Last Saturday, I had the privilege of introducing myself, and my Jesus-story, to some of the Christian women in Dulce, NM.
Dulce is a small community on the Jicarilla Apache Reservation, only 40 minutes from our home.
Since early last summer, Bay and I have been praying for Dulce, for the pastors, for the gospel to spread, for revival to occur, and leaders to rise up in the community to live Jesus.
We recognize the great mission field that sits so near to us!
We've been attending the different churches there, alternating each week we are in town, just to let them know we want to be a come-alongside-presence.
When the ladies at New Life asked if I'd be interested in sharing at a women's gathering right before Easter, my heart leaped!
I never turn down an occasion to share my testimony...
...and, as I prepared, I recognized, for the first time (I've always been a bit slow), mine is totally a RESURRECTION STORY, applicable for Easter.
In 1970, I found myself lost and in a pit from which I couldn't escape, "dead in my trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1)."
Without the cross and the resurrection of Jesus, there'd be NO SAVIOR to incline Himself to my cries and pull me from that pit and raise me to new life, planting my feet on a ROCK (that Rock, of course, was Jesus - 1 Corinthians 10:4)!
Psalm 40:1-3 encapsulates my testimony clearly:
I waited patiently for the LORD;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the LORD.
Each of us who are Jesus-followers have our own RESURRECTION STORY, and the Lord, as He did with the Apostle Paul, set us apart and called us to speak it when opportunities arise.
We never know who will put their trust in Him, because of a ready-willingness to share our stories.
This leads me to my point of pondering this week.
As the Apostle Paul scolds the Galatian church for being so easily led astray by another gospel, which isn't the real good news that brings LIFE, he spills a lot of ink convincing them of the truth of salvation through grace alone, by faith alone, in Christ alone.
These "Judaizers" plaguing the Galatian church say salvation is faith in Jesus + following the laws of the Torah...
The folks in the Galatian church argue that Paul isn't a real apostle.
They criticize him for being a pleaser of men.
They question his authority.
What's Paul's comeback?
He simply starts by telling them his own RESURRECTION STORY.
For Paul, that is proof enough.
It should be for us, as well...
Paul shows them the "old Paul" - exhibit A.
The persecutor who wanted to see the church of God ravaged.
He turns and presents the new Paul - exhibit B.
The preacher of faith in Jesus propagating the church everywhere he traveled.
As William Barclay says in his commentary on Galatians:
Every effect must have an adequate cause!
In other words, for there to be such a drastic change there has to be a drastic explanation;
and, the only explanation for such a transformation is the intervention of God!
In this day and age with progressive Christianity on the rise, there is another gospel being proclaimed (more specifics next week), just like it was in Paul's day.
Today, shaking his head in sorrow, Paul's response would be similar, "I'm perplexed by you so quickly deserting him who called you, turning to a different gospel (ESV)..."
With tears, he'd do exactly what he did in 50 AD! He'd tell his story.
Here's what I'm more aware of than ever: I don't need to be able to debate apologetics to talk with a progressive Christian adequately.
(and, while it is important to study "why you believe what you believe," you don't either...)
When I don't know what to say, I simply share my Resurrection Story.
Show them exhibit A.
Present exhibit B.
Recount that drastic transformation that comes with an equally drastic explanation:
He inclined Himself toward me.
He heard my cries.
He lifted me from the pit of my destruction...
He set my feet upon a ROCK...
And, I have NEVER BEEN THE SAME!
There's no other explanation for my story...
Speak Life! Share Your Story!
The Pastor of New Life and his wife, Esther, are temporarily caring for one month old, Grace. Someone needed to hold her for about an hour after the Saturday event (at least she told me so). It was difficult, but I managed... What a joy to rock her, cuddle her, kiss her, and pray Jesus' love consume her as she grows. Join me in praying for little Gracie.