It’s amazing the lengths God goes to to catch your attention!
(And how slow I can be to catch on)
This morning I read the devotional for my daily reading plan, “Bible in One Year” by Nicky & Pippa Gumbel, pioneers of the Alpha Course. I was particularly struck by one thought about Matthew 13:18-25:
“When I look at the lives of some of those who did Alpha five, ten or fifteen years ago, they have had a massive impact. Some have even started ministries that have had a global impact.”
As I read this line I started counting years on my fingers- it’s been 13 years since I sat in a parish hall on Tuesday afternoons (like this one!) taking part in an Alpha Course with some of my teenaged classmates. It was in that hall that I first heard you could have a relationship with God.
This was a completely new idea to me, who considered myself a good church member. I knew you could do good things for God, pray to Him, etc. but the thought of Him answering back, being interested in my life, and wanting a friendship rather than a dictatorship was completely new. It was a seed that dropped straight into the depths of my heart.
A few months later, I responded to the good news of the Gospel by surrendering my life to God completely- not out of compulsion but as a grateful response to His undeserved love. I accepted Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross as punishment for my sins and received His free gift of eternal life. Intense, enduring peace washed over and through me.
I would never have guessed that 13 years later, I would be sharing that same Gospel message of hope and reconciliation with students just a little older than I was then. I would never have guessed that I would be involved in an international ministry committed to having a global impact.
As I thought about this this morning, I remembered that Nicky Gumbel will be one of the keynote speakers at our upcoming European conference in April- duh! What an honour to hear from a man who pioneered a ministry that has impacted the lives of thousands of people, including countless individuals (like me) whom he has never met!
P.S. I’ve been invited to address a group of students this evening. Please pray with me for God to give me grace and the right words to say to inspire a new generation to impact the world by making disciples who make disciples!