Pastor’s PenBy Linda Smith • Oct 9th, 2012 • Category: Pastor's Desk
Please read John 3:16-21 so you get the context of the thought. The part of the passage we all know or at least have heard is “For God so loved the world that he sent his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” Verse 16. But the following verses are just as important to the message.
The verses 17 -21 speak of our condemnation as a result of our not accepting God’s loving grace. They also speak of the love of darkness rather than light because in the light all is revealed. So the message is not only one of salvation but one of understanding why many do not come to a place where they experience God’s love for themselves.
I think now-and-then we need a refresher on how much God really does love us. So I am taking a story form a book entitled Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman. The story is written by Carolyn Day and it is her story of God’s love.
I grew up in North Carolina, and though I believed in God, I didn’t really have any kind of relationship with Jesus. As a student, I quickly became interested in the medical field and started working towards the goal of becoming a medical doctor. In the year 2000, I was studying to become a surgeon when things in my world began to fall apart. My husband at the time asked for a divorce, and two days later my mother committed suicide. The next year I led a double life. I was a surgical resident at work, but the rest of the time I was drinking heavily and contemplating my own suicide. I had no idea what to do or who to turn to. What soon became clear was that I couldn’t bear these burdens of life alone. I had only visited church occasionally when I was growing up, but I found myself praying. I said, “God, if you’re there, please take some of this off of me.” I felt like I had lost everything. God was all that was left, but I wasn’t sure that was enough.
After finishing my residency and getting married, my husband and I moved to the Louisville area to begin my career as a surgeon. Some friends invited us to come to church, and we accepted. Through coming to church every weekend, I found myself praying more and more. I started praying about whether or not I would give my all to God.
Five days after I started praying, Kyle invited anyone who was ready to surrender everything to Jesus and follow him. The next week I was baptized. It was uncomfortable, but it was a clear sign of the obedience God was calling me to.
To be honest, I didn’t expect to feel as different as I do. I never understood it when people would say they were born again or saved. I guess it’s not something you can really understand until you’ve been through it yourself. The healing I’ve felt since giving my life to Christ is incredible. I think because only the Great Physician could heal the wounds of this surgeon. And he has.
My name is Carolyn Day, and I am not a fan.
From: Not a Fan, by Kyle Idleman, p.67-68.
We in the United Methodist Church believe that one has to believe personally in the life giving relationship with Christ. We offer many ways in which to realize the beginning of this relationship. But whether it is through Confirmation, walking down the aisle in a worship service or praying with a friend we all receive Christ through professing a belief that Jesus is our Lord and Savior.
As Kyle Idleman writes in his book, it is not about knowing about Jesus Christ that sets us apart. It is by being in a relationship with Jesus Christ that makes all the difference. We can be blessed by not being just a fan of Jesus but being engaged with Jesus. Peace, John