He Just Decided

It is totally interesting to me and sometimes baffling to me what happens in a person’s life that leads them to become a disciple of Christ.

The past couple of years, I have had more people come to me and tell me about their new-found or re-found belief, or at least their journey to belief that is a couple of steps from true belief in Jesus Christ.  It happened again on Sunday.

A young man came to me after the spiritual time and asked if he could talk with me.  He revealed that he had chosen to be a Christian.  I smiled and inside I’m doing back flips.  Then he gave a condensed version of his journey in and out and back into faith.  Tuesday, we visited a little longer and I asked him to tell me more of his story.

He had been a part of a Christian family, but because of the difficulties and troubles he has experienced in his life, he had given up on their faith.  It appears that their faith was not his own.  He went through a series of changes and beliefs, from doubt and skepticism, to disbelief, even considering atheism and Satanism.  But nothing answered his questions and fulfilled his longing to understand and be accepted in spite of his weaknesses, failures and the outside stuff that came down on him.

He listened as Cliff, and Brian, and Ben, and I have shared with him and the others from the Bible about the lessons in the Bible over the past few months.  He watched our lives and saw that we cared and were consistent in caring and sharing.  More importantly, he was impacted by another student who has taken hold of faith over the past couple of years and chosen to follow Christ.

I think he wanted to share this with me because he recognizes me as an authority figure.  I feel privileged to have him place his trust in me and want to let me know about and have me help him grow in his faith.

He revealed to me a sense of peace and contentment, even though he is experiencing the same crap he was before.  So we talked about Job and the crap he went through and his steady faith in God.  Job had questions, but he never wavered in belief.  This young man is willing to be like Job, faithful to God through the crap.

He is coming out of life that resists God and has uncovered faith and turned toward God and accepting God’s love and mercy and grace.

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Wanting to Trust Other People

I told you about this young lady in a earlier post https://blogthechurch.wordpress.com/2010/01/25/i-have-trouble-trusting-others/.  I am being given the chance to build trust with her.  Let’s call her Tina.

Visiting the facility the other day, I spent time with 4 different students.  I got to talk with one about a weekly Bible study we are preparing that she is looking forward too, and another, played and sang some songs she has written, and of  course Tina.  She asked this other young lady if she could play “Open the Eyes of  My Heart.”  She didn’t know it.

When the other young lady finished and went to get cleaned up for lunch, she let Tina play her guitar.  As she fiddled around, she asked me if I knew how to play.  I’ve been playing since I was her age.  She handed me the guitar and I noodled on it for a moment and then began playing “Open the Eyes of My Heart.”  We started singing it and she got happier than she already was.  Then she asked me to show her how to play the song.  So I showed her how to form the basic chords of the song, even writing down the chord pictures for her and she was playing “Open the Eyes of My Heart.”

I enjoyed a chicken enchilada lunch with the girls and Tina kept going over the song as we ate and we worked on it again for a moment after lunch  to help her remember how to play it.  She is very excited.

There is a truth that goes something like this, “It takes forever to build trust, but it only takes a rumor to destroy it.”  I hope that I am building trust with Tina so that I can impact her life with positive encouragement, hope, and even faith in God.  It may take time.  I am going to invest the time.

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I Have Trouble Trusting Others

She’s originally from Russia and was adopted when she was about 8 years old.  I don’t have any details and couldn’t share them if I did, but she has had a very difficult and troubled past.  She’s about 16 now.

I played ping-pong with her for a while after the devotion time.  She had a couple of questions which she thought might be a little weird or unusual, but I reassured her that a lot of people ask the same questions

She asked who created God?  That’s a difficult one to answer.  It’s hard to help someone realize that God lives outside of this “finite” world and is not subject to its physical laws.  He created it all.  It was his idea.  but helping someone realize that is not always easy.  She claimed she understood, but I’m not sure she totally grasped it.  I not sure I do.

Our devotion was about trust and how it applies to our lives.  We looked at God’s promises to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3.  We discussed how God has fulfilled those promises and what that tells us about God.  That he can be trusted, that he is faithful, and trustworthy.  And the lesson we need to apply to ourselves is that we should be trustworthy also and how to do that.  That’s when she said that she really has trouble trusting people.  It has a lot to do with her past.  She is being challenged to trust the facility she is in, her therapist, her coaches, and others involved in caring for her.

She wanted to hang out and visit.  So we did.  We played ping-pong and she told me a little about herself.

I’ve had people actually say, “I want to believe.  I don’t know if I do.”  I’ve had people show that they want to believe though they might not say it by what they do.  She didn’t say it, but it’s obvious because of her interest, her discussion, and her wanting to talk, that she wants to trust someone and the discussion triggered the desire to explore trust and so it appears that she was testing me to see if she could trust me.  I hope I pass the test.

God just opened an opportunity for me to serve him by helping this young lady learn about faith, trust, and knowing God.

I thank God that I get to be involved with his purpose.

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Coke Trucks and Sidewalks

lg_truck_eightyThrough most of the 1980’s I drove a Coca-Cola route truck (exactly like the ones in the picture).  I helped introduce Mello Yello, Diet Coke, the caffeine free Cokes, Cherry Coke, and the New Coke in Grove, Jay, and Miami, Oklahoma.

I ran routes in northeast Oklahoma around Grand Lake and up into Columbus, Kansas.  I went to Columbus on Thursdays.  I would be there most of the day starting at a gas station, a deli, and the town’s grocery store all before 7:30 a.m.

A portion of the route was run in the alley on the south side of Main street.  One Thursday, I stopped at one of the restaurants, but they were closed that day.  Usually, I would turn in their drive that ran between the alley and Main street as a turn around point for the remainder of the route.  When I found that they were closed, I pulled toward Main street to continue the route.

The restaurant was directly on my right side limiting my view down the sidewalk and there was an empty lot that was used for parking on my left.  I pulled up and stopped short of the sidewalk for a couple of reasons.  First, I needed to be sure there was no one coming down the sidewalk.  I stopped and looked both ways.  When I couldn’t see anyone, I rolled forward a few feet to wait for an opening in traffic.  It was very busy.  School was out, the day shift of a couple of factories had just gotten off. 

Having pulled forward, sitting there waiting until I could go, I heard a whimpering sound.  I looked in my rearview mirrors to see if my rear wheels had rolled up on a cat or some other animal.  I couldn’t see anything, but could still hear the whimpering, so I put the truck in reverse and backed up about five feet.  I got out and went to the back to look under tires.  There was nothing on the rear driver’s side, nothing on the rear passenger’s side, nothing under the front passenger’s side, but when I walked around in front of the truck, right in front of the driver’s side front tire was an 11-year-old boy lying on the sidewalk entangled in his bike.

The boy saw me  before I pulled up onto the sidewalk and thought he could ride past me before I rolled forward.  The only problem is that I couldn’t see him down the sidewalk because of the restaurant’s closeness on my right side, and as he rode his bike in front of me, he was not tall enough, even on his bike, for me to see him over the hood of the truck, especially as close as he rode to the front of the truck.  So, when I rolled forward, the front bumper, bumped him, knocked him down and as I rolled forward, the front tire rolled up on the bicycle and pinned him to the sidewalk.

The guys in the bar across the street saw the whole thing and thought the truck was just rolling free.  They kind of freaked out when the truck suddenly backed up because they thought there wasn’t anyone in the truck until I jumped out (the only funny part of this story).

The boy was taken to the hospital.  He had a broken pelvis and severed bile duct.  They performed surgery to take care of his injuries.   As far as I know, he is ok to this day.

Columbus’ city ordinance doesn’t allow bicycle riding on sidewalks.  That boy took a dangerous risk.  It resulted in injury and pain for him and it could have resulted in the truck running over him, crushing and killing him.  That fact hit me very hard throughout the rest of the day.  I could have been responsible for his death.  Later, his parents even tried to get Coke and Coke’s insurance to pay for his poor choices.

Fortunately, I had done everything the way I should have.  In fact, I received accommodation from the police at the accident and the guys in the bar, as well as praise at Coke for safe and careful driving.

How many times do we take risks with our spiritual life that results in fallout that could possibly be compared to the injuries that boy received, that could result in an ultimate end to us eternally?

Let me encourage you to make wise, Biblical decisions with your life.  Don’t risk your eternal status with God.  Even read Proverbs to help develop that wisdom. 

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