You can find Christ in Room 33
In my short lifetime, I've heard hundreds, if not thousands of sermons, but few of them stay in my mind for years afterwards. Except for Room 33. I'll never forget this testimony shared by a guest visiting my church.
This guest grew up the son of two influential Communist Party leaders in the Soviet Union. At 19, his parents sent him off to music school in Russian. Out of the 400 students in the school, there was a seventeen-year-old guy who was the only Christian. Let's call him Bob.
Bob would invite people to pray with him every night at 10 p.m. in his dorm room - Room 33. His roommates mocked him and fellow students called him all the terrible names communists came up for Christians. But, like clockwork, every day at 10:00, Bob knelt down to pray in his room, and ignoring the taunts and laughter of his fellow classmates, he would be filled with the Holy Spirit.
After a few weeks, Bob's roommate began joining him, at first, from mere curiosity as to what was happening to his friend. Then, the roommate got the Holy Spirit and that nightly prayer grew to two people seeking the Lord.
The roommate's two best friends were bewildered - their friend was brainwashed by this Christian guy and he was transformed.
"If God can change my friend like that, then I want to know this God," they said.
So, in they too came to observe. One time, then another, and then a third time. Eventually the Holy Spirit consumed their hearts too and with this group of four friends, a ministry began to grow on campus. Every night, they prayed together.
"Behold, bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord, who by night stand in the house of the Lord! Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the Lord. The Lord who made heave and earth!" -Psalm 134
People began to talk and word spread across campus about those four Christians who were weird and different. And they talked about the incredible power that filled Room 33 every night - how those boys were transformed into something no one could understand. The walls shook, they cried and spoke in foreign languages.
The taunting stopped. There was no more name-calling. Instead, people would stand outside Room 33 in curiosity - staring in awe as the boys prayed for hours. God did His thing though and by the time Bob graduated, 40 people gave their lives to God.
Today, more than half of those 40 lead ministries across Europe serving as presidents of Bible schools, pastors, musicians and missionaries.
"I am one of those 40," said that guest in his sermon. "Because of that 17-year-old boy's nightly prayer in Room 33, thousands of people are still coming to the Lord today. God used that boy to bring me, a child of Communists and atheist to Him."
I consider myself a good Christian - not a perfect one, but I do my best. I've accepted the Lord as my Savior and have been baptized. I study the Bible, go to church on a regular basis, spend time praying and speaking in tongues. I try to live according to the Bible and not sin. I fail often, yes, but I try to grow and improve.
In different ways though, God has been showing me that it's not enough - He wants more of me. No, He wants my entire heart and my whole life - a willing vessel to do His will.
God could have used a mighty preacher to reach those 40 people at that musical school in the middle of Communist Russia. Instead, he used a 17-year-old boy through an evening prayer.
All my life, I've believed this lie that I need to be as close to perfect as possible in order for the Lord to use me. Once I overcome this sin, or once I know the Bible better, or when I have more time - then the Lord can use me. Until, then I'll focus on growing spiritually.
That is so wrong though. Nothing in my life is mine. Everything is His - my body, mind, heart, education, family, career, dreams, goals... Everything is given to me by His grace and love and everything is within His control.
For you see your calling, breathren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called, but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty. -1 Cor. 1:26-27
God doesn't need strong, accomplished, wise, rich, smart, or perfect people. We don't need to prove anything to Him. We must only come before Him with an open and willing heart and by his infinite grace, wisdom and power, He will use us to change the world.
Although He provides us with the words, strength and wisdom that we need to do His work, we still need to do the actual physical work. God doesn't force us to speak or do His work.
Personally, I have so much trouble sharing my faith verbally. I can write about it and live it out, but when it comes time to testifying to my friends, peers, and coworkers, I struggle so much. I'm afraid to be known as a Bible-thumper or a Jesus freak. I'm afraid of saying something wrong or offending someone. I'm afraid that someone will point out that in some things, i don't live like I preach.
I want to overcome these fears though. I want to be a living testimony of my faith and the powerful God I serve. I want to be known as the Bible thumper, Jesus freak and every other mocking name for Christians there is. I don't want to care if a social pariah and unpopular.
"For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels." -Mark 8:38
I don't my faith to be personal. I want it to be public. All my life, actions, words, thoughts, accomplishments and even my failures to be a testimony to the people around me - family, friends, strangers.
"You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink, but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart." -2 Cor. 3:2-3
I love this verse so much. I translate this into being a walking, talking, living billboard of God. I'm still figuring out exactly how this translates into my life everyday, but I'm going to start with being more vulnerable and more open to what the Lord asks of me. Also, by being more vocal about my faith every day - not trying to force my religion on people, but instead sharing the amazing things He's done in my life and of His infinite grace and salvation for every living person.
How are you being used by God in your school? On your campus? At your job?
// All images via Gary Pepper Girl. In case you can't tell, I love this campaign Nicole shot for Dolce & Gabbana in Italy - so beautiful!