I was seven years old. My family and I were sitting around a Sunday dinner table. While the peas were being passed to the right, my dad broke the silence with a simple question. Looking directly at me he asked, “Jason do you know for sure that when you die you are going to heaven?” Being an over-educated preacher’s kid I knew there were two options after you die — heaven and hell. And any time those were my two options I would most definitely pick heaven. But he I realized in that moment he wasn’t asking me where I wanted to go, he was asking a question of assurance and I had none.
I was ten years old. After years and years of sleeping under my father’s preaching I made my good confession that I wanted to be a preacher too. I had no idea what that meant except that I could be like my dad…good enough for me. I loved church. Church was a place of music, flannel graphs, and that pretzel jello combination that I am pretty sure Susanna Wesley invented. East Valley Church in San Jose, CA was the shared home of my closest friends and a place I continued to learn about Jesus. It was simple but it was so good.
I am twenty-seven years old. I reflect on my story sitting in the brand new office space of City Church–the five-month-old church plant of which I pastor. From this place I look back and can boldly testify that mine is not a story of me chasing God but of God chasing me. Through a simple question at a dinner table, through simple stories in Sunday school, through friendships and food, God has pursued me. By his grace alone that seven-year-old boy finished his meal and then knelt down with his pastor dad, receiving the gift of full, forever life in Christ.
It is that same grace that pursues me still.