Monday, November 26, 2012


A man came to visit me one day some months ago.  He shared with me about his past.  He told me that he was a disabled veteran and that he was homeless.  Life’s wanderings had brought him back to his home town.  He wasn’t sure where God was leading him, but expressed to me his desire to head in that direction wherever it might take him.  A believer in Christ, he asked some questions about the beliefs of our church.  He had been disappointed by the shallowness that was his experience in a previous situation.  We engaged in some great conversation about theological matters and personal concerns pertaining to his difficult circumstances.  He promised to visit the church.  He kept his promise and started to attend.  “How would our church respond?” I wondered, though deep down I had little doubt.  Spirit-led people know what to do.

I thought of a previous event in our church’s history that shaped the direction of our church for many years to come.  Years ago, in the early 70s, some teens from the church went out knocking on doors in a local community.  They happened upon a house where, unbeknownst to them, there was a drinking party going on.  The man at the door invited them in, but only to make fun of them in their endeavor.  They spoke of Jesus and invited him to church.  He gave no indication that he would.  They returned to the church and asked for prayer for the man.  Surprisingly, he decided to visit, but his intentions were not good.  He wore the dirtiest and smelliest clothes that he could find.  He drove his pickup truck and brought his dog along, knowing that the dog in the back of his pickup would bark incessantly throughout the service.  His plan was to prove the young people wrong.  They (God) would show no interest in him.  Surely, they would refuse him at the door and send him on his way.  But that’s not what happened.  The people warmly greeted him.  At the end of the service he saw a stern looking older man approaching.  Undoubtedly that man would respond as he had assumed.  But instead he approached and said to our friend, “So glad that you are visiting us today, this is exactly where you need to be!”  You know what happened?  He came back.  What’s even more exciting is that he kept coming.  He heard the gospel.  He was saved.  He started sharing the gospel with others.  His brother was saved.  He prayed for me.  I was saved.  He wanted to be a missionary, but God led him to be a pastor.  He’s served faithfully in ministry ever since.  That man is my uncle Bob and that’s what happened when he visited LCBC.

Our more recent homeless friend was warmly greeted as well.  He was invited over to homes and for meals by various members of our congregation.  Members of the church famiy offered assistance for gasoline and food supplies.  One family invited him along on family outings.  He began to attend various church functions including the men’s Bible study.  He built relationships within the church.  One of the elders reached out to him and offered him a place to stay in his home.  He lived there for several months.  A plan was in place to replace our church sign.  He did most of the carpentry work.  All this time our friend has been looking for work.  Jobs are hard to come by in this area.  He had one for a little while, but medical problems forced him to quit. 

I got an email from our friend today.  He had long been praying about what God would have him to do.  The prospect of a job, in the Lord’s leading, has taken him to the Tacoma area.  He emailed me to thank me (and us) for the ministry of our church.  He was especially thankful for the “men in the Saturday Men’s study.”  He earnestly desires to serve the Lord and is very glad for the spiritual benefit and physical assistance he received from the Lord through the ministry of our church family.

I’m so glad—I praise God—that I can write of such a thing.  What is supposed to happen if a person in need visits a church?  I’d like to think that God’s love would be expressed to them by God’s people.  Sometimes we might doubt whether that can truly happen.  It does happen—praise the Lord—and when it does it reminds us of the greater love from which all true Christian love flows—the love of Christ!

Pastor Jerry

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