Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I am a personal, Spirit-empowered witness of Christ's (Acts 1:8)

The senior pastor of my church has the true heart of a soul-winner, which is really refreshing.  A couple weeks ago at church he taught all of us to make a gospel bracelet (with different colored beads that provide prompts for sharing the gospel) during his sermon!  It was fun.  The idea was that each person attending the worship service would get a bracelet to wear, then, during the sermon, he or she would put together one bracelet for the church's mission to Peru and one to use here at home in sharing our faith.  I think the church attendees made around 500 bracelets for Peru!

I was excited to use the bracelet and so I wore it with a short-sleeved shirt on while flying out to California for one of our CFM University Practicums. 

Eagerly awaiting who would sit next to me on the plane, I saw a young lady...probably in her 20s or 30s...ambling down the aisle.  She had a funky hat and bright-colored scarf on, and she was carrying a tote bag that had a whole bunch of tiny skull-and-crossbones designs on it.  I said to myself, "She has got to be the one!"

She was.

She hoisted her bag into the overhead compartment and plunked down in the middle seat (I was by the window).  I noticed she was carrying two or three books, one of which looked like a Bible.

It was.  The other book was Crazy Love by Francis Chan. 

Almost immediately she commented on my bracelet, saying how pretty it was.

"It's a bracelet that helps me explain to people how they can know Jesus as their Savior," I replied.

She nodded and asked me what the different colored beads meant.  I was able to clearly explain to her the way of salvation by using the bracelet...just what our pastor had meant for us to do.  I was excited!

"It's really amazing that I am sitting next to you," she remarked.

"Oh really?  What makes that so amazing?" I responded, knowing the Lord was continuing to open the door to be a witness to her.

"Well, I have really struggled for a while with forgiving myself..."

Amazing it was.  As we flew west toward California, I was able to explain to her all about God's forgiveness and why, through His forgiveness of us we had the right and responsibility to let ourselves off the hook, too.  It turns out she was a follower of Christ but was stuck in this place of unbelief and unforgiveness.  I suggested she get Victory Over the Darkness and The Bondage Breaker and she said she would. 

I also explained to her that her sitting next to me was no coincidence.  My original flight from Asheville to Atlanta had been delayed, so I was put on another flight in order to catch my connection to Salt Lake City.  But the flight that I ended up on was delayed, too, so I missed my connection anyway.  They told me that I would have about a 9-10 hour layover at the airport in Atlanta and then would fly direct to San Diego.  I decided to go up to a Delta information desk and the lady was able to put me on an earlier flight to San Diego, with only a five-hour layover in Atlanta. She told me there were two seats I could choose from on that Atlanta-San Diego flight.  One was a middle seat and the other was by the window.  Guess which one I took?

Talk about a divine appointment!  And this is just one of a number of these kind of "chance" meetings that I have had on the plane and in a restaurant over the past couple of weeks.

What a privilege it is to be led by the Spirit to those who need to know Christ as Savior, Lord and Life!  Jesus said, just before His ascension, "but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."

I am convinced that people around us are far more eager to hear the good news than we are to tell it.  Let's allow God's Spirit to empower us that we might become His bold, enthusiastic witnesses of the grace of God in Christ.  Jesus promised to empower us and we never know what exciting things He will do when we just open our mouths to speak.  Personally, I can't wait until heaven when we'll get to hear all the amazing stories of what God did when His people took the initiative to share Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit!  Let's fulfill our calling as personal, Spirit-empowered witnesses of Christ!

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