Last night, a Hispanic girl, maybe 17, wearing baggy jeans got up to speak at the Angelus Temple – the LA Dream Center’s church home.
She was trying not to cry and her hands shook as Pastor Tommy Barnett held her arm. It took her a try or two to get the words out and when she did, her voice broke. Immediately, the place erupted with people hollering encouragement and telling her they loved her and she could do it.
She told us the death of her father devastated her so badly she wound up on a crystal meth spiral and without the Dream Center she wouldn’t be here.
“God is so good,” she said and she walked off the stage.
On Wednesday night, I met with Bob Goff, author of Love Does (more on that later). This gracious and hilarious guy, spent 45 minutes with me, before stepping on stage to encourage the students at Pepperdine University to love people extravagantly.
Bob is dedicated to looking for proof that Jesus is alive, much like a detective dusts for fingerprints. He said, when you deliberately look for Jesus, you find him everywhere.
For many years, I didn’t bother to look for Jesus because I thought I didn’t need to. But when my life began to feel like eating a sleeve of saltine crackers, I decided to look. That’s why I picked up The Bible – even though, at the time, it felt foolish and naive.
Now I’m at the Dream Center, a place that sparkles with Jesus, because much of its leadership is composed of people who came through drugs, and jail and the system. But, just like that brave little sister who spoke last night, they were restored piece by piece by Jesus and the Dream Center’s one-year discipleship program.
The bible calls people like this “trophies of grace” because when you come to Jesus just like you are and he gets you cleaned up and then uses you to clean other people up, you’re a huge prize.
So if trusting Jesus feels silly and naive to you, like it did to me, make a point of looking for his fingerprints. Listen to people who would be dead without him and see if that makes you curious what he’s has planned for you.