On Saturday Jacob came home from a friend's house with a big announcement. He had a big smile on his face and he was so happy as he told Stephanie and I his news. "Jim is a Christian now!"*
Here's the back story.
Jim has been Jacob's friend since we moved to Northfield in 2007. Jim and his family don't go to church, and Jim has only come to kids Wednesday night church with Jacob once or twice. We've spent a lot of time taking with Jacob about how Jim's family has different values than ours. Its been hard because he likes Jim a lot, but Stephanie and I have had some concerns about the amount of leeway Jim's parent's have regarding what Jim watches and the games he plays. We've haven't sheltered Jacob, but we've had to set some boundaries and remind Jacob of the values we have the expectations and desire Jesus has for Jacob.
Last weekend Jacob invited Jim to come to church with us. I was preaching at the local Moravian church that Sunday and Jacob was excited to have Jim come and see his dad preach. It was funny, and a bit embarrassing, because Jacob kept telling people at the church about how Jim wasn't a Christian and had never been to church. Apparently Jim wasn't too embarrassed because he told Jacob that he liked church and wanted to come again.
Later in the week Jacob told us that Jim wanted to be a Christian. Stephanie heard Jacob upstairs in his room telling Jim about Jesus and some of the 10 Commandments. He even showed Jim his children's Bible. Then he asked if Jim could eat lunch at our house, and he told us we needed to pray for lunch because Jim wanted to be a Christian and wanted to pray ever day. At lunch Jim was showing us the sign language he was learning at school and then Jacob showed him how to do the sign of the cross after a prayer (apparently this is the sign language Jacob has learned at his Catholic school).
Jacob had told us earlier in the week that Jim wanted to be a Christian but that his dad said he couldn't be one. Jim said his dad didn't believe in God and that his dad told him people came from monkeys and the earth got started by a big rock crashing into it. Jacob said that was weird and the conversation moved on, but the exchange was a bit of a wake-up call to Stephanie and I that our kids' friends have a different worldview and we need to be all the more diligent in raising our kids with a firm faith foundation.
I guess something changed because when Jacob came home today he said that Jim was now a Christian. I am skeptical of how authentic the conversion is, and I wonder how much of it Jim really grasps, but I am so excited that my 8 year old son loves his friend and genuinely desires to see his friends become Christians. I pray God would continue to give Jacob a heart for his friends, and that the Lord Jesus would guide me to give my children the knowledge and tools they need to confidently share the Gospel with their friends.