Matt is my son, a quiet, mild-natured 8 yr old who wouldn't easily be classified as the next 'Billy Graham' evangelist. But last year he became really friendly with a kid in his school and as they chatted about being a christian one day, Matt asked him if he'd given his heart to the Lord, "because just saying you are a Christian isn't enough". Jamie said no, and that he wanted to do that. Mandi, my wife, who'd overheard the conversation as she drove them back from school that day, felt it wise to consult with Jamie's mom and indicate that Jamie was "interested in spiritual things". Also that if they wanted us to meet with them to talk we'd be happy to do that. No one in the family served the Lord but there seemed to be some hunger to learn more and Mandi chatted about starting a spiritual group in their home. To our delight she agreed and said she'd invite some friends.
That was 6 months ago and now God has birthed a thriving house church where several people have been saved, both kids and adults. Tonight as we meet there will be about 30 people who'll be there, hungry to learn more about Jesus. Probably the most rewarding thing of all for us is to watch Jamie and his mom, dad and sister, delighting in the life the Jesus has brought into their home as they now all serve Jesus. Last night Jamie's dad smsed me saying he'd read somewhere the words of a song that said: "'I have decided to follow Jesus. Though none go with me, still I will follow." How powerful and beautiful message is that?" A changed life is such a powerful expression of Christianity, but a completely changed family is the truest expression of the gospel message. Through them many people have and will still come to know Jesus!
A few learnings I want to share with you:
We have found, over and over, how kids have a far greater ability to open the hard hearts of unbelieving families. They are not hindered by cultural boundaries, acceptable 'polite' behavior and are much more honest than adults are. You'll find that Jesus displayed the same characteristics, so it's no surprise He said, "unless you become like this child