If you knew Abby and Mike a year ago, you may not recognize them today. I’m not talking about a major change in their outward appearance. I’m talking about the way that they see God, their ability to handle stress, and their overall approach to life. God has been changing them. They have more peace, care about different things, habits have changed, relationships with family and coworkers have changed and they are on a new trajectory.
I remember talking to Mike and Abby at a Christmas Eve gathering in 2016. Mike told me later that it felt like “home” when he first came to our church service. Abby had been invited to check out Bay Area Easton and came the first time to see if her kids might like it. She said it wasn’t long before she wanted to come for personal growth as well. It was no longer about her kids, but about what God was doing in her. For the first time in a church, she felt like she was really understanding what was being taught and she loved it.
As Mike and Abby got to know the church, they joined a Learning Community called Starting Point. As they reflected on this experience, this was a big turning point on their faith journey.
“I didn’t realize that the Bible is real,” Mike shared one night at Starting Point. He explained that he knew it was a book, but didn’t realize it was actually true, useful for life and helped us know God.
“Yes,” I responded, “and did you know that Christianity is about Jesus?”
“No, I didn’t,” Mike said with a bit of amazement in his voice.
“That can be normal,” I assured him. “People who have attended church can easily miss what it’s all about.”
Mike and Abby asked great questions and gained a new understanding of Jesus and the Bible. They were also surprised when they heard the Ten Commandments. “I didn’t know you weren’t supposed to say God’s name in vain,” confessed Abby. “We’re trying not to say that as much anymore.”
Not only did Mike and Abby attend a Learning Community, they also started serving on Sundays and continued to find ways to connect with the church through a Missional Community and even becoming Ministry Partners - making passionate, maturing followers of Jesus from here to the nations.
When Mike, Abby and I met one evening, I asked them if they understood the good news of Jesus and what He has done for them. They both said yes and that they truly believed it! Though a few years ago they might have told you they were Christians, looking back, they don’t think they were. Now, they know they are following Jesus and you can see it in the focus and sincerity in their eyes. They want others to know and find Who they have known and found. Mike has been telling his coworkers about Jesus and inviting his family to church; he was encouraged to continue despite some adversity when he heard a recent sermon by Pat Linnell called “Not Ashamed.” It’s inspiring to see Mike and Abby have a new passion for helping others know Jesus.
If you show up on a Sunday in Easton, you might have the front door opened for you by Mike, be greeted by Abby in the lobby and see their kids in Children’s Ministry. You would never know that much of this is new for them. However, God has done a new work in their lives and people around them are noticing. The other day a close family member of theirs joined the Easton campus on a Sunday morning; they said they had to find out what’s going on at this church because Mike and Abby have “changed.”