A train wreck is perhaps the best way to describe how some lives turn out. In the grip of a myriad of vice, of which alcohol and drugs are prominently just two, there are only two ways a life can go; the continual passage toward carnage and hell, and the next potentially deadly ‘rock bottom,’ or the equally easy choice of heaven--to be saved by God.
Today I was rapturously inspired by a group visiting my local church. Sherwood House is a faith-based rehabilitation centre using work as a ministry and fellowship back from darkness, in the raising from the dead of God’s mighty men, by the Holy Spirit.
Two men gave their testimonies and I was suddenly reminded of the spiritual power and majesty of our own stories. Both Tony and Alan shared how God had miraculously broken into their lives, showering them with love, grace and power, through Sherwood House’s ministry.
And I got a fresh sense that these men epitomised what I myself have seen and learned. That is, the first-generation Christian often has the distinct advantage regarding the revelatory knowledge of God over the second-generation Christian who was brought up in the church, and ‘found’ God through their parents, for instance.
The first-generation Christian has a God-revelation experience thrust on him or her, personally (as per Saul in Acts 9), to the result of all his or her praise and thanksgiving; the second-generation Christian (unless they have a ‘Prodigal Son’ experience), don’t, generally. They often don’t get to taste the radical sweetness of grace because it is best recognised in the return from suffering and spiritual deadness--almost as a prerequisite.
On speaking of the sinful woman who anointed Jesus, he said,
To the person who’s received much forgiveness, there is so much more gratitude--and often (though not always) a larger slice of the revealed power of God.
“Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven--for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little”
–Luke 7:47 (NIV).
I find it amazing how effectively God levels the playing field. Those whom could possibly feel they have the most reason for guilt and shame are brought up--in an instant--to be co-heirs with lifelong pastors, theologians and great Christian people in history; for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, yet share in his grace (Romans 3:23). We’re reminded in this that God is no respecter of persons. He applies his dominion equally without favouritism.
I am most grateful that these eight men from Sherwood House showed me, again, that God’s biggest miracles occur in one life at a time. As Sherwood House’s coordinator, Keiran Hartley says, these risen men are indeed becoming ‘the Devil’s worst nightmare,’ by the transcendent power of the Holy Spirit!
They shared with me one nugget that I want to share with you. Love is spelled T.I.M.E., which is the best thing we can give to anyone, by the power of God.
Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.