Highland Baptist Church
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Helping People Follow Jesus
Get up, go to church, meet me there!
This happened Sunday, November 29, 2009.
Joe, a man in his early twenties, had recently been released from a drug rehabilitation center in another city and had moved back to his home town.
One Sunday morning, Joe was sound asleep in bed. As Joe told me later, the Lord woke him and told him to get up and go to church! This was an unusual experience for Joe on several levels - he was not a believer, and had no church background whatsoever. He also had no car. So as he thought about where to go in response to what this "voice" told him, he remembered there was a Baptist church he'd walked past several times.
So from his home, Joe walked more than a mile to our church, arriving about five minutes before the last service ended. (Joe did not know that there were a number of churches closer to his home, but he felt strangely drawn to ours.)
Having no idea what goes on in a church service, Joe didn't understand what was happening when he walked in to the worship center that morning, but immediately he knew two things: One, whatever was that people in that room were enjoying was right and good and very real, and two, that he had to have it too. He was like a hungry man who realized he'd just stumbled into what he's wanted all his life.
Joe sought out a church staff member to talk to, but that person had to attend to another urgent situation. So I was asked to visit with Joe and find out how to help. That's when Joe told me the above story.
As he finished telling me about being woken up, walking a mile to church, knowing he was in the right place but not knowing why, Joe looked at me and shrugged his shoulders as if to say, "Can you explain any of this to me?"
I said, "Joe, the Lord God loves you so much that He got you out of bed and brought you to a place where the two of you can be introduced, and you can begin a whole new life!" I told him the basics about the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, about sin and the plan of salvation, and also that the best way to know someone, especially a loving God, is to meet them personally. Joe was excited about that and eager to jump in.
So, I had Joe hold out his hands. I took his hands in mine and led him in a "repeat after me" prayer for confession, forgiveness and salvation. I also prayed for deliverance and freedom from addiction and its effects.
After we finished praying, Joe paused a moment, smiled and said, "I feel tingly... and everything's so clear now!" He was astounded at the immediate change in his heart and in his mind. Not only did he feel clean on the inside, the fog of damage from past drug use was cleared away. He walked back into life a new man.
Thanks be to God!