This post is submitted by a guest blogger: My son (Josh Kresse)
My story is as follows about how I got insanely blessed (not lucky) at Theology on Tap. I had no idea what I was in for this night. It started out like any other of my past few visits to this new, exciting gathering for Catholic’s in their 20’s. Then I realized, after the great talks and discussions we had that night, there was a raffle. More on that in a bit. I know I can barely contain it too. I know, right!!!! Anyway, the Holy Spirit was moving in me that night. It also helps when you aren’t dragging your feet from being tired from the work week. Likewise the meeting goes pretty late. So I’m feeling good, right….. And then I started talking to my group of friends at the table. (Let’s just call them friends for sake of argument even though I just met them). I was saying things and I don’t know where they (those things I was saying) even came from. How can this feel so natural??? After all, I even sat at an empty table (which would have been filled later) but something told me to go over to the table where there were already a group of guys who were talking. I was wondering if they were there because of the previous event or party, or they were early for Theology on Tap.
Short story long, I ended up having a lot in common with these people. I didn’t want to talk about our whole lives before the discussions for the event actually happened but I decided to open up myself to whatever God had in mind. Haaaa…. What God had in mind!!! So I even forgot about the raffle I had gotten involved with for something I had to buy as a gift for someone in my family.
By the way Theology on Tap is growing and doing lots of good work for the poor and needy people of Arizona. One of those activities includes its religious promotional gift ideas. Some of the money raised by the raffle was obviously used on the generous raffle gifts. The discussions progressed that night as people settled in with their hot cocoa or beer. Water was plentiful and surprisingly provided at the tables by the servers. I avoided beer this night. What the heck, right??? I learned many things that night. I imagined myself even 1 year ago and I see that what I would have found drab then, is quite the opposite now.
How could God make this event now so interesting to me? God has given me (in the last month or so) the ability to be happy and comfortable in my own skin. And if you have a bad day, have a bad day and then get on with the rest of your life. So at the end the event organizers told us a bit about how on Facebook and Twitter you could chat with the people for these events. All I wanted to feel, ironically, was to be involved with something bigger than myself. You have to relate to people sometimes. It can’t always be ponderings about what God did for us but instead has to be about what he is “doing” for us.
The first raffle was announced and the ticket was drawn. Yes, there were two awesome raffles. It wan madness up in this place. Now I will make the long story short. The raffle I’m in approaches. Suddenly I get all panicky. Why you might ask? A moment ago I hadn’t even remembered that I was in a raffle. But this was for the obvious reason I knew I wouldn’t win. Remember “wouldn’t” is just a word but words are surprisingly powerful nonetheless. Reality sets in. I look as the organizer for the raffle draws from what are apparently 15 or so raffle tickets. I wasn’t worried about the odds, but I would be in a very brief moment. I tried to center myself (ironically we just talked about centering prayer as a group) because I tried to imagine someone else getting the prize. Something though just tugged at me. It said trust in me “You have done well lately” I said “I understand, God, if you feel I have been a “good boy” this Christmas season so far, but I won’t expect you to do any miracles. Likewise, God always answers prayers (communication or dialogue) with an answer and sometimes that answer is no. Would tonight have a no for an answer?
Never mind the fact that I had a small 1 in 15 chance of winning. I felt at this point that I was tapped into God’s graces. I felt relieved when the first name was pulled. It wasn’t me after all. It was a girl who would have loved to have been there but she was probably out doing some dedicated Christmas shopping. Let’s not forget to mention that there was a whole room full of people. By now the intensity is building and everyone is watching. Since the girl wasn’t there, she didn’t get to win.
OK, I had reached a happy medium where I was filled with the Holy Spirit (go team spirit), and not worried about what would happen. Wouldn’t it be odd if I was not at all concerned with the fact I might win or lose? The second ticket was drawn and lo and behold it also wasn’t me. So now I was thinking OK God you are trying to teach me humility. I get the joke. Very funny indeed. We however could all use a bit more patience and humility during this hustle bustle season. I believe it was a girl who was drawn. I’m glad she won. Wait wasn’t this story supposed to have a happy ending??? It does. That girl won, but there was one problem… OK now I’m thinking that this is some sort of conspiracy. Luck, fate or God would have it that that person was not at the EVENT!!!!! How could this be a good thing??? She and the other girl who was picked didn’t get the gift they wanted and probably needed. But hey who really needs a raffle prize right??? Well, obviously I did because the fact that those people were not present opened up something extraordinary. A chance for me to win. I heard my name called. I wasn’t questioning my hearing but more or less my vision. I thought someone else had muttered my name from a different local in this gorgeous catering reception room. Long story (Christmas-y in nature) short, I was approached with this basket of treasures. All of the nights’ talks reeled in and out of my head. I suddenly felt like this night was all for me. Everything had gone according to plan. Gods plan too, not to be too presumptuous. The good Lord had worked a miracle this night but I’m not done yet telling you about the miracle.
The miracle I knew would stay in my mind for as long as I lived. In fact this is the most convicted I have been about writing anything for people to look at. I hadn’t once thought about myself that night or prior. And I never lie to myself. Fortunately, I haven’t acquired that worldly skill yet. So I bring this gift out to my ride which was my dad who had gotten my text that I was done. It gets better. I got several of my friend’s email addresses and even put down their names next to the email so I didn’t get mixed up in sending them some comments or stuff about me.
I wanted this night to never end. I reached a maximum joy factor on the ride home. My brain felt tickled. Something was strange. The fact that I have received this gift that must be shared with the world!!! Ok maybe my sights were set a bit too high. After all Jesus needs something substantial in nature even to infinitely multiply it (Loaves and fishes reference). So we get no farther than near the entrance ramp to head back home and my dad finds out something that would change his life forever. Not only did I get a thoughtful gesture, a basket, a book, a case, and other promotional gear for a real Christmas-y time but I also struck gold with a fully unopened fresh and delicious Amazon Kindle. He obviously didn’t know I had a Kindle in the basket because it was dark outside. It was partially my fault as I was trying to make sure hordes of people didn’t run out after me. So I had put the gift in the trunk of his car and we drove off. I was almost embarrassed by the fact that I had been given this splendid gift.
So then I asked my dad what I should do with the gift. I was happy to take advice from my real flesh and blood father instead of through my spiritual encounter with Jesus that night. He then found out and I was enthralled with the fact that he didn’t know. I said this night couldn’t get any better. It’s like a bonus that he was surprised. I always like it when satisfaction gets delayed.
In the celebration of this moment in time, I decided upon telling the mamma when I get home. So I did. The Holy Spirit continued to work in me when I got home and I was dead tired. Good things can make you just as exhausted if not more than bad things. But don’t tell your kids that when they are grimacing that they don’t want to do homework. They will think that it’s less work to be upset. Anyway, everything worked out perfectly and I even remembered things about that night that I didn’t tell my dad earlier.
The most important person that knew about this at the time was me, though. I knew what had happened. I couldn’t smell God, taste him or feel him physically but yet He was there. I know it was a miracle and so now do you. I don’t share this with you to make you feel like this kind of thing might never come into play in your life, but to actually share a gift that is burning in my heart. We often times don’t get the chances we want to help people in our world because of situations that disrupt us. Remember that God will always make time for you. He has written the new laws and commandments on your heart. You can’t snow the snowman. (Aka God)
God Bless all who read this as well as those who don’t.
Article by Josh Kresse
A final word on prayer and miracles.
CS Lewis——-He once said that we will spend a lot of time in eternity thanking God for those prayers of ours he did not answer.
Remember that it wouldn’t be a miracle if no one was there to witness it in one sense but God is the soul maker and owner of what He pleases to do and whom He pleases to do it to. I often wonder if miracles are kept off our radar because if we knew the power of God too much we would ironically lose sight of him. Sounds ignorant of the truth, but it is the truth. God is not just in front of us, He is on every side of us. Even the sides we can’t see.
Finally, the priest gave a good analogy about how God works. The spokes on a bicycle wheel seem so far apart but when you get to the center (aka. Jesus Christ or God if you will) all the people come close together in Jesus who strengthens us. He is the vine and we are the branches.
Hey, when is the last time you had some wine. If you don’t or can’t drink no problem but I send out my warm wishes to all the happy people of this Christmas Miracle season. Merriest Christmas to one of all—-Josh Kresse