January 19, 2014
We talked about John the Baptist in Coffee and Conversation on Sunday. Actually, the discussion was more about inviting than pointing to Jesus, even though that is John the Baptist's most important task (pointing to Jesus). When the topic of inviting comes up, however, I always go back to a specific moment in time that changed my life.
Mike Allen was a young man I had recently started dating in 1979. He had quite a life experience. At the age of 19, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Through the subsequent surgery and treatment, he had forged a strong bond with his pastor. At that time, I, on the other hand, had no bond with a pastor, a church, or even God for that matter.
One day, as Mike and I were driving by his church, we spotted the pastor leaving the building. I want you to meet my pastor, Mike said, as he whipped the car into the parking lot. My first wave of shock came as I watched Mike and the pastor hurry toward one another and greet with...a belly flop. Not a conventional greeting, especially to a pastor, at least not in the limited experience with pastors I had up to that time.
As introductions were made and we chatted, the inevitable question came up. So, where do you go to church, Mike's pastor asked. I dropped my head, twisted my feet into the dirt, and mumbled something like, I don’t really go anywhere. Then came my second wave of shock, as the pastor gently laid his hand on my shoulder and said, that’s ok. Maybe you’ll come with Mike sometime.
It is a moment I will never forget. No guilt. No recrimination. No coercion. No smirk. And really not even an invitation, but more a suggestion. I was dumbfounded. More importantly, I was intrigued.
I did go with Mike sometime. In fact, I was hooked. God called me in. Welcomed me in. Loved me in. I am so thankful.
Come and see. Share. Invite. There is reason to - eternal reason. And you just might get to be God’s helper in changing someone’s life. Awesome!