A week or so ago, before a departmental meeting, a co-worker asked me "So, are you putting on another play at church?" The Church Formerly attended by Me performed outreach musicals every spring for the last fifteen years or so, and L. had come to last springs performance.
Without thinking about it, I responded, "No, actually, most of the people involved have left that church, including me." Then it was into the meeting, with no chance to talk.
A few days later, L. sent me a lunch invitation. She wanted to know what had happened at the CFABM to cause so many people to leave.
Yikes - how do you explain to someone of a totally different faith background that even Christians can really mess things up, and that following the Lord and being true to His Word sometimes means doing the hard things like leaving a church? Honesty is the best policy, and I started out by explaining that Christians can and do mess up, and when they simply refuse to acknowledge their sin and turn from it, you sometimes have to leave them to it, and follow God in the direction He is leading you.
Through the conversation, it became increasingly evident that L. is seeking a deeper spiritual experience than she has had. She has been going to a Bible study with her boyfriend, but is concerned that while it started out as a study, it has become more of a social occasion. They went to a small Assembly of God church service a few weeks ago, and although there were a few things L. didn't care for, she was impressed by the friendliness of the people and the Biblical preaching. Her own background is Catholic, so you can imagine how different that service would have been for her.
So I told her about the Sunday night study I attend, and invited her to come. I had given her the location and time when we were at lunch, but forgot to e-mail the exact directions that afternoon. Of course it was Friday: I need to see if she is in the phone book, and give her a call today with the specifics.
Of all the people from work I invited to the outreach play, L. is one of the last I would have thought would actually come, as we don't work closely together. Yet she did. About a month ago, she asked me to lunch out of the blue. Then yesterday's lunch. Clearly God is at work here, and apparently He's planning to use me in that work. I can only pray I'm ready.
"...but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence..."
1 Peter 3:15 (NASB)
1 Peter 3:15 (NASB)
Oh - and while we were in the restaurant, I got a $30 parking ticket.
It was worth every penny.
Gracious Heavenly Father, You are the one who would draw all men to Yourself. May Your Spirit continue His work in L.'s heart, softening it and making it tender for the gospel. Remove the scales from her eyes and stuffing from her ears that she may see her need for a Savior clearly, and hear the wonderful news of the gospel with no misunderstanding. May she soon be one of my "forever friends".
In Jesus' name, Amen.