When I was 18 years old, my mom and my girlfriend conspired against me on my behalf. They sent this goofy looking pastor dude, in a suit and tie, with a big smile to knock on my bedroom door and witness to me.
It didn’t work.
I was cold and mean to him. As far as I could see, which wasn’t very far, religion was a bunch of fairytale nonsense. All his efforts failed, until he promised to never visit again, if I would just read the first chapter of a book called Patriarchs and Prophets. “Deal,” I responded. That evening, I read the title of the chapter: “Why Was Sin Permitted?” Then I read the first sentence:
“God is love” (1 John 4:16).
he promised to never visit again, if I would just read the first chapter of a book called Patriarchs and Prophets.
Those words were my introduction to a whole new world of thought. My first impulse was to laugh at how ridiculous the idea was. “God is love? Are you kidding? How could anybody possibly believe that? Just look at the world—rape, child abuse, starvation, war. If God does exist, He’s gotta be a psychopath.” But as I read the chapter, a profoundly intelligent equation formed in my mind:
Freedom is necessary to the existence of love and risk is necessary to the existence of freedom. In a flash, I understood how it was possible for an all-powerful God to exist in a world like ours and not be Himself a monster. My conversion was instantaneous, which thrilled my mom and my girlfriend. The girlfriend and I got married and we immediately began giving Bible studies to our friends. I would make copies of that chapter to hand out.
God is love? Are you kidding? How could anybody possibly believe that?
When Light Bearers’ publishing work began, we started with that chapter. We printed it by the millions and sent it all over the world because I believe there is no more effective way to communicate the gospel to the masses of humanity. The printed page allows a person to ponder truth alone in their own mind under the influence of the Holy Spirit, and that factor makes it an extremely powerful medium of communication.
If you have someone like my teenage self in your life, don’t stop praying for them. Don’t shame them because they don’t think like you. Their resistance may be borne of valid questions like mine was. Have faith and love them. Though traditions and ceremonies have no authority, God’s love is strong enough to warm even the coldest of hearts.
Ty is a speaker/director of Light Bearers. A passionate communicator with a message that opens minds and moves hearts, Ty teaches on a variety of topics, emphasizing God’s unfailing love as the central theme of the Bible. Ty and his wife Sue have three adult children and two grandsons.