It’s fitting that weeks after Awakening Australia in Melbourne a few weeks ago that I write this article in a tent covered in a million types of bugs on a beach in Waitpinga SA looking after $$$ of surf contest equipment in the name of loving a bunch of work crew for Jesus at the Australian Junior Surfing titles.
After an amazing time at the Awakening event in Melbourne, the Church of Australia united to lift up the name of Jesus over Australia and to proclaim his love in the streets, the trams, the trains and pretty much anywhere where the thousands streamed out into Melbourne city and beyond.
It was such a marker moment for the Church in Australia. I really believe that the unity I witnessed will result in God pouring down blessing on his bride and will send ripples across this nation to change this nation for Jesus.
There were so many great teachings that came from some of the generals of the faith that were featured at the Awakening event. I want touch on one that really touched me and certainly got me thinking about my witness and how I am a channel of God’s love.
This message came from Heidi Baker, who needs no introduction other than she certainly embodies the love of Jesus with the many children that she cares for, houses and loves in Mozambique through Iris ministries. She certainly is qualified to talk about loving people. Her talk was titled “Love looks like something.”
I was deeply convicted at the time by the Holy Spirit and challenged in my own life and relationships. Do people experience the love of God when they encounter me? If love looks like something how do I show it, what do I do?
It’s certainly not always about what we say. It once again reminded me of St Francis of Assisi’s famous words. “preach the gospel always and if necessary use words.”
That very night Jesus gave me an opportunity to practice what was preached as I encountered a very upset homeless man, named Tony, on my way to the Stadium that night. The first connection with this man was responding to the shouts of the man saying “that they all are a bunch of Satan worshippers in there” referring obviously to the Awakening event.
Not the ideal response when the event was all about making Jesus’ love famous and seeing people discover his amazing love.
In this moment I had the opportunity to respond with Jesus’ love that lives in me or walk past him and continue onto being part of the Saturday session worship.
Worship was defined for me this night by the Romans chapter 12 definition of offering your whole self as a sacrifice for the sake of a neighbour. I’m glad at this stage I was feeling fairly courageous that Jesus’ love was the answer for Tony, despite his anger towards the Christian event happening in his city.
Love in action
Love did look like something this night and the first thing was to care about this man, to begin walk in the opposite direction to the Awakening event and to sit on the dirty floor of the Southern Cross train station and find out a story about another Child of God, another human being that is made in the image of God despite his appearance and wrong doings of the past.
What transpired was simply amazing as I saw Tony’s heart go from firmly hard to soft and open to an experience of love. The practical for me was not just to speak words, but to trust God faithfully in finance too.
Here I speak to a man with addictions, with pain and brokenness and with my last $50 give him the opportunity to have a comfy bed on his birthday. I was determined with the love of Jesus to make this man’s birthday a special one.
Through wisdom and prayer I gave this money and asked if he would give me the privilege of seeing prayer change his life. He obliged and as I prayed the words of release, freedom and love I saw the hardness of heart that I first encountered drop away and be replaced with an experience of the love of God.
We exchanged details and I promised that I would see him again and that things would be different. Little did I know that God gave me the biggest gift when the following night in the stadium I bumped into him in a crowd of 10,000 at Marvel stadium and he had his life changed in the best way possible. He met the real Jesus.
Now there are so many lessons from this encounter with Tony, but the thing I wanted to highlight the most is when you genuinely love someone it needs to cost you something. Whether it be time, money, possessions or in this case for me to be in the crowd of 30,000 worshipping our King.
Jesus got in our dust and so if we are vessels of his love then we need to follow suit. After all it cost Jesus everything, his life, his relationship with his father and being severely beaten so we could experience his love.
If we want to see the motto of Awakening ‘Australia for Jesus’ become a reality we need to play our part in the process. Bill Johnson, Bethel leading pastor, said that the Kingdom of God is within us and it our responsibility to take up the call to release it on the earth. We are co-labourers in bringing his Kingdom to the earth. Love really does look like something!!!
20 One day the Pharisees asked Jesus, “When will the Kingdom of God come?” Jesus replied, “The Kingdom of God can’t be detected by visible signs 21 You won’t be able to say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘It’s over there!’ For the Kingdom of God is already among you.“(Matthew Chapter 17, verse 20)
Justin is married to his beautiful wife and together they pursue being his Kingdom agents through their intentional Jesus community house in Glenelg. Justin is also a prophetic artist under the label JR Faith Creations as well is pursuing a career in the entertainment industry with his new studies in VFX and digital illustration at university. He is a lover of surfing and anything adventurous.