This is part four 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 my first blog I mentioned the night I gave my life to Jesus.
A month or so after that I was sitting in a math class at high school having a conversation about religion with an Islamic friend (I should mention that my attention at school was rarely given to the actual subject at hand). I had so little insight to offer as a new believer compared with this educated young man, yet deep in my heart I had, despite the things he told me, a great peace that this Jesus I had encountered and begun learning about was indeed the way, truth and life. The conversation was positive, encouraging and stimulating – yet I left with a sense not really fully understanding why I felt so comfortable believing what I believed.
Fast forward a few years that consisted of bible reading plans, pastoral short courses, daily devotionals, and then some poor personal decision making, I found myself in a very different place. I had turned my back on family, friends, and even Jesus, yet I had this profound sense that He had not turned his back on me.
Sitting on the side of a lake on the other side of the world, I heard a whisper.
“Calvin, I love you”
If whispers were fists, I would have had two black eyes, a broken nose and a swollen lip. Never have I experienced four words that impacted me so deeply.
There is no question it was Jesus.
Two weeks later I found myself on my knees in a church service, and then I had what I can only describe as the most major experience of my life. I felt someone hug me. I could feel their clothing, their warmth, their breathing. It was a tight, loving, comforting embrace. I opened my eyes. No one there. Yet the embrace continued.
There is NO question or doubt in my mind that it was Jesus.
For all the theology, learning, historical facts, wrestling with doctrine and mental torture we put ourselves through over trying to prove God, we so rarely allow our hearts to offer an answer. And yet here, in the story and invitation of Jesus, we see a God who craves relationship and intimacy, who longs for us to find comfort and security in Him. We are called to respond to Jesus from the depths of our soul rather than the scope of our education and discipline.
Why am I banking on Jesus for eternity? Because when I read the invitation of Jesus to His disciples I get excited. I love the things Jesus did and want so desperately to be a part of them. I love the idea of blessing the poor, healing the sick and loving the broken.
And when I participate in those things, I FEEL the love and grace of Jesus with me and around me.
When I live a life seeking first the kingdom of God, it feels like I am living eternity right now.
And it means everything to me.
“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me.I have made youknown to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
-Jesus (John 17:24-26)