Come as you are.
Four words that changes lives. The phrase beams with welcome, and acceptance. It’s judgment free. The invitation has been shining night and day since July 16, 2006 on North Pointe Community Church’s roadside LED sign. The words are a beacon to anyone facing dark times.
The words caught David’s attention as he drove along 167 Avenue. His worst nightmares couldn’t create a deeper darkness than what he faced in reality. It was Easter weekend of 2014 when he decided to risk accepting the invite to come inside. David met me at the end of one of our Easter Sunday services and asked me to pray for him. I had no idea what was behind his request.
The next day he connected via email, and said, “Thank you for praying. Just like what God would do for his children. I’ve done so much wrong in my life that I can’t seem to find a peaceful exit. I’ve never felt so much trouble without any possible answers.”
Over the following five months David attended Sunday services but it wasn’t until September that he shared his history. What he told me sounded so crazy at first I believed he was making it up.
David was thirty-four years old. He was a high-ranking member of the Crazy Dragons gang in Edmonton, one of the most notorious gangs in Alberta. He had spent time in jail. He owed a lot of money. Now he wanted a new life – or, his old life back. He had a Christian heritage. When he was fourteen he played the role of Jesus in an Easter drama at his church.
David started getting his life right with Jesus and had a sincere measure of peace in spite of his circumstances. He told the Edmonton Police Service of the changes he was making and they assigned officers to protect his wife and children. The last time I saw him was on a November Sunday morning before one of our three services. We greeted briefly and shook hands. On November 26, 2014 his charred body was found on a roadside in Langley, BC – a gang-related homicide. (For details on this story, click here.")
The last time we connected David wrote, “I need Jesus to save me and protect me and allow me to see that it can only be his work. I want to live right, but because the situation that I put myself in I’m forced to do wrong, and that is only to try to catch up. I’m broken.”
He explained, “I listen to Christian music all day long and try my very best to attend service every Sunday. My sins might be just too dense to ever thin out, never mind washing away completely. Please send me some scriptures that would strongly help me fight this evilness that surrounds me.”
I replied to him, “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you are saved” (Romans 10:9). You have come as you are. It’s never about how much faith you have but where you place your faith. Your faith is in Jesus.”
Jesus is the living Word. Words make a difference.
Words written on a sign, a tweet, in a blog post, a book, or an article.
What you write is making a difference.
Robert (Bob) W. Jones is a recovering perfectionist, who collects Coca-Cola memorabilia and drinks Iced Tea. His office walls are adorned with his sons’ framed football jerseys, and his library shelves, with soul food. He writes to inspire people to be real, grow an authentic faith in Jesus, enjoy healthy relationships and discover their life purpose.
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