Remember Jesus illustrating the growth of God’s Kingdom as a tiny mustard seed growing into a tree?
If Jesus had been walking about northern California instead of northern Palestine, He would surely have held a seed the size and shape of an oatmeal flake in the palm of one hand, and with the other indicate a thirty storey-tall sequoia redwood tree.
What is less impressive than a flake of oatmeal and more impressive than a giant sequoia? Yet it accurately describes the growth of God’s Kingdom. I know. I have seen it up close and personal.
|This summer’s family vacation visiting the Big Trees|
What is less impressive than the words, “John, would you like to go to a free concert?” and more impressive than the result of that simple invitation? Here’s my story.
Although I grew up in a religious home in the Netherlands, I had no assurance that my sins were forgiven and I had no peace with God. Three years after our family emigrated to Canada, my dad was working as a construction labourer, and a co-worker asked him if he would like to attend a free concert. My dad accepted the invitation and our whole family attended what turned out to be an evangelistic crusade led by the Janz Quartet. The singing was excellent and we came every night that week.
On the last day of the crusade, I admitted to God that I was a sinner and accepted His forgiveness because Jesus died in my place. I became a child of God in a new way and enjoyed a deep peace and joy within. I was just completing grade nine. A few months later I led my younger sister to faith in Jesus Christ.
Later that summer I spoke about prayer and God with my cousins whose family had also emigrated to Canada. Their family was not religious at all.
After our family moved to a different city, I began attending a church where the Good News about Jesus was taught clearly. Eventually the rest of my family attended too and soon my younger brother and my youngest sisters as well as my dad and mom came to a living, vibrant faith in Christ. My parents in turn led my aunt and uncle to faith in Jesus. My cousins too turned took Christ as their Saviour.
Later on during a visit to the Netherlands, my parents led a brother and a sister to Christ. I was active in church, went to Bible school and eventually two of my sisters, my brother and my cousin studied in Bible school as well.
Scores of people have been led to faith in Christ by members of our extended family. A number of us are in full-time Christian ministry, many others are heavily involved part time. My wife and I pastored a church for three years before we became missionaries and translated the Bible for a whole people group in Brazil. Dozens of Canela people turned to God and were adopted by Him into His family. I continue to write books promoting cross-cultural missions and speak frequently at Bible translation recruiting and fundraising meetings. Our extended family has influenced thousands of people towards the Kingdom of God.
All this began because one pick and shovel man invited another to a concert.
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