Willow Weston speaking from a stage

God use me? No way! Part 1

I think you want to change the world. I think you do. I think there is something in you that hungers to do something about all the injustices. I think you want to be him, you want to be that guy, you want to touch the rim. I think you chime in with Macklemore’s kid choir singing: I want to fly. Can you take me far away? Give me a star to reach for.

Tell me what it takes. And I’ll go so high. I think when you see a Nike commercial it makes you want to push your limits. (video in background) I think when you see Creed and it makes you watch all the old Rocky movies, you start to want to live fighting for the underdog.

You know what I really think, I think your generation is looking around at a political crises, a racial crises, a sex trafficking crises, an environmental crises, a spiritual crises and something is rising up in you. It hasn’t boiled over yet, but its getting real hot. And I think your tired of suicides and school shootings and your tired of bullies and dysfunction in your family. I think your tired of your sin getting the best of you and everyone around you. I think your tired of seeing the people you love wounded and wounding others. And mostly I think your tired of being made to feel like you can’t do much about any of this.

After returning from a mission trip with me, a young college girl new in faith named Sabby was doing her recycling job on Western’s campus one morning. She had a specific route she had to follow and found herself at the bottom of Nash Hall doing just that, when a young man’s body fell through the trees and landed on the tennis court right in front of her. This man, Tim, had lost all hope and jumped out of 7 story building and Sabby was the first responder. She called 911. She saw the blood gushing out of him. He was still alive! When the medics got there, they pushed Sabby back. She saw him take his last breath. For months, Sabby replayed the horror, the images and sounds, wishing she could have done more to save his life or others like him.
I think you and I get that feeling of wishing we could do more.

I sat across from a young college aged guy at a coffee shop. After googling the word “gay” as a 12 year old and being molested and abused by a string of men he met online, he had been suicidal. Here he was sitting across from me begging that Jesus could meet him where he was at; gay, wounded, confused and confident God wouldn’t touch him with a ten foot pole because that’s what he heard from Christians. And like I think you would, I wanted to help him find healing and hope in Jesus.

An old shorter man with glasses came up to me in a mega church. No one knew his story. It’s the kind you don’t share. He had hollered for his wife in her sewing room. She didn’t answer. After hours of her not answering, he finally broke the door down and there was his bride with blood all over her wrists. He looked at me desperate like he needed help and had no where else to turn. And like you, I so wanted to help.

I lead a ministry called Collide. It birthed out of a bible study of 25 young college aged girls who used to gather in my living room and we would look at wounded collisions where Jesus in the New Testament would collide with wounded people. And crazy stuff started happening in our own lives. We were colliding with this beautiful Jesus in all our pain and I was leading these girls out of mine and a girl who was molested by her father ran into Jesus and found healing! Girls with little self esteem issues and eating disorders were being renewed in their identity and found worthy by Jesus. Girls with no sense of calling and passion were being called to move to the ends of the earth to proclaim His name. And then one night some of the girls called me from the hospital. One of them had been in a terrible accident. A high schooler rear ended her car and sent it flying into a family walking across a crosswalk and the girl in my bible study, her car killed a child. I got to the ER and stood by her bed and then for days and now years, have stood by her as she agonized over the death of a child. It was not her fault and yet it was her car. She agonized and found her every move paralyzed. And like you, I’ve wanted to be able to bring about something good from something so horrific.

What I really think is you, like me want to see lives change. You want to see hope restored. You want to see light in the darkness. Yeah, I think you want to change the world. You want to see your mom set free. You want to see addicts healed. You want to see your friend fly. You want to see her believe about herself what you already do. You want to see people come to Jesus in droves because you know in your gut that He is the only One who can do anything about all this mess. You want it. That’s why you‘ve said to Jesus, “I need you. I’ll follow you all the days of my life. I want to serve you.”

Jesus said in John 14:12 “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these…” Jesus said you can change the world. He said you can do great things. Is this Jesus just blowing smoke or could it be true? Let’s by faith assume Jesus isn’t a poser and that He doesn’t blow smoke. Let’s take Him at His word and believe Him when He says that we can be used to do amazing, powerful things. If it be true, what is messing with this becoming a reality in our lives?

What if I told you that our confidence problem is the very thing that holds us back from doing amazing things that will bring about change in this world? Right now, you are thinking, I am not confident. I am insecure, anxious, overly cautious, self debasing. But what do we put our confidence in? We live in a world and even a Christian culture where we have begun to elevate the strong, the seemingly perfect, the “successful” and by that I mean those at the top of the ladder, those who have minimal problems and we disqualify the insecure and wounded. We think the people who God handed out the many talents to are the ones He will use most and those of us who can barely locate a gift will be useless. We think the people who came from perfect Christian families are the people who will do the greatest things and those of us who need weekly counselors to hash out for family backgrounds are good for nothing. We think the people who go to Seminary and have lots o letters after their names are the people that will impact the world most and those of us who need to read the Message version of the Bible to get it are pretty useless. We think that the guy with the guitar and the girl with the angelic voice are more equipped than those of us who have no rhythm. We think the voice that booms from the front with big obnoxious confidence and has all the answers must really be right and the kid in the back slumped down on his seat insecure and questioning himself is of no use.

We think that if we are a hot mess, we’ll need to undergo a spiritual bleaching before we can help clean up anyone else’s mess. We think if we fail at commitments, struggle in friendship, and worry about what other people think, we certainly cannot be people God will call to do anything big or great. We’re sure our bruises and scars, might just be too much for God to do anything real amazing through us. We are confident God uses our spiritual tightness, our hipster hipness, our unwavering faith, our education, our magnetism, our blue ribbons, our acknowledgement, our prosperity, our on a roll, in luck, sitting pretty, born with a silver spoon, always on the sunny side, well to do, unblemished, accomplished selves. Our, our, our. We have a confidence problem that is all about us. Our confidence is in the belief that we must really be something for God to use us and confident He won’t if we aren’t. Our confidence problem might be the greatest hindrance to our greatness!

I remember being confident of this myself. The week I became a Christian, two guys happened to come through my line at Haggen, where I checked groceries to pay for my weekend escapades and my long island ice teas in college. They were buying massive amounts of baby food. It turns out they were youth leaders down the street at the church I just gave my life to Christ in. And of course they were playing some obnoxious game with whirled peas and carrots that was going to explain the Trinity or something. They eagerly invited me to come be a youth leader with them. I thought to myself, there is no way I could do that. I have never been apart of a youth group let alone qualified to lead at one. I wouldn’t have a clue how to make a 15 year old play with baby food and turn that into a bestie friendship with Jesus.

I thought, I am not even tight with God. I am a slut and I really like to drink Peach Schnapps and dance to Bob Marley. I mean how could God use a girl from an irreligious background who had skeletons in the closet, a desire to be found worthy and finding that worth in all sorts of nasty places, a past full of secrets, abuse and abandonment issues, a load of insecurities and little knowledge of Jesus with no Christian family? How could God use this wounded mess? I didn’t fit the profile. But these two men were convincing. With no experience in Christian groups of any sort, little knowledge of the Bible and I had just met Jesus, I showed up at this rowdy youth group in town… as a leader.

I often felt insecure to help people for God, sure I didn’t belong and I wasn’t good enough. But the more I showed up to help the kids, the more Jesus started helping me. And these crazy things started happening. I started waking up in the middle of the night with words coming out of my mouth and stories that I had to write down. I started seeing the world around me whether it was a swimming dog, a crying baby or a guy who used lame pick up lines on me as spiritual illustrations to help struggling high schoolers. I thought I was going crazy so I met with the youth pastor and his wife to ask what they thought was happening to me. I will never forget when they looked at me and said, “We believe God is calling you into vocational ministry.” “What’s vocational ministryyyyyy?” I honestly had no idea. “It’s when ministry is your calling and your career.” like duh, they answered. Dumbfounded and stomping my feet on the inside, I said “Noooooooooooooo!”

I was pursuing a business degree at Western so I could be a leader in the corporate world and make the big bucks and boss people around. I was planning on marrying the pilot I had been dating for several years and I was going to bring Jesus into all this with me. He was my new friend and He could come along. I wasn’t a Jesus follower. I was a Jesus dragger. One day after class, I was walking on the arboretum trail above campus surrounded by Evergreens with a view of the city peeking through, and words came out of my mouth. It was my voice, but God’s words. And He said “I want to use your life to proclaim my power. Sure you believe in me but I want more than that for you and from you. When you get off this trail you can choose your own way or you can choose to follow me. You decide.”  When I stepped off that trail I knew where I was going as unequipped and unfit as I felt…

I applied to be an intern at my church. It was a two year pastoral internship. I had three interviews that I had convinced myself I would face plant. I was sure they would find out who I really was and turn me down lickety split. On my 3rd interview, I sat down across from the Senior Pastor and he asked me if I was willing to try preaching. I said “Me? No way! Never! But I will clean toilets, I will greet people, I will hang with kids and kiss babies, and the sassiest of teenagers, but I will never speak up front, like in front of people and actually have something to say that is deeply impacting and spiritual. Plus they will see my butt. And no one needs to see that.” They turned me down for the internship. I couldn’t believe it, yet I could. Of course they did. I had an opportunity to do great things but I walked away, unwilling to believe God could use me to do big things.

Are you walking away believing you can’t be used to do great things? I think you wanna change the world and I think you think that the very thing that its gonna take is the very thing its not. Some of you are waiting. You are waiting to get cooler. You are waiting to get hipper. You are waiting to get tighter with the Big man upstairs. You are waiting to sound more spiritual. You are waiting for a degree. You are waiting for your deep rooted wounds to go away. You are waiting for your insecurities to be replaced with a strong self confidence. An you can wait til your blue in the face honey, cause you being more isn’t what’s gonna change lives. What’s gonna change lives is Jesus Christ and when I see Jesus Christ change lives it has little to do with what your waiting on. When I walked away from the opportunity to do something only God could do through me, I keep thinking about Jesus who fiercely challenges our confidence problem. Everything I saw in Him told me that I was wrong, I was believing lies, I was letting my past determine my present. I was letting my wounds win. I was letting my insecurities call me. Everything in me wanted to turn around and take God at His word, counting on God to be who He has always been. And here is why I did.

God has always used unlikely people.

God throughout history has always used fraidy cats, punks, failures, big bad sinners, and insecure people with rough stories and sketchy pasts. As long as we have our confidence in our own confidence and our insecurities in our woundedness, we will not change the world. Instead we will be impressing ourselves and each other with our pompous assumptions and small bouts of self glorifying success. We will be held back by our sicknesses, our deep rooted strongholds and our assumptions that we can’t bring much to the table if we are still wounded. So our confidence in self and our lack of confidence in self will both be the very things that halt the power of God in and through us bringing healing and wholeness to a broken world. As long as we think God uses the people we would pick to be on our team, our team will lose. God picks the least likely. If God used the people we would…

Goliath would still be bullying people. Instead God used an insecure, unequipped, young man who stepped up and didn’t let insecurity in what he didn’t have get in the way but instead pelted an oppressive monster straight square in the eyes with a mere pebble to rescue people.
Gideon’s people would still be oppressed if Gideon would have put his confidence in his sissy baby self that was peeing his pants and hiding from his oppressors in a winepress. Instead, God found an unlikely wimp hiding from his oppressors and used him to send those oppressors packing!

The Israelites would still be slaves under Pharaoh, the Red sea never would have parted and we would be missing one of the best Disney movies ever if Moses would have let his stutter and disability determine what he was supposed to do with his life. But instead Moses allowed the call of God to be louder than his weaknesses.

The 5000 hungry humans would be hangry right now if God hadn’t chosen to use an unlikely little boy’s lunch, 5 loaves of bread and 2 small fish to feed them.
The Philistines would still be oppressing the Israelites had God not chosen to use the jawbone of an ass to turn them into Philly steak sandwiches.

You can sit around until your 45 saying I’m too. I’m too young in my faith. I’m too much of a disappointment. I’m too stained. I’m too plain. I’m too afraid. I’m too different. I’m too weighed down with baggage. I’m too ungodly. I’m too…..God’s too. God’s too big. God’s too supernatural. God’s too mighty. God’s too powerful. God’s too wise. God’s to amazing. God’s too awesome. God’s too everything your too not. I’m too’s mean nothing in God’s economy. God is not concerned with what you are too much of or what you are not enough of. God is enough. God is big enough. God is powerful enough. God is graceful enough. God is good enough. If you think its unlikely God can use you, you are in the right place. That’s where Moses was at the burning bush. That’s where Gideon was in the winepress. That’s where Joseph was in a hole his brothers threw him in. Unlikely is God’s middle name. It is in using the unlikely that people will know His first name. God uses unlikely people so we know its Him and it’s when you start to believe this, it will be you He uses!

It’s often when you are peeing your pants, when you are stuttering, when you are a harlot, it’s in that kind of unlikeliness that God says “I am going to flow power out of you in a way that only I can and then everyone will know its me.” See what God is going for. God wants to work through you in a way that the onlookers can only clap at the magnitude of what only God can do. Unlikely? Exactly!

God confounds us.

1 Corinthians 1:28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things and the things that are not to nullify the things that are…

God is very deliberate. This is His choice and His plan to use the unlikely. His calling in our lives has little to do with how awesome we are, but more to do with how awesome He is. The word shame is more accurately the word confound which means to: bring to ruin. destroy, baffle. frustrate. put to shame. damn. throw into confusion or perplexity. God will confound you by who He uses. God will surprise you. God will not be predictable in His power. His power can not be made sense by man. We can’t makes sense of the weather or the opposite sex, so we certainly cannot make sense of the power of God! So then when He uses nitwits, and depressed artists and recovering drug addicts and shy people, only God gets the props. It must have been His power people will say. God wants to confound people by using you!

God’s power is made perfect in your weakness.

2 Corinthians 12:9 says “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Not in strength. Not in armies. Not in crossfit, Not in biceps. Not in titles. Not in flashy lights. Not in beauty and perfection. Not in dolla dolla bills ya all. You think that’s ludicrous? So is a rod. So are 5 stones and a slingshot. So is a prostitute with her long list of tricks and the pain that led her there. So is God on a tree. Hanging there. For you…and me. Salvation came through pain. suffering. humility. woundedness. Why would you be able to bring it any other way?

Isaiah 53 describes what the Messiah, the ONE who could come and change the world, what He would look like: He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

Funny, even God Himself didn’t use force or arrogance or put togetherness or the highest rung on a ladder or lots of letters after his name or a perfect family line or a title or a position of power or wealth or worldy ideals of strength to impact the world. God used not a crib but a manger. God used not a “because I told you so authority”, but a “I’ll show you so humility”. God used not a long line of Christian nobility but instead a family tree that was about as crooked as can be with harlots, and adulteresses and irreligious pagans that birthed His DNA. God used not a throne, but a cross. God used not success but suffering to impact lives. God used not a strong hand of punishment nor a power play, but instead He laid down His life in a salvation move that was well played. And yet we think its going to be by our clout, our degrees, our awesomeness, our cool factor, our celebrity status, our magnetism, our this and our that – that impacts this world and brings about the change we do wish to see in hurting lives around us? Who are we kidding?

I love the story in Acts 8 about a man who had his man parts taken away. This guy was clearly wounded. His identity was determined by someone else. He experienced severe physical trauma and probably struggled with PTSD. He probably had dreams that he would never see become a reality and a large truck with tricked out wheels was not going to get him the family he dreamed of nor the respect he hoped for. Not only that but he probably had a deep sense of spiritual inadequacy as he wasn’t “good enough” to enter the temple. (slide) This man must have believed about himself that he was not good enough, spiritual enough, nor man enough. Yet look where he is headed. This eunuch was “an important official in charge of all the Queen’s bling and he was on his way to Jerusalem to worship. That word worship here actually means to “kiss the hand towards one.” Everything in his culture told him he wasn’t good enough, yet he traveled from far away with such a beautiful desire to be near. The Spirit of God told Phillip to go to the chariot the eunuch was sitting in. Phillip was the brother of Herod, the nice man who beheaded people. He used to be a big deal ruler of cities but left that powerful position to follow Jesus at 4 words, “Come and follow me.”

Philip ran up to the chariot. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked. ”How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.  The eunuch was reading this passage of Scripture: “He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth. In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants?  For his life was taken from the earth.” Imagine being this man and reading this passage. It was as if this man was reading his own life story. I can imagine it because I can imagine reading it to a young man in a coffee shop who has had his man parts also taken away. This eunuch was led like a sheep to the slaughter. He was humiliated and there was no justice in his humiliation. And descendants, well that is a bit impossible for him to have, now isn’t it?

The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus. This eunuch just read this song called the Servant song out of Isaiah 53 (slide). This song was originally written for the Israelites who were in desperate need for their world to change. The songwriter, Isaiah, whose own name means, “The Lord saves” wrote it about the Savior who was on His way and the lyrics describe what He would look like. By his wounds we are healed. Helping is coming. Wholeness is coming. But its not coming as you might expect. Its coming through brokenness, Philip explained and they passed by some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. Why shouldn’t I be baptized?” It is like this guy is waiting to be told all the reasons why everything he just heard about God doesn’t apply to him because he is still sure his brokenness will disqualify him. And then the most beautiful thing happened, they walked into the water and Phillip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. He was rejoicing not because he got his man parts back. I have yet to read that in the Bible. Poof a penis. This man was no longer at a distance from God because of what he lacked. He was no longer defined by what he was not. He was no longer identified by his suffering and scars. He was no longer called to live out of his brokenness. No, his life was changed. What changed his life?

JESUS’ STORY RESONATED WITH HIS.

What does God use to change the world? (sldie) Wounds. Jesus wears them like a shirt on His back. He stays there taking on my abuser’s abuse. The anger that was lashed out on me lashes Him. He takes on the molestation and twisted confusion. He takes on the names they called us. He takes on the suicide attempt of the bride. He takes on the darkness that led the young man to jump out of Nash hall. He takes on the car accident. He takes on the grief of a parent. He wears all of our wounds on the cross. He says with His life “These wont keep you from me. These won’t separate us. Your wounds wont have the final say. Mine will. My wounds will heal you. My wounds will set you free. My wounds will define you. My wounds will determine who you will be. When all you have have ever done is doubt it, my wounds will show you your loved. Your wounds, your failure they hold you back from greatness, but my wounds release you to be great.” We have a God who wipes brokenness all over Himself. Your brokenness didn’t keep him from saving you, it sure as hell isn’t gonna keep Him from using you to help save others!

God will use your pain for good. The wounded are not who God writes off but instead who He writes His best stories through. I love what Joseph who was betrayed and abandoned by his own brothers and then used by God to reconcile his family and help his people in a devastating famine, i love what he said: What you intended for harm, God intended for good.

I get it, I promise I do. Some of you have been abused and you still live in fear and your fear is paralyzing your destiny. Some of you, man, you don’t trust anybody because people haven’t been trustworthy and your lack of trust is keeping people at bay and so how can God use you in their lives? Some of you are living small because you are so afraid to live big and so Gods dreams for your life are not happening. Some of you have been hurt by the Church and those wounds are injuring your potential. Some of you have been told you don’t have what it takes and you have started to believe it. You can believe all those lies because our failure and our wounds they lie to us. We have a God who can take everything you have ever been through and He can write the best stories with it. He can use it for good. Your abuse can set free someone who is being abused right now. Your parents divorce can comfort someone whose family is falling apart today. Your struggle to like what you see in the mirror can come alongside young women and keep them from going down the agonizing road you have. Your rescue story can rescue someone in great need right now. God actually uses the pain in our stories to draw others towards His healing.

I turned around. I went back to the pastor and in the great words of Justin Bieber, “Never say never.” I said, God told me “Never say no to what I can do through you. So here I am taking Him at His word that HE can do even greater things through me.” And that was when I became an intern at a church for God’s sake. The pastors threw me in with the wolves. I had no training. I had never taken Bible 101. I have never had a a speech class, no pastor sat me down and told me how to write a sermon. They just threw me in for three talks in a row. I dive bombed the first 2 weeks and I had to keep getting up there. The 3rd week all I felt I had in my pocket was pain and Jesus meeting me there so I shared a piece of my story and how God was meeting me in it. Afterward a girl came up to me afterward and said, “I know what its like to hurt too. My stepdad beats me.” My very first lesson as a church intern was that God used my pain to engage hers. She wanted my Rescuer. We wanted Him together. The day I turned around and decided to count on God to be who HE says HE is, was the beginning of a journey where I have gotten front row seats to seeing God doing amazing things in hurting lives all around me.

Sabby was on a bus 2 weeks after Tim died. As she looked out the window she saw a guy crying. Then the next time the bus stopped she looked out the window and saw him again! She said to a girl she didn’t know “if we see that guy again, we should get off the bus and help him.” I imagine that girl looked at Sabby like she was crazy! She kept seeing him! She knew God’s Spirit was telling her to do something, so she got off the bus by herself and went up and tapped him on the shoulder. He cried “What do you want?!” She said “Do you need anything.” He said “what do you want from me?” She said “I just want to make sure you are ok- do you want to talk?” And so Sabby sat on the curb of some sidewalk in downtown Bellingham while this man poured out his life story. 2 ½ hours later, he said, “I was on my way to kill myself before you came after me me? Why did you?” She said “I believe Jesus takes care of people when they are hurting and He sent me.” God used pain to bring about healing. Thats what God does.

I found myself sitting at the kitchen table of the girl from my bible study the day after the hospital released her. The images, the sounds, the moment of going through the motions of one’s day to seeing the end of one’s life and trying to make sense out of the horrifying chance of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. These were all verses in the conversation that played out. And that conversation has continued playing for several years. Sometimes it was, “Why? Why God? A child? Why me?” Sometimes, it was the panic and the anxiety that was continually trying to lure her into staying put, remaining indoors, going nowhere for fear something bad might happen. Sometimes the conversation surrounded the other characters and their pain and anguish and what responsibility is hers to relieve those burdens. Needless to say, we had many conversations, we prayed many prayers and watched God’s story unfold within her and without her. It was in these conversations, that I remember this very brave, faithful and wounded young woman recognizing the great need for healing and help. She very wisely sought a professional counselor and that pursuit was like God’s Hand coming down and grabbing hers and walking her toward a better story.

Last year she sat on my couch. It was a new conversation. She was being given a large sum of money from the accident. She didn’t want the money. There was nothing the money could do to take away the pain, the memories or make the loss of a child ever be ok. That was clear. She had fought receiving the money for months and agonized over it’s lack of redemption. But God, again had spoken to her, she said, and she now knew what she wanted to do with part of that money. She wanted to give it to Collide to provide for other women who needed counseling for their pain. There isn’t a more beautiful picture than a woman who is choosing to use her pain for the sake of other people’s healing! That is what our Lord does. He trades His pain for our healing. It is now because of her story that so many others are able to tell better stories.

This young man who was molested by men off the internet so wants Jesus in his life and yet everybody and their brother is trying to identify this guy and his head is spinning. “You’re gay. You’re a Christian. You aren’t a Christian. You aren’t gay. You are this. You are that.” I was at a loss. I prayed “Oh Spirit, what to say?”

All I came up with was taking a napkin and drawing a stick figure with an orange pen and circling the private parts. (That’s what we call them in our house.) “Your private parts are one part of who you are, so why are you letting them identify you? I’m not saying God doesn’t care what you do with them, but why are you letting one part of who you are identify you? I don’t walk around saying ‘Hello my name is Willow Weston and I have heterosexual sex.” I said “Being a Christian means you identify with Christ alone. Stop letting people, including Christians, identify you by one part of who you are. I went on to explain the idea of baptism is that you identify with Christ. You fall back into the water dying to everything that has wounded you, all that has been messed up and abusive, everything that has hurt you and you die with Christ and then you are raised out of the water into life forever. Can table all that and identify with Christ alone?”

I left that conversation wondering what in the world God could do with a stick figure on a napkin? A month or so later I got to watch that young man stand on the water’s edge in front of a lot of people, including his parents who have been holding the shame and guilt of not protecting him for years. That young man said “People have called me fagot. They’ve called me fat. They called me stupid. But today I call myself Christian.”

He stepped foot into the water to die to all that has wounded him to be raised into life and hope and healing.

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