Chris sat in a room full of men he didn’t know. His trusted friend brought him to this meeting to talk about something called, The Journey. They agreed if it was “cheesy” they would drop out together. Chris soon realized that he was about to embark upon a new chapter in his Christian life. He sat there in utter silence amongst 15 men who talked about their deep desire to grow closer to Christ. These same hungry men also talked about their faith struggles and burdens. Chris realized he wasn’t alone.
For the past several years, Chris had been seeking after God by pouring himself into church work. He was a great volunteer. He spent many hours at the church, always willing to do whatever it took to help. However, deep inside, he was dying. He didn’t know what was wrong with him. Then, he went on this Journey to intimacy with Christ. He learned how much the Father loved him and was proud of him. This was life-giving to a man whose earthly father had abandoned him at a young age. He didn’t realize how much he yearned for the Father’s love. He didn’t realize how much his bitterness and unforgiveness of his earthly father had been hindering his closeness with God.
Week after week, Chris discovered the Father’s love in a new way, and God began to melt away the hindrances. He began to come alive spiritually. He discovered his spiritual gift of Encouragement and exercised it daily. He discovered a gift of Intercession as he began to believe in the power of prayer for healing and anointing. One day, in the middle of The Journey, Chris asked for prayer for his wife, Julie. One of the Journey brothers came to his house and Chris, Julie and the man sat in lawn chairs in the front yard. They held hands and began to pray for Julie’s knee. With their eyes closed, they heard a car pull up and stop. A car door opened, and they heard the sound of someone approaching. They heard a man’s voice, “Do ya’ll mind if I join you?” They looked up to see a large man standing there. He said that he saw them praying and wanted to be a part of it. They invited this man, named Julius, to join their circle. When the prayer was done, he got in his car and pulled away. It was the strangest thing, and to this day, they wonder if Julius was an angel in disguise.
Chris became a poster child for Influencers and The Journey. He became a Guide the next year. He couldn’t wait to share The Journey with some of his friends. One of these friends was Tom. Chris and Tom had a history together. Years ago, Chris and Tom had worked together. Back then, Chris says Tom was on his list of “Men Who Will Never Be Saved.” I guess Tom was quite the wild man. Since those days, God proved Chris wrong. Tom had found the Lord, and was on a quest to know more of God. Tom joined Chris’ Journey Group, and the two of them were now on a new journey together.
Not long after the new group formed, Chris’ wife, Julie, began complaining of severe migraine headaches. It got so bad that she went to the doctor. Then, they got the terrifying news that Julie had a cancerous brain tumor. Chris’ world was rocked! Immediately, Journey brothers rallied around Chris and Julie. They had a prayer session for her, laying hands on her for healing. No one rallied more than Tom. You see, Tom’s wife, Carol, had dealt with a brain tumor a few years prior. Tom and Carol had navigated these waters, and God had guided them to the best place for Carol to find medical help. Tom immediately grabbed Chris and Julie by the hand and showed them the way. He went to doctor’s appointments with them, made phone calls on their behalf and even paid their expenses to get Julie to San Francisco to one of the leading brain surgeons in the world.
Spiritually, Chris was forced to live out the precepts he had learned in The Journey of “personal abandonment and absolute trust.” He was challenged to see if he really believed those things. He needed to share his faith with his dear wife. In one glorious moment, Chris took Julie to a quaint chapel on the outskirts of town. It was sunset and the only light in the chapel was the last few sunbeams of the day streaming through the stained glass. Chris and Julie prayed to their loving Father. They surrendered this tumor and this cancer to the Lord. They gave it to Him. They gave their future to Him.
Well, Julie made it through surgery and all the chemo and radiation treatments to follow. Today, she is cancer-free. Chris saw the power of the Lord firsthand. The Lord was with them through the entire process. He sees how the Lord guided him to The Journey to prepare him for the most difficult trial of his life. He sees how God brought Tom back into his life at the perfect moment. He sees the fruit of abiding in Christ, which brings power, purpose and peace into a man’s life.
Chris is so glad that his friend invited him to that first Journey meeting. It is much like the story of Andrew, Peter’s brother, who brought Peter to Jesus. Since that first meeting, Chris has brought many more men to meet Jesus. He is a mighty Influencer for the Lord.