Often, I believe God calls us to take initiative. We may feel that others are “more qualified” or we want others to help bring a vision to fruition. But, we are the body of Christ. I am part of this house.
I got saved on my bathroom floor. After a near suicide attempt, the presence of God came over me and I made the decision to give my life to Jesus. The next four months would turn out to be a painful journey as I struggled through a divorce and my life was falling apart. But God was still moving.
Out of the blue, an old friend of mine messaged me on Facebook, wanting to ask me questions about being a Christian. I was a new Christian myself so I didn’t know what questions I could answer, but it ended up leading to us visiting Hillsong NYC. It was Memorial Day weekend, May 27th, 2012. The 9am service at Irving Plaza. That day, I knew that Hillsong would be my home.
Now, I’m a basketball guy. I played high school, college, and I coached for fifteen years. Little did know that God had a greater plan and that basketball would play such a vital role in His call for my life. But it didn’t happen overnight.
I got connected into Hillsong by playing basketball with friends; they became my community. I also began volunteering outside of church with a friend who was phasing out of a basketball prison ministry. Inspired, I felt God place it on my heart that it would be a great thing to get involved in.
Eager, I pitched the idea to those around to see who would be able to take it on. But the answer was “not yet”. That waiting became a quiet time for me. In that quiet, I felt God press me, “You don’t need anyone else to start this. You need to start this. I called you to start this.” So, I stepped out in faith.
I started a non-profit which began with 4 volunteers visiting the juvenile prison once a month. It was natural in the sense that I knew it was what God was leading me to do, but starting it was scary.
It took a long time and a lot of work. I was stepping into a juvenile prison, while learning my faith as a new Christian, to introduce the gospel to these kids. We eventually grew in the number of volunteers visiting three times a week. What truly blew my mind was when we saw two volunteers and a security guard get saved. I had no idea what more God was doing beyond my vision for these kids. He showed me, “Don’t miss what’s around you. I’m working in everyone.”
In my own life, God used this to bring healing. I didn’t realize that in certain areas of my life I was living in a spiritual prison. God showed me by sending me into prisons to free me of my own prison.
Hillsong has been where I have found community and where I began my faith journey. I have seen the impact it has had on my life, and while I may not fully see the impact of those that I encounter. I know that God has called me to plant those seeds and I am expectant for how He will change the lives of the kids he has put in my path.