When I was in high school I got into the local music scene ( it was cool back then). We would have free shows all the time and for the most part the scene was all about the Lord. There was this guy in Spokane named Herb who reached out to the punk rock kids of our town by bringing Christian punk bands to play. He shaped my whole music experience as a teen and gave me a place to go on the weekends; something to do. I'm convinced he created the local music scene in Spokane and I really looked up to this man. However, as things changed and other people got involved over the years, the whole thing lost focus on the Lord and become about what cool band we could bring in. Herb left and turned it over to another guy but after that it was never the same again.
When I left Spokane in my late 20s, it was in a bad way. I had hurt a lot of people and was really just running from myself. I had such a hard time ever coming back cause I knew I hadn't changed and I was scared people could see right through me. That they would see I was still "that guy". But this time was different! I knew I have changed and I wasn't affraid to run into anyone. I wasn't ashamed to look anyone in the eye and tell them what I did and how the Lord has truly transformed my heart. For sure it was scary but I was confident in what God has done in my life.
So I decided to hit the hot spots of Spokane. Hoping to bump into people. My first day back I hit coffee shops and popular bars that I knew people hung out at. I ran into a few people and got super bummed. The thing is, most all the people I ran in to we're people I have known for years. We had all been part of the music scene. We spent most of our weekends at church shows and bible studies, with high hopes of being used for the Lord someday. We all had one thing in common, we wanted to make a difference.... but not now. Things have changed.
Now this can be a touchy subject when you talk about observations you have made of someone else. This is what I'll say...It was like looking in the mirror or like looking at who I was and who I have could become if I was left to my own devices. For example, this one dude I ran into out front of a club. You know the type of place, a meat market, shortest skirts and highest heals kind of club. I asked him what he was doing and he said, "I'm looking for my future ex wife". Here's the thing that put me on pause quick. The last I had heard he was still happily married. Not that it matters, but this dude has a tattoo on his neck about Jesus and I last saw him at church! So to hear him say that, it was a mind trip. I headed off to see who else I could find and had this thought... I was him ...I wasn't ever looking for a future ex wife but I was always looking for a girl I could hook up with and then keep "on the leash". Yet at the time I would have never admitted it or even thought that I was doing that. That IS what I was doing, I was only fooling myself.
Later, I ran into this other guy I once knew. He was an older guy, had already retired. He was sitting at the bar by himself so I walked by and said hi then walked away and continued talking to a friend I was with. A few minutes later I couldn't help but turn around and go back to talk with him. I had to know his story. I sat and asked him a lot of questions and got some honest answers. He told me about his separation from his wife and how he was against organized religion now. That he liked hanging out with girls in there 20s and was just up to no good. I was in shock, and honestly confused. This wasn't the guy I remember.
My point is this, I look at these stories and know that I'm not above any of them. Just because I'm a believer, doesn't mean I can't fall to any of these sins. I have to constantly be on gaurd or I could end up alone in a bar marginalizing my faith. Here's the good news... the hope I have for them, for me and for you. Jesus is the good shepherd. He's good, He's God and He is in control. The story is not over. I am an example of that for sure, and I'm so grateful!