Monday, December 7, 2009

I'm not too good at it - but...

This week your Kingdom Bloggers are going to write a testimony about a time when we shared our faith in Jesus with someone else.

I love testimonies because they have so much power. Faith is contagious! I don't like testimonies because I have use the word "I" - which makes me uncomfortable. Paul said that if we're going to boast, then boast about the Lord. I still think it would be better if the person that received from God through us, would post how God touched them instead.

I have had the privilege to be a vessel for thousands of folks over the years; some here and some abroad. I have lots of stories on my Blog - some of salvation, others of miracles and tender moments with Jesus - and Tony twists my arm to write about politics. I am more amazed at God when something miraculous happens then most people - but that is what I love about Jesus.

Sharing faith - well the kind that gets others saved - I am just not good at it. I have to say, only on a few occasions have I closed the deal with the sinner' s prayer. There were a couple of other times when God closed the deal without a word; I just passed the Kleenex. I have had more success praying for the sick. One time I prayed for a woman with a lifetime of chronic migraines (HERE's that story), God healed her instantly. Shortly after she took her family to church and her entire family got saved except for one. It's been nearly 8 years. Isn't God amazing!

I used to think that sharing faith was reading the 4 Spiritual Laws out of a tract, and debating Jesus until some poor recipient was convinced that they needed salvation. I later found out that my faith is in Jesus, and I need to share Jesus. Jesus said that He did what he saw that Father doing and that is what I need to do.

I only want to do what I see the Father doing, nothing more, nothing less.

I have since discovered that salvation, although it may be the starting line of Christianity, can have a lengthy period before it, some times taking years to pass through.

I was at a church in Londrina, Brazil 10 years ago. There was woman at the meeting who looked to be about 60-years-old. She was born crippled and wore leg braces her entire life. Suddenly! God healed her that night. She ran around the sanctuary shouting, "Gloria Deus!" I have no idea how many prayers were said before that night, or how many hopes she had forgotten over her lifetime, but God, did.

A while back I took a job working for an old customer of mine. He knew me from the local business community. Russ had an opening for an unemployed software geek. After I started to work there he offered to host my personal and ministry websites as a perk. I copied the files over to his server and thought little of it.

One day he said, "You don't really believe all that Jesus stuff, do you?"

It depends on what you mean, I replied.

"That's just empty religion - besides you know what priests do to little boys," he said smirking.

I was fast looking for a reason to head back to my desk - "We'll talk some time," I said.

I got him quite a few church accounts and we had plenty of work. It was a great job, and in the course of working together, we chatted about religion on occasion. Each new customer was a reason to talk about faith.

He made fun of Christians - we hosted a web site "Touching Heaven" and always called it "Touching Kevin," and laughed to himself.

Russ did a lot of drinking too. He knew that I didn't drink any longer, and one day he asked me how I quit and I told him. (HERE is that story) "Well, if I get that bad, you can take me to a meeting," he said, snapping the top of another beer.

As time passed I kept talking with him about faith, my cars, fishing, boats and other "guy" stuff. We went out on his cabin cruiser, rollerbladed along the Cape Cod Canal, and ate lunch at the British Beer Company. I even house-sat for him every January.

Sometimes when others know about your faith, it is a real blessing to you - and it saves a lot of explaining. He didn't invite me out drinking or send me any "off color" links like some of the others got. He actually was a lot of fun to work with, and had a great sense of humor. My wife and I still chuckle about some of his jokes.

During my tenure, my mother became ill with pancreatic cancer. (HERE is that story) Each day I would walk into the office telling her that I loved her on the cell phone. He would wait for me to hang up, and ask me how she was doing - but the news got worse and worse.

One day I guess my sadness about my mother's condition showed. He said you know I have been watching you handle this, I don't know what I'd do if I were you. We had a talk about eternity.

"I don't know if I am ready to believe that," he said.

"Well, thanks for asking about my mom, I appreciate it," I said.

I continued my daily ritual of calling mom on the way to work. Even on 9/11, I called her. It was just a few days before she died.

He gave me time off to go to the funeral in Indiana and one in Connecticut too. We continued to talk about faith. Russ was still making off color comments about religion, but he seemed to respect my faith. He used to tell me that he wished he had the same peace that I did.

I went on to take a new job, but we kept in touch. One day the phone rang at 7 am, his mother had died of a heart attack. "I didn't have anyone else to call," he said.

"It's no problem, I am up," I replied. We talked about his mother on-and-off all week. I made suggestions for the funeral and the wake. I knew it was hard as he told me about going to hospital after her death, and kissing her on the forehead.

A few moths later He called me from the cemetery. "Do you think my mom is in heaven?" He asked?

"I don't know, Russ, I am not God."

"She was a good person you know. She was a nurse, she helped a lot of people," he said.

"I am sure she did." I replied.

"Well, I gotta go." And he hung up.

We've since lost touch, but I remember how much I enjoyed hanging out with him, talking, laughing - to the best of my knowledge, that is what the Father was doing.

This type of situation has happened before, you can read about it HERE. It would be easy to talk about the times that I felt that I succeeded. But God, sometimes He uses us to get people thinking about Jesus; about eternity, and someone else sees the fruit of the seeds we planted.

Hebrews 13:16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

1 comment:

Tracy said...

I appreciate your comment:

"I have since discovered that salvation, although it may be the starting line of Christianity, can have a lengthy period before it, some times taking years to pass through."

I've come to recognize the same thing and it's helped me stay encouraged as I try to be faithful and sow whatever seeds I feel God is leading me to into people's lives. Even when I don't get the blessing of "closing the deal" by actually praying with the person to receive Christ.

Kind of a side note; but my husband John gets to pray with people to receive Christ really often. It's interesting how God uses us all in the way He chooses to.