After a month of being on outreach, Kenzie decided it was time to practice a greater level of spiritual discipline. As an outreach leader, there’s lots of responsibility and healthy pressure. So she picked up the phone, and made the call...to the gym. She found a $3 promo for 2 months, and went right in….well, almost right in.
Ashley is a single mother living the busy New York life; she’s sweet - a struggling believer, recently gone through a lot of loss. I don’t know if she’s a fitness lover or just in it for the job, but here she is - giving a gym tour. Ashley’s at work like any other day.
Imagining herself in the various rooms and exercise scenarios as they walk, Kenzie answers Ashley’s simple questions, like, “So what are you doing in NYC?”
“I tell her a little about YWAM, that my outreach team is here for a few months.” Nothing too extravagant. Fact-filled: Kenzie’s like that. She tells it like it is and is emphatic about whatever she does. If she’s sold, she’s sold, unafraid to tell you her conclusions in an easy, “It’s good, I know it” kinda way. Her beliefs really do depict the way she lives, and she’s the kind of person you want as a real friend.
Kenzie says Ashley’s “So curious I thought it was fake at first,” but it’s not just a courteous “I-want-to-make-a-sale” curious - “I could see she was hungry for something she didn’t have.”
So Kenzie invites her to dinner. Over the next couple of months, Ashley spent time with the New York outreach team. They hung out with her and her 2 year old daughter, did Bible studies, “helped her get free and follow Jesus. One time I walked in my living room, and two of my teammates were crying with her, walking her through forgiveness, and praying. Love was radiating. She found hope.”
In a big place like NYC, everything is vying for your attention. Lights flash, everything’s changing color, there are so many billboards, signs, sounds, movement -- Kenzie feels like "everything is in your face." You’re taking so much in with your eyes, “sometimes you just have to close ’em. I wore sunglasses in the winter.”
Everyone is trying to be the loudest and prove their validity.
I asked Kenzie what it was like, telling people about Jesus in Times Square, Central Park, the “normal” places, the movie backdrops, the “True America.” Her response? She pauses, looks at me straight on, and with a kind but decided tone says, “We have the best news. We just have to be bold enough to step out without a [timid] apology. Everyone wants to be loved. They just don’t know it’s Jesus.”
For anyone struggling with the idea that God doesn’t move in America - this team led 83 people to Jesus. In 3 months.
“Many say God isn’t moving in America.” Kenzie has the audacity to say, “It’s not true.”
“People say, ‘go to the Nations,’ and that’s great, but they forget we are IN a nation. The Gospel is here. I see God move here. Brokenness is everywhere....and God deserves his land back.” Kenzie says it in a way that stirs faith in my heart, just sitting at home, right on my couch.
Let this audacious Gospel stir your faith today, and convince you of the ability of Jesus.
Kenzie is audacious: the Gospel she believes in rescues in the “hardest” places and is hope. Jesus, Kenzie reflects, was moved with compassion and stopped for the one in front of him. He stopped for “the woman who grabbed His robe, he [stopped and] ate dinner with the short guy in the tree (Zacchaeus). We can do that too.” And,” she emphatically pauses, a growing grin on her face, “Following Jesus is fun.”
This audacious Gospel is hope. It’s simple. It’s fun. And it’s powerful.
God is moving on the earth. He is moving in America.
How will this audacious Gospel move you this week?
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” 1 Peter 1:3