When you see an excited and maybe nervous thirteen year old climb into a bus ready to share about God’s love; it is in that same moment you forget what the media is saying about a (sometimes) very confused society.
When you see that same kid get off the bus and hug his half-Hispanic/half-African American sister; it is in that same moment you forget the recent video clip of the McKinney police officer that literally made you cringe and maybe tear up because he was treating the young girl like no human being should be EVER treated.
And let me just bring it full circle for you, shortly after they are joined by a very energetic and rambunctious 3 year old. Not too far away you can spot or at least hear their parents, if I had to guess they were being very sarcastic and loving all at the same time. I am learning a lot from them and from their dear friends & church family at IBC.
Together, they pursue God. Together, they love others. Together, they make sacrifices. Together, they ARE unconditional love.
The point is, I want you to be encouraged by what is happening in the Christian Church in America, and more specifically San Angelo, Texas. Because in the weeks leading up to this we were bombarded by articles about Bruce Jenner, and how we should or shouldn’t respond. Knowing well enough that we would be criticized either way.
This past week at Immanuel Baptist Love Week/VBS, I saw people of all ages, races, and spiritual backgrounds come together to share one message–the Gospel. And it went great, stories can be told about all the unique people we met in all the different places that we were dispersed. Leading up to Love Week, I had been thinking about Radical by David Platt. Here’s the excerpt that you’ve probably seen before, but take a moment to look at it again.
“You and I, we have an average of about seventy or eighty years on this earth. During these years we are bombarded with the temporary.
Make money. Get stuff. Be comfortable. Live well. Have fun.
In middle of it all, we get blinded to the eternal. But it’s there.
You and I stand on the porch of eternity.
Both of us will soon stand before God to give an account for our stewardship of the time, the resources, the gifts, and ultimately the gospel He has entrusted to us.
When that day comes, I am convinced we will not wish we had given more of ourselves to living for the things of this world. We will not wish we had made more money, acquired more stuff, lived more comfortably, taken more vacations, watched more television, pursued great retirement, or been more successful in the eyes of this world.
Instead we will wish we had given more of ourselves to living for the day when every nation, tribe, people, and language will bow around the throne and sing the praises of the Savior who delights in radical obedience and the God who deserves eternal worship.”
-David Platt, Radical
This whole passage by Platt has the potential to change your life. But if nothing else, I hope you caught the part about how we are “standing on the porch of eternity.” Because I missed that line the first time I read this book. I mean, can you just imagine that real quick? We think of porch and we picture our home, or we picture an open door, but having the word “eternity” makes it a mystery to me.
So these last few weeks, I’ve been trying to imagine the porch of eternity. On Sunday morning, I sat down for a second on the front steps of the church alongside some of IBC’s goofiest members. We talked, we laughed, we watched the morning. And for a split second the church traffic slowed down and I snapped this quick picture.
Just a few days later, I am reflecting on the week and it’s all coming together. I think back to that Sunday morning. I imagined all the streets in San Angelo that we had just walked through and all the porches that we stood on as we shared our stories of faith. Then I imagined all the streets in the world that WE have YET to walk through. And all of the sudden the “porch of eternity” wasn’t so hard to picture.
Because there we were on the porch of this church, a place that God is using to equip people for when they go out into their community and into the world. My imaginative mind insists on making the connection between the porches on which we shared our faith and the porch to the rest of our existence. And somehow, I still don’t know if that all makes sense to the rest of the world, but its a thought that I can’t escape.
Bottom-line, I am so grateful for this church and these people. And I am once again moved by what is happening both inside and outside of these church doors, and well beyond this porch.
God intended for us to be storytellers, ambassadors of His Word. So join me on whatever porch you are picturing right now and let’s tell our stories, there are thousands of people WAITING to hear.
“We have decided that there are worse things than dying. Staying alive for no real purpose or passion.” -Jeremy Courtney