What is church?
Tony was joyfully waving his first certificate from “leveling up” in Lexia (the literacy program we use) when I asked him to come talk with me. Several children had responded to an invitation to receive Christ at our Christmas party, and we were anxious to follow up to see that they really understood the decision.
I reconstructed the events and then asked, “Tony, when you responded, do you remember anything you were thinking or feeling?” Nine-year-old Tony replied, “Yes, I was thinking that there were things in my life that weren’t right.”
Based on his answer, I thought he had made a genuine decision and I explained the wonderful things that happened to him as a result. His face brightened with each point!
“All your sins have been forgiven, past, present and future. If you ‘mess up’ in the future, you just need to agree with God that you have sinned.” His beautiful brown eyes widened and he exclaimed, “that’s really good news!”
When I asked him if his family went to church, he replied, “what’s that?” I explained that there are places where some people go on Sundays to worship God. His blank stare accompanied his words, “I don’t know what you are talking about.”
At the end of our time, Tony ‘pinky promised’ that he would read a Bible if I gave him one. As I was writing his name in the front, I misspelled his last name. “I messed up,” I said. “It’s ok,” he replied, ”I forgive you. I want to be like God.”
Tony got it! Knowing the forgiveness of the Father had just freed his heart to forgive others.
“This is the best day ever,” he said, as he got up to leave with his new Adventure Bible tucked under his arm. “I leveled up in Lexia, and you talked to me all about Jesus!”