Friday, May 16, 2014

One verse at a time

In March of 1958 seventy-five teenagers were on the ski slopes in Dodge Ridge with us for three days. Some were from our youth group in Peninsula Bible Church in Palo Alto; about half were not.  We had prayed with the Christians for weeks, encouraging them to bring their school buddies with no agenda except to be their friend, making the invisible Christ visible through their lives. There were no meetings until the very last night when a Young Life friend of ours gave a simple message about Who Christ is and what His coming means to us. There was no formal invitation, but here's what happened: We were up all night leading teenagers to Christ!  Arriving back home, exhausted and in wonder at God's Amazing Grace, my Ted presented to me a passel of brand new Christian girls to disciple.  Disciple? I had no clue where to begin. I invited the girls to our home after school on Friday.  I thought Ephesians was a very nice Book in the Bible  so I turned to it and began to read to the girls. verse at a time. They came back!  Again and again. Friday after Friday. I am still opening the Bible to Ephesians 1:1-14 with a brand new Christian. There they will discover that the Lord has deposited everything in their personal Bank Account that they will ever need.

Last year Patsy, in her late 60's, went Home to be with Jesus. She has been ready since a night at a ski resort in northern California when she was seventeen years old. Another, Joanne came to see me at Round Top last October.  She has been married to Jim, a pastor for many years. She told me she continues to invite  new believers into the first chapter of the Book of Ephesians!  I wonder where Vicki, Carol and all the other girls are.  God knows.  He has never left them nor forsaken them.

Last Saturday two hired Chimney Sweeps came to clean out my stoves and fireplaces. It's was a dirty and dangerous job, including their climbing around on my very high roof. About half way into the job David came to me with a forlorn look on his face.  "Mrs. Stone, I am so sorry.  I broke your glass table when a piece of my equipment fell on it!"  "David, it's all right. It's just a 'thing'. Nothing on this earth is important except Jesus."  Pause. ... and then he said, "I know that. My oldest daughter has just urged me to get back in church." "Great, David. Do you know Jesus?" "Yes, I do!".  Thumbs up, and he went back to work. When the two men finished, I fetched a couple of copies of "The Message", followed them to their truck to pay them and hand them these simple Bibles. I waited, then knew from the Spirit to ask:  "Would you like to read a couple of verses from these little Bibles?"  Both said they would, so I suggested that David turn to John 3:16 and 17 and read. He did.  Cody was quiet.  I waited, then asked:  "Cody, would you like to know this Jesus Who wrote you these words?" "Well, my family is not religious."  "Good!  Neither am I!  David and I have a relationship with Jesus Who wanted a relationship with us so much that He died on a dreadful cross so we could be freed from all of our sin and have a relationship with God.  Did you know that?" "No".  "Well then, would you like to invite Jesus into your heart?"  "Yes, I would!" I prayed and without any prompting Cody repeated every word after me. ...and then he said,  "I feel so light!"  Tears.  I turned to David and encouraged him to begin to read to Cody each week; one verse at a time. That night a call came from their boss who offered to pay for the table.  In our conversation it became evident that he is a Christian. I told him about Cody and he was amazed.   Do I want him to pay for the table?  Of course not!  That table is worth its weight in Holy Gold as a door-opener for the Gospel!

When Jesus left this earth He very emphatically told us, His beloved children to "Go and make disciples".  Because of His grace to us, by faith we obey Him.  Of course we can invite people into our church, but we are to feed them. bite (verse) at a time.
                                                       OLD HYMN: MAKE ME A BLESSING

Out in the highways and byways of life, many are weary and sad
Carry the sunshine where darkness is rife; making the sorrowing glad.


Love,  Jo