"If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature..." 2 Corinthians 5:17
All of us have pet peeves. My brother in law the other week was asking, "Would you allow a man covered with tattoos to lead worship?" And I said yes I would! But I am sure that I would not want him to marry my daughter (if I had one!). Then there's my friend who hates bad grammar and one who even made a song about it. I was thinking that God does not have pet peeves about people. If someone came up to Him and wanted to be His friend, He would accept him. God would make him a new creation.
One of my favorite conversion stories is about the youngest Baldwin, Stephen. Stephen has 18 tattoos, and he was known as the "dumb jock of Hollywood" because of all the, well, dumb things he said and did. In his book, "The Unusual Suspect", he writes of "snorting enough cocaine to throw the entire population of a small South American country into anaphylactic shock." But he and his wife Kenya are now born again Christians and he is an evangelical Christian youth minister. In one interview he claimed, "It's real, it's changed my life, it's transformed my heart, I'm not who I was," Baldwin says. "No longer … do I feel the pressure of, 'how fancy are my shoes? Or what kind of car am I driving? Or how much money do I make?' None of that matters to me anymore … I'm having a daily experience with the spirit of God that's more priceless than anything I've experienced before."
How did it start? When Kenya was pregnant, the couple hired Augusta, a Brazilian cleaning woman, because Kenya was from Brazil and that's what you do with a baby on the way. Kenya noticed that Augusta was always singing about Jesus and she asked, "Why is every song about Jesus?" And Augusta burst with laughter. "What's so funny?" Kenya asked and Augusta replied, "Quite frankly, I think it's a little bit funny that you think I'm here to clean your house!!!" The story came out that Augusta had a dream about Stephen and his little family. Before she accepted the job, she prayed with her pastor and some church members, and she was told in prophetic word that if she went to work for them, the couple would become believers and be involved in ministry. Now if I had been Augusta, would I have believed that was possible? I would be plenty skeptical! But God had a plan, and He used a Brazilian nanny to reach Stephen and his wife. And now Stephen is making a movie titled, "I'm in Love with a Church Girl" and he said, "God will let people think that they can make money with it as long as the gospel is preached." It is God's desire to make us all new creations in Him! It does not matter if we are covered in tats, leprous wounds, or if the wounds are in our heart. God wants us, and He will use a Brazilian nanny, a magazine, a TV show, whatever.
"All the families of the earth shall find blessing in you." Genesis 2:3
Abraham was 75 years old when he was called by God to leave everything he was familiar with, to go to a land God will show him. 75 years old! And all those 75 years, what had he been doing? He and his father before him worshiped other Gods, just like all the other people in his time. (Joshua 24:2) He lived in Ur, an ancient city located in modern day Iraq. It is actually near Nasiriyah where US and Iraqi forces clashed in the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. How do I know all this? Google. And why am I so interested? Why do I wake up early, pray, read the Bible, listen to preaching, and research?
Simple. Legal documents are boring to me. I hate reading contracts and I have been known to sign documents without reading the fine print. Sometimes the Bible can be boring too. All the seemingly insignificant details, the repetition and those genealogies! But what if you think of the Bible as like a will with your name on it? Because that is what it is! I am sure that if someone called me for a reading of a will left by my great aunt so and so, and told me my name was in it, that I would receive a bequest, I would be super eager to go and listen, or even read every word!!! To me the Bible is like a will. There are instructions in it on how to claim my inheritance. I will find blessing as part of Abraham's family. Abraham trusted in God, left everything to go to a land God showed Him. At that time, there was no CNN, no magazines. Abraham would have no idea where God will lead. Like Abraham, if I trust in God, read and obey His Word, I too can walk with God and He will lead me. Yes, we walk with a faithful God!
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