At Timberlake Church, nothing excites us more than watching people take their next right step in Jesus. And when Perrin, a Timberlake attender, took her faith public by getting baptized a few weeks ago, we celebrated with her.
Please take a few moments and read her story:
Growing up, Jesus wasn't a part of my life. I had no real knowledge of who He was. My father was an atheist and my mother didn't seem interested. I heard about Jesus from some friends in high school, but truly, nothing really sank in.
Without any sort of faith structure in my life, anxiety played a big part of how I functioned. And, although I felt that everything happened for a reason, I never had the feeling that God was looking out for me.
But it when I met my husband, things started to change. Something just seemed to click in my heart and my previous “everything happens for a reason” theory started to make sense. And that’s when I made the decision to follow Jesus.
My faith journey has been a long one but after more than ten years and several moves, we found ourselves at Timberlake Church. And it was at Timberlake where everything in my life really came full circle. For the first time, I actually felt one hundred percent connected with Jesus.
Everything finally made sense.Life just seems easier now. Days are not perfect and life still presents it's challenges but it all feels manageable, especially knowing that Jesus is always there. I can always count on him, and that's a pretty awesome feeling.
When I was 15 years old, a new youth pastor at our church invited me to a week at "summer camp". At the time, I responded as any 15 year old considering giving up a week of summer would-- "No thanks, I'm not interested." Then, a girl I liked from church decided to go to camp. I was interested.
I walked into a week of summer camp expecting to have some fun, make some memories, and work my best freshman-in-high-school moves on my love interest. But here's what happened: God met me at that summer camp. If we had the time, I could take you to the exact spot where I remember committing my life to Jesus forever, and deciding my life was going to look different from that day forward. I can't really remember what the messages were about, or how fun the games were, but I can remember knowing so clearly in my heart and mind that Jesus Christ is who he said he is, and wanted so badly to have a relationship with me.
Flash forward a decade, and I can't remember who the love interest was, but I can tell you that the decision to fall in love with Jesus has stuck with me, and its by his grace that I'm walking with Him today.
The past couple weeks, we had a chance to provide this opportunity for a bunch of students at Timberlake, both at the middle school and high school level. During these two weeks, it was truly amazing to see students connect in brand new friendships, play crazy games and make lifelong memories. But more than anything, it was amazing to watch them make decisions of faith; decisions that I know firsthand can last a lifetime.
So, thank you for being a church committed to creating this environment for students. I know that, for so many students, summer camp changes everything.
High School Pastor
This past weekend at Timberlake, students and kids all across our family life ministries moved up into the grade they're heading into this coming Fall. For some students, this meant continuing in a program that most of them have come to love. However, for a few grades, this meant moving into an entirely new program and environment. At Timberlake, we call this move up process "Up Week." Now, Up week has always been one of my favorite times of the year, and for the past three years, I simply chalked it up to excitement in the program. New students always bring fresh energy, excitement, and perspective to any of our kids or youth programs, from K12 all the way up through high school.
And this past Sunday, as we welcomed students across the spectrum this weekend to new programs, the same excitement was there for our High School ministry, the program I lead hands on. However, after spending a bit of time over the past couple days reflecting on it, I think I've arrived at the core of my excitement surrounding Up Week-- potential. As I was thinking about and praying for the incoming class of HS students, I caught myself praying for and dreaming about the potential inside of each and every student who had just walked into our program. Potential for things like: reaching friends only they can reach, making a difference for Jesus Christ even in this life stage, and setting an example that peers and adult leader alike can follow. Now, I know that perhaps I'm a little (if not disturbingly) biased at how much I truly believe in HS students. I think they're the greatest group of people on earth, and I think if Jesus Christ gets a hold of their heart and mind at this age, there's no limit to what they can do for him.
See, HS students are at a unique juncture in life: they're old enough to enact change to a particular extent, yet young enough to believe that anything's possible. They're free of the normal skepticism that life throws our way, and their eyes and hearts are wide open to what God can do in and through their lives. And, in this process, I arrived at a really simple question-- "What if I believed like they believed?"
Jesus talks about the best kind of faith to have a follower of him, the "faith like a child" (Luke 18:17 NIV). When Jesus says this, what I really think he means is, "Do you really think I'm capable of doing what I said I would? Do you believe in me like a 9th, 10th, 11th, or 12th grade student does?" It was a pretty challenging question. If I'm honest, some days a do, but they're becoming fewer and far between. I'm getting pretty good and thinking through structure, and strategy, and organization when it comes to following Jesus Christ. But, this past weekend, I tried to be honest enough with myself to ask a simple question, and I'd encourage you to do the same....
"What would it look like for me to believe that God was able to do what He says he would. Who could I help reach? What could I do for His Kingdom?"
So, here's to believing like a freshman in HS, and unlocking the potential that God's put inside of us.