In this morning’s message, I talked about the power of an invitation. Some of the things I mentioned were the personal invitations my sister (Debbie) and Youth Pastor (Dwight) extended to me in some of the formative moments of my spiritual journey.
It was Debbie who pointed out to me that I was a sinner in need of the forgiveness Jesus could provide. She invited me to follow Jesus. Her invite began a journey for me that God used Dwight to help continue. Over a 14 month period between 1989-1990, Dwight just kept inviting me to things. He invited me to hang out and play golf or tennis or basketball (friendship). He invited me to exchange my sin for Christ’s righteousness (salvation). He invited me to help lead a fundraiser car wash the Youth Group was putting on (service). He invited me to lead Bible studies in the youth group (ministry). He invited me to consider a life in vocational ministry (calling). That is a lot of invitations to extend to a sophomore in High School! But I am eternally grateful that Dwight and Debbie extended these invitations to me. God used them to change my life.
In this morning’s message, we looked at John 1:35-42 and saw Andrew invite his brother Simon to follow Christ. There is almost no way Andrew could have known all that God would eventually do through Simon (Peter) at the time of his invitation. Andrew’s invite was not so much strategic as it was loving . . . he simply wanted to invite his brother to connect to Christ.
As I reflected on that passage, I wondered what my friend Dwight was thinking as he extended those invites to me 26 years ago. I reached out to Dwight this past week and asked him. These were some of his thoughts:
In those days I had a saying. “Run with those who want to run with you.” As you know, there are always folks who don’t want to run the race you are describing. I found myself inviting folks to the level or depth that they would be willing to risk and say yes to. I keep asking until they say no or avoid me! HA
In one sense I would say that the invitation toward you was no different than any other invitation. What was different was the response and the degree I could see that you were being used by God and would be used by God in the future.
God was already doing a work in you, it only required an invitation from me to start the blooming action.
You have to believe in people and what God has placed in them and not what you currently see!
Believing in you! – Dwight
I am so thankful that Dwight did not just rely on what he could see . . . a 16 year old with a mullet haircut with an extensive Hair Band cassette tape collection. He looked beyond the obvious to what God could do and invited me to follow Him.
Who are you inviting to Jesus this year? God is already at work in them . . . He graciously includes us in the process by allowing our invitations to start the blooming action.
Like Dwight, I am believing in you this year. Let’s follow Jesus together.
NOTE: In the summer of 1990 Dwight Nash was the Youth Pastor at East Cross United Methodist Church in Bartlesville, Oklahoma where I attended. Today, Dwight is Senior Pastor of Sent Church in Plano, TX and the Church Planting Catalyst with the Wesleyan Church. He is also my hero.