I’m excited about how Jesus is growing my brother-in-Christ, Dean (pictured above with Ruthie), who lives in an apartment complex on the West Side of Cleveland! I’ve known Dean for a couple of years, and we became friends as I visited his apartment building to share Jesus with people. As I continued to share how Jesus loves him again and again, he finally came out and told me, “Mark, your God doesn’t love me because I’m gay.” I told him that wasn’t true and that Jesus died for him and loves him more than we can imagine. After literally months of my trying to convince him and Jesus wooing him, Dean gave in to the love of Jesus by asking forgiveness of his sins and asking Jesus into his heart. He’s been growing in his walk with Jesus ever since! Here’s a Facebook post he put up yesterday (shared with permission) that really shows that:
“Mom said if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.well I’m at that point.what are we doing people there is so much love to give or at least I have. I found my shepherd maybe we all need to learn to become the sheep. It’s at the time in our world when it’s more important to unite as one. I’ve said it before united we stand it doesn’t matter who you are. This is coming from a gay man trying hard to follow my shepherd. Peace is love”
As you can see, Dean has grabbed a hold of an important part of life – following Jesus as his shepherd. Dean told me today that he’s taking baby steps in his walk with Jesus – that’s something we all need to do, stepping out in faith and becoming the person Jesus wants us to be. It’s also exciting to see Dean growing not just into the man Jesus wants him to be, but serving Jesus by sharing the Good News, too. He’s been sharing with several people how he’s a sheep of the Shepherd, and he recently told a neighbor friend who lost his daughter to a heroin overdose, “It’s a little bit easier if God is in your heart!” Dean realizes that Jesus now lives inside of him, and he’s committed to being a pure and holy temple, ready to point others to Jesus. Praise Jesus with me that He’s saved Dean and helping him grow! Pray also for Dean to keep walking with Jesus and overcome some struggles he’s still having. And pray that more and more people here in Cleveland will be convinced that Jesus really loves them and wants to be in their lives!
If you’re out there reading this and you’re thinking, “Jesus doesn’t like me because I’m _______ or I’ve done _________,” that’s a lie. Know that Jesus loves you personally and is longing to walk through life with you, make you into the best version of yourself, and use you to make a difference for eternity – Just like Dean.