I leave for Ohio today and will begin the 328 mile bike ride across Ohio on Thursday. This ride is to raise money to help families going through the difficulties of cancer as well as to raise awareness about cancer.
I will have very limited access to email until 7-30-13. As a special treat these next four days, I would like to send out some message my sixteen year old daughter, Sarah, has recently written. Sarah is passionate about the Gospel and I believe you will enjoy her thoughts about this all-important part of the Christian faith. Please try to read all the messages in the order they are sent.
The Gospel, Part 1 – Firsts
The first time I ever expressed the Gospel with my own voice, I was six and about to be baptized. The only thing I remember fully understanding was that my little dip in the water was a communication tool to tell the people present that I believed something. I had to read my short speech before I stepped in the pool. Of course they were not my own words, I had to ask my dad what exactly this belief was with which I was associating myself. I do remember feeling a sense of joy though.
The first time I ever understood the Gospel, I was in fifth grade and in a Kids’ EE (Evangelism Explosion) Sunday School class. I learned that the wages of sin is death, whatever wages are. I learned that Jesus was the atonement for our sins, whatever atonement is. I was very confused by all the metaphors as well (“we were the ones drowning in the ocean and Jesus was our life-raft”), but slowly all the mysteries of the Gospel began to become clear to me. How had I not understood this wonderful truth before?
The first time I ever felt any emotion about the Gospel, I was a freshman at a small school. There remains in my mind an image of myself crying my larynx and pharynx out for a situation that for the first time completely deserved my tears. I had recently finished a book that had truly given me some lasting life-change: Crazy Love by Francis Chan. God had used it to call me to place individualized Bible verses with anonymous encouragements in my classmates’ lockers. Most just laughed at the little papers, but one girl came up to me with a serious face and said “Whoever wrote this was really just wasting their ink, because I’m not a Christ-follower and don’t plan to be.” So that is why I was crying on my bed that night; not because I thought my efforts had been wasted, but because this phrase kept running through my head: “My friend might go to Hell.” My classmate, if she died in her current state, was destined for an eternity apart from the source of all good and all love.
I decided to make it my commitment to not let the school year end without having spoken to her to try to convince her of the “infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus.” I did not fulfill my commitment. But maybe it was healthful to experience having the heart-wrenching knowledge that someone has not accepted the gift Jesus offers and to personally mourn for them. I don’t know.
It is curious that these three firsts came in the order that they did: Expression, comprehension, emotion. I will not attempt to make anything of it.
The school event Sarah referenced occurred when she was fourteen. She had well developed passion at this young age. I pray that through these messages we will be encouraged and stirred to a greater passion for the Gospel.
Have a Christ Centered Day!
God’s Daily Word Ministries
**** Reading Plan ****
Jul 23 2 Chronicles 8:11-10:19; Romans 8:9-23; Psalm 18:16-34; Proverbs 19:26
757.98 Run Miles in 2013 : Goal 1509 miles
1244.13 Bike Miles in 2013 : Goal 3000 miles