Friday, May 22, 2009

Benchmark


Why does the alarm clock go off when we are finally in our most comfortable position of the night? Cuddled under the blankets, the temperature is just right, we're completely relaxed, and the thought of venturing forth from our warm nest is repugnant. Yet, the adventures of the new day await, and who knows what new opportunities may come our way after we get out of that bed.

Beds aren't the only cozy places we have trouble leaving. Most of us cling to the sides of our comfort zones like oysters, having to be pried open and forcibly removed. However, unlike the hapless oyster, our exposure to the world outside our nests isn't always unpleasant. Often, God has something amazing in store for us if we will just trust His guiding hand in those unknown regions.

For example, I remember an incident several years ago where God asked me to do something that was way out of the box to my way of thinking. I tend to be very relational when it comes to personal witnessing. Oh, I can preach the Gospel to strangers from the pulpit or a blog easily enough, but in a one-on-one situation I like to know the person well before broaching the subject of Christ in order to best know how to approach them. Of course, God loves to shake my ways up now and then.

I was walking across the campus of Dakar Academy in Senegal, West Africa, when I passed a Chinese teenager sitting on a bench. As a teacher at the school, I knew of this student yet had never taught him or even spoken to him. As I passed him, though, God distinctly spoke to me to turn around and ask "Li" if he was a Christian.

What would you do in that situation? Would you rationalize that you were imagining things? After all, there were lots of people around. You might look foolish. Worse still, he might think you were pressuring him in public, possibly turning him even further away from Christ due to the embarrassment.

Thankfully, I didn't pause long enough to think too much about it. I find that when I try to analyze God's leadings I sometimes tend to talk my way out of doing something that might threaten my comfort. So, in this case I did an immediate u-turn and asked him straight out about his beliefs.

To this day I remember his exact words when asked if he was a Christian. "No," he said looking up, "but I would like to be."

That afternoon I sat on a bench with a young man I had just met and prayed with him to accept Christ as his savior. Over the next year or so we studied the Bible together. Our two families got to meet and socialize some. And then I almost drowned him baptizing him in the ocean. The last thing I heard about "Li" was that he was attending a famous Christian university in the States. He was studying to be a missionary with plans to return to mainland China to lead his own people to Christ.

God can do amazing things with us anywhere, but He often prefers it when we are out of our comfort zones and completely trusting Him with both process and results.

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2 comments:

Margie said...

There may be parents who are in their own comfort zone when it comes to talking about Christ with their children. The more you do it, the easier it gets! Me and my three kids have included in our nightly prayer that we all have the courage to speak about God openly. We are free! You never know who may be listening and needs to hear The Good News:)

love101 said...

John - Praise Him.
Thank you for your service

Saw your blog on Blogger under missionaries.
Seems you're having a blessed time
serving in Dakar.

You spoke about hearing His voice.
Yes, God doesn't have a problem
breaking into our plans.

Great testimony. Hearing His voice
and speaking to a total stranger.

Deuteronomy 4:36 Out of heaven
he made thee to hear his voice,
that he might instruct thee.

Exodus 19:5 Now therefore,
if ye will obey my voice indeed,
and keep my covenant,
then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me
above all people: for all the earth is mine:

John 10:16 And other sheep I have,
which are not of this fold:
them also I must bring,
and they shall hear my voice;
and there shall be one fold,
and one shepherd.

Jeremiah 7:23 But this thing
commanded I them, saying,
Obey my voice,
and I will be your God,
and ye shall be my people

Sounds like Jesus to me.

Thought this complimentary
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Thanks

Be blessed and be a blessing.

A. Amos Love - Love101faith@me.com

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