Before I met Jesus I struggled with feelings of rejection. I felt like an outcast, unloved, without God and without hope. I was considered unwanted and my parents seriously considered aborting me. On more than one occasion I miraculously survived due to failed attempts by others to end my life in the womb. I love my parents and I am thankful to God for the gift of life. He knew my exact make and design, and He carefully knitted me together in my mother’s womb for life in the 21st century.
I realized I needed Christ when my great-grandfather told me the Good News at a tender age between 3 and 6. I remember being stunned by the unconditional love of God the Father and the amazing grace that comes through His Son, Jesus Christ. My great-grandfather planted the seed and my grandmother watered it. And God over time increased His Word in me. I knew from early in my childhood development that all have sinned and all needed God’s forgiveness that comes through faith in Jesus Christ and repentance from sin that leads to death – spiritually and physically.
When I was 13 years old, I followed Jesus in the act of water baptism. I wished I had done it earlier. I was submerged into a stream against the backdrop of witnesses both in heaven and on earth. And I came out of the water with hope, purpose and a reason for living. I started to feel loved, accepted, understood, trusted and forgiven. Also, I started to battle with sin and the unseen forces of darkness like never before. As I walked out my faith through the power of the Holy Spirit, the Lord taught me some valuable lessons. In failure, I learned humility; in lack, I learned trust and faith in God. The Lord through my pain and suffering taught me compassion and forgiveness. In waiting, God taught me patience; in sickness, He revealed His awesome power. Moreover, in disappointments, I learned that God is all-wise. Above all else, God taught me love through bruised, battered and broken relationships.
Interestingly enough, God not only taught me life lessons but shared the passions of His heart with me. I first recall the passion of making disciples at the age of 13 and it is still strong in my heart today. Mine is the mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ and equip them (by the power of the Holy Spirit) to serve His purposes in their generations. It is the passion of my heart (and God’s as well) to make and multiply growing and reproducing disciples locally, internationally and globally. We have received power from above to be Christ’s witness within Alabama, across the states of America and to the four corners of the globe!
Why? Because we are surrounded and come across someone each day and week who is at the end of his/her ropes or breaking point - without hope and with God! The love of God compels us to reach out to the "whosoevers" who will come to Christ to find love, acceptance and the forgiveness of sin. God will never turn away a repentant sinner who comes to Him in faith. With open arms and love in His heart He accepts all people from all nations. We are saved by the grace of God and not by our good deeds. Salvation is a free gift and not based on works, so that we cannot boast. God saves us because of His great love. Whosoever will repent of their sins and turn to God, He promised to accept. To as many as received Him, even to those who believed on His name, He gave the right to be children of God (John 1:12).
Now, salvation or freedom from the power of sin is not the end but only the beginning of life in Christ. God wants all people to become members of His family, the Church. He wants all nations to be a model of Christ by walking in step with His Spirit. He wants us to tell others the Good News with gentleness and respect. He wants to serve others in love through our mortal bodies. We are ministers of the Lord Jesus Christ and have a mission to the world around us. Ask, seek and knock and God will answer your prayers, show you His will and open the door of His heart to you!
- by Bristan Heaven