Alive | Matt Brown

Alive

He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

—Colossians 1:13–14 (esv)

A few years ago, I was invited to visit an author’s work in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco, where more than six thousand homeless inhabitants crowd a single city block.

It was awe-inspiring seeing their inner-city mission work, along with thousands of regular volunteers from local churches who intentionally love the broken, weary, strung-out people whom the world has given up on.

Through this mission, lives are being changed. Some of the people who were working with us on the streets had formerly lived on the streets themselves—strung out on drugs before Christ had changed everything for them through the Gospel.

My wife and I tagged on a few extra days to our trip to enjoy the sights and sounds of San Francisco. We enjoyed watching the iconic cable cars making their way up the winding hills and sipping flower tea at a nearby Chinatown restaurant. Several of the days, we made our way down to the Bay, where unbeknownst to us, America’s Cup yacht races were taking place, along with an Olympic-sized footprint. There were lots of food stands, large screens, vendors, and activities taking place.

In one booth, I stopped to look at some nice brown leather shoes, and Michelle stopped at the booth next to it, and before I knew it, she was signing us up to enter a contest—for a free trip to Dubai from Emirates Airlines. We laughed at the idea but figured it was worth a shot.

Three months later we received an e-mail from a marketing company that looked like spam—it was claiming we had been selected for a free trip to Dubai. We slowly remembered we had signed up for the contest a few months earlier, and it took us a while to believe we had really won.

A month later, we made our way to Dubai and spent a few days in the fascinating, futuristic Middle East city. Thanks to social media, we connected with a few Christian friends while we were there, including missionary acquaintances who pastor a church plant made up mostly of expats.

Several months after our visit, the missionary couple sent us a copy of the wife’s new book. A few paragraphs she wrote forever changed my perspective about what the Gospel means:

Being delivered from Satan, sin, and death is anything but average or boring. Having your sins forgiven and being redeemed and made alive is mind-boggling. The idea that anyone’s testimony of blood-bought salvation could be uninteresting or unspectacular is a defamation of the work of Christ.

Your testimony may have occurred in the most ordinary of circumstances, but behind the scenes a spiritual battle was taking place. The Holy Spirit of God peeled the scales from your spiritually blind eyes, awakened your soul to the bright light of the gospel in the face of Jesus Christ, and breathed life into your lifeless soul. God rescued you from the domain of darkness—however gilded or ordinary or innocent it seemed.

Then God transferred you into the kingdom of his beloved Son.

No testimony that involves the Son of God bearing your sins on the cross in order to bring you to God could ever be mundane or boring.

Many Christians feel their testimony of coming to faith in Christ is boring. They have not done drugs or been an alcoholic or wasted away their lives in some terrible sin, so they don’t feel they have an exciting faith story to share with others. But as she boldly wrote, the Bible begs to differ.

Paul said the same thing in Colossians 1:13–14: “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (esv).

Have you ever stopped to think about the epic that is the Gospel at work in your life? It rivals the best movies Hollywood can muster. In the Gospel, you haven’t simply been made into a better person; you’ve been “delivered from the domain of darkness” (Colossians 1:13, esv). We were “dead in [our] trespasses,” and we’ve been “made alive together with him” (Colossians 2:13, esv). Use your gifts to help those in need, and keep your eyes open for all that God will teach you while you serve. Our story is no longer average or boring; it is spectacular because of what Jesus has done for us and in us. We were dead, and now we are alive.

Jesus, help me not only remember Your story of death and resurrection daily, but help me tell the story of how You have changed my life with bold- ness and compassion.

—Matt Brown


This is an excerpt from Chosen, a 30-day devotional (Outreach) by Matt Brown and Ryan Skoog.You can get this book for very discounted rates for use in church-wide campaigns, small group studies, or as a gift book for people who come to faith in Christ, new visitors, or new members at your church. All author proceeds from the book go to feed refugees in some of the toughest areas of the world. Order at: outreach.com/chosen-book/