Saturday, April 23, 2011


(Briana Gibson, the director of The Spot, YFC's youth drop-in center in Stanwood, posted this article on her blog.  Thank you, Briana, for letting me share it with my readers.)
It is Easter week. So, I thought I might share my story of encountering Jesus.
It seems to me, the greatest hindrance to ministry and community in the body of Christ,  is the idea that some of us are more needy than others.
For me, growing up in a Christian home, I had this idea that I just needed to follow the rules, keep up the image, and convince everyone around me I was good enough. I knew Jesus loved me, and I thought I loved Him. But, I did not know I needed Him. Bad people needed Him. This worked out ok until God showed me my heart apart from Him. What I saw completely wrecked me. I thought I had done enough “good” and not done enough “bad” so that my heart would be soft and pulsing with love.
This was not so.
Utter darkness. Emptiness. Horror. Filth. Complete absence of anything good. This is what I saw – I felt as if it would swallow me whole and I would shrivel into nothingness. All of those years I had spent striving for goodness and this was the result? It broke me. I knew Jesus would never want anything to do with me. How could He? I felt so naked and ashamed before His beauty.
“Lord, I do not deserve you. I can’t do it.”
That is when I heard him say, “I know you can’t. You will never deserve what I long to give you. But, I’m giving it to you anyway. Just accept it. I love you.”
“What? Didn’t you see what I just saw?! How could you love me?”
But, I knew He did. That is when I surrendered, and He took all of my “righteousness”(what Paul refers to as “filthy rags”) and filled me with Himself. I literally felt like I would explode! I thought I knew what joy felt like. But, let me tell you, I had no idea! It was as if the whole earth were joining my heart in song.
It was the first time I knew I needed the grace of Jesus as much as anyone. The lyrics of Amazing Grace, “a wretch like me”, finally made sense. I caught a glimpse of the greatness – the unthinkable enormity of what Christ had done for me… for all of us.
I will never be the same.
This is why we love The Spot. Not because “those kids” are so needy. But, because we are in desperate need of the Amazing Grace of Jesus. We can’t help but see ourselves in their faces. Once you begin to grasp that love, it fills you up and there is no way you can keep it to yourself. And when you know you could never deserve it, you stop withholding it from those you deem unworthy.
Not one of us is worthy. As my Dad always says, “God is good and the rest of us are jerks.”
Every time The Spot is open (and in meetings outside the walls) there are kids experiencing the love and grace of Jesus… and it isn’t just one of those “use words when necessary” situations. God is shared – and hope is stirred anew.
Thank you for your prayers and encouragement!
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.  –Ephesians 2:8

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