Re-Jesus: Pavel’s Story

I’ve always been glad that Jesus told stories to illustrate his teaching.

When he talks about seeds or birds, missing coins or lost sons, it makes more sense, even today, than if he’d used complicated abstract theories to teach us his truth.

He knew we needed it simple in order to understand.

Times haven’t changed. We still learn and are impacted by the stories Jesus told.

As we’re here at Josiah Venture’s fall training conference 2014, focusing on Jesus and how he did ministry, it has helped to have similar illustrations to understand his principles for reaching the lost and discipling them to maturity.

Dave Patty spoke yesterday from John, chapter one, about the five phases of Jesus’ ministry. He illustrated them by using a young man who trusted Christ in Dave’s early days as a missionary in the Czech Republic.

Come and See (Phase One)

Pavel was a student in Dave’s high school English class in the city of Havirov twenty years ago. As he got to know Pavel and spend time with him, Dave was open about God and initiated conversation about him.

“Pavel, do you think this all happened by chance?” he asked as they hiked in the High Tatra mountains of Slovakia one winter night.

Later, Dave told Pavel he was praying for him and that he felt God was calling him. He challenged him to read the Bible and find out for himself who God is.

Pavel shared, “Those conversations helped me realize this was something relevant to me, that I could talk to God for myself. Dave told me God was interested in me and that he was calling me. That knocked me out of bounds! I never thought there was a God. I was amazed to hear he was interested in me.”

Repent and Believe (Phase Two)

Pavel started coming to the youth group Dave led and bought a Bible to start reading on his own.

After a time, Dave sensed from the Holy Spirit that he was to share the plan of salvation with Pavel. He invited him over to his house and at the kitchen table, with a paper and pen, drew the bridge illustration.

Showing man on one side, God on the other, and a cross in between to represent Jesus’s sacrifice in order for us to have forgiveness from sin to be in relationship with him, Dave asked Pavel where he stood on the bridge.

Pavel pointed to God’s side.

Though at first Dave didn’t think Pavel understood, he finally explained that just days before, while reading in the book of John, he saw, “Whoever has the Son has eternal life.” He made the decision to ask Jesus to be his savior that day.

He had repented and believed.

Follow Me (Phase Three)

Pavel began to devour the Word of God, reading until 2 and 3 in the morning instead of doing homework.

Two weeks later, Pavel’s mom called Dave to say, “I’m worried about my son. He’s not doing any of his homework. He’s ignoring his schoolwork. I’m afraid he’ll drop out. He’s been so irresponsible lately.”

When Dave asked Pavel what was going on he sheepishly replied, “I’m addicted to the Bible. It’s talking to me. There are so many pages and I never have enough time to finish it. Plus, when I look at my Bible on my desk I think it’s eternal and I can’t help but read it. And my homework? Well, it’s not.”

He also shared how God was drawing him into prayer in those early days as a believer. “I knelt and prayed for an hour or two every day so I could connect with God. It was new, it was bringing me life, and it was totally cool!”

He was following Jesus.

Follow Me and Fish for Men (Phase Four)

In those early days, Pavel was part of the youth group and ministry team, learning and growing in his faith. He was also active in reaching out to others, including his brother with whom he shared Christ.

He, too, put his faith in Jesus.

Through his college years, Pavel continued to be active in youth group, serving on a ministry team there and sharing his faith with others.

I Am Sending You (Phase Five)

After college, Pavel had an opportunity to study in the States for his Master’s Degree and then to go to work for General Electric in Prague.

Dave challenged him to be fruitful wherever God placed him and Pavel took that to heart, openly sharing his faith as a missionary sent to the business world.

Then two years ago, God sent Pavel somewhere else.

He joined the ministry of Josiah Venture and serves on the International Team to help increase the capacity of the organization, focusing on key projects that will take the ministry forward.

While some would say he’s completed the five phases of Jesus’ ministry, Pavel will tell you he’s still learning and growing. Deeply desirous of being sent into the world with the Good News of Jesus, he is active in his local church and community, inviting others to “come and see”, just as Dave did with him twenty years ago.

More stories to come, but until then, check out our social media hashtag (#JVFall14) to follow live pictures and updates on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.