My name is Philip. During a recent conversation with my mentor Bruce I emphatically stated I was having a ball. If you knew a little of my history life had been anything other than a ball. What has changed?
Earlier in 2014 I decided to contact a former teacher. While it took nearly twenty minutes I was determined and I persevered until I finally contact Bruce. We became re-acquainted. It proved to be the first of many phone calls and text messages since.
I wanted to thank Bruce for calling me a Christian, over 40 years ago. Bruce was a teacher at the school I attended and a fellow student had encouraged me to speak to him. Bruce welcomed our conversations and counted it a privilege to explain to me how I could get close to God and become a follower of Jesus. During one conversation in a local cafe I responded and received Jesus as my personal Saviour. Then Bruce declared that I was now a Christian thus confirming the transaction that had taken place between me and God.
Over the phone my gravelly voice gave away the fact that I had throat problems and I had difficulty speaking. However, I made sure Bruce listened explaining that since my decision I had not followed through choosing instead to go my own way.
Just as firmly Bruce explained the parable of the Prodigal Son or Lost Son and while we may turn aside from following Jesus God never ceases to hold to His side of the contract. In fact my desire to contact Bruce was evidence or confirmation of God’s amazing grace drawing me back to Him.
Since that first telephone conversation things have changed. With the help of others, Bruce, Mabel, Pastor Rob and now Linton, I am working out what it means to follow Jesus. I want to make special mention of my good friend, Walter, who has stood beside me during the tough times and is now watching me take giant steps in my faith journey. Thank you, Walter.
During one of our conversations I explained to Bruce that in the past when I walked out the door of my home unit I did so with a chip on my shoulder and anger in my heart but now I walk out the door with a spring in my step and gratitude in my heart. Pastor Rob during his first visit gave me the words of Philippians 4:13, “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” I’ve now placed these words above my doorway to remind me that I step out in God’s strength.
More recently I took up the invitation from Pastor Rob to attend a morning worship service at his church. Mabel, another one of my mentors accompanied me to lend moral support. I felt very much at home. Over a cuppa after the service I made use of the pen and note paper I use to help with my communication. Pastor Rob, who was standing behind me, noted the words that I had written, “Forty-one years absent.” He asked whether the words referred to me to which I replied, “Yes.” Pastor Rob immediately responded, “Welcome home!” I knew I was home.
In the story of the Lost Son, Luke 15, the penitent son on returning home receives a joy-filled, “Welcome home,” from the father and immediately a feast is arranged to celebrate the son’s return. I tell you I’m having a ball. God wants to welcome us home. He wants to know we belong and He wants us to have a ball. Bruce has given me another story, the Parable of the Great Banquet, found in Luke 14:15-24, to read with my new-found mentor, Linton, who I met at church.
I’ll be going to church again. Mabel will come with me again to lend her support and I have extended an invitation to my friend Walter to join me whenever he can.
I know I belong and I’m regaining a sense of worth and purpose. I’m excited because God is opening my eyes to where I can serve Him. I’m having a ball…