Thank God for Persistence and Passion
For the past several months, as we’ve been studying the book of John, we have learned a lot about Jesus from His interactions with others and their response to Him. Here, on the blog, we have been asking members to share when they first met Jesus or a significant encounter with Him.
My own story begins when I was in high school. I was a relatively typical high school guy. I spent most of my time playing basketball, hanging out with friends, and thinking about asking girls out (but not being brave enough to actually do it). Church wasn’t on the forefront of my mind, but a girl named Sandy Presley, who was both passionate about Jesus and very persistent, invited my friends and me to youth group all the time. I mean, all of the time. To be honest, it got a little annoying, but I decided to take her up on the invitation when she invited me to go with her youth group to the lake for a day of water skiing and tubing. While there, I met her youth pastor, Leighton Lane Lockett from Lubbock, Texas. He had a magnetic personality and the same passion for Jesus I saw in Sandy. There was something different about the people there. It was a little weird, but I liked it.
After that day, I went to youth group occasionally. I found myself drawn to the music, fellowship, and teaching. One day, I ran into Leighton at McDonalds. He invited me to attend a youth conference called Grow For It, and he told me that the church would pay for me to go. Being from a family where money was tight, that gesture meant a lot to me, and I agreed to go. While at the retreat, I heard the gospel expressed clearly. While singing, “Shout to the Lord,” I felt the gospel was real for me. I encountered Jesus as someone who loves and saved me.
When I got back, I dove headfirst into the Christian life. I started reading the Bible, I became a leader in the youth group, and my life was changed forever. Leighton and Sandy, if you are reading this, thank you! Thank you for introducing me to Jesus, for being persistent, and for being passionate. My life, my family, and everyone I have shared with has been impacted by you.