Two stellar events, in one day, in the same town, right around the corner from each other, within a manageable time frame, could only have been orchestrated by our Good and Glorious God. I was the blessed recipient of these events, and I pray you’ll be blessed by hearing what happened!
This week I’m reporting on an astonishing young man by the name of John Stein, who attends Lexington Christian Academy, (LCA) in Lexington, Kentucky (http://www.lexingtonchristian.org/). John was the speaker on this particular day for his High School’s Chapel Service.
As a bonus, I got to sit with our middle son, Gordy, at Chapel and his girlfriend, Lauren (who recently became his fiancée!!!), as well as Lauren’s Mother, Pam, and Lauren’s Grandparents, Carol and Bob Sparks.
The young man speaking was none other than Lauren’s younger brother, John.* He is a Junior at LCA and is only seventeen years old. Gordy had coached John for this talk on prayer which made it a double bonus for me to hear him.
After meaningful worship, John was introduced. A hush came over the audience and John began by addressing one of the problems of our culture: multi-tasking. Case in point was the newest update by Apple.
This lovely new app prevents us from focusing on one thing, and enables us to do many things simultaneously. John added emphatically, “Relationships suffer because of this.” He showed a fast-paced clip to illustrate this point, giving our brains quite a workout.
He then posed these questions, “What does Jesus say about prayer? Do we grasp that prayer is really about our relationship with God?” Anybody need a relationship check?
One of many favorite aspects of John’s talk included his use of Scripture to back up his points. He began with Luke 5:16 where Jesus withdrew to pray.
John advised, “ We ALL need a time and a place to retreat with God. THAT is where He will restore our soul. Therefore….We must be intentional about our quiet time with the Lord.”
Kristen Sauder wrote an excellent Bible study called God Seeker—A Journey through Exodus 33. It emphasizes the importance of having our own “tent of meeting” as Moses did. That is, a special place where we meet with the Lord daily (www.furtherstillministries.org).
Another point John made came from Luke 11:1 where the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray. “Their desire to learn how to pray is KEY. Don’t you want to talk with God?”
John showed us that with desire comes future blessings. He asked, “Do you want to talk with God? Your HEART will follow what you love.” It’s a natural progression: When you love God, you talk with Him. Talking with Him equates to prayer. And prayer builds relationships.
John added, “Look at Matthew 6:6. We are supposed to find a quiet place to pray. The Lord will reward you. Our reward? Christ.” Next we looked at John 14:20-21 where Jesus says, “…If you love me, my Father will love you too, and I’ll show myself to you.” What a privilege!
One thing I really appreciate about John is he allows himself to be vulnerable. When he asks questions, he puts himself right in there with us, which in turn brings us into the picture. You suddenly realize, “Well, if he’s concerned about this, obviously I should be too.”
So here’s where he nailed us: “Every single day, God gives you and me the opportunity to meet with Him, anywhere, any time. It is up to us to join Him, enjoying His presence.” Wow….please tell me why we forget this?
This reminded me of a bracelet I wear every day which is engraved with the last part of Matthew 28:20 on it: “And lo, I am with you always.” Even with it dangling on my wrist, I still forget. Forgive us, Lord…
In closing, John gave us a couple more Scriptures: One to reassure us and one to challenge us.
He reassured us by showing us John 16:33 where Jesus says “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” We can cling to His peace.
As our Good and Glorious God would also orchestrate, this very week, my lesson for a Bible study I attend by Liz Curtis Higgs (www.lizcurtishiggs.com) called Bad Girls of the Bible–And What We Can Learn From Them is about Rahab. She had a bit of a past. (Understatement of the century!) Liz says, “If God can turn a harlot into a holy vessel, entrusting her with the very genes that would one day produce the King of Kings, surely those of us with a past can leave our shame in the rubble and walk away, fixing our eyes on the One who washes us white as snow.”
She brings up the Apostle Paul who also had a bit of a past….as in “persecuting the Christians–and then becoming one!!!” Paul is the one who said, in the very verse that John gave us for a challenge, Romans 1:16: “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it’s the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes…”.
John asked, “So, how much more are you willing to give of yourself? I am not ashamed of who saved my soul…I need a Savior and I want to know Him better. Do you?”
“When the aim of your life is to affect everyone in your life for the Gospel of Christ, you need prayer…
Friends, revival starts on your knees.”
Goodness, gracious, let’s look at that again: REVIVAL STARTS ON YOUR KNEES.
Whoa. Just re-reading my notes and writing this out for us, I am convicted. Let’s vow to practice His presence, praying to Him, talking with Him. The Lord knows our hearts. May we have hearts to know and love Him. May we be bold to proclaim Him.
Y’all be praying for young John Stein. He’s going to set the world on fire, one soul at a time.
If you’d like to see this passion-filled delivery, you can find it on YouTube. Go to: www.youtube.com and then type in “John Stein 2013”. Turn up the volume! (I only hit the highlights, you’ll want to hear more!) Oh, that we may hunger for God’s Word like John so enthusiastically communicates.
Next week, in part two of my escapades in Lexington, I’ll share what transpired at a fun lunch gathering of many authors. Another slice of Heaven…
‘Til next time!
* Disclaimer: While you can see I should be ultra-biased since John and I are practically or soon will be related (!!!), I can honestly say all my comments are upfront and truthful.
(This post is dedicated to Master John Stein. He’s piercing hearts for Jesus every step of the way. Not only has God gifted him with the gift of speaking/preaching, he’s an amazing athlete, a dedicated student, a devoted friend to many, a super son, brother and grandson. I’m delighted we’re about to be related! Keep the faith, John! We are so very proud of you. May God Bless you abundantly.)