This past Monday my roommate invited me to go with him and his visiting brother-in-law to the local Catholic Christian bookstore here in Redding. I had nothing else going on, so I agreed, bringing with me the latest book I am working on, looking forward to some good reading!
I found myself in the card section and was putting a card back with a cartoon of Jesus "clearing the temple" on a skateboard when a high school aged guy comes up to me and asks if I am the owner of the book about ecstasy. Before I can even answer he then asks me what I think about ecstasy. Having no idea of his background or where he was going with the question I asked him if he wanted my opinion on the greek definition and biblical explanation on ecstasies in God or if he was wondering about what I thought about the street drug. He seemed to get a little bit confused and ended up wandering off as my roommate interrupted with a question about what kind of coffee I was going to get at the cafe there.
For some reason this guy is just drawn to me and after a few minutes he asks me if a want to play guitar with him in the back corner of the store. He introduces himself as Pauly and before I know whats happening, he's jammed out a nirvana song and has his laptop open showing me his favorite skate videos on youtube. After about 30mins of chatting it up, I discover that he is the foster child of the store owner and has only been with their family for about 2 weeks.
He keeps wanting to talk about this "super hawt chic" at this new youth group that he is going to but I start sharing with him some testimonies of what God has been doing in my life recently. I go on to share how God totally showed up on a recent treasure hunt (see past blogs about what a treasure hunt is if you're in the dark) and how two random guys at a disc golf course got to encounter the love of God through prayer and prophecy recently. After a few minutes I ask him if he knew Jesus and he kinda didn't know how to respond. I then proceeded to ask him if he wanted to. He admitted being curious but didn't really know what to do with Jesus. I got so excited, I started explaining the power of forgiveness and all the things that God has done in my life as I've learned to walk in forgiveness! I then shared how Jesus was the ultimate model of forgiveness and what He had done for us through his death and resurrection.
I asked him how he was doing, to which he replied that his heart was beating out of his chest. I told him mine was too...and that's because the Holy Spirit was right there with us! By this point my friends were signaling me that they were ready to leave, to which I was trying to signal back "just 5 more minutes!" Looking Pauly in the eye I asked him if he wanted to follow me in prayer to meet Jesus. He said yes!!! After we were done you could tell he was deeply shaken and not really sure what to do next. I had time for just a few more minutes of encouragement as they were in the process of closing the book store down for the evening.
Looking back on that afternoon I had no idea that I would be heading into an Jesus encounter with a high schooler. God is so creative. The Holy Spirit totally used Pauly's curiosity in a book about ecstasies in God to lead him into an introduction to Jesus! Praise God...
Then!... just today, four of us went downtown to bring some clothes to a person we had befriended on a street corner when salvation broke out again! As we handed Willy his new pair of jeans and a coat we started chatting with another guy there who was clearly inebriated and looking a little worse for wear. Within about 5 minutes of us being there he begins to share his life story with one of our crew, Philip, who faithfully listened to him pour out his heart. Phil then began to prophesy love and life into the guy and within 20 minutes he has led him to the Lord!!
Its safe to say that momentum has been building in our hunger to see people encounter Jesus in a tangible way. True love, real love is as strong as death and His jealousy as fierce as the grave. Cierra and I both are on a journey to see the true potential of love stirred up in us for others.
p.s.s Thank you to all who have sent support! God is such a good provider! These testimonies belong to you as much as they are ours!!!