alright kids! here’s the story you’ve all been waiting for! or, the story you’ve all been suckered into wanting to hear by my shameless bait…
last week i went home on my lunch break. a pretty regular occurance. i walk in and my mom has the radio on. another pretty regular occurance. she tells me that focus on the family has had josh harris on, speaking on relationships (shocker, i know). so i think to myself huh. i wonder if it’s one of his more recent sermons… so as i make my lunch i start to listen… and my first thought is oh wow, this is old. his voice sounds way younger! haha. as i listen more i realize that i recognized what he was saying. i’d heard the illustrations before, the points, the phrases. it was very familiar… then it hit me – i was there! i was at the seminar where he gave that very talk! (okay so the actual recording was done at the seminar in kansas or something, but i attended the seminar when he was in phx) it was from his Search For True Love tour that he did way back in 1997!
and then all these random memories started coming back… i attended that seminar with my mom. she and i met up with my best friend at the time, who had come with her dad i remember seeing some random other homeschool friends that i hadn’t seen in a long time. i remember that my cousins had come up from tucson with a group from their church. i remember wanting to hang out with them but not really getting to because they were hanging with their group the whole time. i remember that when we took a break for lunch, my mom and i ate an entire bag of poore brothers salt and vinegar potato chips in one sitting. like i said, random memories.
and then i remembered something else… something else that happened that day that i had no clue about, but would set in motion a course of events that would have radical and dramatic effects on my life and who i am today. you see, that day, at that seminar, my uncle (who had come up from Tucson with my cousins) picked up a free publication by a ministry that josh harris had recently become affiliated with. that ministry is called Sovereign Grace Ministries. in a nutshell, as a result of my uncle’s reading that issue of Sovereign Grace (as the magazine was previously called), and in conjunction with what the Lord had been stirring in his heart at the time, my uncle began to pursue and look into Sovereign Grace Ministries. which eventually led to my uncle leaving his old church and driving his family up to tempe, arizona (hour and a half drive) every sunday to attend what was then called Trinity New Life Church. and this eventually led to Sovereign Grace Ministries planting a church in tucson, and my uncle becoming it’s pastor.
so how did this change my life? well, my uncle’s pursuit and involvement with Trinity New Life Church played an instrumental role in my family joining the same church just a couple years later. and that day last week when i realized what seminar message i was listening to, i suddenly stopped and took a short inventory of my life right now. i am a different person than i was on that day. and the reason is God’s work in my life primarily through our church. the sound, gospel-centered teaching that i have been privileged to receive at our church has drastically changed the way that i think and operate. my two closests friends are members of this church – one i met when we joined the church and the other’s friendship i really don’t think would be at the place that it is were we not at the same church for the last 7 years. my two cousins became practically like my sisters as a result of being at the same church. they both married Godly men from other Sovereign Grace churches. my first and only real job has been at the church office and i completely love it! through the church i have grown in every aspect of my life. i have developed rich relationships both here and with our “sister churches” throughout Sovereign Grace Ministries. my first missions trip was on an e-team to Tijuana Mexico through the church.
in short, my whole life pretty much revolves around my local chrch. and i wouldn’t have it any other way! i can’t imagine being anywhere right now but where God has me. and to think on that day back in 1997, God was already at work sovereignly orchestrating the circumstances that would bring my family to this church and change our lives. and i didn’t have the slightest clue. God was moving mightily and already sanctifying me and directing me and leading my life on the course He had set out for it, and i didn’t realize it at all. and it has all been for such wondrous good! as a friend of mine says (from another Sovereign Grace Ministries church) “all God, all grace, all for our good, all for His glory.”
i hope you all are encouraged to read of this small jaunt down memory lane that i experienced. may it build your faith for today and beyond. who knows what amazing things God is doing today that will one day affect your life in wondrous and exciting ways that you can’t even imagine right now! does that not refresh your soul, my friends?! does that not expand your view of our great God!? may we worship Him more passionately as we look back in amazement on all that He has done! may we follow him more eagerly as we look ahead in faith, knowing that He is always at work for our good! may we exalt His name above all else because He is sovereign and good!
“Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon His name; make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice! Remember his wondrous works that he has done…” – Psalm 105:1-3, 5a