“Our faith is going to be viewed differently if we unleash compassion and we actually reflect the love of Christ.”
The church today is focused on worldly comfort, food, and entertainment. What would happen if we actually stepped out to live the way God calls us to live? Pastor Ray Johnston has seen and experienced firsthand the power of God that gets activated when His people give. His California-based church has become a radical force for compassion and generosity. When we give, people’s lives are changed.
For one such woman, radical generosity changed her life and the lives of thousands of others. She came to a ministry connected to Ray’s church called St. John’s Center for Women and Children. She was addicted to drugs and her life was falling apart. She met Jesus at the center, and her life changed. One night Ray decided to bless her in a radical way by inviting her to speak in front of a crowd of believers. Here is the testimony she shared in front of four thousand leaders, lawyers, businessmen, and parents.
“I was a mess. I was a meth addict, I lost all my family, all my friends, and almost lost my life. My life sucked. I’ve met Jesus, and for the first time in ten years I have a job.”
This brand-new woman of God was walking two or three hours to work each day. Ray and the others gathered to hear her story had a confession – they already knew her story, and had taken an offering that morning to raise money to buy her a used car. Ray was hoping to raise $3,000. They raised $19,200. They surprised the woman with a brand new, fully funded car, her taxes and insurance paid for the next three years, and a gas card for $750.
The whole room was weeping and clapping. The woman was shaking and crying. Ray then handed a check to the director of the women’s shelter to top off the act of generosity. For Ray, it was a blatant reminder of what the church can be when we stop thinking of ourselves and start thinking of others.
Consider John 3:16,
“For God so loved the world that He gave…”
Ray encourages us to share our faith in a way that is inviting through life-changing acts of generosity, as he and others have. Being in the room that night was a powerful thing for him.
“I don’t know how to describe this, other than it’s tears of joy, of people applauding and cheering and crying all at the same time. When does that kind of joy come to people? It only happens to people who give and self-sacrifice and let God use them.”
Ray Johnston is the Senior Pastor of Bayside Church in Granite Bay, Ca. A 20-year veteran of both youth and adult ministry, he’s the founding pastor of Bayside Church, which has grown to over 12,000 in just a thirteen-year period. A veteran pastor and visionary leader, Ray believes that the church is called to outreach, spiritual growth and equipping our leaders.
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