Friday, February 20, 2009

A Picture of Passion

As I listened to his story it was as if it unlocked the dream inside of me- a passion for college students. His name was Rich K. He had been a football player at a state college in Michigan. He was good looking, was a lady's man and well liked by everyone he met and yet there was a piece of his life that was missing. He searched for it in partying and in being seen with the hottest women on campus. He searched for that missing piece in alcohol and in pills. No matter what he did that missing quotient in his life just could not be filled.

Religion? In his mind there was no God and the Bible was just a hoax. He would prove it. So he set out to disprove the truths that are central to our faith in Jesus. He was sure that with a little study he could prove that Jesus never had been the Son of God! He went at it with passion.

Every archaeological fact he could dig up and every historical account he could find however brought him face to face with so many truths that it was astounding. He went deeper and deeper into study and yet the more he learned the more facts came up to support a true living Son of God than disproved him. God was beginning a work in his heart.

In an accident Rich's nose became somewhat disfigured. To an athlete who was pop to whom the physical was all important this was devastating. He went into a depression one which would cause him to dive out of his dormitory window wanting to die rather than go on living in the pain he then felt.

However, in trying to kill himself, he instead dove headlong into a snow bank injuring his neck. He had tried to take his own life...but God preserved it! God had his hand on Rich's life.

Due to the injury he sustained while trying to take his life, Rich could no longer play football.His idols now at his feet...Rich was at a loss. On an evening when he was extremely overwhelmed and wanting to take pills to try again to commit suicide...God did something dramatic.

A pastor had a powerful feeling that he should go to the college that day. When he arrived he began to walk the campus praying about what God wanted him to do. He felt led to walk into a men's dormitory. Going in and walking the halls he came upon a room where he felt God was directing him. Walking into the room, he put his arm around a college student with long hair,ripped jeans, who because of his depression had not had a bath in days. He told that college student that God brought him to that room with a message for him. The message was that God loved him and wanted to change his life.

The student the pastor went to see? You guessed it! It was Rich. That night minutes from taking his own life Rich turned his life over to Jesus. As Jesus took control of his life, Rich left his college in Michigan and went to a Bible College. He later would begin a ministry to college students called Forever Generation and later Real Life Ministries.

Rich would become my boss within a couple years of his sharing that testimony. I have only met one or two people as energetic and passionate about Jesus as Rich. I would say that he was a modern day Paul. He was an igniter in my life.

It has been years since I last saw and spoke with Rich. I learned this week that Rich went to be with Jesus about nine years ago as a result of cancer. Yet there will be many entering the gates of Heaven because of this one man's passion to tell them about Jesus.

Rich was a true candle.

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