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“I’m a pastor’s kid—I had to do the church! I didn’t really have any say in it because my dad had made his decision to be a pastor. I got lumped into his calling, but my heart wasn’t always in it.” to the front to receive prayer, but I was tired and didn’t feel like walking all the way down there. So I shut my eyes in a sort of sleep-prayer state and waited. I heard God tell me, “Do the church.” I must admit I didn’t really know what this meant. I was a feisty teenager, but I still went to church out of respect for my parents and to youth group every week. I helped set up the chairs every Sunday morning. I ran worship slides. I cleaned the church building. I mean, I’m a pastor’s kid—I had to do the church! I didn’t really have any say in it because my dad had made his decision to be a pastor. I got lumped into his calling, but my heart wasn’t always in it.

Inspired by a Greek

BY MICHAEL STERNS

my dad and the church, but life went on. We moved to Tennessee and started a church plant in Franklin. We knew no one there, which was exciting to my dad and horrifying to us kids. Fortunately, we moved to a neighborhood full of kids who were excited to meet the cool California transplants. Despite the time that had passed, my bitterness toward my dad and the church had seeped into my soul. My youth group attended a youth conference, and it was awesome. The worship was amazing—and loud—but what I remember about that conference was hearing God. There was a call to come cha ri s masbe st.co m

A few years passed, and for the most part, I ignored the word I received from God. I knew it was Him, but I didn’t know what it meant. I decided to go to Lee University. Since God opened multiple doors for me to attend there, I just went with it. I declared business as my major with the intention of doing law. I didn’t really know why exactly, but I took a Business Law class and loved it. The professor was also an ordained minister. I found everything he taught in that class interesting, even tort law! There was something about this professor that piqued my interest, so I thought a career along those lines was where God was leading me. In my sophomore year, God stretched me. I was getting more into the major courses that were a little more challenging. I was taking biblical Greek as a way to learn a classical language that would set me apart from

other business students wanting to get into law. Going into the summer before my junior year, I asked God to increase my faith. I don’t really know why I prayed this prayer. Lee is a Pentecostal school, and I attended chapel services twice a week. I was growing, and I felt like my spiritual life was much more my own than it had been in high school. I just wanted more faith, and so I prayed without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:16). Lee has Greek clubs that are similar to nationally recognized sororities and fraternities, but they are only at Lee. I felt like I was supposed to be in one, so I rushed and got into Theta Delta Kappa. There I met some of my best friends. We gathered every week to pray with one another and to build each other up, and we had a lot of fun too. I told one of my buddies that my prayer was to grow closer to God and to have more faith. As an accountability partner, he often asked me about my relationship with God. My prayer would soon be answered but not in the way I expected it. In October 2011, my friend and Theta brother Jamie Caulk died from injuries sustained in a car accident. For several days after the crash, doctors went back and forth debating whether he would make it. We all prayed for Jamie, expecting a miracle. During fall break, a group of us met to pray at the Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville, and Jamie’s dad and uncle led a time of prayer. The passage we kept going to was Hebrews 12, and we kept our gaze on Jesus. It’s really amazing the impact Jamie had on the campus. While in Theta, he was heavily involved in the media 2 01 6 | C H A RI S M A ’S B EST

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