I just returned from a ten-day trip with International Commission to Piura, Peru. Actually, I’ve been back for a week, but I’ve been battling a bad summer cold all week, which pretty much sidelined me for the past seven days. But God used the past week to help me focus on some interesting aspects about my trip, and the society we live in...
First of all, it was a fantastic trip. My good friend Donnie and I experienced God’s working in the hearts of the Peruvian people. We met and worked with true servants of God. Holding worship services in their church and in the streets of Piura, conducting home visits, and just talking to people in their neighborhoods. We witnessed 97 people confess Christ during the week. The entire crusade saw 2038 new Christians. Praise God for each and every conversion!
There was an undeniable Spirit of love that existed almost immediately between those brothers and sisters in Christ and us. By the end of the week, though we didn’t know each other’s language, we knew each other’s hearts, and parting was very difficult.
Sharing Christ with the lost souls of Piura came very easily. The Holy Spirit had prepared the hearts of many to hear the Word and respond. Person after person, mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers came to know Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. Again, sharing Jesus in that
environment came very easy...
Last night my wife and I took in a Kansas City Royals - Texas Rangers baseball game. We especially wanted to go because it was Family and Faith night at the ballpark and several Christian ball players were to speak, including Josh Hamilton, a former MVP of the Rangers.
Hamilton’s story of drug and alcohol abuse is well known. I was moved by his testimony and message. Our seats were directly in front of the steps that he descended after he spoke. I was privileged to shake his hand and tell him I appreciated his message.
After Hamilton spoke, another speaker, Scott Dawson, gave a stirring call to the audience, asking those who’d felt moved to receive Christ as Savior to move to an empty section of the stadium, where there were counselors waiting to speak with them. Many began to make their way toward that section. But Dawson did something even bolder. He urged the Christians in the large crowd to lean over and tell the person beside them "If you’d like to walk over to that section, I’ll be glad to walk with you..."
I’d spent a week in Piura, Peru telling everyone I’d encountered about Jesus Christ, but still, I felt a feeling of hesitation overcome me about the guy who’d I’d been sitting next to all game, chatting here and there about this and that...why was that?
In Piura, Peru, I was in tune with God’s Holy Spirit, for sure. I need to be more so in my everyday walk. That’s first and foremost.
But there’s an element in our society that has put shackles on the tongues of Christians everywhere. That element reared its ugly head during last week’s Chick-fil-A ordeal. A Christian CEO on a Christian Radio station and in a Christian newspaper said simply he believed in the Bible’s teachings...and there was an outcry from the Political Correctness Police.
I was proud of the turnout at Chick-fil-A last Wednesday...but it should not have been necessary. The same cultural atmosphere that Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy encountered by simply stating his belief in the Bible, is the same atmosphere that caused me to hesistate tapping that man's shoulder last night. We’ve been duped into caring far, far too much of what negative response we might encounter if we share Christ with our neighbor, our coworker, our relative. Shame on us for allowing that fear and intimidation be the driving force, instead of the message we’ve been mandated to spread...
I don’t know for certain whether or not that man sitting next to me was a Christian or not. I do know a couple of things, though. He heard tremendous testimony about how Christ was working in the life of Josh Hamilton. He heard a well-presented plan of salvation from Scott Dawson. And, though he didn’t respond to my offer, he felt me overcome my initial hesitation, tap him on the shoulder and tell him I’d be happy to walk him over to where the new believers were gathering.
Maybe it will serve as a seed and God will use another to bring him to Christ. I pray for that. I also pray God will continue to give me chances to tap someone on the shoulder...and the courage to do so.