When Love Comes To Stay

John Smith - When Love Comes To Stay

Some of us grew up with experiences of evangelistic meetings where we were challenged to be “born again”, or be “converted.” Despite the tragic incidence of some fake preachers, and even hateful religious bigots, many of us heard sincere passionate preachers. Their stories of Jesus in particular, brought hope, faith and love to our hearts and minds. We were genuinely changed and experienced a life-long spiritual and human love through the gospel preaching we heard. We lived differently after that.

But after the great music by blues, gospel, country and Jesus rock artists drifted away from our daily consciousness, and the preacher’s message faded in our understanding, we were sometimes uncertain where to go with the new faith.

Some preachers trained counselors to talk to those of us who “came out front” at the end of the gospel meetings. They would explain what it meant to be “saved”, or “born again” and they would pray with us. In those days there was a little book called “4 Spiritual Laws.” The idea was that if you go the 4 laws in your heart and followed them you would continue the spiritual journey with a sense of assurance. The first law was that “God has a wonderful plan for your life.” Law two said we had all done wrong and this is a matter of the heart which needs changing. Otherwise we would not be able to know God. The third law was the death of Jesus for the world’s sin and for the individual’s sin. The fourth law is that we must “receive Jesus” into our lives and be thus “born again”.

Some of us youth workers during the 60s and 70s youth revolution felt the 4 spiritual laws just didn’t get down to earth enough. It wasn’t so much what they said as what they didn’t say! When we looked at the materialism, the hatefulness towards enemies, and the lack of Jesus lifestyle shown by many who followed this limited understanding, we longed for a better booklet.

Fuzz Kitto was (and still is) one of the most outstanding youth workers in Australia, and even beyond. We became close friends through a remarkable series of events in South Australia called God Cares. Through God Cares, seminars about values, relationships, spirituality and social justice were held in every high school in the entire city of Adelaide. We talked to many thousands of young people about faith, and they spoke of the distance they felt between the church, most church-goers, and themselves.

One day Fuzz suggested we should write a little booklet of our own, that would explain how we travel on in our faith, after deciding to take Jesus seriously. So Fuzz asked me questions; we recorded the answers and Fuzz edited it. Now I have edited it again with the advice of a few friends. But if we are serious about changing the world, it starts with ourselves. That really does require much thought, and discussion. We hope this little book will start the conversation for some. We hope it will be a little guide-book for the long journey from fear to faith, from indifference to love. It attempts to tell what happens when love comes to stay.

In care and hope that the reader will be helped along life’s journey,

Dr John Smith

 

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