When Tom first met me, I was wondering what was up. He went out of his way at church to make me feel welcome. I told him he was doing just fine. Later, he said he wanted to meet with me privately. When we did, he said that he had been praying for someone like me, a Bible-oriented believer, to help him as he tried to talk some sense into the church. With close observation, I have begun to understand why. Tom and I have thus become friends. Trying to make our meetings more frequent, he asked me to go to lunch with him today. I agreed.
We let the Lord guide us to a little place, and there we discussed some of the things going on in the church and in our own lives. After we had finished our meal, Tom said that he sensed the presense of the Lord, and that something big was about to happen. But he didn't know what.
I didn't feel it, but I had been praying for the opportunity to talk to the college kids behind us. One of them had left and now it seemed urgent (I hate it when I lose a member of the audience before I get to speak). So, while Tom was praying for direction, I reach over and tapped one of the boys on his shoulder and asked him what they were studying. They were studying some book subtitled "The Fates of Human Societies." Tom had his answer.
Tom told them that every political system is based on some kind of religious philosophy, and that, if you dig deep enough, you will find out the reasons behind people's decisions. Furthermore, you don't just take one source's word for it when it says something, you check it out, because there might be an error, and there might be a deliberate mistelling of the story. He went on to tell the story of how he read that something had happened on some holy day of the "Blessed Virgin" and, having a copy of an earlier work that covered the same period of tim, he double-checked with that volume to see if it was so. It wasn't--the event had happened a few days earlier. Now, why did the later volume have the error? It was deliberate, in order to glorify the "Blessed Virgin."
The kids were wowed. Then he told them that historical accounts weren't the only things that need be checked. Preachers and church people often have things that they like to say, but those things aren't necessarily in the Bible! He told them that he had even studied the Greek and Hebrew (but he's much better at the Greek), in order to more fully understand the words being used, and to catch the errors in translation. He urged them to use their ability as "scholars" to check behind everything that someone says. They were enraptured.
He paused, so I spoke: "Have you guys ever taken the Good Person Test? It's a three-question test to see if you're a good person." I was able to explain the Gospel to them so very thoroughly. They didn't go to a religious school, but it was obvious that they all had a religious background, and may even have claimed to be Christians. One of them wrote down Bible verses I used in my presentation of the Gospel (1 John 3:15, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Revelation 21:8), and they thoroughly understood the presentation.
Tom wrapped up our meeting with his testimony, and they all got Zero Dollar Bills. (I also handed one to one of the workers sitting at lunch.) It was awesome! These were high school kids taking college-level courses who sat in rapt attention to almost every word that we said! One girl stopped being so attentive when Tom mentioned that the thing that "leaped off the page" as he read the Bible was that God loved unworthy him! Tom said later that he believes that she was convicted because she has the same feelings of unworthiness but didn't want to admit to it. Pray that none of them will allow pride or anything else to prevent them from the kingdom of God.
Oh, one last thing: I just got a call from another temp agency after I turned down a job offer from a different one yesterday. This one pays almost as much, is much more accessible, and has better hours--and it prevents me from rejoining a commitment I was forced to drop because of the previous offer, a commitment which I now regret, having gained more knowledge. God is so good.
"Seek ye first the kingdom of God/(So many choices, so much that could be!)/Seek ye first the kingdom of God/(Living in the Land of Opportunity!)/Seek ye first the kingdom of God/[And His righteousness!!]/Seek ye first the kingdom of God/[And He'll take care of the rest!!!!]/Seek ye first the kingdom of God..."
--From Steven Curtis Chapman's CD Speechless, the song is called "Land of Opportunity"