It's 11:17pm pacific time on Saturday night July 30th and I have been laying in bed watching an episode of House (thanks mom) and reading over my sermon for tomorrow's worship service (not at the same time). God brought to mind a sense of gratitude and amazement that there is a youth retreat going on right now... and I'm not there!
I don't mean that as horrible as it sounds. To be honest, Kelli and I were able to be there for a little while last night and it was amazing. But there was a time not too long ago that anything The Pathway did as a church required my direct involement. Not only was I there, but I had to organize it, plan it and invite people. While that is a joy, it can't last. The point of planting a church is to see it become a multiplying church. The only way this happens is if people start to take ownership of the vision and do the things on their own that were initially done only by me.
Well, shortly after God brought this sense of amazement and gratitude to my mind and my heart I received a text from Laura Stevenson, our amazing youth leader who organized and planned this entire retreat with the help of our guys youth leader Levi and our 4 amazing interns. Again I became filled with awe as I read the text that said 4 of our students had given their lives to Jesus. Ponce, Kiana, Michael and Manuel. 4 souls changed forever. 4 lives committed and surrendered to Jesus!!! Praise the Lord!
While all these are amazing I want to specifically point out Michael and Kiana. Michael is the oldest of 4 brothers... the McQuerter brothers. Over the last month or two we've seen 3 of the brothers become a part of our church. One of the brothers was already a believer but the other two have recently given their lives to Jesus. Last month the boys were evicted, along with their dad, from their apartment. We were able to store their stuff for them and several people in our church have given the boys a place to stay. Michael has been wrestling with God... knowing that he wants to believe but not being willing to surrender. To see the 4th and final McQuerter give his life to Jesus leads me to instantaneous worship!!! Thank you Jesus for bringing life change to the next generation of McQuerters!
Kiana is also very special to me because her mother Maria is a part of our Community Group. Maria is new to following Jesus and has been talking to me about baptism and many other deeper issues of discipleship. One of the things we've been focusing on as a church and in our Community Group is making disciples of our kids. What does that look like and how do we accomplish it? To hear stories of Maria reading Scripture to her kids has been awesome. Then she decided to bring Kiana to worship... then to youth group. Finally Maria began volunteering with our youth and now Kiana has followed her mom in giving her life to Jesus. Again, only two words come to mind...
Awe and Amazement.
Thank you Jesus. Thank you for bringing life change in Tacoma. Thank you for your grace!