America’s Keswick revival just keeps going on. I drove an hour and a half up and an hour and a half back for the weekly T&T (that’s “text and testimony”), and it was worth every mile. There’s nothing like the words of men who must have Jesus or they will die.
Not every one of the 39 current “Colony” residents stands up to say what God is doing in his life—we would be there all night. The first man reads Matthew 28:19 (that’s the “text” part), Jesus’ command to go out and make disciples. Then he makes the point (“testimony”) that “part of being holy is obeying God’s commands.” A die-hard skateboarder, he wants to “make his disciples” among the irreverent skateboard community. How’s “Holy Rollers” for a name, he says.
The next man comes to the podium with two books. One is the Bible. The other is a spiral notebook he keeps as a record of his journey. He showed us the first page, blank except for a phone number he had scrawled at someone’s urging and never should have dialed: He ended up disobeying the Lord by entering into an unequally yoked relationship. The back cover of the pad has black marks, lighter stains from setting his dope on the pad to cook it. “That book doesn’t define who I am. This book does,” he says as he holds up the Bible.
A former cage fighter cites his verse, Jeremiah 33:3: “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” The hidden thing he didn’t know was all the pride he had. When he entered the community, the Colony put him on trash detail and he thought he was too good for it. Now he calls himself a servant, and just wants to obey.
Rick thanks his brothers publicly: “Did any of you ever put in a hardwood floor? I look at you guys out there as planks—each one of you has a different grain. I come to you all for something different.”
Joe’s favorite verse (this week?) is Matthew 18:4: “Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (As I sit in the audience, I begin to discern a pattern.)
Paul just turned 32 in the Colony, and reads his verse, Psalm 103:1-3. He learned to forgive here, and says, “Forgiveness is for yourself. Not forgiving is like peeing in your own pants and hoping someone else will get wet.” He ends with an exhortation to his brothers to keep fighting the good fight against the flesh: “Nobody who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is worthy of the kingdom of God.”
The two men sitting together just in front of me seem particularly joyful. Soon I find out what all the playful jostling is about. The first gets up and says that earlier in the day they had come to blows. Then he remembered Jesus said that if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave the gift and make it right with the brother. So when he came into T&T, he deliberately chose a seat with an empty space near it, hoping his aggrieved brother would come and sit next to him. The brother did.
Immediately afterward, the brother in question gets up and says with a wink: “There were no other seats available.”