Thursday, July 9, 2009
I attended our packed and enthusiastic Faith Baptist Church Mega Sports Camp planning meeting Wednesday night. We had a very encouraging word from Pastor John Nagle as Angie connected with him with her cell phone so we could all hear. I sat with Greg Plett and enjoyed awesome fellowship with him.
Our camp is July 13-16 from 6-9 pm. The theme is "undefeated." Steve Blair led the meeting to get us ready for our Sunday night walk-through.
I am really looking forward to building relationships with some incredible 3rd and 4th grade athletes and all the staff. I'll be working with Lisa Wagner and Sylvia Swanson, is everything remains as planned.
I am praying we can share the victorious saving faith message of the Good News with the youth campers at our sports camp.
Often, they need us to give them genuine attention. Children absolutely understand the truth of the Christ-centered gospel just as any adult understands it when the Holy Spirit sheds the light and unlocks hearts.
Wednesday at the RJC was another privilege for me. I dropped into two units and asked the officers to announce I was available to meet with whoever was interested.
I never know what will happen. Often, nobody is interested and I move on to the next unit. This time, three men approached me and we had really fruitful conversations.
Ed came up and asked, "I need to know what I need to do to get right with the Lord." That is exactly what he said. He went on. "I've been in church and I was baptized...I am young but I know I could die and I want to be right with the Lord."
Just then, Timothy walked in our meeting room and said, "I know I need this, too."
Ed was very familiar with the Bible. Timothy didn't know very much. Both asked what to do in a previous Bible study meeting the night before. They asked the leader what they needed to do and they were told they needed to have faith and believe. They didn't know what to do. What is faith? The leader at that time didn't have time to answer or didn't know how to explain it. Often, people answer by saying you have to believe. OK, now what?
Several months ago, our associate pastor shared this:
Faith is not a blind leap into what we don't know but is "positive action responding to convincing truth." At least, that is what I recalled and it really helped me. So, what is the positive response?
I very productively started out by reading with the men the testimony of Charles Spurgeon based on Isaiah 45:22, “Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other."
"Turn to me," or "look to me" speaks of repenting. I change my mind or turn away from my sin and look to Jesus to forgive my sin and then follow Him the rest of my life. It's never saying a "sinners prayer." That may be a start and says I did something to earn my salvation. Scripture says in forgiving me, Jesus took all my sin upon Himself on the cross and in exchange, a great exchange, gave me His righteousness forever.
I turn from my sin and follow Jesus.
Acts 26:20 says Paul's consistent message in the churches was to "turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance."
I also read Isaiah 55:6-7, “Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon."
Charles Spurgeon said, That happy day when I found the Savior, and learned to cling to His dear feet, was a day never to be forgotten by me . . . . I listened to the Word of God and that precious text led me to the cross of Christ. I can testify that the joy of that day was utterly indescribable.
I could have leaped, I could have danced; there was no expression, however fanatical, which would have been out of keeping with the joy of that hour.
Many days of Christian experience have passed since then, but there has never been one which has had the full exhilaration, the sparkling delight which that first day had.
I thought I could have sprung from the seat in which I sat, and have called out with the wildest of those Methodist brethren . . . "I am forgiven! I am forgiven! A monument of grace! A sinner saved by blood!"
My spirit saw its chains broken to pieces, I felt that I was an emancipated soul, an heir of heaven, a forgiven one, accepted in Jesus Christ, plucked out of the miry clay and out of the horrible pit, with my feet set upon a rock and my goings established . . . .
Between half-past ten o’clock, when I entered that chapel, and half-past twelve o’clock, when I was back again at home, what a change had taken place in me! Simply by looking to Jesus I had been delivered from despair, and I was brought into such a joyous state of mind that, when they saw me at home, they said to me, "Something wonderful has happened to you," and I was eager to tell them all about it.
Oh! there was joy in the household that day, when all heard that the eldest son had found the Savior and knew himself to be forgiven.