So, I was feeling a little guilty this summer. There is a guy in our youth group named Aaron. I had shared the gospel with him in May or so and he told me at the time he was not yet ready to make a commitment. I respected that and continued to pray for him. I wanted to get him alone all summer long and just kept getting pushed into the "stuff" of ministry and week after week opportunity slipped by and we didn't talk.
At the first Reality Check of the year I made a point to make a bee line for Aaron right after the service. We sat down and I simply asked, "What is God doing in your life"? He told me God had given him a job. It made me happy that he was acknowledging that but not really where I was going. About that time my two year old son ran up to me. I love that kid and want to devote all my time to him but realized that this conversation was important at the time. I also realized the conversation would be VERY difficult if I tried to have it with Jackson sitting on my lap. Kendra called him over to her and I asked Aaron to join me in a quieter place than the Youth Hall.
As we talked, I asked Aaron if he had thought more about our conversation about salvation. He said yes. We talked and he said he had a time over the summer when things were really bad and he broke down and realized he needed God. There was something in the phrasing that made me wonder if he had made a commitment but he said he had. So, we discussed baptism and talked about Church membership. I assured him that baptism was just the first sign of a Christian life and nothing more. I also tried to explain that membership was all about accountability and nurturing and not about salvation. We prayed together and he left. I was very excited.
Then on Sunday he came forward in church to make public his decision. Because of that dreaded piano side organ side seating arrangement that fills most churches he talked with another one of our pastors when he came (because I hold down the organ side and Aaron sits on the piano side). One of our deacons took him out and I was proud. It was also joy filling to see so many of the kids in the youth group get excited about it. Aaron and his friends mostly sit alone and I hate that our kids haven't reached out more to them.
Anyway, after the service Aaron and the deacon came to me and told me that during the counseling session, Aaron prayed to receive Christ! See I was worried but God knows timing WAY better than I do. Aaron just kept saying, "I'm just so happy!" Me too! Now I have to get him into my small group. He really wants to come, so I have to find a way for him to get to me without having a car.
Then this past week, I was in the second week of our three week series on evangelism. We were talking about attracting your friends with your lifestyle. The sermon went okay and as I started down the steps a seventh grader named Ryan approached me. He simply said, "Jasper, I was wondering if you could lead me to the Lord". Of course I said I was really busy and needed to talk to the worship team about next week's worship set.
We immediately went to the same room that Aaron and I had talked together in the week before. Ryan had prayed a prayer once but realized it was just words before. When I asked him what made him choose tonight to talk about this, he said, "Just the things you were saying tonight". WOW! We then prayed together and as his mother came to pick him up she was SO excited! Woot! I got him a Bible and we headed on our way.
I love what God is doing in this group right now. It is amazing all He is accomplishing. We had four guys surrender to the ministry in just over a year as well. We have girls that are seeking how they may be used full time too. I am overwhelmed that God is using simple, sinful Jasper to affect lives for teens. WOW! This is the best job in the world!