Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Sunday night we met in our new space at Artisan Ridge for the second time. Already we are experiencing a need for more space. After serving the burgers outside on the patio we invited everyone in for worship. As I looked around the room there were families with children, older adults single adults lots of children who came on their own and a group of six young people right up front.
Many of these young people I already knew from the summer. Most of them come by to get a drink and snack in the afternoons after school. There was one fifteen year old boy on the front row who was new to me. He was trying his best to act like he didn’t want to be there. As soon as I began to lead worship he stuck a pair of headphones in his ears and clapped loudly and off beat with every song we sang.
After worship, we dismissed the children and youth to their classes. I was excited to have the opportunity to teach the youth, especially this young man “Michael” even as he sang, “OUR GOD IS MIGHTY TO SAVE! MIGHTY TO SAVE!” loud and sarcastically all the way to our class. I said, "See, you thought you were being so cool. Now you can't get that song out of your head!"
Having endured years of this type of behavior I carried on un-phased to teach. However, before starting my lesson I explained to “Michael” he was not obligated to stay. If he would rather listen to his headphones and cut up, he was welcome to leave. Surprisingly he stayed. Then listened intently to my lesson on how “Blind Bartmaeus” cried out in desperation to Jesus knowing Jesus was the only one who could heal his blind eyes and free him from sin.
The next day while cooking dinner I heard the familiar sound of a knock on the door. When I opened it there was “Michael”. He asked, “Is pastor Chad here?” I invited him in to visit with Chad in the living room. He wasn’t hungry, didn’t want anything to drink, but he seemed to just want to talk.
From the kitchen I could hear Michael and Chad’s conversation about football. He plays for John Marshall and had just finished practice. Then he got quiet before he explained to Chad how scared he was right now. His mother is in the hospital. She has abused alcohol her whole life and her kidneys are failing. Michael is living in a less than stable situation with his mom’s boyfriend. Then he said there had been something on his mind from Sunday night. “Why did Jesus HAVE to die?” He asked bluntly.
It was a perfect opportunity for Chad to witness to this young man who is now realizing, despite all the horribly wrong things in his life – there is Hope.
Calling Artisan Ridge "home" is not always easy for me, it’s a challenge to have the faith to fight discouragement day after day; However, we are desperate to tell the good news and we’re living in a world that is desperate to hear it. Seeing lives transformed day by day to the glory of God keeps us planted.