Saturday, April 11, 2009

Sometimes, you're the only "Jesus" people know.

So I would definitely classify myself as an evangelist. One of my favorite things to do, is to tell people about Jesus. Sometimes it can be hard for me to be pushed to do organized street witnessing (because it can be very awkward), but I still think it's a good, especially if you go out with the right partner. But I believe the best way to tell people about Jesus is through friendship. The dictionary defines "friendship" as having, "good will, kindness, and benevolence" towards someone. And of course, we must not forget love. God loves the whooole world, and He calls us to do the same. 

Sometimes I get frustrated in trying to explain to people at my church that we need to represent Christ and His Kingdom, because they fail. Not that I don't fail, but if you're in ministry, you might know what I mean. For instance, we tried to take our church street witnessing this summer, and maybe only 1 person showed up... every. single. week. One day I was so frustrated, I emailed an old Biola professor of mine (Dr. Williams), and I asked, "Dr. Williams, how can I motivate the Christian who works in a secular job, to be as passionate as a person in ministry? A person in ministry chose this route, because hopefully they are passionate about God, but is it fair to force this passion upon someone who is just not in ministry?"

Dr. Williams said back (basically), "Are you kidding me?! They are the most important people out there. While you are surrounded by Christians all day (not a bad thing), they are surrounded by the people who NEED Jesus. When I worked as an engineer, I was the only Jesus those people knew. Train your people to be Jesus', for the people who don't Him."

This hit me hard. This is kind of where I began my little journey of wanting to work in a secular field again, but I will digress on that, so I will stay on point. 

I have a friend, and she goes to a public university. She has become great friends with a man who is an unbeliever. He's a sinner, just like the rest of us, and really doesn't want much to do with God. I've been encouraging my friend in this relationship, telling her that the day will come when that conversation will arise about her beliefs, and all he's going to be able to do is to look back on what a great friend she has been to him. He will see Jesus, through her. My friend, is the only "Jesus" that guy knows right now. 

The other night I was on my way to Target to pick up some things, and as I pulled into the parking lot, I saw 4 cop cars, and lots of cops meticulously searching through a guys car. I immediately suspected that they might have found drugs on him or something. I did my shopping and on my way out, I saw that everyone was still over there, but that the car was getting towed now. There was a young kid who was standing there watching the whole thing, on and off his cell phone, and I began to feel God tell me to go offer him a ride. Now, I am all about giving random people rides, but I usually stick with women. But, I'm also very used to hearing God's voice in this kind of situation, and have passed by women I've wanted to pick up, but God clearly tells me "no" sometimes. 

I fought with God for a little bit, telling Him that I just wanted to go, because I was running late to go to Jono and Simone's for game night, but He just kept impressing it upon me that I needed to go to talk to this kid. So I quickly prayed and started to walk over there...

Me: Hi, are you okay? Do you need a ride?

Kid: Umm, actually ya, that would be really amazing if you could help me right now. 

Me: Okay, I would be happy to help you, where do you live?

Kid: Costa Mesa

Me: (trying to hold in my sadness that it's sooo far away!) Ok, hop in!

The cops were looking at me like I was crazy. I love it. Right away I felt safe, and I knew that this kid wasn't going to hurt me. He got in my car, and we headed north. We started talking about our lives, and what had happened to him tonight. Who knows if his story was true that he gave me, but whatever, no judgment from over here. I told him I worked at a church, which always brings up the God conversation, and he told me that he grew up Catholic, but that he was just kind of searching for what was real. We're about half way to his house, and he just exclaims, "You are so nice! I just love... being around you. Do you want to hang out tonight?" This is my absolute favorite comment to get from unbelievers, because I KNOW that they only want to be around me because of Christ in me. I told him that I was actually headed to my friends house for a game night, and that he could come if he wanted. He was totally stoked about the idea, and so I turned around the car and headed back to Aliso Viejo. 

Now I have been in situations before where I have brought random non-Christians that I just pick up from nowhere to social events with other Christians, and they are not always very welcoming (which is so lame), so I was a little nervous. The Kneppers haven't known me that long, and they don't know about my little antics of doing these things. Plus, we were hanging out with Zach, a new friend from UCI, who has recently started attending our church. But things went better than I had ever imagined (I am literally crying as I write this, because I truly believe that God's Kingdom, His church on earth, was displayed beautifully last night to our new friend). 

I walked in, and the kid was right behind me (he's 20 by the way), and I'm like, "Heeey guys, this is "Kid", ummm,  I actually saw him as his car was getting towed, so I offered him a ride, but he just really wanted to come hang out with us tonight." Everyone was like, "Cool! Hey Kid, how's it going, come in, sit down." Simone was cooking up some dinner, and she offered him food and drink, and anything he needed. Then everyone was asking him all about himself, and we were all just having a fun conversation. It was the one of the greatest things I had seen in a long time. 

We played the game of "Life" until 1am, and we all just had a great time. In the end it worked out perfectly, because Jono had to give Zach a ride home semi-close to where Kid had to go, and we said our goodbyes. We all exchanged numbers with Kid, and told him that we wanted to hang out more. Later on that night, Kid texted me and thanked me for everything, and said I was like an "angel" who was sent to him. I texted him back and I said that God loves him very much, and that He will always take care of the one's He loves, and that I was happy to have made a new friend tonight. It was a beautiful display of being Jesus on everyones part, and I know our actions were truly glorifying to God. 

Tomorrow we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Without the resurrection, we would have nothing, but now, we have everything. And of course, one of my favorite things Jesus gives the believer because of the resurrection is the Holy Spirit (where God dwells within us). He gives us the Holy Spirit so that we may be a light to the world... so that we can be Him, to people who don't know Him. 

With all of this said, I want to encourage you to BE Jesus to people. Next time someone is in need, or maybe your co-worker is having a bad day at work, or maybe an old lady needs help getting something from the top shelf at the grocery store... BE Jesus... 

...because you might just be, the only Jesus they know. 


heath(er) said...

wow! what an inspirational story. that is so cool that you followed what God asked you to do and didn't look back. i love people like that.

danielle marie. said...

Carrie, that is awesome.
this story is awesome, and this blog is amazing.

Anonymous said...

So great Carrie! You are brave.....I get nervous that a stranger will murder me, so I am too afraid to do what you did! Maybe someday, when I grow up, I'll be brave like you. <3

Love Jessie

P.s. Happy Easter!

Sarah said...

Truly amazing story
I think this is what stood out to me the most in your workshop at the girls conference and I have been really trying to show the love of Jesus to the people I meet.
God is so amazing

Anonymous said...

Praise God! He orchestrates things so wonderfully, and thanks for being obedient! What a blessing :-)

Carrie said...

Heather -
Thanks so much for stopping by!

Danielle -
Thanks for the blog props!

Jessie -
You're brave, silly...

Sarah -
I'm sooo happy that you were positively effected by the workshop at "Redeemed"!

Rachel -
You're a blessing! ;)