Our desire to encourage and spur you on as a shepherd leader often comes from the most interesting of resources.This week’s blog harkens back to a Shepherds in Action post you may remember from a couple of months ago. As you read this remarkable story about the faithfulness of The Good Shepherd to the “1”,please remember that a “rave” is an all-night dance party with EDM (Electronic Dance Music) amazing visual/lighting effects, with 90% (on average) of the attendees using drugs. Raves are held at clubs, parks, stadiums and a variety of other locations. Here, a “Rave Mom” or “Rave Dad” is an adult Christian older parent or grandparent who deliberately places themselves at or near a rave event - not to endorse or host the event, but to provide protection and a safe sanctuary for these young people, hoping to show them the love of The Good Shepherd. Check this out, and if you would like more information about the organization that reaches these kids, please contact us at info@PresencePoint.com...
It was rave mom Janet's very first outreach. She was in the rave venue parking lot with rave mom Diana as the Texas teams gathered together from Houston, Austin and Dallas. They were looking for kids in trouble during the night and that's when they came upon Andrew (not his real name). Andrew was totally high and laying between two cars.
What they didn't know was that Andrew had just cried out to God to ask Him if He was real, and that if He was, to please show Himself. His words were,
"If you are real, show up!"
The previous year, Andrew had gone through a painful breakup with his Christian girlfriend, Sierra (also not her real name). She said she had to leave to pursue her relationship with God. She knew she shouldn't be dating a non-believer. They were walking two separate paths.
Sierra's parents had been loving and kind towards Andrew. They truly practiced the Gospel and spoke the truth in love. Even after the breakup, when Sierra's grandparents, also loving Christians, came into town, they included Andrew in a get-together because they truly loved him and wanted to catch up with him.
Andrew was very touched by all these loving Christians in this family and thought he'd probably never experience that again. In his mind, that was just Sierra's family, not a common trait of those who call themselves Christians. He missed Sierra, but he really missed the sincere love he had experienced with these people.
So there he lay between two cars in the rave parking lot. And as soon as he breathed that prayer, that little teeny tiny spark of faith was fanned into a flame by the One who says that if we truly seek Him, He will be found by us. Because right at that moment, rave moms Diana and Janet appeared...
The Good Shepherd Himself had left the 99 to run through that parking lot to the 1 lost little lamb. And this time, his name was Andrew.
The moms were able to get Andrew up and take him back to their team RV where they sat outside in chairs with the other rave moms and shared the Gospel with him. They used the rave-style bracelet they gave him with the Gospel colors on it, and answered many of his questions. Andrew didn't receive salvation that night, but he was very drawn to the love of Christ. He asked for Diana's contact information so they could continue the discussion.
Over the years I have noticed that this generation doesn’t make quick, emotional decisions about Jesus as some sort of fire insurance. They ask a lot of questions. They look sincerely into the Gospel. By the time they accept Jesus, discipleship is well underway.
Andrew contacted Diana once or twice a month over the next 5 months. Each time, he would share more about his life and thank the team again for reaching out to him that night in that parking lot. Diana kept sharing God's word with him each time he called.
Last week, Andrew texted Diana again and said that he would like to meet in person. On Thursday, Diana and rave dad Rick drove out of town to meet him, by faith, with a Bible they'd purchased, engraved with his name.
Before she left, Diana posted a prayer request regarding Andrew on a private Facebook page:"Please pray that his heart is still seeking God, that we speak the words the Spirit gives us for him. Pray that he will receive the gift of salvation. God is watering the seeds He led us to plant in October in this young man. He is indeed a master gardener."
Later that night, a post from Diana came through to the prayer team:
Meet Andrew, our new brother in Christ!
Thank you for your prayers for our time together. God is faithful! Andrew first caught us up on what had been happening in his life; what God was doing. Then he pulled out his bracelet and said that the night at the rave changed his life. He wanted to hear about the colors on the bracelet again. So using his brand new Bible, we started to walk him through it. We got as far as the blue bead (that stands for faith) and Rick shared Romans 10:9. Andrew said,
"I believe that! How do I confess it?"
So we stopped right there and guided him in a prayer of confession of faith in Jesus Christ as risen Lord and Savior. There were tears, great joy, and a profusion of appreciation from Andrew. All to God's glory! We continued talking to him about the tools we had brought him as we discussed the green bead (growth). He downloaded apps, looked at the Bible table of contents and asked more questions. Just when we were about to talk about the importance of finding and becoming part of a church body, a man named John walked by and dropped a "Jesus Loves You" business card on our table. Delighted, we invited him to join us. It was so perfect for Andrew to see how the body of Christ works... how we all said the same things, used the same Scriptures from the same Bible, shared the same joy, and we didn't even know each other at all. Andrew saw God's family in action. John, who runs a homeless ministry in the area, gave us all his phone number and invited Andrew to come to church with him.
Diana and Rick (and John!) left Andrew wrapped in prayer and hugs. He is a child of the King!
God used Sierra's family to till the soil. God used Janet and the rave moms to plant the seed. God used Rick and Diana to water the seed. And a new Andrew burst forth on Thursday!Praising God that He is indeed The Good Shepherd who leaves the 99 to bring the 1 to himself…
God is indeed a Master Gardener!