Thursday, October 26, 2006

Two Case Studies

I remember a couple years ago when God put this overwhelming desire in my heart to invite my neighbor Ron across the street to study the Bible with me. I’d lived across the street from him for 5 years. We’d talk about lawn care. Television. Movies. The kids. He started picking up my mail for me when I was gone. Taking my dog for walks. Bringing me fresh bread. An extra cantaloupe on sale. And STILL I missed all those cues from God.

Finally, one day, my neighbor straight out asked me what I thought about the psychic Sylvia Brown and I’m not making this up—"the state of the dead." And I’m thinking, seriously God? You’re even going to give him the right Adventist lingo to use? I thought Matthew 10:19, where you promised to give us the words to say, only applied to Christians being dragged before kings and monarchs! So I butchered some answer about the state of the dead I’d given only days before when my son asked me if there really are more good angels than bad and if the good angels really are stronger.

Then I took a deep breath, smiled, and asked him: Would you mind sharpening my mind? He asked me what I meant. And I proceeded to tell him that the Bible says in Proverbs 27:17 that "Iron sharpens iron." Which is true. But something else iron does I’ve noticed is if you leave it out in the rain, it rusts. You should’ve seen my hammer the week after I tried dog–proofing the my back yard after I fixed the fence! So I told Ron that I thought he asked good questions and that he could probably help me understand the Bible better and draw closer to Jesus because his perspective is so different than mine and that maybe I could do the same for him as iron sharpens iron so we don’t rust. He accepted my invitation. We started studying the prophecies of Daniel. And less than a year later he was baptized. All because I finally tried practicing what I preach.

My wife Jackie was a lot less subtle. During one of her mom’s day out lunches, she literally blurted the following to a handful of other mothers: "I want to share my faith with you guys! Would you all come to my house next Monday night and study the Bible with me? I’ve got some great study guides on the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation." And you know what? They all said yes! One of them even said, "I was hoping you would ask! I always wondered what you believe and why you always go to church on Saturday." So now we’re studying with these 3 moms and when one friend’s husband heard I sat in on the study too—he joined in. All because Jackie was normal with them. And straight out asked them if they would all come over and study the prophecies of the Bible with us.

Which reminded me: Jesus treated every day, every conversation, every question asked, and every ordinary thing He said or did as outreach. And when His followers finally left the upper room and followed His example, THAT’s when the world turned upside down—or more accurately, right side up. Acts 17:6 [NKJV] says, "These who have turned the world upside down have come here too."

1 comment:

gary said...