Every Thursday I’ll send a note to your inbox with a devotional thought designed to help connect you with God, information about what’s going on at The Church at Clayton Crossings, and some fun facts to help us get to know one another.

light bulb

What I’m thinking
As a pastor, I love light bulb moments. You know what I’m talking about—the moment when understanding takes the place of confusion or apathy.

While I wasn’t there to see it, I heard about a friend’s light bulb moment while serving on an eight-day mission trip to Cuba. My friend is a father, and though he may be reluctant to admit it, he’s an absolute sucker for kids.

On his first trip he met some children who were playing with marbles. They only had a few and almost all of them were cracked and chipped. My friend was troubled that boys, many of whom were the same age as his own son, had only broken marbles to play with.

Ever the solutions man, my friend asked his translator to drive him to the closest store so he could buy new marbles for his new friends. Unfortunately, the seemingly simple request was impossible. The boys would have to continue to play with marbles that couldn’t roll. There were no marbles to be purchased in Cuba.

I’ve discovered you cannot always predict what will break your heart. For my friend on a hot afternoon in Cuba, he finally understood oppression and poverty—he saw it on the faces of young boys who had nothing but broken glass to play with.

>Light bulb<

My friend went to Cuba to help people find and follow Jesus, not to give marbles to poor kids. But do you know what he learned about evangelism and discipleship on his trip? A small bag of marbles will give you just enough time to talk to a group of young boys about Jesus.

Because of my friend’s light bulb moment, teams from The Church at Clayton Crossings have given out more than 10,000 marbles, each one accompanied by the story of salvation, and each received with a smile big enough to make a grown man cry.

Salvation has come to Cuba because a guy packed some marbles in his suitcase.

My friend is not a pastor. He doesn’t have a seminary education. He doesn’t lead a community group. He’s just a guy who actually believed what John said in 1 John 3:17-18:

If anyone has this world’s goods and sees his brother in need but closes his eyes to his need—how can God’s love reside in him? Little children, we must not love with word or speech, but with truth and action.

I’ll admit the thought of going to a third-world country is frightening, but not nearly as intimidating as living as a missionary. You may feel you don’t have what it takes to be a missionary, but nothing can be further from the truth. Trust God to give you the right words to say, allow His people to encourage you along the way (that’s why we send teams of missionaries), and watch as He opens doors to introduce hope through Jesus.

If God can work miracles with marbles, He can do amazing things through your willingness too.

We’re planning on another trip to Cuba in June. Is God preparing you to go? What is keeping you from saying “yes”?

Consider what God has done in Cuba through The Church at Clayton Crossings over the past couple of years:

  • There are more than 250 new followers of Jesus as a result of God using our teams,
  • we’ve equipped more than 20 small and poor churches with resources to help them reach their community,
  • we’ve donated thousands of dollars to help build new churches, and
  • we’ve given hundreds of toys to children who have almost nothing.

Why? Because we’re on a mission to help people find and follow Jesus, not just in Johnston County, but all over the world. That’s a pretty big job, and it’s a little uncomfortable at times, but we serve an even bigger God who gives us everything we need to get the job done.

Take a look at this video from a team that traveled to Cuba last September—just some ordinary guys who said “yes” to serve when God called:

What I need to remember:

  • WANT TO SERVE IN CUBA? We’re putting teams together for June 17-25 and November 15-22 trips (the deadline for the June trip is March 13). You don’t need any missions experience, just a valid passport and a willing heart. To learn more, email Adam Durovey at adurovey@gmail.com.
  • HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT CUBA? Two of our resident Cubans, Ed and Yuliet Zequeira, plus a very non-Cuban (Adam Durovey), will be available for questions in the lobby after our 10:30 service on Sunday. Adam is the elder who oversees global missions, and Ed led the translation teams for our groups. Special bonus: Ed will serve Cuban coffee! Stop by for a minute with any questions and get a pre-lunch caffeine jolt.

What I’m reading:

What I’m listening to:

  • It’s more Elevation Worship this week with a little Dream Theater sprinkled in for the best in precision head banging rock music.

About me:
John Sanders is the non-stuffy pastor at The Church at Clayton Crossings. His primary mission is to help people find and follow Jesus. Additionally, he longs to write like the child of Aaron Sorkin and Dave Barry, preach like W.A. Criswell, look like Bradley Cooper, and eat like he’s seventeen years old. A more complete (and less snarky) bio can be found here.

Let’s be friends: