Journey to the Heart is a ten-day opportunity for individuals to spend serious time drawing nearer to God. June 6-16, 2015, found thirty-one young men ready to move forward spiritually by investing in this opportunity. As the leaders met the participants and the Journey activities began, one leader noted that this group was one of the most focused on seeking the Lord that he’s ever seen. This particular Journey had young men strongly desiring to hear Christ and study His Word.
Before returning home after the Journey, the guys shared their testimonies with the IBLP staff. The following is just a taste of what the young men had to share:
One of the participants commented: “One of the things the Journey taught us [is that] life is not about me fixing me or even Christ fixing me; it’s about me dying and Christ living in me through my life. That should be the focus of our life.”
Another testimony was: “On my [personal survey] paper, where it said ‘rate your relationship with God,’ I gave it an 8.5 [out of 10]. … I would say that I was saved, that I believed God and at one point I talked to Him regularly. But [there was] some sin in my life and instead of asking God to help me with it, I said ‘One minute, God, let me fix this. I’ll be right back.’ But the further I got from God, the more I got into sin. It was an endless cycle that was probably going to continue for the rest of my life. The defining thing about the Journey was not all these Bible verses, not that [I was] convicted. The most important thing, the thing that I’m most thankful for, is that [I] connected with my God.”
Another young man said, “God pointed out [to me] that I was a really sinful person. It really got me thinking. Before I came on this Journey, I knew I sinned a lot. To keep from sinning, I thought [I should] keep busy. The idea was, ‘Do this, do that, so I won’t sin.’ God [showed] me that Jesus satisfies. It’s not just the sin He convicted me of and it’s not just the stronger relationship with Him; it is the fact that only He satisfies.”
Many of the young men shared during the testimony time. One stated to the group, “Before I left on the Journey, I was going through a dry time. I would read a chapter a day and pray a little bit at the end. But it felt like I wasn’t getting much out of it, and it was more like a speed-reading contest. It wasn’t really touching my heart. [Meditation on God’s Word] opened up a whole new depth of Scripture that I had never seen before. It was so awesome to be able to spend time in His Word and say, ‘This is what God is really saying to me. This is what He wants me to hear.’ I had memorized a lot of Scripture. I had all this head knowledge, but it never really got down to my heart…. I tried to live the Christian life without Christ! I tried to do it all in my own strength. God revealed to me this week that in and of myself, I am nothing; I cannot do anything without Christ. Now I realize that God is my Strength; Jesus is my Hope. He is the only One Who can set me free from the bondage of sin.”
These are just a few testimonies from some of the thirty-one guys who dared to “Journey” to know God better. They met God; their hearts were touched. If you missed the Young Men’s June Journey but would still like to experience a Journey in the Northwoods, there will be another Young Men’s Journey simultaneous to the Father’s/Men’s Journey from August 8–16. There is also one in Oregon (August 27-September 4) and one at Eagle Springs in Oklahoma (September 26-October 5).
Please continue to pray for these guys as God’s Spirit moves within them to draw them closer and that others would be drawn to Him by the testimonies of these guys. “Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him” (Luke 8:39).
Photos courtesy of Gabriel Cleator and Nathan Mellas