By Greg Crooks
I wanted to start this entry with a story I love of a young adult who hangs out at The Porch. It goes like this...
He grew up around Dallas and was unchurched; God and spiritual things were simply not on his radar screen. He went off to college at SMU a spiritual blank slate, if you will. Like most of the rest, he just sought after the things that appealed to his flesh—fraternity life, partying, girls, sports, etc. He was "successful" in all these worldly ways—made good grades, great fraternity, lots of "friends" there, and dated beautiful girls. Though he had all of this, he wondered...is this it or is there more?
His Junior year was a pivotal year, one that would change his life forever. What happened? Well, some guys in his finance class struck up a relationship with him (he was their tutor), and they invited him over one night. Out in their backyard, they engaged him on spiritual matters and asked him two questions that he would not be able to shake. They asked: if you were to die tonight and stand before God and He asked why He should let you into heaven, what would you say? And based on that, how sure were you that you'd be in?
Bam! This challenged him so much. He realized that how we spend our forever and ever was "the question" and if there were clear answers, he definitely needed to explore them. He started going to church and received his first Bible when he was twenty. He started reading God's Word ferociously and asking questions. Not long after, Truth became clear to him. He came to trust in the work of God's Son, Jesus, who was sent to the world to make full payment for the sins he knew he'd committed against a holy and perfect God. Because he had trusted in Christ's work and not his own good works, he saw in the Scriptures (1 John 5:11-13) that he could clearly KNOW where he would spend eternity. Everything changed that day for him in 2004.
It gets better. These guys from his finance class would surround him for the next seven years almost 24/7. They moved in together; hung out on the weekends hunting, fishing, and watching sports; and of course went to a local church, served, and studied God's Word together. They "lived life" together and talked about what God was doing in their lives—what they were learning as they studied God's word and ways that they needed to be held accountable to God's will for their lives. This guy's life was changed radically month after month, year after year. God was using these men to literally change his life; to conform him into the image of Jesus. Five years later, he met a Godly and beautiful woman, married her and they now have a baby together. This guy is now the spiritual leader of his family and serving the Lord in vocational ministry.
I love this story! And the reason is...well...that's my story! That's what God has done in my life! I am so grateful.
As I reflect back, those men were so pivotal to the life change that God brought about in my life. The idea of "you are who you hang out with" is a Biblical idea (Proverbs 13:20). When we talk about community, this is essentially what we are talking about—men and women in our lives on a consistent basis who love, care for, accept, encourage, hold accountable, and spur us on to loving God and others.
It is my passion and job at Watermark to help people looking for community find what I have found. Don't miss our next GroupLink starting this Sunday, January 27th. And, as always, Open Community Group meets every Tuesday night immediately after the Porch message. Let us know if we can serve you!
If you are in community, what is your story? How did God bring that about for you? We'd love to hear from you!