When asked, most people agree that they want to make a difference in the lives of people around them. I’m no different. I have always wanted to impact people in a positive manner.
Growing up, I worked hard to better those around me. I was the “good kid” who willingly stepped in to do whatever was needed for family or neighbors. As friendly and kind as I might have been, I soon discovered that my goodness, or anyone else’s, wouldn’t make people good for very long. Ultimately, Jesus was the only one that could really bring lasting change.
That’s when I decided to become more intentional about communicating the gospel message through my life. I wanted to be a part of God’s transformative work in others. And I, like Paul, wanted to move at the impulse of the Spirit’s powerful leading in mission with God:
Yes, I am sending you to the Gentiles to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in me. (Acts 26:16-17, New Living Translation)
Joining God in His mission changed everything for me!
… like the mission God had for me on September 15, 2008 during Monday Night Football. My favorite team, the Dallas Cowboys, took the field. I took a seat on the couch of a guy I had never met before. Apparently, the pre-game strategy between my wife and his was to use the game as an opportunity to introduce us. Tony was his name. And Tony needed a new friend. His addictions were hitting harder than any tackle about to take place on the football field. He was losing a much bigger game, and his sin-patterns were about to rob him of his family.
Tony had very little knowledge of God. He had never really given much thought about a relationship with Jesus either. As for me, I was raised in a Christ-centered home. Church had always been a part of my life. I had spent my entire adult life in ministry. Tony and I were as different as night and day. In fact, the only real thing we had in common that night was our love for football and the Dallas Cowboys.
That was enough. God had a plan. His Spirit at work, our two worlds collided that night. And God moved in ways that neither Tony nor I would ever be the same.
God quickly began to nudge me to surround Tony with Christ’s one-of-a-kind love. God was calling for an all-out blitz of His love! Day after day, conversation after conversation, golf round after golf round, fishing trip after fishing trip, Cowboy game after Cowboy game, meal after meal—the Holy Spirit helped me love Tony in ways that connected him with God’s love. God began to meet Tony in powerful ways.
It was life-on-life, intentional love that led Tony further. Nine months and tons of prayer later, Tony surrendered his life to Christ. Praise God! What a great beginning to a life that just keeps getting better. Tony and I met weekly for the three years. We got into God’s Word, prayed, confessed, and encouraged one another.
Today, Tony still watches the Cowboys play on Sunday—right after he offers the benediction at the church he pastors in East Tennessee. What a thrill to watch God transform Tony’s life—freeing him from addiction, restoring his family, lighting his heart on fire, and filling his life with purpose. Only God can bring such change that lasts forever. Only God can use a football game to kickoff a powerful work of His love.
Tony is just one example of how God can, and will, work in our lives to grow God’s Kingdom one life at a time.
Leave a Reply