Maturity, Growth, Mercy, and Grace

Disclaimer: This post is from the archives, and may not represent the current views of the author. It also may not be at all interesting to read. Continue at your own peril!

Today’s entry should be short, because not much happened last night. I worked from 5:30-9:30 PM, so it conveniently cut out the time I sometimes spend hanging out with my friends on Sunday nights. Whatever. When I got home, there was a message from Jeff, but since I didn’t feel like hanging out anyways, I just didn’t call back. Besides, I don’t have his cell phone number written down. Anyways, work was alright. I was working with a guy named Eric, who seems pretty cool, besides being a bit crude like most guys are. The important thing that happened last night was that I got to know some of the people there a bit better. Eric told me a few things about the people there – a few of the things he said were bad, but a few were good as well, so that may help me in the future. I just still feel like “the new guy” right now. After all, someone called me that last night. I still don’t “fit in,” but I know that it will come with time; I just have to be patient and keep getting to know people.

Anyways, as I mentioned in the last entry, yesterday I talked to Pastor Al about the Bible study and how best to set it up. I suggested doing it on Thursdays at the church if it was free then, so he was going to check into that. At lunchtime, my mom asked me what Pastor Al had been talking to me about. I told her that I had actually been talking to him. I then explained about the plans for the Bible study. Both my parents were very supportive of it, as I surely expected them to be. My dad mentioned that he had read Wild at Heart and actually done a Bible study on it with a mens’ group at the church – headed up by Pastor Al. So I guess I don’t have to try and explain to him what the book was about. I found my dad’s copy of it and checked it out a bit. It seems really good – perhaps not exactly what the guys in my youth group need, since it might be just a bit too far ahead of them, but it’s certainly close. It talks about being passionate and such, which is definitely what they need. I’m just afraid they’ll dismiss it as stupid because it talks about “being a man,” thus making it sound a bit cheesy. Hopefully not. I’m just praying that God would open their hearts about the whole thing and make them receptive to giving it a shot.

So with that said, today I borrowed the car and headed over to the Gospel Lighthouse. I wanted to pick up a copy of Wild at Heart for myself so that I could mark it up in my own way. I also needed to ask the person there how many copies they kept in stock. What the man told me was that it was likely the only copy in the store (I had seen one more, actually), but that they could call other stores and get the number of books that I needed without too much delay. I told him I would probably only need about five or six at most, so that worked out quite fine. So now the plans are going ahead – all I need is to wait for Pastor Al to give me a thumbs up or thumbs down for meeting in the church, and then I’m good to go. I’ve really been praying a lot about it lately, because, quite frankly, this whole plan is going to need lots of prayer. For one thing, I’ve never willingly taken on a leadership role, so I’m inexperienced and don’t know what I’m doing all that well. I’m also dealing with a group of guys who are more passionate about getting to know their girlfriends or sports than they are getting to know God. I know that somewhere inside them, there’s a heart that beats for Him, but I have to help them find it. But actually, I can’t do that – only God can. So I’m really relying on Him for help. As far as I know, I’m not really respected in the youth group; it’s not that I’m looked down upon, but rather more that I’m just generally ignored. Many potential leaders have been shot down in the past by people who just ignored what great ideas they had. I’m just hoping I’m not going to be added to that list.

Please bear with me for this next paragraph; I’m not trying to brag in any way, shape, or form, but that’s what it might sound like. As I drove home from the Gospel Lighthouse, I thought about what would happen if this plan failed. As I thought it over, I realized that even if the plans didn’t work out, it would still be a success for two reasons. The first reason it would still be alright is because I’d still have a copy of a book that could help me come closer to God – it may not help anyone else, but it would at least make me a better person. It’s a small reward, but still a good one. The second reason it would still be a success is because even if this isn’t in God’s will, at least I stepped out in faith and showed Him that I was a willing servant. I was willing to do it, and that’s a big success in my opinion. After almost eighteen years of not being able to give up my own pride and self-image, I’ve managed to let it go and give it to God. I’ve given myself to God, to have Him use me in whatever way He deems most appropriate. If that includes leading a Bible study at my church, then so be it. If not, then that’s fine as well. I’m sure He’ll find a better use for me, because He’s always looking for willing servants to do His will. In those two areas, no matter what happens, this plan will be a success. And that is encouraging to me even when I doubt that things will work out.

A comment that my mom made really stuck out to me yesterday. At lunch, after I told her about the Bible study, she told me that she was proud of me and how I was maturing. She said that she’s noticed me taking on more responsibility and becoming a good young man. At first I dismissed it as just something moms say to their kids. After all, no matter what I do, my mom will always be proud of me just because I’m her kid. But as I thought it over, it really hit me that she actually meant what she said. She didn’t give that comment out to flatter me or to see if it would help me be encouraged so I wouldn’t screw things up or something. And as I think about it more, I can see that she’s right. As I said, I’m not trying to brag here; I’m just making observations. I can really see growth inside me, and that’s encouraging to me. I know it’s not me making these changes – it’s all God. But it’s amazing to think that He could use even someone like me instead of just giving up on me like I would have done if I were Him. I’ve noticed myself maturing and making the right decisions rather than the decision that feels right at the time. I’ve noticed myself talking to God more often throughout the day. I’ve noticed my devotional and prayer life increase dramatically, and every time I see it, I just have to thank God for His wonderful mercy and grace in my life. He’s using even me to do what He wants, and if that’s not an example of the fact that His ways are higher than our ways, then I don’t know what is.

With that said, I need to leave it off here because I have to pick up my sister from work. It’s strange that we’ve actually been getting along not too badly lately. I mean, we still have our brother-and-sister fights of course, but that sort of thing is decreasing in frequency and intensity. It’s more just a little push here and shove there instead of my sister picking me up and dropping me on my head or something. Believe me, it’s happened before. But anyways, I’ll finish this off by saying: Hey, God’s amazing. That pretty much sums up everything you need to know.

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