Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Seeing God's Grace

by Gregory A. Johnson

Santiago, Cubu - Seeing God's Grace, by Gregory A. Johnson

I was preaching the good news of Christ in Santiago, Cuba, on a hot and humid, tropical, spring night to hundreds of people who had gathered elbow to elbow. The small building the church used for meetings was packed full and the crowd stretched out the open doors. There was standing room only as the people flowed into the yard outside and across the street. Later I would be told that there were over nine hundred people there listening that night; most of them outside, listening through loud-speakers because they could not get into the building for the crowd that had gathered.

As I spoke a sentence, I would wait and watch the people as the interpreter spoke in Spanish what I just said in English. While observing, I could see God’s grace at work in them. They soaked up the message of Christ like a dry sponge absorbs water. Many became followers of Christ that night as they rushed toward the front of the building responding to the message, but there was one lady that I will never forget. She was ninety-four years old and had never heard the Gospel of Jesus or about His Kingdom until that night. Deciding that night to receive God’s grace and begin her journey with Jesus, she made Him her Lord and her Savior.
We experienced the supernatural in the meeting that night. We did not speak the same language. We did not have the same color of skin. We were raised under two different types of government. We were of different economic status, as they lived in extreme poverty and I lived in wealthy America. They would stay, but I would go back. We had a lot of differences, but we had one thing in common. We had all experienced God’s amazing grace. God loved us all equally and poured His grace upon us all that night.
I’ve seen God’s grace on women and on men as I’ve preached Jesus to them in jail. I’ve seen God’s grace on the homeless as I’ve encouraged them with the good news of Jesus, who Himself experienced homelessness. I’ve seen God’s grace on gang members as I’ve pointed them to Jesus, the most courageous man that has walked this earth. I’ve seen God’s grace on sex offenders in transitional housing where I’ve told them that a relationship with Jesus is the answer to their sexual addictions. I’ve seen God’s grace at work and it always brings me joy.
Beloved, rejoice in God’s grace today. His hand is not only upon you, but it is upon those around you. Recognize that we are all God’s creation and created in His image and in His likeness. We all make mistakes in life, but God still picks us to follow Jesus in spite of our mistakes. He picks us just like we are and He brings change to our heart and mind as we follow Christ. As we allow Him to change our heart and our mind, our behavior changes and others begin to experience God’s grace through our words and through our actions. As others experience God’s grace, we will see it and it will give us much joy.

Excerpted from the book, The Kingdom According to Jesus by Gregory A. Johnson. Copyright © by Gregory A. Johnson. All rights reserved.

Know that you are loved,