Jonathan & Jason

Busy. I’ve been crazy busy. But that’s not a bad thing, if you’re busy about the right things. He not busy being born is busy dying. The right stuff to be busy about is God and people. I’ve been busy with God in the secret place and I’ve been busy meeting a couple of people the last two days: Jonathan and Jason. Let me tell you about them.

Jonathan is Jonathan Whistman. I met him Wednesday. Jonathan is 33 and he has a remarkable story. Jonathan was a major leader among the Jehovah’s Witnesses. In December Jonathan left the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization because he is on an honest quest for truth and spiritual reality. The last two Sundays he’s been at Word of Life; he heard me preach on grace (Christians) and worship (Give It Up for God — which I should have called God’s Cup of Tea). It was a new experience for him and he wanted to meet me. We had a wonderful time together and I can tell you that God is at work in his life in an awesome way. I will share some of Jonathan’s story Sunday morning and Jonathan will be with us in both services. You can check out his blog site at Jonathan’s World. Pray for Jonathan; pray that he would continue to grow in grace and the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ; pray that God would use him to bring light and salvation to those bound in Jehovah’s Witness deception.

Jason is Jason Upton. Jason has been at Word of Life the past two nights for The Uprising Youth Conference (which has been fantastic!). I had met Jason briefly at a conference a couple of years ago, but today Jason and I spent a couple of hours together and we really connected. Jason is smart, an avid reader and best of all, a passionate worshipper of Jesus. We talked about music (Dylan and John Prine), we talked about influences (Keith Green and Rich Mullins) we talked about philosophy (Kierkegaard and Nietzsche), we talked about movies (Jason recommends Nacho Libre) we talked about books (Dallas Willard, C.S. Lewis and Henry Nouwen) and we talked about grace. Jason talked with me about the grace of the cross, where Jesus was carried between earth and sky and how the cross is not just a place of death but a place of birth. I shared with Jason about how our lives are a tapestry of grace; how the final work of grace will be that ultimately we will be able to say, “nothing bad has ever happened to me.” It was rich, real and refreshing; it was fun and fulfilling. It’s always great to make a new friend. So much of life in the Kingdom is about friendship: Friends with God and friends with each other.

Jason asked me to recommend some books for him to read. This is the list I gave him.

The Son of Laughter by Frederick Buechner

Confession by Leo Tolstoy

Prophetic Untimeliness by Os Guinness

The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis

Rumors of Another World by Philip Yancey

The Spirit of Early Christian Thought by Robert Louis Wilken

The Heavenly Man by Brother Yun

The Everlasting Man
by G.K. Chesterton

Chronicles by Bob Dylan

The Lost Virtue of Happiness by J.P. Moreland

Grace and Peace to Jonathan and Jason.

Grace and Peace to you, my friends.