We had a group of strong men come to First Baptist Greensboro called Team Impact. These men went into the local schools and shared a message of hope with the students and invited them to come to the nighttime program we held at First Baptist. Kids and adults alike love the show. The men break bats and bend steel bars. They do all kinds of crazy things and then they share the simple message of the Gospel. The response is amazing each night as lost people come to know Christ.
On Saturday night of the Team Impact Crusade my whole family attended. The date was February 22, 2014. There was a very large crowd and Ty was so excited to be part of it. We were sitting in the back and there were tall people in front of us and this made it difficult for 6 year old Ty to see. There was an open chair a few rows up so we told him that he could go sit in it. So there he sat, by himself, locked in on the strong men of God.
Since before Ty was born we have prayed for him. Our prayer, first and foremost, has been that he would trust Jesus for his salvation. I have tried to be diligent in teaching him the Bible. From a very young age he has understood that Jesus, God’s perfect Son, came to this earth, lived a perfect life, and then gave His life that all who believe might have eternal life. When Ty was two years old he had already memorized John 3:16. I have never been a preachers kid but I am sure there are a lot of stresses involved. So many people expect so much of you that sometimes you feel like you have to be perfect. Charyl and I have tried to be careful to allow Ty to make his faith his own and decide to follow Jesus when he was ready. This is a challenge as a parent because for our own security we want them to trust Christ so our souls can be at rest about their eternity. But, God has no grandchildren so the decision to follow Christ must be personal and not because mother and father want you to. Ty for many years has known in his head but only God would know when that would transfer to belief in his heart.
The Preacher/Team Member that Saturday night was a friend of mine named Shonn Keels. Shonn did a great job of clearly explaining what it meant to put your trust in Jesus. Shonn used a simple chair for his illustration and he talked about knowing in your head and believing in your head that the chair would hold you up is not the same thing as putting your faith IN the chair. Shonn then sat in the chair and illustrated that now he was putting his faith IN the chair. He used this illustration to parallel faith in Christ. He said many believe in their mind that Jesus is God’s son who came to die for their sins but few have put their faith IN Christ. He challenged the crowd to trust in Christ and surrender completely to Him.
Shonn then gave a clear invitation to those who trusted in Christ that night to show the world by coming down to the front of the stage he was preaching from. Ty is normally pretty shy around large groups of people so I really did not expect him to do anything. As the pastor of the church I was on the stage with Shonn and there I saw my little boy coming forward. My little 6 year old, on his own, with no prodding from his parents or peers was making his profession public. The counselors came and took everyone off to the counseling rooms. I specifically did not go with Ty as I wanted someone else to hear Ty verbalize his faith. Charyl was able to be in the counseling room with Ty. Here is her summary of what happened:
“Tonight I experienced a very precious moment. The gospel was presented tonight, as it always is at the conclusion of every Team Impact event. When the invitation was given for those to come forward who prayed to receive Christ, Ty walked to the front by himself. (It was interesting he did not walk down last night, when given the opportunity.) Ty has been raised in the knowledge of Jesus his entire life, so I wanted to make sure that this was a decision he was truly making…not just because he thought it would be neat, or to please his parents and that it was not just “head knowledge,” but that he was internalizing it. I was able to counsel with him and asked him why he went forward. He said, “God led me to move forward.” I then asked him what was said tonight that spoke to him. He said, “That Jesus is more than just a man on a cross. He came to this earth as the Son of God and was not sinful like we are, and although we are the ones who deserve it, He died for our sins.” Can’t argue with that! I was amazed at how thoughtful and serious he was about it. At the end of the counseling, Mrs. Evelyn asked him to pray, and it was so sincere. He said, “Dear God, thank you for this path you have led me on and the path you have for my future.” I’m so thankful that even at the age of 6, Ty seems to have a great level of maturity in spiritual matters. God is good, and I do too believe that God does indeed have a great future for Ty to do a great work for Him!”
We are so thankful for all that God is doing in our little boy. We pray that he will grow up strong in the faith. We pray that our three little girls would follow Jesus and trust Him with their lives as well.