About a year and a half ago my stepson and his wife were visiting. We’ve had a more or less on-again, off-again relationship over the years, but this particular visit had gone well. Toward the end of the week, Shirley and I were talking late one night after everyone else had gone to bed. We started talking about parenting and then about our own childhood experiences. I knew Shirley’s mother had struggled with substance abuse and with maintaining stable relationships. However, the story that tumbled out was one of a young girl living in far more difficult circumstances than I would have imagined, one who had been on her own since her early teen years.
Jesus had been calling Shirley through a number of people that year, and she told me that she was going to start reading the Bible after the holidays. We live 2000 miles apart, but for some reason I felt prompted to ask her if she wanted to read it with me. Initially, I really had no idea how we’d make that work or how effective it would be. I remembered a pastor telling me the best place for someone seeking to learn the story was the book of Mark. So that’s where I suggested we begin.
We’ve been texting five days a week, sharing what we find to be most significant in the chapter we are reading. I have provided a good deal of back story and explanations. We’ve read the Gospels, Acts, the Epistles, Jonah, Ruth, selected stories from the Old Testament and a number of Psalms. We’ve shared thoughts on devotional books, movies, and songs. Shirley’s husband and mine also started studying together long distance.
Shortly after we started reading, Shirley and her husband began to seriously look for a church in which they both felt comfortable. God led them to a church that welcomed them and their extended family with open arms.
Seven grandchildren have been baptized and regularly attend Sunday school. The oldest granddaughter is now attending confirmation class which resulted in her father changing the direction of his spiritual life and joining the church this past Easter Sunday. So much has blossomed from such a tiny mustard seed of discussion on that November night.
God has decided that, as imperfect as we think it seems to be, we are the delivery system for the news of His salvation. Each of us is exactly where He wants us to be. God wants us to take the risk, walk through the doors He opens for us, and Tell the Story.
but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15).
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control (2 Timothy 1:6-7).
Dear Savior, help us to not only be aware of, but to actively look for the opportunities You place before us, and then embolden us to take advantage of them. Our hurting world is so in need of the message of hope and salvation. Let us be like the early apostles in the book of Acts and “turn the world upside down” with the life changing story we have to tell.
North Wisconsin District
We would love to hear YOUR stories! Please send them to the Vice President of Gospel Outreach here.
Thanks from the Gospel Outreach Committee!