Shifting into Life Giving Mode
I could tell he thought I wouldn’t be able to do it. Just the tiniest hint of skepticism glistened in the back of his eyeball. But against all odds, and probably wisdom, he extended his arm and dropped the keys into my waiting palm. My 16-year-old, over confident, never-going-to-die palm, which was also attached to a lead-foot. That combination, along with the going insurance rates, would be reason enough to cause any sane adult to keep that arm close to his body and hold onto those keys. But he took a risk, and I went out to the church parking lot and showed him that yes indeed I knew how to drive a stick shift. I had learned on a beat up old pickup that required the effort of rowing an Athenian warship into battle.
His act of faith seemed like a small thing, and yet it showed he believed in me, something every teenager needs to experience. But there was another moment that weekend that was much more significant. That same leader shared a simple, almost off the cuff statement, on the last night of the gathering: “John, you are a person who cares deeply about the spiritual lives of your friends.” I hadn’t seen myself that way before, but it hit me with the full force of the loving tone with which it was delivered. It shaped my identity and pointed me in the direction of being a positive influence in the lives of others. Of course I’ve had my share of negative influence moments, but the conversation was significant and began shaping my identity in a Christ-centered way.
That weekend was one of the many D-now (“Disciple Now”) events I attended as a youth here at Valley View. The reason I didn’t mention that leader’s name is because I have no idea what it was. He didn’t go to Valley View, he just came in for the weekend to serve, to pour into the life of the youth at a church he didn’t attend. He was here then gone, but God used him in my life.
This weekend our students are gathering for our version of a D-Now weekend, called WKND. Be praying for our students, pray that God would work in their hearts, because you never know how one weekend can radically change the life of a young person. You never know how a leader can speak just the right words of life into that student in a way that sets them on a whole new course of following Jesus.
That’s not only true for students. We saw Sunday in John 6:68-69 how Peter took a moment to speak life and truth on behalf of the disciples. He said out loud what they all needed to hear: We are committed to Christ, and we believe in Him. Even if you aren’t serving the students this weekend, what ways can you speak life into those around you? You never know how God might use you to point another person to Christ.
Easter is a Great Time to Invite
As we prepare for Easter, be praying for God to open doors to invite others to the service. Many people are more open to attending church on Easter Sunday compared to a typical week. Their hearts seem to be open to hearing from God, so pray that God would open a door for you to invite the person He wants to have here.
God uses so many people and events to shape our lives. My prayer for all of us at Valley View is that as we experience freedom from sin (Galatians 5:1), we would fearlessly proclaim the gospel to our family, neighbors, classmates, and co-workers all over Valley Station, PRP, and Southwest Louisville.
A few other things to mention that are happening this week:
- Kevin Hamm is preaching this Sunday! We expect a good sized crowd, so you may want to allow more time than normal to come and go. See below for more information about Kevin Hamm.
- Every week Carol and Isaac work hard making tweaks and updates to the website. For instance, all of these mid-week updates are made into blog posts, we’ve updated our leadership page, we have a new “how to grow spiritually page,” the Free and Fearless Vision 2023 page is up, and there’s now a place on our home page to subscribe to the midweek updates (bottom right corner). Isaac and Carol are constantly making changes to keep the site fresh and relevant. Be sure to tell them thanks when you have a chance.