People burned into your brain (heart)

If you are a Christian you were called to be a missionary. You were called and commissioned to preach the Gospel and spread the good news and then disciple people. Sometimes we take it for granted. Sometimes we are intentional about it and sometimes God brings a person into our life that He wants us to plant seeds into.

I was recently talking to a youth pastor in CT as he was telling me how difficult it is working with the youth because you don’t always see the fruit of your labor. People seem to go from being on fire for God to hating everything about Him as we minister to them. It can be rough. I told him about a kid I used to work with in 1994 who was a mess. He had substance abuse issues, violence issues and a lack of respect for God. He was one of those kids that never seemed like he would turn around. We parted ways when I moved from NY to PA and I never knew what God was doing there. Did my seeds fall on good soil? Was it my responsibility?

Last year I got a friend request on facebook. It was that kid. He was now married, turned his life around and works with other kids who were like him. How awesome is that! Not only is it cool that God did a great work in him, but It is amazing that I was able to see the change 15 years later. God burned him into my heart…

4 years ago I ran a youth service called “ignite.” It was a pretty edgy service and we welcomed anybody in no matter how they were. It was an exciting time. It was a seed planting time and I had no clue what God was doing because when it ended it almost felt like it had never started.

There were 3 girls who attended that service. All 3 were hurting and broken. They needed a real encounter with God and we prayed hard for them. I could not shake thinking about them and I still can’t. I don’t want to divulge too much about them or their lives, but I do want to say how great God is.

God burned these 3 girls into my heart…

2 years after ignite ended I got an email from one of the girls who was now in college. She told me she found God again, was attending a great church, and was leading worship with a young adult group. She asked me if I remembered her. Of course I did.

Another girl who I prayed for all the time had a rough home and struggled finding her identity in Christ. We didn’t talk much after the service, but God was working. When she got pregnant she called me scared to death and wanted to discuss her “options.” God moved. The baby was born and while life is tough still she now knows the love God has for her far surpasses the love she feels for her newborn son.

The last girl has also had a tough life. Misunderstood, used and mistreated. She is strong, but needs Christ. I can’t ever get her out of my head because I know God wants to save her from her life. I have not seen her in 3 years. Last night she walked into a multichurch prayer meeting I co-lead with my bro Adam. Adam was speaking on God’s goodness at the time and I realized once again that God burned these 3 girls into my brain (heart) because he HAS begun a new work in them and He WILL be faithful to complete it.

Having a daughter now has made me pray harder for these girls because I want for them what my princess has. A family in Christ that is in love and has no condemnation.

Are there any people that God has burned into your heart? Anybody you just can’t shake out of your mind?





2 responses to “People burned into your brain (heart)”

  1. Shannon Walker Avatar
    Shannon Walker

    Great post Joel. I’ve had the same experience… can’t get people out of my head and heart. Learned years later, sometimes from 2nd hand, that they had turned their lives around.

    We’ve all been burned into someone’s heart. And I’m thankful for it.

  2. Mike Mahoney Avatar

    I had a friend of mine who was much like that. We had worked together at different jobs, were drinking buddies, etc… When God pulled me out of that mess, I began to see my friend with new eyes, and saw him sinking deeper into his addictions – drugs, booze, women. His marriage was on the rocks and his health was failing. (And he was in his 20s)

    My wife and I ministered to him and his (ex) wife constantly. I dragged him to church, would show up at his house, would randomly be around to give him rides. He prayed to accept Christ, but fell deeper into his sin at the same time. He finally wound up getting arrested and getting put in a state-run program, and refused to put me on the visitor list. We fell out of touch, though I still thought of him often, and how I had failed him as a missionary and a mentor.

    Fast forward a couple five years and he pops up on Facebook, living in Texas, clean and sober and involved in ministering to those with addictions! Amazing!

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