'Jesus in My Place': When I Saw That, Something Clicked

Aug 09, 2017

When she graduated East Carolina a few years ago, Jocelyn McBride wasn’t looking for God. She was looking for stability, purpose, and opportunity.

“I vividly remember the keynote speaker’s speech at graduation,” Jocelyn said. “He told us that the whole world was in front of us, and I believed him. But a year or two into the ‘real world,’ something seemed off. This wasn’t the life I was expecting. I wanted something more, something bigger. But I didn’t know what.

So when Jocelyn’s friend invited her to come to the Summit in February, she agreed. She had never really done the church thing, but she thought, “What could it hurt?”

The Summit was nothing like Jocelyn expected. She said, “I thought I knew what church was about. I had been a few times in college. But I had gotten the wrong idea: I thought that God wanted us to do more good things (like listening to contemporary Christian music) and to stop doing so many bad things (like listening to all of the other music out there). It was all about what God wanted from us.

“But the more I came to the Summit, the more I got a different impression. It was the first time I had ever heard, as Pastor J.D. says, that there is nothing I’ve done that could make God love me less and nothing I could do to make him love me more.”

Soon afterward, Jocelyn met Pastor J.D.’s parents, Lynn and Carol, at Starting Point. Still struggling through a few questions, she asked Lynn for help.

“I just kept asking him, ‘But aren’t there certain things I have to do?’ And Lynn, incredibly patient, kept saying, ‘No, it really is this simple. You just accept Christ into your heart.’ Part of me wanted to believe it, because it seemed like the life I had been searching for. But another part of me thought it was too easy.”

Over the next few weeks, Lynn and Carol invited Jocelyn into their lives. Then, in April, they were able to watch as God saved her.

“They were doing baptisms that Sunday,” Jocelyn said. “I was sitting with Lynn and Carol, as I had been doing for a few weeks. Someone got in the tank with a black t-shirt, and in big white block letters, the shirt said, ‘Jesus in my place.’ And when I saw that, something clicked. I realized that Lynn was right: Because of what Jesus had done, it really was that simple.”

When the call came to be baptized, Jocelyn felt compelled to respond. Leaning over to Lynn, she whispered, “I think it’s time. Do you mind?” Grinning from ear to ear, Lynn stepped out with Jocelyn. A few minutes later, he baptized her.

The Greears continue to pour into Jocelyn, talking with her throughout the week, praying for her, and asking about her mother (who isn’t yet a believer). And Jocelyn is eager to see others come to the same faith she has recently found.

“This wasn’t my plan,” she said. “But God put these people into my life, and it led to the best decision of my life. Lynn and Carol were just being faithful and talking about Jesus. So now that’s what I’m doing. I can’t stop talking about the gospel with whoever wants to hear it. It doesn’t matter if we’re on the topic or not; I just talk about it. Why wouldn’t I? This is the best news I’ve ever heard, and I plan to tell everyone I know about it.”

by Chris Pappalardo