Inconvenience, Complaining, and Opportunity to Open My Mouth for Christ

I am amazed at how often I forget simple truths that I have learned. As a young Christian I learned that God often works through trials in our life. Victories and triumphs come through difficulties large and small. When we moved into our new house I was frustrated with the process of getting the Internet hooked up. I arranged for DSL to be installed, and after a delay that was unacceptable to me, the equipment arrived and I found out that it was too slow. So I arranged to have Cable Internet installed instead. The Cable Company sent out 2 workers who could not do the installation because the connection was on a pole that was too high, and the box had become the home of a wasp’s nest. The next available appointment was a week away. As a domestic missionary, my goal is to knock on every door I can, and speak to every person that I meet -hoping to find room to talk to them about Jesus. I did have a chance to speak to both of these men briefly and invite them to church, and I gave them both a gospel booklet. However, I still fretted instead of thanking God. I had dismantled much of my office to make the connection possible, and now I would have to set it up, just to take it down later. Deep sigh.

The next cable guy came out unprepared to deal with the problem, which produced more delays. They hadn’t dealt with the problem and it was becoming a major inconvenience to me. The young man at my home was in his mid twenties, a rough looking man who was covered with tattoos. I spoke to him, and found out that he was a skeptic about spiritual things. Both of his parents had died and that left him sour. I also invited him to church and spoke to him, giving him some reasons to believe. I also gave him a tract “Jesus for Skeptics.” But, in my mind the internet problem was still an albatross hanging off my shoulders and I wanted it to be dealt with. After explaining to the customer service representative on the phone that I was not happy, and could not spend the rest of my life waiting around for the right crews to show up, I managed to get a crew out to the house that could install the internet.

Two more men arrived later in the evening. One man was the supervisor who helped to fix the problem and then leave. I was able to quickly invite him to church as well and hand out another booklet. The other man had to stay to finish the installation. He was a young black man named Chris. I had a huge opportunity to speak to this man. He ended up staying at our home for 2 and ½ hours- slowly working to fix the problem. After some discussion I learned that this was his last call for the day. I stood next to him almost the whole time as he worked, asking him about his life and spiritual things. He was eager to listen and even asked some questions. On a stretch, I invited him to stay for dinner. To my amazement he accepted, and I rushed to ask my wife to prepare a dinner that would include our guest. I felt like Abraham asking Sarah to go kill the fatted calf. He ate with us and we talked. I spoke to him very boldly about Christ and what He had done on the cross, and our need for him. I told him my own story of salvation. I asked him if I could call him and meet him sometime in the next week for coffee or dinner and speak to him more about spiritual things. To this he agreed and he left his number. I asked him if I could pray for him, and he agreed.

As he left I was in disbelief. This was one of the best opportunities I have ever had to share the gospel with a stranger. My goal is to speak with at least 20 people every week in an evangelistic way. I spoke to about 23 people last week, but not with so much clarity as with this man. This was a clear answer to prayer, an answer that came through a malfunctioning cable connection. If the cable had worked the first time, I would not have had a chance to meet Chris, or speak to the other four cable employees. But God works through mysterious ways, and I am humbled at the privilege to open my mouth for my savior, and ashamed at how forgetful I am of the simple lessons that I learned as a new believer.

Fasting for the Father’s Reward

Here is a great 30 minute message on Fasting by John Piper. It deals with the great temptation of wanting to be seen by men and addresses the answer: Doing what we do to be seen and rewarded by our father. Very good stuff. If there is to be blessing and success in church planting it will come through seeking God in prayer and fasting.

What to Preach?

I know that so many around the world have been waiting on pins and needles, pacing in restlessness wondering what I will be preaching when I get to Fresno. Well, pant no more! I am going preach one of the gospels: either Mark or John. I chose this because I believe that the foundation of the church is the historical events of the life of Christ. The gospel is basically “NEWS” of what God has done to reconcile the world to himself. It is NOT primarily advice to follow, but truth to believe. I was convinced to take this path, at least in part by Tim Keller’s message on the implications of the gospel for ministry. You can get it from the Gospel Coalition

BTW, I think the picture above is just fabulous. I don’t know what the sculptor had in mind- but I find this to be a great visual of what Biblical preaching should be: a chance for us to point all men, again and again, to the truth.