No. 1. Tim Lambesis.
Note: I'll be taking a brief departure from the usual risk posting journey to post the daily challenge here (as well as on Come&Live!'s Facebook page). I'll follow the daily challenge with a formerly unpublished risk. Risk No. 1: Tim Lambesis. Take a moment to pray, specifically asking God to give you an encouraging word or Bible verse for Tim. Write what comes to your heart as a comment at Facebook.com/comeandlive. Tomorrow (Nov. 21st) is his 34th Birthday. We’ll take these words/verses and pass them along to him.
My re-introduction to Tim came in the form of a risk. I've written the story for you below as my risk # 869.
One of the ways in which we serve a generation in loving Jesus is by capturing stories of God’s hand at work - stories that compel us to consider the grace and goodness of God, sometimes written in the darkest of seasons. Most of the time it seems as though these stories find us, rarely do we run out to discover them. Tim’s story is no exception. My heart broke as I learned the news of Tim’s attempt to hire a hitman to murder his ex-wife. My friendship with Tim began to dissipate right around the same time I was launching out of conventional music business into the dream of Come&Live!.
Though I had lost touch with Tim, I was utterly shocked to hear the news - news that seemed entirely unlike what I had known of him. Little did I know at the time, but over the years Tim had rejected his relationship with Jesus, embraced an agnostic/atheistic perspective, and was doing his best to direct life by steering his own wheel.
A dear friend and gifted artist pastor called me not long after news broke on Tim. “Hey man, do you know the story of this Tim guy that tried to hire someone to kill his former wife? We’ve got to do something to remind him that Jesus loves him desperately.” Well, yeah, actually - I do know the story and I once had a friendship with this Tim guy. “Oh, you did?” Yeah, from my Tooth&Nail days - we’d see each other at shows and festivals. But I haven’t talked to him or heard from him in years. Despite the awkward lack of communication over the years, my friend’s challenge was enough to spur an email.
This is what I wrote on May 21st of 2013:
I have no idea whether this will even get through to you.
It's been years but you've come to heart on a near daily basis lately, and at the very least, here's a simple attempt to let you know I'm praying (as I'm sure countless thousands are) and your life is still precious to me and to Jesus. I don't think any less or different of you and I have no doubt that God is, and already has been, using even this process to reconcile your life.
I am for you. If there's anything I could do to help you, please don't hesitate. I'd be happy to hop on a plane and spend an hour talking/praying over/with you. Just say the word. Anything at all, please let me know.
While I was praying for you this morning I felt God showed me a picture of a man in prison named Bill or Billy and that he would be someone who would encourage you. I could be crazy but felt it strong enough to mention.
Jesus, I pray for my brother Tim today, that You would meet and melt him in every way that would cause him to know where You are in this process. Thank you God for John 14:27 - My peace I give to you, my peace I leave with you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled neither let them be afraid.
Tim’s response came as a total surprise to me, on July 5th, after he had been released on bond from solitary confinement:
I finally got a chance to get this email address under control. I'm doing ok considering. Taking it one day at a time since some days are harder than others.
It means a lot to know that you've been praying for me and that you're still willing to reach out to me during this time. The man who encouraged me most in jail is the Philosopher and author William Lane Craig known as Bill to anyone who knows him personally. Without a doubt, it was his writing on some of the most difficult issues I've been pondering the last few years that gave me hope in my isolation cell.
Thank you for being an example of love.
It is over a year since the incident and the ensuing worldwide news. Myself, my pastor friend, and many other friends, have now visited Tim, while on house arrest, numerous times. He has been encouraged and reminded that he is not alone, even when having made horrible decisions. Join us in praying that Jesus is glorified in/through Tim and that all those affected by Tim’s poor choices would be reconciled and restored.