by Pastor Tim Burt
One day just as I was getting up to go to lunch, our receptionist called me to tell me that a man had walked in needing to talk to a Pastor. Usually we meet with people by appointment. He didn’t have one but insisted it was urgent. He had never been to our church before. He drove almost an hour to come and spent even longer looking for it. I skipped my lunch and asked the man to come into my office and sit down. He looked disheveled—like someone who might have been homeless. I asked him how I could help him.
He began to tell me about the incredible amount of hardship and tragedy that had transpired in his life and broke down and wept in the process. He couldn’t complete a thought without crying. As he gave me the nutshell version of his childhood, my heart was ripping and I wanted to cry with him. It was like something out of a fictional book it was so bad.
As he continued, he told me that he wanted to live his life right, but no matter how hard he tried he just couldn’t seem to find the strength, the will, or the determination to stay on a right track—even though he hated the lifestyle he was presently living. He was desperate to learn what to do to get his life on track, yet he was also in a hopeless state of mind. It seemed impossible for him to imagine turning his life around after failing at it time and time again.
I pulled out a Bible. He had never read one and didn’t know how to navigate through it. I pulled my chair next to him and showed him how, and had him turn to particular scripture verses. I was patient as he would turn to each one. I wanted him to do it. I had him read each verse I asked him to turn to. He was dyslexic so it took him some time. As he would read a verse, I would expound on it and help him understand it. I had him turn to and read the story of the demoniac in Mark chapter 5. I wanted him to see a man whose life quickly turned around because of Jesus.
After reading it, I took him to a verse that told him he could be “a partaker of a divine nature and escape the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (2 Peter 1:4) I continued to describe how the Holy Spirit comes to indwell those who accept Jesus Christ as their Savior, and that there is supernatural power and strength available to all who become believers.
As I walked him through verse after verse, letting him read each one and then expounding on them, I began to notice something happening. As he read these verses, his countenance began to change. First he stopped crying. He eventually smiled for the first time. Then he had a look of hope in his eyes. I shared some of my testimony and how God had transformed my life from the pit to the life I love today. I invited him to accept Jesus as his Lord and he accepted. I led him in a prayer to do so.
I then told him that he needed spiritual strength. I told him that strength from God would come from a number of avenues. I told him to get to a church that taught the Bible, and the goodness, the love and the promises of God. I encouraged him to go every time they had a service. Though he lived a distance away, I invited him to come to the monthly men’s breakfast that I led at our church. I wanted him to see how hundreds of men drew strength from God. I also encouraged him to read the Bible often and pray. I gave him the Bible we were reading. I told him God would do supernatural things in his life to show him that he was in a right place with God and back on track.
The morning of the men’s breakfast, this man I did not recognize walked up to me. He looked handsome—well groomed and dressed. He had a pleasant smile. It took me a minute before I realized I was talking with the man in my office. I sat him down with a group of men. After the breakfast when I had finished speaking, he came up to me smiling even brighter. He proceeded to tell me that the man sitting next to him was a close friend that he grew up with—a friend he had gotten in trouble with on several occasions. This friend had also given his life to Christ. He hadn’t seen him for over ten years and here he was at the breakfast! He knew this couldn’t have been a coincidence. He remembered my words. God used this old friend suddenly being there, to confirm that God was working in his life and leading him down a good path!
I saw him again the next day at our Sunday morning church service. He shared something else with me. He had been living with his girlfriend and he said he wouldn’t do it anymore because he did not want to live outside of God’s will. He prayed that God would help him find a place to live. Later that day he ran into a man who was distraught because the transmission on his car went out. He told the man he could fix it and in their discussion mentioned that he was looking for a place to live. The man offered him a place to live in exchange for the fixing of his transmission. I could only stand back in be in awe at how powerfully God was working in this man’s life.
In the story of the demoniac, Jesus told the transformed man, “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how He has had mercy on you.” (Mark 5:19) I believe the Lord wants to and has worked to reach us each one of us. He gives each of us a testimony that will in-turn, encourage others. The man who came to my office knew how desperate he was. If we would only realize how desperate we are without God’s love, mercy, and power working in our life. Don’t let this story be about just this man! Be as desperate as He was and ask God to move in your life. Let His Word speak to you and lead you! May it be that powerful and real to you and me each and every day.
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT) “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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