I would like to share an experience I had this week that reinforced for me all the more the importance of our mission to share Jesus with those who do not know him.  Early in the week I had a voicemail left on my phone from a woman asking me if I could pray with her husband.  I didn't know the couple.  She apparently got my number from the Billy Graham association.

     According to the voice message, her husband wanted someone to pray with him to give his life to Jesus.  Needless to say, with eternity in the balance for this man, I did not hesitate to return the call.  We were able to find a time that worked in their schedule and mine, and we met.  I invite the man to share a little bit of his story. 

     Without getting into the details, this man had faced some significant struggles in his life. He desperately wanted and needed healing for the many hurts of the past.  He needed help and strength for some of the struggles he was currently experiencing.  He needed Jesus. 

     The interesting thing was, he had religion.  He had grown up in a Christian tradition.  He knew the rules and regulations of his religious upbringing.  He knew some scripture.  He felt the weight of conviction for his sins.  He feared he could not truly be forgiven.

     So we talked for a while.  We talked about the unconditional love of God.  I shared my heartbreak over some of hurts he had experienced (sadly, much of it in the name of religion).  I reinforced for him that our salvation comes by faith alone, and not by our works.  I explained the difference between religion and a relationship with Jesus.  Then we prayed together. 

      In those sacred moments, he opened his heart and invited Jesus to be the Lord and Savior of his life.  He confessed his sin, received the forgiven of Christ and genuinely experienced the grace of God.  We talked about next steps.  I gave him a Bible. 

      As they left, his countenance had changed.  He came in broken.  He left healed.  He came in shackle, he left free.  He came in defeated and discouraged.  He left victorious and hopeful in Christ. 

     The church exists for many purposes.  But I am more convinced than ever that we are called, as Jesus said "to seek and to save the lost."  We live in a world full of broken people, desperately seeking help, hope and healing.  I believe the only real hope for this world is found in Christ.  As his followers, we have been entrusted with sharing the life changing, world changing, gospel of Jesus Christ.

     Everyone needs Jesus.  My prayer for all of us is that God would continue to open doors of opportunity for us to share the hope of Christ with others.  And that we would have the courage to seize those opportunities when they come, that many more would know the freedom and forgiveness that come from a relationship with Jesus.

     Have a blessed week.  I hope you can all join us for worship at one of our campuses this Sunday.

     In Christ,

Pastor Steve