This is part one of a four part series leading up to the launch of Shore Vineyard Churches new church plant “INTERSECTION”. These four weeks will be related to the first service which is called “Who is Jesus: Facts, stories and questions about the most influential man in history.” For more information on Intersection, visit the Shore Vineyards website here
In some ways, you have all heard this story. Some of you may have heard mine personally, but chances are you have heard a similar story of someone else who perhaps lives in a very different part of the world, or at a different time in history.
It’s a story that goes along those all too familiar redemptive lines. The story involves an average teenage boy who gets OK grades, plays High School Rugby and Volleyball, dabbles a little in social drugs and alcohol, skateboards at every spare moment and enjoys the company of girls way too much. Things are flipped upside down when his dad is diagnosed with terminal cancer. His life spirals downwards until he is invited to join a pop punk band with a friend of his, and inadvertently finds himself in a youth group, listening to other young people “worship Jesus”. It’s weird – but he wants what these people seemingly have. So he “gives his life” to Jesus Christ. His life is changed forever.
My life was changed forever.
Sure the specifics aren’t the same, but chances are you have heard this story before. But this PARTICULAR story is special and unique in that it is MINE. I gave my heart to Jesus in the basement of my now-pastor’s house that night, and since then I have been on a journey. A journey that has taken me through the inevitable highs and lows of discipleship, but ultimately a journey I wouldn’t change for the world. It is a journey that has made me the man I am today – A man sold out for the kingdom of God and dedicated to sharing the love of Jesus with everyone possible.
That night, Life began. And I don’t mean in a way that life was bad before and now it is awesome and I have everything my heart desires. In a lot of ways my life is exactly the same as before. But it kinda feels like everything became real, more vivid somehow. For you old timers, it was the switch from black and white television to colour. For the new timers it was the switch from dial-up to broadband. Nothing was new – just more amazing. Life was real, it was happening, and it was happening vividly.
I felt alive.
And then these new words came into my vocabulary. and with Jesus those words became the very air I inhaled.
Hope. Purpose. Love.
Words I had known all my life, Yet I was discovering them for the first time.
As I finish, Let me share a story. Below is a picture of a skatepark near my house. I have skated there since I was 13 years old. Skateboarding there was always “fun” and “cool”. Nowadays when I skate there I go early in the morning. I love the sound of the ocean mixing with the sound of wheels on concrete. I love the fresh sea breeze hitting my face as I fly around the park. The sounds of birds and metal trucks on coping come together to form a song so harmonious I cannot describe it or replicate it. I feel Alive. I feel the presence of Jesus. I feel delight, joy and love.
With Jesus, since I met him, things – experiences, activities, adventures, conversations and whatever else you can think of – have become SO MUCH MORE REAL to me.
And it is, quite simply, worth it.