A bloody walk of death
Next week, I will celebrate my 21st spiritual birthday.
Many of you know the story, but just in case - the Spirit of God opened my eyes to my need for Jesus when I was 17.
Though I had grown up in a great Christian home, grew up with Christian education, and attended gospel preaching churches - God didn't choose to save me through those means. It was at a camp, but not your typical summer camp. At this camp, yes - we had fun, we laughed a ton, and we played all the games, but that wasn't the point of the camp. At this camp, we learned how to engage, how to know God through His Word.
21 years ago, I was introduced to a tool - inductive Bible study.
One day in, I absolutely hated it. It was hard. It required work. Also, I didn't have the Holy Spirit yet - that's kind of an important detail when you're studying the Bible.
Two days in, I kept going, learning how to get into the text. Oh, by the way, we were studying the book of I John. Here is why John said he wrote that book,
You can see where this is going.
Three or four days in, we were still using the tool - read, mark, list, think, context - observe, interpret, and apply... those are really important tools on a journey of knowing God through His Word. We made a list on the child of God and child of the Devil from all of I John.
I used to say that the Spirit hit me, but it was more like cutting out all of the background noise so that I could hear Him whisper.
I used to say that he wrecked me like a Mack Truck, but in reality, it was just a realization, an "Oh My God Lord, what are you saying?!" moment where He helped me realize that I was not a child of God.
Y'all, not through a charismatic speaker. It wasn't through a service that was perfectly planned or manipulated to produce emotion. Get this - It was a list. It was the Spirit of God using the Word of God to open my eyes to my need for the Son of God.
21 years ago - God used inductive Bible study to save me.
Fast forward, I now have the humble privilege of seeing 14-18-year-old students, college students, and staff engage on the same journey - knowing God, engaging with God through knowing His Word. In God's hilarious sovereignty, I now have the amazing honor of helping lead this team that leads the same camps. And there I go... I'm crying as I write this. God, in his sovereign goodness, has given me the privilege to serve in the development of these amazing leaders. The same camp that God used to introduce me to Him! For eight days, students from all over North America come to Precept Ministries International campus in Chattanooga, Tenessee to engage with God. The same tool - read, mark, list, think, context - observe, interpret, and apply... because of Jesus and through the power of the Spirit, how to apply the Word of God to their lives.
Well last night, we were four days into this first camp of the summer. I've been hitting up the Instastories, asking saints from around the world to pray for what the Lord is doing in this valley in Tenessee. On night one, I threw up a video - asking folks to pray. I was inundated with people letting me know that they were praying for us. The students jumped into the study - read, mark, list... this year, we're not studying 1 John, but basically the whole Bible - we're studying Covenant.
I threw up another prayer on Instagram, asking folks to pray for me as I prepared to speak on God's covenant with Abram and the bloody walk of Jesus.
Again, I was inundated with people praying for us from around the world! Well, it's always great to give an update when you ask people to pray.
Last night, we had one of those moments... one of those holy moments, where the Lord just shows off. These kids have diligently studied for days. They have responded in worship. They have leaned into what the Spirit is saying to them as they study and as they reason through the Scriptures together.
Let me set the stage
My great friend and gospel-bro, Stephen Hinkle, is leading us in our response in worship this week. He started off our main session worship with a ridiculous medley of hymns about the blood of Jesus. The students were leaning in, singing loudly in this moment
As we continued singing, a familiar tune became an invitation, a haunting and weighty plea to the students:
Then, I had the opportunity to reason through the blood of Christ with these students. The wood was set up, but I knew that God needed to light the match. I teach and preach a ton - I love it. Last night, however, I absolutely know that God's Spirit got after it, connected the dots for students, giving them the grace to understand that God walked through the bloody walk of death in both the covenant with Abram and His covenant with us. I saw it. I watched the Spirit of God doing it in their lives. I don't want to give all of the details because we have two camps left (PS - we have a few spots left if you know someone that needs to be here). Because of the bloody walk of the death of Jesus, we can have confidence in our covenant God.
The update for you - well, students responded to the Word of God.
It just so happens, someone recorded some of the response of worship:
The live feed ended, but our time of worship didn't. We leaned further into the moment of what the Spirit was doing. Students were praying together. They were on their faces, kneeling, the ground around them was saturated with their tears. God allowed these students to respond to the weight of the cross of Christ, that God did the work.
My words fail to express this holy moment.
God saved several boys. He made students realize that they were not in covenant with God through Jesus. God assured students, after spending time in His Word studying what He has accomplished for them, God gave them a confidence that can only come from His covenant.
So, happy 21st birthday in Jesus. What do I get to celebrate when God became my covenant-keeper? I get to celebrate more brothers, more children of God that have been redeemed by the bloody walk of death. I get to lock arms with people that have gone from enemies of God to welcomed friends of God, joint heirs with Jesus because of Jesus.
Friends, thank you so much for praying. Please keep praying. The Lord has so much in store for these students. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for praying.
Here is just a glimpse of what the Lord is doing: