One of those choice servants is Matt Lotspeich. Matt’s official title is “Student and Recreation Pastor.” It is a position which demands that he wear a lot of hats, and he does it very well. He and his wife, Lindsey, have poured their lives into our students for the past four years. Every Sunday morning and Wednesday night, they have approximately 100 teens involved in worship, Bible study and ministry. They lead in many different mission trips like World Changers where they travel to other parts of our country to minister and serve others. They also do many wonderful projects right here in our backyard.
One of Matt’s strong suits is that he humbly serves the Lord. He is theologically solid, and truly has a heart for God. He desires to see our young people develop a strong relationship with God. That is why he is so good at what he does.
A few weeks back, on a Wednesday night, God began to truly work in the hearts and lives of the young people in a special way. I asked Matt to share what happened that night. Below are excerpts from his written testimony of the events that took place.
“As the students finished arriving for that evening, I was a bit disappointed in the attendance. It was on the low end of average. Once the service started, another God-sized reminder would grace our lives. Attendance is important but not as important as the presence and power of the Holy Spirit of God moving among His creation.
The worship service began with prayer and scripture. The first song followed and as students stood to sing praise to the One True God, they also went down to the front of the stage to pray. As time passed, students continued to pray at the altar; they were obviously under gracious conviction from God. After we had concluded the singing and before I preached, I decided to give an invitation to receive the gospel. There is never a need to delay when God is obviously moving. In other words, it’s best to get out of the way and give God space to move freely. As I spoke about Jesus’ sinlessness, our sin, Jesus’ once and for all sacrifice on the cross, His resurrection, repentance and faith; the students were locked in on what God was offering them. They were enthralled not with my words but the invitation of God to receive His Spirit, salvation and forgiveness. With every head up and every eye open, the students were asked to come forward if they wanted to speak with a counselor about being saved. Eleven students came forward at that moment and two more came forward after the sermon. It was an incredible night with 13 salvations! One of the young people who received Christ as his Lord and Savior was Logan. Logan is a college-aged student who serves on Wednesday nights as our soundboard or computer operator. He explained to me that he had experienced doubts about his salvation for quite some time because he couldn’t remember anything about the experience. It turns out that Logan was just like me and so many others. There was a point in our lives when we believed in Jesus with our brain, but we had not trusted Him with our heart. Although it is imperative that we believe Jesus is the Son of God and His cross is enough, we must also understand the word ‘believe.’ That word in the Bible denotes trust, repentance and faith. Logan honestly, humbly and boldly came to Christ on His terms: repentance and faith. Logan is now living a life of abundant freedom that only Christ can provide.”
God continued to work in the hearts of our youth in the coming weeks leading up to our Disciple Now Weekend. Below is another excerpt from Matt.
“Praise be to God that His story of grace in the life of Jasper’s First Baptist Church didn’t stop on Feb. 26. JFBC Youth had its Disciple Now weekend on March 7-9. Bobby McGraw preached and House 57 led the music. Again, the Holy Spirit was moving as God was revealing our sin and our need for the Savior. At the conclusion of the DNOW weekend, Tony Nolan preached both Sunday morning services. Over 30 received salvation, and over 20 rededicated their lives to Christ. Others came to get their baptism on the right side of their salvation, as we Southern Baptists call it. The people that came forward on Sunday morning were from all age brackets. Although most were students involved with Disciple Now, children came, as well as adults who are enjoying retirement.”
What happened in the lives of these people is best described in the Book of John, Chapter 3, where Jesus tells Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader, that he must be “born again.” What does that mean? Let’s look at what Jesus tells us. He states that there must be repentance, and without this repentance it is impossible to enter the Kingdom of God. Repentance involves change. It is a change of action and a change of mind. The Biblical word comes from two words — one that means “after” and another that means “thought” or “mind.” When there is repentance, there is a change of action coupled with a change of mind. It is not simply a new direction or an about-face. It is not education. It is not a religious experience. It is not merely, “asking Jesus into your heart?” If that happens without repentance, it will not change a thing.
Being “born again” is radical. It happens through repentance and a divine work of the Spirit as the person is given a new nature. Second Corinthians 5:17 states that “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old is gone, and the new has come.”
Jesus tells us in John 3:6-7 “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’”
Being “born again” is not something that you can accomplish on your own. You must realize you are a sinner and:
2. Receive the word of the Holy Spirit in your life. Here, Jesus tells us we “must” do this. Therefore, we must listen.
Is God working in your life? Has He been gently calling you to Him?
Dr. Dennis R. Culbreth is the senior pastor of Jasper’s First Baptist Church, www.jaspersfbc.org