PEOPLE NEED PEOPLE. (April 3, 2016)

“it ain’t easter if I’m not crying in church,” was apparently not the answer my sister was looking for. she and my brother, and presumably anyone within a five foot radius, were staring me down as I struggled to keep the tears from escaping.

being in jamaica just two weeks before, I had the opportunity to share my testimony with a large chunk of the sweet people that I’ve met in athens. sharing my testimony is one of my favorite things, because it forces me to reflect on all of the events, people, and places that have made the biggest impact on my relationship with the Lord. every time I have ever shared my testimony, I have realized more and more how much west ridge has radically changed my life. I can honestly say that I have no idea where I would be if I had not grown up in such an intentional, life-giving, Spirit-filled environment. so by the time I was back at west ridge, sitting with my family on easter sunday, these thoughts of thankfulness were already at the forefront of my heart.

in the middle of worship, they played a video of testimony after testimony. one of the things I love about being home, and being at west ridge, is that there are so many familiar faces; familiar faces, familiar friendships, familiar stories. but despite having heard so many of these testimonies before, I got more and more emotional as each one began.

as the testimony of our pastor’s sweet momma played on the screen, I began thinking about how her story alone had created such a domino effect. because her life was changed, her husband’s life was changed. because her husband’s life was changed, her son’s life was changed. and because her son’s life was changed, thousands upon thousands of people’s lives have been changed, including my own.

every testimony that followed was the story of someone who had directly affected me and my relationship with Jesus. julia, who was my small group leader on my first nicaragua trip… luke, who I had led worship with countless times… I couldn’t help but thinking about how much their stories had affected my own. if Jesus hadn’t changed their lives, they wouldn’t have been able to play the role that they did in Him changing mine.

lately, I’ve been reading through the book of acts. acts is the first book in the new testament that falls after the gospels of matthew, mark, luke, and john; acts is the first book that tells what happened after Jesus. to sum it up, acts tells the stories of the first true missionaries the world had ever seen: the apostles, and more specifically, peter and paul. I started reading the book of acts because I wanted to learn more about the Holy Spirit, but I have been absolutely dumbfounded at what else the Lord is showing me. quite literally, if these stories had never taken place, I would not be typing these words right now. if the apostles hadn’t been obedient, and traveled through judea, samaria, and to the ends of the earth (acts 1:8) spreading the good news of Jesus, then I would have never heard it. that is cray.

romans 10:14 and 15 says… how then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? and how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? and how are they to hear without someone preaching? and how are they to preach unless they are sent? as it is written, “how beautiful are the feet of those who preach the Good News!”

put simply: people need people. freshman year has taught me so much about the importance of community, and surrounding yourself with people who constantly point you back to Jesus, but I’m talking about something entirely different here. people need people because that is how God chose to spread the Good News throughout the world. He didn’t need our help to spread the Gospel, but He wanted our help. He could have chosen any method He wanted to, but He chose us. I’m sure that peter and paul had no idea that what they were doing would impact an 18 year old college student in a coffee shop over 2000 years later, but they were obedient anyway. they understood that Jesus was choosing them to spread the fragrance of Christ (2 corinthians 2:14) throughout the earth, so they did. and it created the greatest domino effect this world has ever seen.

so what does this mean for you and for me? it means that no piece of our story is purposeless. every struggle and every victory, the Lord is going to use to show You and those around you more of Himself. it means that, even if you never get to see the end result, your story has power to greatly influence those around you. your words have power to show others the love of the Father. your life is meaningful, because it has the power to impact thousands upon thousands of other people if you’re willing to put your yes on the table.

when peter and paul and the bloyes’ and julia and luke said yes to Jesus, they didn’t know that it would impact so many other people; they didn’t know that it would impact me, but they said yes anyway. when I watched veggie tales in my play room at six years old, and decided to say yes to Jesus, I didn’t know that I would one day be writing these words for anyone who chooses to read them, but I said yes anyway. say yes anyway, because people need people. people need you.