The thing about entering into a personal relationship with Christ at a young age is that you don’t know what you’re getting into.   Seriously, it’s like getting married when you’re barely a teenager.  You have no idea what it means to be a husband or wife or what it takes to make a marriage work.  All you know is that you are now in a relationship, but you don’t know what to make of it because it seems so … big.

When we were kids, church was a part of the rhythm of our lives.  I already believed in God and don’t remember ever not believing in Him.  My parents never went to church, but they made a habit of sending us kids.  Church was just something you did.  Us kids in the neighborhood even played church on the playground.  I’d be the preacher and my friends would be the congregation.  We might pray and paraphrase verses and otherwise imitate the shouting at church, but it was no different than a game of kickball to us.  We didn’t have any big goals.  Life in our neighborhood was all we knew.  We wanted to be rich, we wanted to get out, and we wanted to live life big.

Only a few years later, a Sunday School teacher began a friendship with me.  We often hung out, reading comic books and watching horror movies and sci fi shows.  One day, he took me through some verses in the Bible, explaining that we were all born sinners and that the wages of sin was death.  Yet, God chose to pay the penalty for sin Himself by sending His Son, and by believing in Him, we could have eternal life.  So there we were, on his couch, me in sixth grade, and we prayed a prayer.  I repeated the words that he said, asking Jesus into my life and with that, I was suddenly in relationship with Christ.  That simple, yet in so many ways, it was like waking up in Las Vegas, finding out that you’re married, then spending a lifetime figuring out what to do next.

This is where I get stuck.  A friend asked me if I were to write out my personal testimony what would the story look like.  What would I share with another person if they asked?  Granted, I’m not much into the “Gospel as sales pitch”, but if asked, what would I say?  What would the Good News of the gospel look like if you had to boil it down?  Certainly there has to be more to it than a set of facts to assent to or is it that simple?

Or is the Good News that we can be in a relationship with God?  Was the assent to a set of facts the equivalent to saying “I do” or had I always been in relationship with God and it was just a matter of me waking up to that fact?  That can be a terrifying prospect.  I’m lousy at relationships, so in a lot of ways my relationship with God looks like a constant argument.  Worse in some ways because it plays out like being in an argument where the other person is always right, so it’s a matter of me coming around and changing my way thinking which is always an easy thing to do.

Maybe my story is that of one of God’s failed ambassadors.  That God is engaged in a gentle dance with us, wooing us to Him not wanting to force Himself on us, but rather wanting us to freely choose to love Him; to join with His redemptive mission for each other and for creation. He chooses to work through a failed people for reasons we may never understand. Meeting us where we are, messy and broken. We are cracked vessels, works in progress. God doesn’t give up on us … we give up on ourselves. We aren’t defined by our failings and stumbling. We’re defined by how we get back up, bruised knees and all, dust ourselves off, and keep on our journey.

He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing. –Ephesians 2:10 (The Message)

It’s easy for me to get lost in my own head, to spin around and around in circles overthinking what it means to be in relationship when the story is quite simple:  I am loved.  So I guess if my faith is a like a story, then my walk is like the process of revision.  And I am God’s unfinished poem.  I think that’s a good place to start.

If you had to answer the question what does the Good News of the gospel mean to you, what would you say?