We received this email the other day.
"I don’t usually write emails to strangers like this out of the blue but something is telling me I need to send this. Faith I think. I’m not an extremely religious person, I don’t go to church regularly (growing up I did but eventually me and my family just slowly stopped) but I believe in God and want a better relationship with him. Yesterday I had a strange sort of dream where something came to me and told me if I believed then just saying so wasn’t enough, I need to do better. I woke up with that eating at me cause I never have dreams like that and it was so random. That next day (Today) I got out of class and I was all alone walking home and a man came out of nowhere and handed me a little pamphlet with a beautiful girls face on it and it was about a girl name Kristen who was taken too soon. I’m very sorry for your loss. But I don’t think she came in to my life by accident. I don’t know why I’m receiving this message now but I just wanted to reach out and thank you for the prayer and hope. I don’t think these incidents were just coincidence, they both happened together for a reason. I’m only 22 years old so I hope to have a long life ahead of me, but I want it to be a life filled with meaning. Thank you."
An article stated that the middle child has unique challenges to overcome. I contend that the first child and the last child and all of the other children have unique challenges to overcome. The idea that a position in the family hierarchy creates unique challenges may or may not be valid, however the discussion overlooks reality. We are all middle children, if you are a believer. There were many Christians who came before us who are older now and there are many behind us, especially if you have just become a Christian. All Christians are middle children. There isn't a better example of equality than Christianity. Jesus died for all, equally. He allows us to grow in fellowship with Him equally. He doesn't discriminate on any basis. Example, the Father "sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust". There you have equality spelled out in just a few words. God will save your soul by one means, Himself, and excludes nobody.
There is one opportunity for exclusion. Don't tell anyone about salvation through Christ.
Have you ever spent time visiting a nursing home? If you haven't, maybe it's time you did. There are millions of people in nursing homes and assisted living facilities in the U.S. The ones in nursing homes are on their last journey toward eternity. There were over sixty people who attended the service and very few of them smiled at all. Most were very sad. I preached on Galatians 6:3. It had dawned on me that many believe that text doesn't pertain to them because they think they are something. One day they may be in a nursing home. Maybe that passage will suddenly come to light.
Every day that goes by, the future meets the present. One day everything in your world as you know it will cease to exist. Everything will go dark and the very same moment you will meet your eternal destiny. What does this mean top you? Do you believe everything simply ceases, with nothing to follow? Do you believe there is no life after physical death? The only recorded incidents of people who have come back to life after a prolonged period of death are mentioned in the Bible. Why do you suppose that there are no recorded events of coming back to life after death other than those that are in the Bible? Probably because there aren't any.
How can you know of a certainty that what you believe is true? One person came back to life on His own, without the help of science. His name was Jesus Christ. He died! Then He came back and physically visited numerous people who said they talked to him and even touched Him. He knows, of a certainty, that there is life after death. He took a journey while dead. He talked about it. Why would He talk about something if it were not so? What could possibly motivate Him to do so? Why would He lie?
Jesus was compassionate and caring. He healed people even when He was persecuted for who He said He was. Why would such a person lie to you?
I was convinced a long time ago (50 years) that Jesus could save my soul. I was so convinced that He did so that I led my family members on a quest to their own salvation through Jesus Christ. There is only one thing that is more of a tragedy than losing a child. Losing a child who goes to Hell. This is a most difficult concept to grasp. A parent who is so proud that he/she won't surrender to Christ's atoning grace may be dooming the people they love the most in this world to eternal torment and damnation. UNIMAGINABLE! I really can't wrap my mind around such disregard for even the possibility that what I'm writing here may be true. For those of us who are completely convinced that Heaven is for the redeemed and Hell is for the un-redeemed, we are admonished by God to reach those who are lost. May we honor His desire and His sacrifice.
Most recently I was watching a newscast about a commentator who referred to Christians as schizophrenic. She was referring to a comment by a Christian who said that Jesus spoke to him. I'm not sure what this Christian meant, but Jesus speaks to me, too. Well, through His word, not audibly. When I read my Bible the Holy Spirit of God helps me to "hear" what He has to say to me specifically. Unless you are a born again believer, this doesn't happen. In any case a non-believer wouldn't get it anyway. By the audience reaction, her comments were resoundingly approved. What a shame. All of the problems faced by our country and world can be solved by one event, a newborn Christian. Unfortunately, most Christian leaders are not supporting an effort to reach others for Christ. They are more concerned with numbers of bodies attending church than the quality of the Christian experience. I don't want this to be a para-church ministry. I don't call it a ministry. It is not a non-profit organization even though there is no profit here. It's merely a means to declare the gospel in the simplest and easiest manner possible.
I have been reading my Bible since I was a teenager. There are so many verses that mean a great deal to me, but one passage in Ecclesiastes has been of particular help. I talked about Chapter 11 on the front page of this website and discussed how it pertains to witnessing, but it really also pertains to life's struggles. Chapter 11 shows us how our days should be pursued. I'm not going to go into the details here, but maybe you could go there and contemplate your daily living habits. adopting this chapter as a life course wouldn't be a bad way to go.
Not everyone has the opportunities and the boldness to hand out tracts in large numbers, but a tract per day could be a great goal. many of us men wear shirts with pockets. Placing a single tract in your pocket is important because opportunities to offer tracts are often sudden and unexpected. Searching for a tract may cause a loss of opportunity. I stopped by a Home Depot to pick up a new ballast for my light fixture in the garage. As I left the store I noticed a large tent filled with rugs. My wife, Carol has bee is always open to a new rug so I stopped to see what they had. A salesperson asked if I needed help and of course I said I was just looking. What a simple opportunity to hand him a tract, but I was wearing a t shirt, no pocket. Opportunity lost.
So, what can you do if the brief interaction takes place. Here's what you say to a store clerk."Thanks for offering to help, I'll be browsing and I'll be sure to ask if I need something. Here's a story about a young lady that I believe you will enjoy". Hand him/her a tract and go about your business. There's no need to go into any details or extend the conversation. Let the Holy Spirit do His work. You are to deliver the message and you have fulfilled that work. It's best to stay in your own lane and do your own job. God can handle it all without us, but He likes to let us get in on the fun.
One good reason is that the devil's crowd is witnessing. I recently received a note telling me that someone representing the Mormon church visited and told her that the book she was given (MORMON) was the gospel and the Bible is a support document. She is buying in. What a terrible shame. a tract is a simple way of getting the word out. We offer a box of tracts for the cost of shipping; $7.50. We don't charge for admin or the cost of printing the tracts. there are 200 tracts in a box. If you gave a tract to someone every day, which is not hard to do, you would have given 200 out in less than a year. what if you did that for twenty years, 4,000 tracts. Surely someone would be saved from the Mormons and the rest of the cults out of 4,000. More importantly, if this message touches you, maybe you are fulfilling some obedience to the Lord. In that case results are a bonus.
Pondering what keeps Christians from witnessing. The Lord Jesus came to the Temple to worship and found the money changers filling the holy site with their wares to sell. Exchanging commodities for the money to buy sacrifices was what the people had come to. Jesus was irate. He fashioned a whip to drive them out. Anger and violence followed. Does it seem out of character that our Lord would respond in such a radical way. Not so. He does not appreciate the defilement of God's Temple. He no less appreciates the defilement of the temple of the Holy Spirit, His Spirit. Our sin defiles His temple. He would drive it out if not for grace and long-suffering. But, sin also has other consequences. It keeps us out of fellowship, thereby keeping us from performing the duties we are otherwise compelled to execute. That, of course includes witnessing. I find myself too self absorbed when sin goes unconfessed. Paul had the same problem. He stated, "I am the chiefest of sinners". Did you notice the present tense of his statement. He didn't say he was a sinner. He said he is a sinner. Paul was very aware of his condition, but it's obvious that he was able to retain his fellowship by the confession of those sins. He kept "short accounts". It allowed his ministry to flourish, retaining effectiveness to the last, even unto this day.
Carol and I (Kim) are experiencing our seventh anniversary of Kristin's passing. Even though we are very aware of where she is, the pain of losing her and missing her still stays with us every day. She actually went Home on the 22nd, but she fell into a coma on the 18th, so it is tough on these four days. However, God is merciful. He has allowed us to create and distribute Kristin tracts throughout the world. We believe the number sent is over 250,000, but we don't have an exact figure. We get emails that attest to people getting saved. Amazing!
I can't imagine a better way for the Lord to use what happened to reach people in His name. We are truly blessed. Kristin was not a famous person, but she didn't need to be famous to have a good testimony before God. I 'm sure she's pleased with the outcome. I hope the Lord is keeping her updated on the tracts. That would be really cool.