Lord I praise you for your greatness and trust in your promise that nothing is impossible for you.

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A Little Think

The One That Got Away!

Frankly, I was a little surprised when a young woman asked for a private audience with me at the convention I keynoted. But out of 1,000 attendees, her story impressed me more than if all of them had thrown dollar bills in the air. Settled into her chair, out came a gripping account of what I call The one that got away. She quietly described growing up with a mom who was active as a Lutheran Christian and a dad who was not. She attended the Lutheran church until leaving home to study engineering at a university where the academic pull won out over the Christian persuasion. She only attended church when she was home. Sound familiar?

Then came graduate school, very cerebral, with another excuse to skip Christianity. She was in "limbo," but not nervous about it. She was a woman with an exciting life -- travel, salary and professional acclaim. Her job landed her in Raleigh, North Carolina, on a Saturday, where the "Religion" section of the newspaper that evening promoted a radio host visiting a local church, to address a Bible class on a subject that interested her. She attended but left the church without talking to anyone.

"You changed the direction of my life that day," she told me. God used me to speak to this woman's heart, her longings, her guilt and emptiness, without my knowing it. She returned to the Lord Jesus and became active on a college campus to help students avoid the "got away" trap. She's still immersed in a highly technical world and asking good faith questions, but her Christian faith is alive!

Know anyone who "got away" from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ? Maybe it was you. In my wanderlust college years, I was lured by the intrigue of the "new." The church of my heritage seemed "boring and stale," so I ventured over to a grander church. The music was professional and the preacher's vocabulary was stimulating and clever. No ho-hum, same-old, same-old at this church. There was a sense of excitement in the pews, excitement to see who was there, what they wore, who was with whom. Lively stories from the pulpit made a person feel good and pay attention, relieving the academic pressures.

By God's grace, I didn't totally leave my faith, and I eventually hungered for meatier stuff in church. I started missing what was missing. But I wasn't sold out to Jesus for a while there, and my choices reflected that, although I did talk a good Christian "game." There are three kinds of Christians: Believers, Unbelievers and Make-Believers! I was in my "Make-Believer" phase, where I wondered how much I could get away with and still get to heaven.

The young woman who came back to the Lord of Life reminded me of how God always wants to bring us back. It's human nature to wander into sin, and it's God's nature to offer forgiveness and a new start. In my family, some wander still, confident they are missing nothing. As I lift them up in prayer, I am counseled and comforted by the verse, "He who begins a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ." Someone called God "The Hound of Heaven". Don't you love that? He is constantly calling us back. He wants His "sheep," as He calls us, back in the fold.

May your Easter celebration restore and nurture your faith in The Living God. And if you're wandering...come on back! His arms are open wide to the "one who got away." Have a little think about that!

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