Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Divine Appointment

From Blog08

My pastor's been challenging us for weeks to share the gospel with at least one person before Christmas. Yesterday I was at the gym in the shower. I prayed that the Lord would give me the ability to share the gospel with a man who'd spoken to me a couple of minutes earlier. When I got into the locker room and got some clothes on, he was still there. I spoke to him and quickly learned that he, too, was a Christian.

Another, younger man came in, steamy from the sauna. He was about 25 years old. He heard us talking of the Lord and started to ask us questions. First, he told us he'd never, ever been to church. He asked us whether if he died, he'd go to hell. He said he'd asked a lot of people that. We both told him, "If you believe in Jesus Christ, you'll go to heaven." He said nobody had ever told him that before. So, I did my best to tell him the gospel...forgetting some essential things, but still, the Lord was clearly there. The young man was very open to what we said, and was very honest about his reluctance to turn from his sin. I told him that he has a choice, and that the Lord commands him to believe. I told him that it's not just a matter of church, but invited him to church. Meanwhile, the other man was affirming what I said. It was a divine appointment.

Pray for this young man, that he will come to full faith in Jesus Christ.


C. Marie Byars said...

Great that your pastor is challenging you. And great that you took the challenge. We can pray that the Holy Spirit takes root in this man's heart. I've invited about half the staff at the corner Allsup's (a New Mexico convenience store chain) to come for Christmas Eve services. (That's where I most commonly rub shoulders repeatedly with people---otherwise, my husband & I are running up into Albuquerque a lot.) We are trying to challenge members to invite people, also. Take care & God bless!

Jim Swindle said...

Thank you, Marie, for your prayers. Yes, may the Lord work in him. And may he send a number of people your way on Christmas Eve. May they find words of eternal life.

Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

Yes, Jim, what happened to you is EXACTLY how it has been with me (when alone) and us (when I am out in public with my co-laborer Brock): We can almost guarantee that the Lord will ALWAYS send me or us at least ONE person to whom we can witness about Jesus Christ. And what is the content of that witness? It varies, it's never the same, because we don't have a plan—God does! It can be anything from low key to very direct and explicit.

What I also find interesting is that the TWO of you were brought together by the Lord, and then the young man was SENT. There's more to it than coincidence or just a story, that Christ sent them out "two by two." The really unique thing about Brock and me is that in our partnership (and the Lord brought us together) there is a 32 year chronological age difference. When we witness we seem to have all bases covered, young and old, American and Immigrant (that's me with my European heritage and my languages), Jew and Gentile, etc., etc. We can even witness to women, because the generational thing comes into play there, to some I'm like a dad, to others like a brother, and to some Brock is like a brother, or like a son. In either case, we're not a threat, because we almost appear to be a father-son team (sometimes people have assumed this).

Anyway, sorry for the long comment. Thanks for sharing your experience with us, and may you have more of the same.

Jim Swindle said...

Thanks, Romanós, for your encouraging testimony and your blessing.

linguafranka said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
linguafranka said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
linguafranka said...

Jim -- I'm not a real evangelistic sort of person, but even though I don't say a lot, I try to speak the truth in love. Your story reminded me of a conversation I had once. I was sympathizing with an older woman who had had her home broken into mutiple times, and she could see a guy in her neighborhood wearing things he had stolen from her house. I had had my home broken into multiple times, too, and I could appreciate her concern about whether there really was any justice in this life. (This was in a third world country, by the way.)

She knew I was a Christian, and she asked if I really believed that everybody would get what they deserve in the next world. I thought a little and then quietly said, "no." My answer shocked her, and disappointed her at first, I'm sure. But I went on to explain that if heaven was based on our goodness, nobody would get there. You have to put your trust in Christ and rely on his good work on our behalf. It is not a matter of relatively good people going to heaven and relatively bad people going to hell.

Jim Swindle said...

Linguafranka - Thanks for your comment and for the great story. You're right; in the next life, some people get what they deserve, but those who trust in Jesus get much, much better than they deserve.

I'm not a very good evangelist. I don't think that's my gift, but it's something that all believers should do as they have opportunity (which often really means simply having courage and power from the Lord).

The Postman said...

Be of good cheer brother.
the kingdom of heaven is not of words but of power.
Jesus converted a man, and he did not give Him a long discource on theology. All He said was "Zacheaus come down, I will have dinner with you."
If I have been walking with the Lord in my private hidden life, it is there that the Holy Spirit leads us into fulness. Then this life that we live in HIM will flow out in all our interactions.
I have heard annecdotes of Charles Finney, who has touched hearts without even speaking a word.
As He has promised, out of our innermost beings rivers of living water shall flow.

Jim Swindle said...

Thank you, Postman, for your wise and godly advice. I had expected to see that man again soon, but our paths have not crossed. I pray for him but realize it's in the Lord's hands.