Saturday, October 27, 2007

Man of Peace

There's a great book called Church Planting Movements that was given to me by Steve Vaughn, missions pastor for Thomasville Road Baptist Church. It's an awesome book that has really encouraged us (and taught us a lot) as we put together our house church planting program. One of the things that the book encouraged church planters to do was to look for a "man of peace" when they entered a town (Luke 10:6). Finding and building a relationship with this "man of peace" was a good first step in planting and establishing a church. Little did I suspect that we would actually meet a man named Peace.

Last night was the final night of the Lifechurch outreach. We hosted a special youth night with some crazy games, hotdogs and hamburgers and a really great time teaching. We had between 30 and 40 youth show up and let me tell you, it was total chaos...and a lot of fun. After the food and fun, everyone gathered in the skate park to hear Peace's story. Peace (below right) shared about his life growing up in one of Limon's toughest neighborhoods and how he almost died several years ago from an overdose of crack. He explained how caught up he had been in himself and how it had almost cost him his life. He then told about his journey in coming to know Christ. Peace had an interest in spiritual things for many years but it was a mix of rastafarianism, Christianity and new age beliefs...along with a lot of confusion.

Five months ago, Peace accepted Christ as we prayed together one night on the steps of the cafe after a night of skating. Since that night I can honestly say that I have never witnessed the renewal that God can bring to someone's life and mind as clearly as I have seen it take place with Peace. Last night was the culmination of that journey as Peace, a new Christian, stepped in front of 40 of his friends and neighbors and shared about the impact Jesus had made on his life. he didn't hold back as he challenged everyone within listening distance to open their hearts and make the same decision to follow Jesus that he had made. He was clear that there are still struggles and anyone that knows him would understand that following Christ doesn't automatically bring health and wealth. Peace was clear that following Jesus brings forgiveness for sin and a sense of purpose that he had looked for all of his life.

This was Peace's first time speaking in front of a crowd and he was incredible. God spoke through him. While he spoke, there was no joking or talking. Everyone gave him their attention and when he finished, there was an immediate eruption of applause. Peace isn't a bible scholar but he knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus is real and that He changes lives. He shares his new faith with everyone he meets and has a new story for us each week at house church. I would not be surprised (especially after last night) to see Peace leading a house church in the near future. Such is the grace and power of God. Funny thing...we came looking for "the man of peace" and God blessed us with a man called Peace.

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