The greatest thing about being a pastor is the people. Old and young, tall and short, artists and engineers, introverts and extroverts, outlaw bikers and RUBs (Rich Urban Bikers), jocks and geeks, chiseled and fluffy, alcoholics and shopaholics, cranky and chill, Seahawk fans and those in denial…it is the people and the uniqueness of each relationship that makes leading a Christian community like ours such an honor.
Every person has a story and each has traveled a different road to congregate together as one body of believers we call the Church. In every church and every community of believers there are individual stories of how each person came to know Jesus as their friend and savior. These stories in Christianese are called testimonies and they serve as proof that there are many roads to Jesus.
One person who came to our very first service on Easter Sunday 2014 was actually high on heroin the Saturday night before but came to church to be with his mother and daughter on Easter. He’d never really attended church before, but when he heard the truth and power of God’s love for him, he accepted Christ as Lord of his life that very day. His life changed instantly. He has been clean ever since and literally radiates with joy and life. He serves faithfully every week and is one of my friends at our church.
Another came to know Christ as he was going through a divorce. When his wife left him and everything in his life was falling apart he found a God that said he would never leave him and became the only constant in his life.
One young woman seemingly had it all – friends, money, a great career and family – but she was desperately lonely and unhappy. One day her girlfriend invited her to church and there, sitting in the back row, she wept through every song and with every word the preacher spoke she knew he was talking to her. That day she found her purpose in Christ and was born again. It’s amazing the different ways people come to find Christ.
A question I’m asked often goes something like this: “Don’t you think there must be more than one way to God? You don’t think that Jesus is the only way do you?”
Many people want to believe that all roads and all paths lead to God. There are lots of books and writings that teach that we are all on a journey of self-discovery that will eventually lead everyone to the same place no matter what or who they believe in.
Unfortunately there’s a blaring problem with this thinking. Sin. You have it and I have it. We come to realize, every one of us, that we have been born with a flaw and no matter how hard we try we can’t fix it. Our sin betrays our best intentions and brands us with a constant sense of guilt, shame, failure and remorse. Every one of us thirsts to be made right and to shed the weight of our guilt and debt.
One of the awesome names given to Christ is Savior, because he came to save us from our sin. Jesus claimed to be the one who would separate us from our sin and give us peace with God and with ourselves. In John 8:24, Jesus said, “Except you believe that I am He, you will die in your sin. The Salvation of Christ rescues us from the constant sense of guilt and shame.” Later in that same book Jesus boldly proclaimed, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
It was Jesus’s way of saying that although there are many roads that lead us to know him, he is the only road to God.
If we believed that all roads lead to God then we would have to be in denial about the problem we have with sin. Without Jesus we would either have to find another who has the ability to save us from our sin or deny that we have sin in the first place.
Paul wrote in Acts 4:12, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
We don’t have to look for another road to God. Jesus is the way. Don’t worry about where you’ve come from or the things you’ve done because there are many roads to Jesus. I can’t wait to hear your testimony!
Heath Rainwater is lead pastor at Grace Point NW.