When I was a sophomore I had a turn around. I decided to give my life to Christ. I was lost and self destructing, truthfully my life was spinning out of control, and it was getting worse. (You might say, how bad could it be, when I was so young, but I had some horrible influences outside my family). Somehow God arrested my attention, and so I made a commitment to Him, and began to follow Him. I started bringing friends to church, and they started bringing friends. Many young people made decisions for Christ in our church. We were actually filling up pews with young people.
Most of the teens who made decisions for Christ were coming without their families, so they didn’t have parental support for this new decision. With no support structure they slowly disconnected and left the church. I gave into pressure and slowly disconnected myself, and decided I wasn’t going to live for God.
I never stopped going to church, thank God, because it was ingrained in me, but I backslid with a vengeance. I attended church consistently but was fading off into the spiritual distance and needed help before I would disappear into a future disconnected from God.
Thank God for a friend named Terry, he was the high school Sunday school teacher in our church. He wasn’t perfect, but he cared. Other people didn’t know what was going on with me, and to be honest wouldn’t have done anything anyway, because it’s intimidating to try to connect with the pastor’s kid, whose messed up, but Terry would call me, and ask me to come to his house and hang out with his family. He cared. He would encourage me, or hug me, or ask me how I was doing. He just wouldn’t let up. He saw I was lost, and he knew I needed help. He saw something in me that I didn’t see myself. Terry cared.
One day I couldn’t take it anymore. I just made a decision, “God, I want to live for you, If you care for me so much that you’re talking to Terry about me, than you must have a purpose for me.”, and from that time until now, I have lived my life all out for God, and trying to do for others what Terry did for me. He cared.
So today, find someone, who has never had a relationship with Christ, or maybe someone who is a prodigal like a was, running from destiny, confused about identity, frustrated about hypocrisy and trapped in sin. All it takes is for someone to care. I’m not perfect, but I am living for God today, because my friend Terry cared about me. Who will you care about today? Over Twenty years later I still Thank God for Terry.
I have a terrific family, an incredible church, a wonderful life, and have been blessed to have the opportunity to minister to thousands of people with the grace and love of Jesus in spiritual and practical ways. All because Terry Cared. I can’t imagine where my life would have gone without his influence.
My life is not perfect, but Gods grace is sufficient to give us victory in every situation.