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A New Creation

A Story of Life Change

It makes me grin just thinking about him.

He walked into Branches, eight months ago.  Unsuspecting, his world was about to go topsy turvy - but in the best kind of way.

Finding a seat next to him was his aunt. Softhearted, kind and gentle, she had stepped up to provide a home for him.  Knowing that he’d been beat up by life and in need of God-size hope, she decided to accept a co-worker’s invitation to check us out.  

The series was, “Handcrafted.”  For the first time in his life he heard that he’d been created on purpose, for a purpose.  Words spoken fell like water on parched soil.  The Holy Spirit was up to something.

With the service winding down, it was explained that people who’d given their lives to Jesus were stepping forward to be baptized.

One after another, he watched them descend below the water’s surface only to rise a second later to celebratory cheers and applause.  

Without fully grasping what was going on before him, the tug on his heart to respond to the gift of new life in Christ was too great to resist.  Compelled to step forward, the next thing you know - and with no spare change of clothes - he’s saying goodbye to the old and hello to the new. Life, that is.

The following Sunday, he and his aunt are sitting in our Starting Point small group.  Like a sponge, he’s soaking it all up.  Truth.  Conversation.  Friendship.  Jesus.

With each passing week, external evidence of an internal transformation began to take place. At the conclusion of the series, he asks if he can attend for a second time.  And he does. Why not? When you’re thirsty, you’re thirsty.

Last week, as our small group got underway and he was skimming the table of contents to find the next Bible reference we were going to read, he made one of countless genius comments that made me smile for the umpteenth time.  Though it’s not verbatim, this was the gist.  

“In March, the old me died and I started my journey as a new man.”  

Without realizing it, he’s uttering the type of words that the Apostle Paul (the most famous missionary to ever walk our planet), proclaimed. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold new things have come.” [2 Corinthians 5:17]

I think he’s getting it.  And to think that it all started with an invitation...

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