Saturday, September 23, 2017

My math teacher told me the truth.

When I was in my Junior or Senior year of high school, I wasn't the best of kids. Sure, I wasn't the worst of kids, but I definitely wasn't the best... It was mostly about being mischievous, but there was a definite path that I was taking. I wasn't aware of this myself, when you are smack dab in the middle of the morality compass, it is easy to think about the fact that you really aren't all that bad.

On top of that, I knew the Word. My parents were both Christians, I went to church every Sunday, I went to a Christian School, I attended all of the revival services our church held, and I made my way to a Christian Camp in the summer. The Bible was something that I was very familiar with, but I was a hearer of the Word and not really a doer. All of this attendance was mandatory at that particular time of my life, so it was a faulty gauge for measuring my actual spirituality.

There were other things that should have made me aware of this reality, but I was self-deceived. That mischievous, rotten nature, that displayed the destructive path that I was taking, would peek out at every opportunity that it could. And the very first person that saw through all of that "required Christianity" was none other than my math teacher. He had caught me with something that had no business being in a Christian School. He pulled me out in the hall and said something to me that I have never forgotten.

It wasn't really profound or beautifully quotable, but it is the statement that I always use to mark the beginning of God's gracious work in my life. Once out in the hall, away from my peers, he simply said to me, "Matt Harmless, I don't believe that you are saved."

Of all of the things that could have been told to me, this ended up being exactly what I needed to hear. What a gracious God, to bring this analytically thinking man into my life, to brilliantly add up all of the loose ends and calculate all of the variables in my life and deduce, with the same logical mind that was teaching us mathematical proofs, that my faith added up to zero.

Those words rang in my ears for the next few years of my life. At first they seemed arrogant. "Who was he to tell me... ?" Then they were audacious and insulting, but eventually those words proved themselves to me to be true. And it was the sheer truth of those words that cut me to the heart.

It was another three or four years before I was eventually captured by God's extravagant grace, but when I tell the story of my salvation, I nearly always begin there - that moment in the hallway outside of my math class, when my math teacher figured it out and told me the truth. When I look back, I can see so clearly that those words were the first spark in the chain reaction of my own salvation.

Thank you, Mr. Cofer, for being brave enough and bold enough to tell me the truth.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

An opportunity to have a positive impact on kids in our public schools...

This year I started teaching an elective centered on AVID. If I understand it correctly, this is a program that is geared toward helping those kids who are potentially college bound, but don't necessarily have all of the help and support that they might need from home. If you would like to learn more about AVID, you can check out their website, but that is not the purpose of this particular post...

I am writing this post because I believe that connected to AVID is an amazing opportunity for youth ministry minded people to be able to get into their local public schools. The opportunity comes in the form of an AVID Tutor.

Don't worry, you don't actually have to tutor the kids, they are working with each other in the tutoring process, but the AVID program has tutors available to help guide them during these times.

The amazing thing is that this is actually a paid program. I believe that it is $9.00 an hour and it is for a few hours on Tuesday and Thursday.

I am especially thinking about youth Pastors and youth workers in Danville that could give up a few hours during the day to just be around these kids and help them ... to show them the Love of Christ.

What is even better is that they encourage the church to participate in this opportunity.

Here is a copy of the letter that they are sending out to churches in our community:

If you have any questions about the program, please contact me.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Episode Two of Edgewood's "Ask the Pastor" Podcast!

This week we are trying to answer the question, "How does a Christian respond to the cussing, cursing, and taking God's name in vain, that they experience while listening to and being around unsaved coworkers?"

If you have any questions or further comments, feel free to leave them in the comment section below this post.