The orientation service with all Elevate (Day and Night schools) was awesome! Everyone is so deep and I really enjoyed hearing the testimonies/encouragements from the staff and leaders. After that, we all enjoyed worship led by James Mark, and just really basked in the presence of the Lord. The first song played was "So Good to Me" by Cory Asbury. One of my favorites. I was dancin' and jumpin' around and it was so fun, I just didn't care. The joy of the Lord was so real and it just bursted out of me!
I had the epiphany today that I'm not who I was. A year ago, 6 months ago, 3 weeks ago. And the funny thing is even before I had that realization, other people have noticed the difference. The purpose in doing Elevate is not to get all my t's crossed and i's dotted for God. It's not to earn my way to heaven, thank the Lord! And it's certainly not for show. It's b/c God stirred in my heart and told me he had more for me. That he wanted to take me into a deeper revelation of who He is. Deeper revelation of who I am and what it looks like to really know my identity in Christ and walk out in it. To know my Creator and Savior in an intimate way.
Today I dialogued with a coworker, Eric, who used to bring my files to me at work before I switched teams. At first I thought he was kind of a strange guy, and that it was better not to get too involved in conversation b/c you could just never get out! (At that time, I had more production demands on my job and talking time was limited, but now I am mentoring so there's more leeway.) Well, I'm not sure it all happened, but I just started sharing about how I was busy (oh it was b/c he had asked if I was still biking)...and that led to me talking about Elevate and my faith. I then asked him what he believed and if he was a Christian. He said he believes in a higher being b/c it would be stupid not to, but he didn't want to pin a name on "the being."
He talked about his uncertainties with the accuracy of the bible. He was of the opinion that it was just another book. I asked him if he believed it was a living document and that it could change people's lives...to which he replied yes. He said the heart of the bible is good and if you can get past all the denominational discrepencies and find that meaning, then it's good. I told him how the bible had transformed my life. It does have those crazy books like Leviticus where so and so begat so and so...but it also has the words of Jesus, the words of life! And sooo so many promises from God to his people in the Old Testament that we can still hold onto today.
So without getting too into apologetics too much, we discussed heaven and hell and how you get to heaven. Talked about the difference between “good works” and “faith.” I talked about my experience growing up in the church and having to redefine my faith even now and not put God in a box. I told Eric that God designed him for a specific purpose, not just to work at the VA, but that his ultimate dream for Eric would be for him to put his faith in Jesus. Fullness of life cannot be found apart from God. Jesus said he died on a cross that we might have abundant life. But it’s a choice. God won’t make us puppets or slaves to his love. He wants us to choose to love him. Thus, it’s our own free will that frees us to love God or makes us choose a life of sin and death. I think I had a greater understanding of this after reading The Shack.
Anyway, we talked for a while but halfway through he said, “I usually would not say something like this b/c I don’t believe in the supernatural…but when you were talking, your face and around your head...it became radiant! You have such a confidence and assuredness about everything you are talking about and I respect that so much.”
I was grateful when he assured me he wasn’t trying to come on to me, he pointed at his wedding band and said I am a happily married man and I love my wife, but I figured I should tell you that you are radiating.
The last thing he said was that he doesn’t know God is real. I encouraged him to ask the Lord to show himself, to provide some sort of sign of his love for Eric, and he will! I had no problem challenging the Lord to that b/c I know it is his desire anyway! He kind of nodded and then walked away.
My whole body was shaking!!! It’s like the Holy Spirit had so much power in me, and as it was coming out it was evident both to me and to Eric. I didn’t expect him to notice too! Thank you God for using me as a vessel, and for finding me fit to share the gospel even when I don’t think I have the right things to say. Thank you for the boldness that you gave that was so not of me. You are a good God and a loving Father!