Saved in the nick of time

3 weeks ago at Awaken, God had some pretty sweet moves up His sleeve.

The text was Joshua 3 and the message was clear: if you want to see God do amazing things, you have to step out of your tent and face the raging river ahead, trusting God to get you across. We had a packed house that morning and at the end, I gave an invitation for people to come forward to give their life to Jesus.

It’s always a bit easier to walk forward when you’re not the only one, but Alan wasn’t scared. It was his first time at Awaken. He saw our sign one day as he was driving by and figured he’d give it a shot. With tears in his eyes, he walked forward at the end of my message, and I prayed with him to receive Jesus!

Then something out of the ordinary happened…

Instead of walking back to his seat, he turned to me and asked me to pray for his grandfather, Amador, who was suffering in a hospital in California. I seized the moment, and as many people extended their hands toward him, we prayed as a church for physical and spiritual healing for Alan’s grandfather, 3,000 miles away in California.

Immediately after service, a man from Awaken who just moved here from California got in touch with his pastor back home who was able to go visit Alan’s grandfather. We were thrilled to find out that he visited him at home because he had been released from the hospital! That’s not even the best part though. When he showed up to the man’s home, he was able to share the Gospel with him and Amador accepted Jesus! The pastor was also able to read Scripture with the whole family and share the Gospel with them.

Unfortunately, I received the sad news on Tuesday that Amador had taken a turn for the worst once he went home and he didn’t make it. He passed away in his home in Calfornia, surrounded by his family. Although we mourn for the family, we rejoice now for Amador who is better off than he ever has been – hanging out with Jesus! Alan flew out there yesterday to be with the family…and God kept working. As Alan talked with the family and the pastor was there to pray with them, Alan’s mother also gave her life to the Lord!

The pastor’s church was made available for the funeral, so join with me in praying that God saves the rest of the family as they feel and see the tangible love of Christ.

Amador is a great reminder of how fragile life is and how important it is to make a decision to serve Christ today. Had Amador waited 2 weeks, it would have been too late. However, God used Alan’s bold steps of faith, our prayers, and the faithfulness of a pastor to reach out to Amador right where he was. Because of that, one day, I’ll get to meet the man we prayed for on July 3, 2011…and Alan’s mom…and maybe the rest of the family!

God is SO good!

I have a past that I’m not proud of.

So did Rahab, but she’s in the lineage of Jesus Christ (check Matthew 1).

So did David, but he went down in history as “the man after God’s own heart.”

So did Paul the Apostle. He used to kill Christians. Then one day, he saw the resurrected Christ and things changed.

I stand with countless others who have a part of their past that they’re not proud of. For me, it’s pornography. I hate that it was such a big part of my life years ago. I hate the pain and the hurt it caused. I hate talking about it, really, but here I am, blogging about it for the world to read.

I talked in a previous blog about my past struggle with it and how I keep it in check today. I talked about a ministry called XXXChurch.com that’s specifically targeted at helping people overcome porn addiction. They’re a great example of a group of people, who, like me, have a past they’re not proud of, but are willing to talk about it to help others.

I was recently asked to begin blogging for a new branch of XXX Church called Heart Support. They deal with addiction in general: sex, money, food, cutting, etc. I’ll be blogging there once a month about my past with porn addiction and how I came out of it.

I know this is a touchy subject and one that no one really enjoys thinking about (me neither), but here’s the reality: it’s part of who I was. One of the biggest hindrances to me stopping my porn addiction was that I bought into the lie that I was the only one who struggled with it. Statistically, I was WAY off, but I had no idea. Because I thought I was the only one, I thought I had to fight it alone. That’s one reason why I love ministries like XXX Church and Heart Support. They’re not scared to speak up, say it how it is, and help people who think they have to fight it alone.

My first blog is now up at HeartSupport.com. It’s not graphic or anything, but let me just warn you: it may not be easy to read. It wasn’t easy for me to write. It’s called “I’m A Pastor and I use Porn.” Read it if you’d like. If you know of someone that it could be useful to, pass it along!

I pray God can use my past that I’m not proud of to help provide hope and healing for people hooked on porn.

What issue have you dealt with in your past that you can help others with now?

Do you believe God is big enough to use your mistakes for His glory? Whether you believe it or not, He is. I’m proof.