I've been running through the top ten people to have influenced my life most (up to now!) this last week and wanted to recap here who has made the list so far;
You can click on the links above, if you haven't read them already, to see why they made an impact. The order of these nine does not really make much difference. In their own place, for the things they did in my life, they have all helped shape me into who I am today, and where I am today!
That cannot be said for the last person on this list, who is miles ahead, out of sight, on their own as the truly super number 1!
That person is Jesus Christ.
Three of the people on the list I have never met - Brother Andrew, Hudson Taylor and Jim Elliot. And the 10th placed man I was only a baby and do not even know his name.
But their impact on my life, through their prayers or stories written about them have all made an impact.
And how much more so with Jesus. An undisputed historical figure (no legitimate historian denies this), with so much written about him and quoted from him in the Bible, but being who he say's he is, that is God, He has so much impact in my life now and has always had so much impact.
Do you think it's strange that I can say Jesus still talks to us? Can God be that close? Maybe you think I'm crazy.
Well, if in other areas you think I make sense, if in other areas I'm in my right mind, you have to accept that I could be right about this one too - Jesus is who He say's he is - the one, the only God and not only did he die in my (and your!) place, he's now risen, victorious and awaiting to come back, just as the Bible say's, one day (and this day ONLY known by the Father, not by any American preachers!!!!) - and when he does come back, that will be it. No second chances, no Christians disappearing. We'll all see him - and for many, this will be the worst day of their lives. They will have realised they got it wrong. They gambled that the millions and millions of Christians around the world, the millions of Bibles, the stories of miracles - they gambled this was all somehow wrong, or not for them. Maybe they put their trust in others things or other religions. None of these things will help them on the day Jesus does return in glory. So you have been warned.
I am a rational, intelligent person - and I know the Bible is 100% true, that it's events actually all happened, and there will be a day when all that we see around us is no more. You have been warned, and if you are reading this it means you still have time - you still have a chance to ask Jesus into your heart. You still have time!
You see, Jesus has made the biggest influence in my life, not because it's what I've been taught to say, or because it seems cool, but because he ACTUALLY has made the biggest impact. I've seen God heal me - miracles happening in my body after friends have prayed in the name of Jesus and laid their hands on me. It instantly got better. Just as the Bible says. I've also prayed for others in Jesus' name and they have got better. I want to prayer for more and more, and see more get better, more healings, more miracles. But it's real.
What isn't real is thinking Jesus is anything less than the one true God, the only God - and still the only God today. Not replaced by anyone, or anything, not any less than he ever has been or ever will be. Not irrelevant and not untrue.
If that were so, you'd have made God in your own image. The Bible is clear on this one. There is nothing that's complicated about it. You just need to read it to know what it says.
Jesus impacted the lives of all the nine people I've already written about - and they impacted mine. Jesus has a plan for my life (and yours) - and it's the best adventure I've ever been on and ever will be on.
Some think that following Jesus is boring and for people that have no other option. I have options. If you know me, you'll know that to be true. I now live in Russia, in St Petersburg. I'm involved in the nations. The last few years have seen us in Spain, Egypt, Finland, Estonia, Russia, France, Ireland. This next year its looking like Estonia, Finland, Denmark, Estonia, USA, Estonia, Latvia, Finland, Sweden, Russia and England. Boring? All this is because of Jesus - and ONLY because of Jesus.
Life with Jesus is the only life I could ever have wished for. I turned my back on a multi million pound career in the London Equity market to move to Manchester and follow God's adventure in my life - I did a voluntary year that year. Yet God blessed me. God gave me all the things I was praying for, but didn't have in London. A wife, a family, a home and so much more.
You see it's those that ignore Jesus that live the lie - and also miss living life to the fall!
God has now put around me, both locally and in many nations, people I am blessed to know - Hansie, Dave, Slava & Oleg - the great team mates I have here in St Petersburg. I'm getting to know people all around the world - America, Canada, Brazil, Ireland, Northern Europe, France, Russia etc etc. Wonderful people, blessed people.
Jesus really is who he says he is and who the Bible says he is. I didn't have to have blind faith when I first accepted him - no, it's more because of the reality of it all that allows my faith in things to grow.
Jesus - you have had your hand on my life from a young age - and I love the plan you designed for me. Help me to continue to bring glory to your name. Thank you for this life - this adventure. Thank you for sending us to the nations!
If you've been reading this and you don't have this kind of relationship with Jesus, something that is living and real - something that's two way, then I urge you to pray, to talk to someone you know who loves Jesus, to find a great local church or to drop me a line and I'll get you in contact with a great local church. It'll be the best thing you ever did, and it'll take away that guilt you carry around.
Thanks for reading. Thanks for commenting. I love the fact that the nations are reading this. And I'm here for the nations, because that's what Jesus said to me. God bless you all.