Sleep-Deprived Santa Ramblings and Undeserved Grace
“So last night at, like, 3 AM I was driving home from the airport and thinking about what I was going to say this morning….”
I was staring out at a small sea of faces in an Iowa high school classroom during lunch hour – definitely a challenging crowd under the best of circumstances, and today I was feeling the effects of yesterday’s day-long commute from the West Coast. I had finally rolled into bed around 4 AM the night before, and now I was dragging.
Honestly, I had known that this moment would be challenging when I had agreed to speak a week before, but I had accepted the invitation because I had believed that it was going be WORTH IT.
For several years, I’ve been deeply impressed with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and their commitment and effectiveness in sharing the love of Jesus in public high schools and universities across the United States. Several times I’ve said, “I’m not sure how they do it, but every time my friends at FCA call with a speaking opportunity, I try to accept it, because when I do, somehow I always find myself sharing the love of God in a public school…”
As challenging as it might be, today’s FCA luncheon would be a chance to back up my words.
“So yeah,” I looked out at the crowd, “I guess last night I actually spent most of my time thinking about how crazy the whole ‘Santa’ thing is, you know?”
To be fair, today’s session would only really be worth it if I found a way to pull myself together and express at least one coherent thought…
“Like, who decided that the new “Superhero of Christmas” should be an overweight grandpa in a form-fitting cherry red ensemble with snow-white trim? Seriously?”
Again, no response. It had seemed funnier in my sleep-deprived, five-hour energy fueled state last night.Hey friends! We’ve been handed the opportunity to reach tens of thousands in the Dominican Republic, Kenya, Thailand, Brunei, and the Philippines – all before the end of March, and WE NEED YOUR HELP! Watch the video for details and click here to partner with us in our vision to reach the world with the love and message of Jesus!
“It’s a crazy thought, right? Like… who decided that the best way for the obviously chubby Santa to enter someone’s home would be through the chimney? I can think of a DOZEN ways that make more sense than the chimney…”
This time I heard a scattering of cautious laughs from around the room.
It may not have been much of a response, but it was ENOUGH – this was going to be a fun lunch hour after all.
And it was.
I talked about Santa, about the REAL Saint Nicolas, about orphans, and about God’s scandalous desire to forgive every single one of us and embrace us as part of His family through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
And I talked FAST, because I had less than 20 minutes to share.
When I was finished, I offered an open invitation to say “Yes” to Jesus… and across the room, nearly every hand rose.
A half-hour later, we did it again, and once again, nearly every hand rose – dozens of young people in the midst of the American public school system responded publicly to Jesus.
And watching this, I was struck by three things:
First: God had moved despite my awkwardness and exhaustion – once again, He had shown HIS great ability even in the midst of my own weakness. In John 6:44, Jesus says, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.” It really is all about God, and everything good comes by His grace.
Second: The message of forgiveness and freedom through Jesus – the Gospel – is powerful, powerful enough to transform hearts and lives in ANY situation. I was struck again with the need to share it with love and boldness.
Third: It had been challenging to share in my sleep-deprived state, but it had most certainly been worth it. I was profoundly grateful that I had said “yes” to the opportunity.
I stayed for a few minutes afterwards and talked with some of the students – it was humbling to hear about the things that they were struggling with, and inspiring to see the ways that God was transforming them.
Lives had been powerfully impacted during our short lunch sessions, and I was deeply moved.
Because this is why we do what we do.
Since 2012, by the grace of God, we’ve shared the love of Jesus in 28 nations and have seen tens of thousands of people respond. Since April of 2017, we’ve had the privilege of watching thousands respond to Jesus in twelve nations and territories on five continents – we’ve just finished up a packed few months of events in Israel, the West Bank, France, Belize, Mexico and across the American South and Midwest. Currently we are finishing up some recording on the West Coast, after which we’re scheduled to perform in the American Midwest, and then in the Dominican Republic, Kenya, Brunei, the Philippines, and Thailand.
THANK YOU for being part of the team – for helping us share the love of Jesus worldwide. Our vision is to follow God’s leading and help reach as many nations and people as we can with the message of Jesus, and your partnership helps us reach the world together. If you’d like to help, click HERE to partner financially and follow us on FACEBOOK for daily prayer updates from the field.
Zach and White Ribbon Day