Like John, Lets Put On Love Together
Last week a mentor of mine, John Bradshaw passed away. I never met John personally, but I totally loved, admired and felt like I knew him. As a young man he dropped out of Catholic seminary and became a dynamic preacher. The guy was open, honest and totally shared God's grace in his messages. I have listened to his message series "A Theology Of Addiction" at least 10 times. I also listened to the powerful and provoking message series “Healing The Shame That Binds You"…but only once. It deals head on with the shame we tend to carry and bury, hence the reason I have only listened to it once!
I have been thinking about the millions of people he helped as he walked through his life. I have also been celebrating all he did in my life. We lost a great voice in the fight for inner healing and embracing and extending God's grace.
But I am realizing John lives on... Yes, eternally in Heaven. But he also 'lives on' this side of heaven too, with all of the wisdom and knowledge he has imparted to so many.
A couple of weeks ago I had dinner with one of God's greatest daughters. She is a widow and exudes God's love and grace. When speaking about her husband who passed away she said "We are just having a little break but I will be with him soon!" I love that attitude. It’s the truth. For the world’s sake I hope she doesn't see him too soon though...
But I just love that it’s never good-bye, it’s only 'see you later' in the Kingdom of God!
I believe in life after death. And I believe in life within living. I keep saying this, but I want to live an abundant full life. Being thankful for so many that have gone before me. People that have poured in to my life whether I knew them personally or not. John helped me find grace for my life and experience and he made me laugh along the way. The guy was hilarious. And I need to and l.o.v.e to laugh. Sometimes laughing is the best medicine.
John found and shared God's grace with people. And in the process he became more graceful towards himself and others. He was open about his life, struggles and journey and he has made me a little braver and bolder in sharing my life, my story, my struggles and my Jesus with people.
Revelation 12:11 says: “They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.”
Sometimes it’s easier just to recite the first part of that verse—“They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb” (Hallelujah!) b.u.t I LOVE how it goes on to say “and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.”
The reality is— you heal me, and I heal you by the word of our testimonies. God still heals. God still redeems. God still saves. And people are only going to know and believe that truth if we lovingly share our stories of healing, redemption and saving grace with them.
I heard a great message last weekend by Ron Brown the director of Teen Challenge in Southern California and at one point he said "Lets let the Holy Spirit convict, and lets just love people." Amen! I love how he put our role as Christians so simple and beautiful.
Sometimes I want to convict people and convince them of their sin. Especially when their sin affects me. By the way, I have wanted to apply for that position of Holy Spirit a few times. Thankfully, God has already assigned that role to the real Holy Spirit. And for all of our sakes…He made the right choice!
But my role, your role, is to love. We are to accept. And to be the Good Samaritan who runs in the door of people’s lives during a tragedy, failure or hardship when everyone else is running out.
I am so thankful for the people that run in my door, when life gets rough and tough. When my sin brought humiliation and heartache, they were there standing with me and helping heal me, one hug, one conversation, one prayer and one day at a time, by God's grace.
God will not waste a hardship or a humiliation we have walked through. He will use it for His glory and others’ good. He always does, when we are open to allow Him too. John Bradshaw was open and shared his story and the healing power of God’s grace and acceptance and he impacted millions of lives in the process. I am so thankful to be one of those lives he impacted.
Colossians 3:14 "And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity."
Lets love people to God's grace and mercy. Lets put on love AND love people to death, AND to life!
Who are your John Bradshaw's? If they are still living, pray about sending them a quick note of thanks. I have a few I need to send out today as well.
Keep going, your life matters to this world. Your story and testimony matter!
John, thanks for all you have done and continue to do for me. Thanks for paving the way and helping God heal those deep parts of me. See you soon! But hopefully not too soon. ;)
God's will be done in all our lives!
Daily grace to you.
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