After my first year of college, I went on a Jesus streak. Basically, I left college, where I was playing football and partying and made a decision to follow Jesus. I felt like I needed to give it a chance. Really give my all and then decide if it was for me.
One of the first things I did was start a connect group. I was also inviting everyone I knew to come to church. I mean, that’s what we were supposed to do right? Get everyone to church or to my connect group.
Looking back, I get the idea but I’m not confident it’s the best idea for everybody.
Most of the time, I felt, bringing people to church was really an escape for me to ask the hard questions of them. I would bring people to church so they could put their hand up and get saved. Or, I would bring friends to church if they were going through a tough patch but never talk direct about their problems.
It was probably a miss on my part — but now I know. I’ve changed it up.
I’ve realized that most of the time — you and I are the closest most people will ever get to a church. The friends I know and meet — they ain’t going to church. They’ve had too many bad experiences with church and people — they are out.
They may be out on church but they are not out on me. I recognize this all the time and full embrace it.
I’ve no longer set my ways on bringing people to church but rather — spending time with people who would never go. My wife and I have turned our house into a sanctuary of hope and peace. A friend of mine awhile back said this to me, “I love just sitting on your couch. Yah, it’s comfy but it’s just so peaceful.” Another friend who was living in a rough neighborhood on the south side of Chicago spent the night and said to me the next morning, “that was the best sleep I’ve had for the longest time.”
Those types of comments are the one’s I pray for. When I’m at home praying — I pray for those moments for friends. I pray for them to sit on our couch or sleep in our beds and feel the presence of God. I can’t force it — but I believe for it.
The presence of God can change anything in a moment. I’ve felt it in my own life.
I’ll never forget the time I visited Pastor Benny Hinn at his house. He had me over for a little dinner. I sat on his couch. Let me tell yah — THAT was a comfy couch. I remember it like it was yesterday. When I left his house and went back to my tiny, little, dirty apartment in LA. I remembered not only how comfy it was — but how peaceful it was. I never forget those moments.
I truly believe it was so peaceful because it was where Pastor Benny prayed. It was where he spent time with God. I hadn’t felt the presence of God in a long time — and to me — it felt peaceful.
You and I are the closest many will ever be to coming to church, opening their Bible or saying a prayer. So, I hope we act right about it. I hope we know the implications of it. I hope we are prepared to be the light we are supposed to be.