Monday, November 28, 2011

Who's Your Eric?

The post below was written by Ian Morgan Cron: author, speaker, pastor, and retreat guide. Ian recently released a beautiful and moving memoir entitled "Jesus, My Father, The CIA, and Me" which you can purchase here or WIN by commenting below.

His name was Eric. He was 28, a part-time carpenter, and a full-time volunteer with Young Life.

Eric was gentle, funny in an understated way, and confident without swaggering. He occasionally let himself be the subject of a sentence, but rarely for long. He was far more interested in knowing what was happening in your life. His syntax was selfless, his grammar self-forgetting.

My father was an alcoholic, unpredictable and demeaning. Eric was the first adult I trusted enough to talk to about the chaos and fear that made up the soundtrack of my adolescence. After Young Life Club he would drive me home and wait in my driveway until I waved from my bedroom window, our signal that my father was asleep and I was safe. He’d flash his high beams in reply. If I called at any hour he’d rush back to get me.

One night before I got out of his car Eric asked me if I wanted to pray with him to receive Christ. I would have followed Eric off a cliff, so I followed him off that one. How could I have known what the implications of that stammering prayer would be?

I’m not old but I’m of an age when memories visit me unbidden. I thought of Eric last night as I drove home from a Barnes & Noble bookstore where I had just given a reading from my new memoir. Eric’s name is just one of many found in the Acknowledgments on the last page. I thought about placing it in the front but I suspect this would have embarrassed him.

I then thought about all the youth workers who still sit with kids in idling cars and dare to ask the ancient-yet-evergreen question, “What do you think about Jesus?”

This morning I tip my hat to overworked and underpaid youth workers everywhere. The gospel writers tell us Jesus healed ten lepers but only one returned to express his gratitude. If you’re a youth worker count me among the few God inspired to come back to say thank you. I apologize it took thirty-five years.|


Ian is an incredible writer. You can read more on his blog or follow Ian on Twitter.

Let's make the comment section below an "Acknowledgments Page" of sorts. Who was that adult in your life? Who introduced you to Jesus? Why not say "thank you" below and include their name?

Ian has donated ten autographed copies of his newest book,"Jesus, My Father, The CIA, and Me" that will be mailed to ten lucky winners, randomly selected from all those who leave comments below. I will post a list of the winners on Friday at which time you can email me your address so we can send you Ian's book.


25 comments:

  1. Reading this made me smile because I myself have had an "Eric" in my life and I thankful to all the people who have chosen to selflessly serve teenagers wherever they are in the world, especially through Young Life.

    Nkosi Sampindi (Young Life Zimbabwe)

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  2. Ian- thanks for giving us a great reminder of what I Thes. 2:8 looks like lived out. As a former YL kid, volunteer leader, staff, and current committee member I am grateful for all the "Eric's" and Ians out there!

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  3. My Eric is my mom. She still answers when I call in the middle of the night and prays for me. She introduced me to the Lord and continually prayed for me even when I didn't want to hear it. Thank you, mom. I love you!

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  4. That's incredible. Hopefully someday I'll get to sit in my car with a kid and pray for him to accept Jesus.

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  5. Steve Johnson with Cru. His faithfulness was amazing.

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  6. My Eric was my YL leader, Julz. Through the various ups and downs of my high school years she was there for me no matter what and was the one to show me Christ's love and help introduce me to Christ. I can't imagine my life without her and it's because of her commitment, always being there for me, and love that has helped shape me into who I am today.... which is a successful College senior with a wonderful and beautiful relationship with Christ and a heart for high school kids as a leader who also hopes to show them the love of Christ. Thank you Julz.

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  7. Thanks for this post! So encouraging to read as I have just returned from lunches at the high school. So grateful for the countless leaders who sit in driveways and ask the questions few others will. Thanks to the many "Erics" in my life who push me to Jesus and away from myself!

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  8. This is awesome. I had never experienced Young Life in high school and although raised with the understanding that there is an unconditional love offered to me, it took until about a year ago (just upon entering college) for me to fully accept and seek to share that love. I now serve with the hope that Jesus brings high schoolers into His life and I am constantly encouraged by those "Eric's" around me. Thanks to Garrison, Connor, Latham, McDowell, Ludwick, Cook, Rusthoven, Peyton, Vereb, Cannavo, Hoysa, Wang.

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  9. To all the "Erics" out there... thank you! You're the hands and feet of Christ! Know that your way of selfless obedience and love for Christ does not go unnoticed!

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  10. Hey! Thanks Ian for posting such a wonderful message. That is the kind of thing that keeps me leading everyday. I have been a part of Young Life as a leader for three years and a part of Young Life as a whole for about eight years now. I first started doing Young Life in eighth grade and my "Eric" was definitely a man named Aaron Clark. Aaron was just a freshman in college at the time of this but he impacted my life in numerous ways. Aaron introduced me to Christ. He prayed with me. He stood by my side as I accepted Christ at Timber Wolf Lake the summer before freshman year of high school. He was with me in my awkward years when everyone was picking on me because of my asthma and because of the "nerdiness" that engulfed me. He was with me when I was transitioning from middle school into high school. He made me feel loved. He made me feel like I was a child of Christ. THAT was cool. Aaron is still one of my very good friends and mentors. I will say this - Aaron was there for me during a time in my life in which no one else was.I would be no where without him and I am forever indebted to him. Thank you Aaron Clark. You changed my life.

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  11. Wow. Goosebumps the whole time. This story is heartwarming and convicting. Thanks!!!

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  12. Thanks for sharing and for saying "Thank you." I want to say thanks to the many people who helped shape my faith in Christ - Greg, Teresa, Ada, Brenda, Alex, and Stephen (just to name a few).

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  13. thanks for the story! this is good stuff

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  14. my Cru leader Christy in college was the adult that helped me get off the fence and finally make a true decision to follow Christ and I will be forever grateful.

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  15. My Eric was a guy named David Hackett. He was my YL leader and the reason I'm a leader now. -Ray Parrish

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  16. Loren Jones, my YL leader led me to Christ my sophomore yeat at Frontier Ranch. I have known him for seven years.

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  17. My Eric would be three YL leaders from high school. Grace, Liz and Jen. I was so confused and lost and they pointed me to Jesus in 2002. I gave my life to Christ on a bench in front of the river at Rockbridge. Forever grateful.

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  18. Tim, Jake, and Amos were huge for me in YL to name a few. We were lucky back then to have so many people that cared about us.

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  19. This is incredible. Thanks for sharing! Love the ability that testimonies have to bring joy through grace.

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  20. My Eric was my YL leader Lovell. His humor and love still resonate with me, and I can't help but base my projections for how I'd want my future family to look off of his house. I've also been fortunate to witness a friend become an Eric for several girls in the few years I've known her.

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  21. Thanks to my youth pastor Brian Williams for showing me Jesus in how he loved me. -Brandon Wingate

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  22. A sweet reminder for sure... thankful for the many Eric's who have crossed my path, provided encouragement and shown me truth about who Jesus is, most specifically those who I get to lead alongside with and watch be Eric's to our high school friends.

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  23. I want to say thank you to my high school YoungLife leader, Nicole, for showing me what it means to be loved by God and to shower others with God's love. She taught me that I will always be beautiful in God's eyes, that he loves me exactly as I am, and that everything that happens in my life is part of God's greater plan. I am thankful for all of our Starbucks coffee dates and the countless amount of times I have unloaded all my stress on her :)

    Thank you Nicole, I owe you so much.

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