And out of her real life, He flows1
April’s cell phone rings a couple times a week around 9.30pm--thank goodness for DVR! It’s our 21 year old college student daughter Emily, driving home from work. It’s a great time for Em and her mom to connect. Sometimes I get in on the calls. Sometimes they laugh like school girls. Other times it’s high drama. And sometimes it’s really good news.
Last Thursday, it was really good news.
God’s been working His good work in Em’s life. Paseo del Rey’s short term mission trip to Nepal a year ago played a big piece. It opened her already wide eyes wider, coming face to face with people who had never ever heard a sentence or sermon about Jesus. It’s hard growing up in Chula Vista believing there really are people like that today. Emily dispensed reading glasses to and talked under shade trees with a couple dozen of these two billion unreached people.
Emily’s put herself in God’s way, letting Him nudge and move her forward. Not without some resistance or some dragging of feet, or even whining at times. But setting up camp where she knew God was working, where she might see Him and follow Him in what He was already up to.
So when God opened the door for her to go to Santa Monica to work with Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) this past summer, she jumped, and struggled. New relationships-good and not so good. Wonderful and intentional and difficult on-the-job training in sharing Jesus. You can read some of her story in her own words.
Now she’s back from Nepal and Santa Monica for her senior year of college, and back working at a cool surf shop. She wants to outflow into the lives of those she’s grown to like at work. She cares about them. She wants them to know the Jesus she knows, not some image of Jesus that’s been distorted by cranky, uptight Christians. Or only know about vaguely because they don’t know where to start reading in their big, dusty family bible.
Josh has been her boss for the three years she’s worked there. She’s been a good employee, he’s been a good boss. He knows she goes to a Christian university, to church, on mission’s trips, she loves her family, her dad’s a pastor (it’s bad, but not terminal) and that sometimes she’s late clocking in.
She’s asked God that His light would shine through her.
She’s asked God to help her show His love in everyday ways for Josh and the others she works with, selling Roxy and DC stuff.
She’s asked God for words to share about Him, a time that would be right, and courage. Lots of courage.
So back to the phone call. Thursday.
It was an hour later than usual, like 10.30pm. Emily called to tell her mom and me that God opened the door for her to share the good news of Jesus with Josh! It was just the two of them working that night, and as they were getting ready to close up, he began to ask her questions. First, about her life, then about what made her who she was, then about her God. And God helped her share about Jesus with him. About how He lived a real life. About why He died on the cross. About how He changes our lives from living for ourselves, to living for Him. And they talked, and talked and talked. And Emily was so jazzed.
So were April and I.
Emily, growing two steps forward, one step back, living for Him.
And out of her real life, He flows.
I love how the Apostle Paul talked to his friends, the Thessalonians. He knew the way into hearts is living a real life with people and speaking the words of truth with people. Both are needed, both are the wings of the same airplane. Hear Paul:
We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.
1 Thessalonians 2.8
So it’s both, isn’t it?
Living a real life, warts, and struggles and drama and weakness and all in the midst of those who don’t yet know Him. Intentionally being there with them. A life slowly being changed, more and more into His image.
And it’s speaking true words of Good News into their lives. Not perfectly. Not canned or a formula or a project or a package deal. But real words of Jesus, the hope He offers.
That’s what brings His Good News into the lives of people we work with, live with, live near.