Friday, July 3, 2009

Where I Belong

"I am alive in this moment/ In this moment I am found.
I am alive in this moment
/ In this moment I belong" -Starfield

I listened to this song (Alive in This Moment) on the way to work today. A song I've grown fond of for the way it captures emotions and thoughts at various moments. Today I connected with it again, enjoying a moment of worship on my brief, mundane drive on the 57 freeway into work. Listening to that chorus, I reflected back on just a few hours before when I'd been hanging out with people in Hollywood...

See, the purpose of my life is to love God and to love people; to obey him, serve him, and make him known to others. So when I actually live out that purpose of making him known, I also come to know him in a deeper way - and end up feeling more alive; like I belong in that moment, for that purpose.

...It was very quiet on the street last night. We probably walked up and down the block 2 or 3 times before talking to anyone. Then we found a group loitering (and by loitering I mean 'working', whatever form that may take) by the donut shop. Some of our crew was already there with them, but only engaging one or two people, so we jumped in and began some conversations. Anthony, who we've known for a long time was there, so that made it much easier to get into conversations with everyone else. And then I noticed one of the guys had been at our bible study last week, and so he and I ended up talking for a while. Some about why he doesn't go to church, some about how he claimed disability to he could get unemployment because he's tired of working...basically getting to know him and expose some disconnect between his spiritual beliefs in God and his lifestyle.

All 6 of them ended up happily joining us for bible study and pizza (didn't even have to convince any of them, they all wanted to come!) A few others were already at The Refuge location when we got there, chowing down on pizza and getting to know one another. Probably about 8 or 9 people in attendance besides the BH people.

For the next few weeks Antquan is answering questions people have written down on note cards that they want us to answer, so this week's was on guy/girl relationships and friendships and what is and is not okay. Though it dealt mostly with friendship, it ended up focusing primarily on the physical aspect of relationships, which led to some good conversation afterward.

One of the attendees was a drunk homeless guy who laughed through almost the entire service. Clearly distracting for everyone, but Antquan managed to carry on as usual and keep the rest of the group focused.
And I sat next to one of the guys who had been at the donut place, who also laughed through a good portion of the sermon, high on weed and finding life pretty entertaining. I hadn't even tried to talk to him earlier because he was just laughing at everything and I knew a conversation wouldn't go anywhere.

But by the end of the service, he'd mellowed out a bit, and some of us got into a good discussion about relationships and sex and God. He expressed how he couldn't hold out from sex for very long, and we were able to talk about God's rules and plan and why he lays it out the way he does, temptation, marriage, etc. After a good conversation on the topic, what we all thought about believe, Michelle and Trang ventured off to other conversations and it ended up being just TJ and I.

We got to talking more about his beliefs, thoughts regarding the bible and God, and how he thinks he's going to hell, even though he believes in Jesus. Turns out he knows all about Jesus, forgiveness, etc, but thinks he's done too many bad things and is going to hell. He knows he can be forgiven, knows he can accept Jesus' sacrifice and turn and follow him. But he doesn't want to yet. That kind of thing is so discouraging to hear, and yet I really appreciated his honesty to just admit that he didn't want to do what he knew he needed to. He said he thinks about God, but only sometimes and only applies Christian principles to certain areas of his life. That God isn't number one for him, like he should be. He hasn't hit rock bottom yet, hasn't been so broken that he calls out to God. He's still enamored with drugs and sex and worldly 'freedom'.

I continued on with him, explaining following Christ, the gospel, empowering of the Holy Spirit etc. For a while he said, 'yeah, i want that. yeah, yeah, I want to do that, I want to go to Heaven' and so on. But when we got down to needing to confess and repent and let God change him, he said he wasn't ready. He confessed that he's just not ready to make the change he knows he needs to make.For a few brief, very exciting moments, I thought he might surrender to Christ that night. But he honestly admitted he wasn't ready. And while I want him to be, I couldn't and didn't want to force anything. I'd rather see him want Jesus and work through the 'whys' of not being ready, then expect him to pretend and fool him into thinking that praying a prayer will save him for eternity if he has no plans to change the way he's living.

But it was a great conversation. Probably one of the best I've had there. He even stayed after everyone, including his friends, had left. I'm just praying that God moves through that and we see him again and that very soon, TJ will be ready to give his life to following after Jesus.

Because though he's been drug-dealing since he was a teenager, I know he can do so much more. And he can do it with the joy of knowing God in his life!

Our conversation was frustrating at times, I know I was no eloquent, and yet God gave me all the words and courage and boldness that I needed to talk honestly to TJ and really care about his soul. And in that moment, I was truly alive in doing what I was saved to do. I pray for more and more of those types of moments in Hollywood, as well as everywhere my daily life takes me.

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