You know when you’ve experienced something incredible, like for real incredible, you just have to share it with someone else? I feel that way about most flavors of ice cream. It’s rare for me to take a bite of mine without shoving another bite into my husband’s mouth because it just tasted that good. The same thing happens with sunsets. Las Vegas sunsets are absolutely breathtaking and when I see it, I can’t help but flail my arms shouting and pointing, “LOOK!” Often times I will say it over and over again, “Wow. That’s incredible. Did you see it? Did you see how beautiful it is.” And then only 2 minutes later I’ll say it all over again because the sun will have changed its position by a smidge but the whole sky has created a different masterpiece. It’s just too incredible to keep to myself.
It’s really no wonder that nearly every encounter with Jesus in the book of John ends with the person running off exploding with the news of what they just saw. “Did you see it? Jesus just turned water into wine!” “Can you believe it? The man lying beside the pool all these years now walking again.” “There were thousands of us that needed to eat and the food just kept coming out of nowhere!”
Have you ever had an encounter like that? A moment when you came face to face with Jesus and something so profound happened that it nearly shook every part of your life? I remember sitting at my desk in my corporate training job when I felt like I got hit over the head with a spiritual 2x4. It wasn’t anything I was working on. It wasn’t a scripture I read. It wasn’t anything I was doing. It was just the pounce of the Holy Spirit that poked me at a certain moment. The thought went across my mind, “Am I making good people or am I making disciples?”
I couldn’t shake that encounter. I couldn’t keep it to myself either. Immediately after work I called a few close friends and told them that something changed in me. You have to understand that I loved my job – everything about it. But after that moment, I continued to see holes in the solutions I offered people from the training platform. I knew that no matter what tools I gave out, they all paled in comparison to knowing Jesus.
I decided to submit my letter of resignation to a well-paying company in exchange for an invitation from Jesus himself saying “Come & See.” It was an invitation to trust a vision God himself placed deep within me years prior to see women gathering together to grow in intimacy with Him and community with one another. I didn’t have most of the answers or details worked out. I was terrified and at peace all at the same time. I was sure I had just made the craziest decision of my life. But as I left that moment with Jesus, I knew knowing him more was a hunger deep down that only he could satisfy. I ran telling everyone I knew about what I had just experienced. The birthplace of Ignite Life was my invitation to “come and see” Jesus; to journey alongside Him and grow spiritually like never before.
Oh, He’s incredible. Wow! Did you see Him? And I bet in 2 minutes I’ll say the same thing all over again because he will have changed his position just a smidge and the whole world will have changed.
Vanessa Hartsell is a dynamic speaker, author and leadership trainer who is passionate about world change! She has been speaking professionally for the past 10 years throughout the US. Originally from Michigan; Vanessa calls Las Vegas, Nevada her home.
Vanessa has a heart for people to grow in intimacy with Christ. She is passionate about transforming potential into action. At the age of 24, Vanessa founded her ministry, Ignite Life, with the mission to equip, empower, and mobilize women to be the spark that ignites change in the world for the sake of Christ. Out of her desire to mobilize women in the Church, 1 small conference gave birth to a movement of Christian women. Although this ministry is a huge priority in her life, her first ministry to is to her family. Vanessa has been married to her “prince” Evan, for 5 years and her life is filled with joy and chaos raising her two boys (Owen, 5; Ethan, 3; Charlotte 6mo.).