A few days ago I took a road trip from our home in Asheville to the city of Atlanta. I had one agenda: To search and find Pastor Johnny Hunt.
Clearly I remember that evening when, as a 23 year-old college student at Liberty University, I heard the gospel preaching of a fiery southern baptist. He had come to our campus during a week of spiritual emphasis, and I was a hard-hearted student with a lot of skepticism and anger. But somewhere during the middle of his message on ‘Forgiveness From the Heart’, the real Jesus began to dismantle the blue prints of my previous existence. I fell to pieces during the invitation, and I walked to the front of an old-fashioned altar. I gave my heart to the resurrected Christ, and I’ve never been the same.
I remember the days that immediately followed. I remember how worship in community, and new friends helped to shape my theology. I remember how my eyes seemed to be suddenly opened to the awareness of Divine Presence, and the love of God would recapitulate my broken heart.
My heart burned within me.
Two thousand years ago, two confused disciples were confronted by the reality of the Resurrected Christ. While walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus, the revelation of a whole new world order was lit inside them. Later they exclaimed, “Did not our hearts burn within us?”
In the Greek New Testament the language is loaded.
“Did not our kardias kaio?”
Kardias [Heart – think, “Cardiac Arrest”] and Kaio [“to set on fire, to consume’]
and interestingly enough, Kaio is the root word for “Kairos” as previously mentioned – the Greek word for time that stands still.
Literally: Our hearts were consumed with the fire of a frozen moment. When the gospel burns down the castle of temporary existence, and a Kingdom is born from the ashes of despair!
So when I finally found Johnny Hunt, I stood in a moment of silence before him. “My name is Jay DePoy”, I said, “and I have come all this way to say thank you.” Then I told him my whole.messy.humiliating. story of redemption. And I thanked him for sharing the greatest gift that anyone has ever given me.
The good news is, today my heart is more consumed with the concentrated energy of the gospel than it was fifteen years ago. It’s saturday night now. And I can’t sleep. Sunday’s coming… and I’m gonna put a cap in Satan’s face in the Name of Jesus tomorrow. This fire is burning hotter than ever!
– Jay DePoy