In the opening phrases of the Gospel according to Luke, the author writes, “it seemed good to me also…to write an orderly account for you…that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.” You see, it is good to chronicle the many things that God is doing in His work here on earth. Why is this endeavor good? So that we may have certainty.
I know that I am not alone in my times of questioning and doubt. But, what the Bible does promise us is certainty in our faith because there were men and women who witnessed the mighty acts of God, the inexpiable presence of the Holy Spirit, and the miracles of Jesus. They saw them with their own eyes. And, though they may have on many occasions not have immediately believed what they had seen. There was no denying that they experienced something different than anything they had experienced before, so much so, these men sat down and began to chronicle their encounters with God.
Twenty-four chapters later, Luke ends his narration of the life of Jesus, and launches into his second book which describes how this good news, the Gospel, the story of Jesus traveled throughout the region as thousands upon thousands heard and responded to the life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus. As a writer, I cannot imagine how certain stories were chosen for inclusion into the Gospels and the book of Acts, while others have been lost to time. The apostle John finished his book about Jesus by saying, “Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” (John 21:25)
As I have researched and compiled stories for this edition of The Encourager Magazine, I have been awestruck by the number of stories I have heard which give evidence to this great movement of God we are experiencing in Collin County. Unfortunately, there are not enough pages in this publication to share with you the many ways in which God is touching the lives of the people who live here.
I have heard of a family of Muslim men who were in their living room reading the third chapter of the Gospel of John when someone randomly knocked on their door asking if they could pray for them. And, when the visitors were allowed to enter the home, they were asked to help explain the scripture passages the men were reading.
I heard of a couple whose marriage was bitter and coming to an end. After trying everything they could think of, they said to each other, “we just need someone to pray for us.” Minutes later, a knock came on the door.
I have heard of a man who is native to another country who recently gave his life to Jesus as a result of someone coming to his home to share with him. Not only did this man become a believer himself, but he returned to his native country so he could share Jesus with his family back at home. And the entire family believed and was baptized.
And, I have heard stories about childhood friends being reunited, and relationships rekindled because someone randomly knocked on a door to share the Gospel with the stranger who lived on the other side of the door.
I have talked with people who have started to change the regular rhythm of their lives to purposefully schedule time in their week to seek the lost in their community, to pray with and for them, and to share with them what Jesus has done in their own lives.
In short, I have been witness to a revival, a fresh movement of God’s spirit like never before. And, the more this movement grows, the more churches who actively engage their lost neighbors with the Gospel, the more these stories begin to multiply.
I have spent the past decade as a photojournalist and chronicler of God’s stories, in America and beyond. I am no stranger to being in remote locations, or urban cities, or on trains, planes, or buses and finding that God is at work in the lives of people, even to the ends of the earth. However, I can say these past months have been different.
In Collin County, as we are looking at our mission field…the lost among us…many pastors speak of the people who live here and compare them to the parable of The Rich Young Ruler, (You remember that one, where Jesus tells the man “go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me”, but the man could not because he cared more about his possessions than he did of his spiritual life.) And yet, the people of Collin County are coming to Jesus. The stories I have mentioned are just a handful of the stories which are being added to weekly.
It sounds like the book of Acts, doesn’t it?! I never imagined I would have the opportunity to write such extraordinary stories about a modern-day, Acts-like movement of the spreading of God’s word. I can truly say, “And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:47) I pray this fresh wind of God’s spirit will continue and that each quarter as we prepare The Encourager Magazine, it will be impossible to tell all the stories about how God is at work in Collin County, Texas.
THE ENCOURAGER MAGAZINE – SUMMER 2017