June 10, 2010
Psalm 37:23 “The steps of a righteous man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.”
This morning presented a dilemma. After dropping Matthew off at school, I was prayerfully debating on whether or not to head down to Elkhart. Not only was fatigue setting in due to insufficient sleep, there was a lot of things that needed to be done at home. This was further coupled with the overwhelming sensation that, despite these many trips into the cities of this area, it wasn’t making a difference. (If we present truth; it will not return void) Nonetheless I went down, not knowing what would transpire or who would be encountered. This is always the case. When we encounter a stranger, we have no knowledge of the person, save only that Jesus paid for their sins with his own blood. Their personal history; the events that helped to mold them into who they are at the present, their likes, dislikes, beliefs, affiliations, and what have you are initially buried in obscurity. We cannot navigate these waters from a standpoint of logical analysis, and yet, we cannot abstain from going because we feel “effective.” (Noah must have felt exceedingly ineffective) 
Pastor Greg, who used to be the youth pastor at our former fellowship, once made the following observation “people will neglect to share the gospel because they don’t feel led. Here’s what you do. Take a pencil and place it in your pocket. The next time you meet someone, place your hand in the pocket, rub your thumb on the lead, and go share the gospel.” It was a memorable way of explaining that while it’s imperative to be led of the Spirit, we just need to go as this is the great commission. Oftentimes, if we’re consistantly walking in the light, our steps will be ordered by the Lord without our even being aware of it. This morning, while driving to Elkhart, Matthew 10:19 came to mind.
The morning was relatively routine. I crossed Island Park, headed through the downtown, and was soon passing through the troubled neighborhoods to the south. (I almost always pass through here) The reactions of those whom I came into contact with was equally routine. Before long, I came into contact with some Jehovahs Witnesses who were operating south of Indiana Ave. As if it weren’t enought that I was already feeling ineffective, this amplified the perception. These folks are so methodical; almost like…to use the worn out phrase….”a fine oiled machine.” I approached one of them briefly; just to verify that they were indeed who they appeared to be and went on my way. For a moment, I was almost envious of the dedication that these folks have as they share another Jesus. While many of our brethren are sitting on their seat; believing in a pre-tribulation rapture, the JWs are scouring the neighborhoods; seeking whom they may lure into a way that may seem right but is not. It was thoroughly depressing, and yet, while considering all of this, I was promptly snapped back into reality by words to the effect of:
“Just keep going the way you have been going.”
With that much needed jolt, I headed back toward the east and, surprisingly, began to encounter far more people than I would have expected in this neighborhood. While many encounters ensued, the one that defined the morning involved two saints; Joe and his wife Matty. They were affiliated with a church nearby and and in the course of conversation they seemed to become profoundly aware of the times and what’s at stake. Matty stated that some of the folks in their fellowship have been discussing getting more involved with outreach in their community. The knowledge of JWs working practically in their back yard, coupled with a goofy looking guy on a bike coming down from over 30 miles away to share the words of life, seemed to amplify the need for serious outreach. (I don’t ride my bike that far; I drive down, park along Beardsley street, and head out from there) These two saints were a real blessing to talk to and this encounter seemed to be needful for all of us.
Interestingly; when I met Joe and Matty, they had just arrived home and were heading into their house. Had I arrived two minutes earlier or two minutes later, this encounter would not have transpired.
My prayer is that this little church received just the spark needed to turn Elkhart upside down. My church in Norfolk Virginia was a very small place, (nestled in a storefront) however, the saints were fervent insofar as evangelism. They had a heart for the lost; more so than any place that I’ve ever been a part of. One day CR noted how much I still talk about True Vine Church. It wasn’t what one would call a holiness church, but they lived very godly lives. Their affections were solidly in heavenly places which manifested in their conversation and how they used their time in this world. They didn’t openly preach against such things as TV, and yet none of them had one. They didn’t have an elaborate worship team; only sister Brown on the piano, and yet the singing was out of this world. They never turned down a missionary preparing to head off to a foreign land and they never missed Saturday night street preaching. Every once in a while, a picture of their endeavors would appear in the newspaper as complaints were filed against them from time to time. Twenty one years later, I still miss True Vine Church.
There’s a post that’s been on my heart for two weeks, but this isn’t it. Nonetheless, the need to be about reaching the lost becomes more profound by the day. Because each day brings us closer to the end and each day is somebodys last. There are people alive at this very moment who will be in eternity tomorrow morning, and a number of these departures will be unexpected. Sadly, the JW that I talked to appeared to be in his late seventies or early eighties. Later on I wondered if I should have engaged him in conversation, however, this would have negated the encounter with Joe and Matty. Please keep these saints in prayer along with Elkhart Community church. Well I must be going for now. Hopefully there will be more time available to get back on track in this venue. Blessings always in Jesus name.
Mark 16:15-18 “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”

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