Whenever I stand before a group of college students to offer them the Word of God, I still feel a jolt of lightening flash through my head.
Call it nerves, call it the Holy Spirit. Probably both.
On this evening at Morris I’d almost forgotten to walk forward to speak, the worship band having guided us on a tour of Divine presence . . . where apparently I got carried away. They sang:
Set a fire down in my soul
That I can’t contain and I can’t control
I want more of you God
. . . more of you God . . .
Then suddenly, “Let’s give a warm welcome to our guest speaker, Rick Mattson!”
Whoa, name sounds familiar. That’s me. Need to get my bearings, grab my script . . .
For the fourth straight year I’d accepted the invitation to drive west three hours from the Twin Cities to the University of Minnesota at Morris.
Small town, small campus, smart students.
They welcomed me with smiles and handshakes and made sure I was treated to a burger at Old No 1 Bar and Grill, downtown Morris.
I delivered my talk on “The Veiled Messiah: Why Doesn’t God Make Himself More Obvious?”
At the end I gave a call to faith and eight hands went up to accept Christ as Savior. Seemed like a lot in a room of just thirty students.
Then it happened. She went forward in power and authority. I was spellbound. Shelly took over the meeting, except it wasn’t really Shelly. She was simply following orders from above:
“God just did something amazing here! And if you were one of the people who raised your hand to become a true follower of Jesus, I want you to know . . . we are in this together. The angels in heaven are rejoicing right now.
“But you MUST do one thing for me. I am writing my cell number on the board, and I want you to text me, so that we can get together. The Christian life cannot be lived alone. Either I will meet with you or someone else will, but don’t leave this room until you’ve texted me. Don’t walk out those doors and think this was just a blip on the screen. Please, tell a friend about the commitment you’ve made tonight. And also tell me, so we can help you in your new walk with God . . . ”
There’s humor in all this as well. If you know me you can well imagine my talk: a few understated points with a scholarly twist, a story or two to illustrate.
The real preaching was from Shelly, a courageous student leader. One minute into her exhortation to the new believers I was in tears.
Afterward we posed together for a picture (see above) — partners in ministry for revival.