Between two and three years ago, I had the opportunity to stand with Jason Gaines in the watery grave of baptism. Days before, I had sat down and talked with him and his family. I went through the Scriptures with them and we discussed what baptism and life in Christ meant. Then, I got to submerge this fellow--who is easily twice my size--right after he made the confession, "I believe that Jesus is the Christ and I accept Him as Lord and Savior." What a great moment! Not long after that, I began helping Jason read and understand the Bible. Soon after this, he enrolled in Bible College. Not too much later, I stepped out of the teacher role for one of my Bible classes and let him have it. Following this, I urged the leadership to bring him on board as youth minister. Eventually, he took the encouragement and started blogging--which he is doing much more frequently now. I say all that to say that, where Jason is at this point in his life is encouraging because it is a dramatic change from where he used to be.
Yesterday, on his blog, he shared his testimony--much of which I had no idea. It was a moving post. He talked about coming out of his cocaine addiction to serving in a formal ministerial position. If you don't read any other blogs today--or, even if you do--please, go read Jason's testimony. Sometimes, we Christian bloggers can get so caught up in Academic arguments (I do) or theological debates (again, I do) that we never stop to talk about the work we see God doing around us, the work we've joined God in or just how awesome God is. Well, Jason's testimony does that. Please, go read Jason's inspiring testimony and after you've been encouraged by it, give him a word of encouragement. I must tell you, I know of no youth minister whose first 6 months of youth ministry has been as tough as his (not because of him but because of some of the youth, their situations and their attitudes and actions). He could use some edification. Again, I ask you to give him a word of encouragement not only as a Christian but also as a student, minister and blogger. Here's the link to his site and the post with his testimony (add it to your blogrolls or page-readers if you would): PhpOneNine (Jason Gaines) / A Checkered Past Revisited.