Whoa!! I came home from a rough day @ church last night and found the most amazing e-mail awaiting me.
Simon was a “hard headed punk kid that had it all figured out.” Those are his words but I’d say they’re pretty accurate. I was the leader for a youth ministry skating outreach program called “The Wave.” In those days, we typically had between 70 and 150 youth, but every one of my volunteers knew Simon. He was loud. He was disrespectful. He did whatever he could to be the center of attention – even if the attention was negative. The volunteers and I prayed for Simon pretty regularly and discussed how we could keep being witnesses to him without letting him railroad us. He was tough. We didn’t have very many answers – just prayers.
I think it’s been about 7 years. Anyway, here are some pieces of what he wrote to me:
It’s Simon Holloway from Tomball. How are you doing brother?
Wait. . . .Did he just call me “brother?”
I was thinking about you today and the influence you had in my life, when I was younger. . . I sincerely want to thank you for showing me grace and spreading the word with me. . . About 2 months ago I was saved and for the first time had a better understanding about Him and Jesus. After that happened I thought about you many times and you inspired me. I knew it was all real because I had proof from another source, and that was you. It’s all because I think of an old time at The Wave when I was cussin at you and just being a pain in the rear for everyone up there, I was thinking you were coming to rip me a new one when you came and talked to me and gave me grace. It’s almost like in the Bible when they bring the woman who is caught for adultery and they’re expecting Jesus to get mad. Instead Jesus gives grace like he always does and I now see that in you, today.
Whoa! I sure don’t remember that incident. All I really remember is wondering how I could try to be Jesus to him when I really wanted to “rip him a new one” – Had I done it, I would have done exactly what he expected and I would have lost any influence I had with him. Wow! Only by God’s grace did I do the right thing – the thing that he remembered and that made the difference in his life. Had I reacted on my own emotional influences, I would have played right into his misconceptions of God. I guess in some ways, this whole thing sounds sort of like I’m bragging, but what I’m trying to say is that I know how close I was to doing the wrong thing and that God’s power. . . His Spirit is the only thing that made a difference. I want to brag for sure, but on God, not on me. God is amazing!!
Well Steve, I just wanted to thank you a lot and let it be known what you did for me when I was younger and now. . . . I will definitely be praying for you bro and I know God will show you grace in the situation!
Talk to you soon.
God got a hold of Simon!!!!! Whoa. That’s an e-mail I would have never imagined receiving. If Saul could become Paul, I guess Simon could become a Christian too, but. . .well, sometimes those ministry days seemed unfruitful. They were hard. We kept trying, but it just didn’t seem like we were getting anywhere. I can look back now and see that’s true. We weren’t getting anywhere – BUT GOD WAS!! He used those times and used us in spite of our ignorance. In spite of ourselves.
Man, I love these kinds of stories. We serve an incredible God!!! He is amazing! His power is ultimate and intimate and infinite! He can and does move people’s hearts. (Both Simon’s and mine that day.) He gives us the strength to follow Him even when we don’t feel like it. He can take a hard headed punk and turn him into a humble servant. He is over all and above all and through all. He is God. He is Yahweh! He is our strength, our redeemer, our salvation, our joy, our light, our love. He is love! He gives love! His character is love!
Prayer:Lord, thank you for Simon. Guide him deeper into your presence. Hold him close to You and draw him close to other believers who will truly disciple him. Use him for Your eternal works and for Your glory! Thank you God for sending this message to me. As You know, it was perfect timing. I needed it. Thank You for choosing me for that time and place in ministry. It was an honor to have been a part of such amazing blessings and to have worked with so many incredible volunteers and students. Lord, hold me close and guide me deeper into your presence. I love You and truly can’t imagine this life without You. I need You.You’re are amazing and it’s not just me that thinks so. . . “Simon says” too! AMEN!
PS – Simon gave me permission to repost his e-mail. He even said, “Never know, it could make an impact on someone else life.”
6 Replies to “Simon Says”
Amazing story Steve….you are one of the lucky ones. Some people never know what an impact they have made on someone else, but you do! It’s amazing how God worked so many years ago,placing you there with Simon to palnt the seeds, sometimes that is all we can do is plant seeds. You were the face of Jesus to a child that was hurting, crying out for… Read More Him. That’s how Christ works when we let Him. I am so proud of Simon to allow Christ in and allow Him to change his brokenness into joy. I am so proud of you for being obedient, even under fire. We serve an awesome God! Thanks for sharing ….. 🙂
Dear God, Thank you so much for Simon and his coming to know you and love you!! What an amazing blessing! Thank you also for Steve who has been your faithful servant for so long – you showed Steve the way to reach out to a bunch of crazy kids. I thank you for the WAVE ministry for the gift of bringing my family to the WAVE and teaching my … Read Morefamily to reach out and love those who don’t know you. Thank you God for using the WAVE to teach me (and the other adults there) about ministry. The Wave was a teen ministry – and the goal was to reach teens. But you used that ministry, God to impact a group of adults too and teach us to love others – especially the one(s) whose heads we wanted to rip off. It was your holy spirit that guided us and kept our human emotions in check and gave us the desire to come back week after week. The WAVE years were an amazing blessing, and I thank you. It’s all you, God – you get the glory!!!
i was just thinking this morning to write you and thank you for doing skate church back in the day. it played a huge roll in bringing me into relationship with the Father! be blessed bro!
Thanks so much for sharing Steve! I prayed for Simon as well and kids like him. Love you,, Laurie
Steve, tears came to my eyes when i read simons story….I am sooooo EXCITED!!!!!! MAN GOD IS GOOD!!!!! WOW I never saw that coming….and how encouraging it is to KEEP GOING, Keep lovin on people, keep showing people grace because it really does work and people really do come to christ!!!!!
Awesome story made my day what can i say GOD is GREAT. Simon may god bless you and thank you for sharing your story with Steve