Reaching Out

The Sacred Way of Pilgrimage

“Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, whose heart is set on pilgrimage.” Psalm 84:5

A pilgrimage is a journey, especially a long one, made to some sacred place as an act of religious devotion. Each of us is called in this life to be on a pilgrimage with Christ on the narrow path that eventually leads to heaven. What if we looked at life as a pilgrimage in which we walk with the Lord? It may have these stages:

Stage One: Involves feeling what it means to be a pilgrim and how
different this is from just traveling from A and B. Each of us is on a pilgrimage. We are citizens of heaven, here for a time and a purpose, but on our way home.
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…” Hebrews 12:1

Stage Two: Reading the signs, seeing that journeys are unique

experiences led by the Holy Spirit, and that they take on a life of their own. Enjoy the journey; it is full of surprises and divine appointments.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6<>

Stage Three: Becoming aware of our companions and why we are in
the company we are. This isn’t always easy. Who else is traveling with us on our pilgrimage? Are they aware of it?
“And they said to one another, ‘Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the scriptures to us?’” Luke 24:13

Stage Four: Relates to the history, the “story” we are witnessing, and
its social, political, and spiritual implications. We are watching a story unfold, of history being made as we speak.

· “And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; and they shall prophesy. I will show wonders in heaven above and signs in the earth beneath: blood and fire and vapor of smoke.” Acts 2:18-19

Stage Five: Is about losing our role as observer and becoming part of
the story. We also participate in the story, and shape it as it shapes us.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

Stage Six: Leads to a more visionary appreciation of the land, seeing
it as a place where heaven and earth interact. Here we are seeing with the eyes of the Holy Spirit. Our pilgrimage is from the Kingdom of God, interacting with and being ambassadors of Christ to the
“Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.” II Corinthians 5:20

Stage Seven: An affirmation that we were all created in the image of
God. Walking with the Lord as a pilgrimage is a way of opening ourselves up in a way which is both comforting and revealing. We are called by God to be on this pilgrimage at this time, for His purpose, to His glory.
“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;” I Peter 2:9

It is an incredible honor, gift, and experience to walk with the Lord on a pilgrimage – on the narrow path – that leads to heaven, a place of joy, peace, and love. So let us reach out to those who come across our paths with the love and truth of Christ, for time is short, eternity is a very long time, and we are not guaranteed tomorrow.

Adapted from poem “The Sacred Way” by Jay Ramsay
To God be the glory
Board of Evangelism

Reaching Out

Mansions of the Lord – A Memorial Day Observance

Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for honoring and mourning the U.S. military personnel who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. The hymn “Mansions of the Lord” expresses of our deep appreciation and respect to them and to all who have served our country in our military.

The hymn:
“To fallen soldiers let us sing, where no rockets fly nor bullets wing; our broken brothers let us bring to the mansions of the Lord.
No more bleeding, no more fight, no prayers pleading through the night; just divine embrace, eternal light in the mansions of the Lord.
Where no mothers cry and no children weep, we will stand and guard through the angels sleep; all through the ages safely keep, the mansions of the Lord.”

The 2002 movie “We Were Soldiers” and the 2004 funeral of President Ronald Reagan featured this hymn. It was based on the Gospel of John, Chapter 14:
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:1-3
You can see the Mansions of the Lord hymn performed by the West Point Band and West Point Glee Club in an extraordinary performance by clicking here. (Youtube: “Mansions of the Lord” from We Were Soldiers | West Point Band and West Point Glee Club)

To God be the glory

Reaching Out

Many Are Called But Few Are Chosen

Many Are Called, But Few Are Chosen – the Story of my Cousin Roger

We have all heard the Matthew 22:14 verse: “Many are called, but few are chosen.” This always bothered me, because it just didn’t sound fair. If you were called and invited to a marriage feast, why wouldn’t they let you in? Wasn’t the invitation proof that you were already chosen to come to the festivities? And beneath this was the hidden fear that I might not be among the chosen.

“But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.” Matthew 22:11-14

But then I remembered my cousin Roger. One day, I received an official-looking envelope that said “The White House, Washington, D.C.” on the back. I opened it and discovered I was invited to a marriage feast celebrating the marriage of the beloved son of the President of the United States to his fiancée. Still uncertain as to whether it was real, I called the number listed for a RSVP and learned that a large banquet space was available, but many guests were unable to come (“Many are called, but few…”), so they were inviting regular citizens to attend.

A few days later I ran into my cousin Roger, a ne’er-do-well who always had a hard time keeping a job, going from one job to another, and one relationship to another due to his rebellious nature. Roger announced that he too received an invitation to the White House event, and he was going to go, wearing blue jeans and a flannel shirt in defiance of what he called “the formality and pretense” of this event. He was going to show his disdain for authority in a public manner, in spite of my objections.

The big day arrived, and I will always remember the solemnity of the occasion, of guests in their formal attire waiting expectantly at the White House entrance to be formally introduced. When it was Roger’s turn and he stepped forward with his invitation, the person in charge nodded to two large Secret Service agents, who grabbed Roger and immediately escorted him out of the building, ignoring his protestations.

They recognized that he did not grasp the importance of this event, treating it as if it were common. He did the unthinkable; by wearing ordinary clothes, he disrespected the event and the president. He was invited, but because of his insult, he was rejected.

And so it is with the Kingdom of Heaven. God calls many (actually all), but few respond to the invitation by receiving Christ in total humility, repenting of our sins, forgiving others, and seeking the Lord and His will for our lives. Most would rather devote themselves to the affairs of the world, the lusts of the flesh, or even the works of the devil. Perhaps they have some cherished, hidden sin they just cannot give up, or they have been hurt by another person and vow to never forgive them, thus disqualifying themselves for forgiveness from God.

When our time is up and we stand at the entrance to Heaven, even though we have an invitation to the Marriage Feast of the Lamb, if we are not clothed with the radiance of the Holy Spirit and a repentant and joyful heart, we too will be denied entrance to the Kingdom of Heaven. We will be escorted to the outer darkness, enroute to the Lake of Fire. We will have refused to obey the admonition from Hebrews 12:14: “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord,” and will pay for it for eternity.

Time is short, so let us make sure we are properly attired for the Marriage Feast of the Lamb, and reach out to those around us with the love and truth of Christ, that they too may be properly attired and admitted to the most memorable and important event in their lives; life eternal with our Lord in heaven.

To God be the glory

Reaching Out

6 Conversational Tips from the Master Himself

The message about Jesus is good news, and is most effectively shared in interpersonal conversations. Conversational evangelism was Jesus’ preferred approach. In John 4, Jesus is walking through Samaria, and stops to sit down. A woman approaches him and He asks her for a drink. They talk and He asks her to go find her husband. She replies she has been in multiple relationships and her current man is not her husband. She asks Jesus a question about the temple, and He tells her people can worship God anywhere. She asks Him about the Messiah, and He says He is the Christ. She runs and tells her whole village to come meet Jesus.
This famous story is a great model for us to introduce people to Jesus. Six things Jesus does with the Samaritan woman that we can emulate:
1) Start Conversations with Anyone
In John 4, Jesus spoke with a Samaritan – the hated enemy of the Jews. She is also a woman, and a Jewish man would never normally speak with her alone. However, Jesus initiates a conversation with her.
TRY STARTING: We all have friends we spend time with. But there are many others we can interact with: people in the workplace, neighborhood, supermarket, or coffee shop. Why not see every person we meet as a potential conversation partner?
2. Adjust Your Life Patterns to Make Conversations Possible
Jesus met the woman while on a journey. He could have walked around Samaria, but walked into it so He could connect with people who need Him.
TRY ADJUSTING: Join a club focused on your favorite hobby, go to a different restaurant, shop at a different store, or sit next to someone new at a public event. If you’re not talking to people who need Jesus, make small changes so that you can. Consider trading a church event for the opportunity to do things with people who don’t know Jesus.
3. Chat about Everyday Life
Jesus began by asking the woman for a drink of water. He didn’t say, “Let Me tell you about the Messiah—He’s me!” He knows any serious conversation is just a hair’s breadth away from the gospel.
TRY CHATTING: Tell them a story about your day. Ask them how their week has been, what they’ve enjoyed eating, reading, or watching. Start light and see where the conversation goes. The worst case is you have an interesting chat.
4. Ask Questions
Jesus suggests that the woman go find her husband. He could have told her she was using romantic relationships in a futile search for meaning. Instead, he asks a razor-sharp question that addresses who she is as a person.
TRY ASKING: Don’t think of yourself as the expert. Until you’ve asked some questions, you may not know how to relate the gospel to their lives.
5. Listen to Questions, Then Answer the Question Behind the Questions
The woman wants to know whether the Jewish temple or the Samaritan temple is the true place of worship. Jesus knows she is asking Him to state whether Jews or Samaritans are following the true religion. Instead, Jesus points her beyond religious places, toward relationship with Himself.
TRY LISTENING: Try not to argue, but get to the core of their concerns. For example, a question about the biblical teaching on homosexuality may really be asking: “Am I welcome in your Christian community?” or “Do you look down on me?” A good way to discern the underlying question<> is to say, “Good question, what do you think?” and then listen to what they say.
6. Share Jesus
The pinnacle of Jesus’ conversation with the woman comes when He tells her that He is the Messiah. She is so amazed, she runs and brings the whole village to come and meet Him for themselves.
TRY SHARING: A helpful question to ask yourself (and the Holy Spirit) is “How is Jesus good news for this person?” Is there a story about Jesus that is relevant to what you are discussing? Is a part of your personal testimony<> helpful? Share it and ask them what they think.
If people seem receptive, then it’s good to give them the opportunity to respond to Jesus. Ask them if they would like to welcome Jesus into their lives. If they say yes, find a quiet corner and pray together. Jesus never had the same conversation twice, so there is no one formula for sharing our faith. But we can draw inspiration from Jesus’ interactions with people. So let us go forth with the love and truth of Christ and witness to all He brings across our path, for time is short, eternity is forever, and we are not guaranteed tomorrow.

Adapted from article by Luke Cawley
InterVarsity Evangelism
To God be the glory

Reaching Out

Let Us Run the Race That Is Set Before Us – Part II

While standing on the sidewalk at 9th and Rock Street on March 5 and watching the Little Rock marathoners trot by, I heard the sounds of people at a refreshment station and cheers of a young couple with a small child a little way behind me. They showed up to watch the runners and cheer them on. I could hear them clap and cheer on the runners: “Good job! You got this! You’re killing it! Good pace! You’re on your way! You can do it! Way to go! Great costume! I love your hat! Yay! Right on!”

I thought about moving a little farther away where it was a little quieter, but they were such an encouragement to me as well as the runners, I stayed within earshot of their cheers.

After the runners passed by, the couple left with their child. They came to cheer on total strangers – 7,000 of them, and then they left, having inspired many souls to do their best, striving to finish the race that was set before them. Perhaps they were really angels.
Think how it must have encouraged their child. We can just see them cheering on their child as he/she grows up and faces real life challenges: “Good job! We know you can do it! Way to go!”

That’s what the Holy Spirit does for us:
“Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied.” Acts 9:31

Every person we meet is facing a life challenge; it may be a lack of finances, failing health, broken relationships, loneliness, despair, or and even the very purpose of life itself. They too are in a race, a race for life – a life filled with love and adventure, of meaning and purpose, a life well lived. But they (and we too) are confronted with obstacles – formidable obstacles beyond their control.

That’s where we too can be encouragers, to cheer them on and bestow them with courage (EN-COURAGE). And the most effective and powerful encouragement is not merely to encourage them to strive harder (because often that is insufficient), but to seek the Lord, His mercy, and His strength. We have a powerful ally that was absent with the marathon cheerleaders – it is the Holy Spirit, who is here to encourage, comfort, guide, and direct us on our life journey.

So our encouragement can be from the Lord and to the Lord:

· “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

· “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

· “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:5-7

One of the marathoners wore a T shirt that read: “Running for Life”. Yes, and the life God is calling us to transcends our physical existence. It is a higher calling and purpose in our lives we can fulfill only through Him, and is:
· a love for us to experience that can transform us,
· a battle for us to engage in that is worth fighting, and
· a story for us to live in that is far bigger and better than we can imagine.

Finally, this is what it will be like when we triumphantly enter the pearly gates of heaven. If we have received Christ as our Savior and repented of all of our sins, we will be welcomed into the Kingdom of Heaven by large throngs of angels, our loved ones, and many other saints rejoicing at our arrival, and welcoming us with great joy and cheers: “Great job! You made it! We knew you would! Great to see you! Welcome home!”

And when we arrive at the throne of God and stand before the sovereign, living God of the universe to give an account for our lives – the race set before us, we will hear Him say: ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; enter into the joy of your Lord.” Matthew 25:23

The Lord brings people across our paths for us to minister to (and be ministered to). These are divine appointments, so let us encourage them with the love and truth of Christ, for time is short, eternity is a very long time, and we are not guaranteed tomorrow.

To God be the glory

Reaching Out

Let Us Run the Race That is Set Before Us

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-3

On March 5, I had the opportunity to watch most of the 7,000 plus runners compete in the Little Rock Marathon. (I love running; I can sit and watch it all day…). It was exciting to see such an incredible diversity of people of all sizes, shapes, colors, and races push themselves to run a route that is 26.2 miles in length. And to hear the cheers of the bystanders cheering them on, the clamor at the refreshment stations, and the police stationed at every intersection on the route to guarantee their safety, it was quite a spectacle.
For many, it was an opportunity to express who they really are. I saw a ballerina, Disco Man (exotic outfit, frizzy wig, and bold T-shirt), an angel, a clown, and Spiderman. Elvis even showed up, proving once again that he continues to live on in the hearts of his fans. People also expressed themselves by the messages on their clothing, including “I Know I Can”, “Pray, Pray, Pray” and “Running for Life.”
They were running, jogging, loping, walking, strolling, trudging, and limping along, all with a common goal – to get to the finish line and celebrate.
But they have another thing in common – they are all image-bearers of our Lord, created to be alive at this moment in history, and called to join the Holy Spirit in carrying out The Great Co-Mission from Christ to reach out with the love and truth of Jesus Christ. Most choose not to take the call, as they are very busy with matters of the world, temptations of the flesh, and even the works of the devil. Another thing they (and we) have in common is that we are all headed to the ultimate finish line when our time is up on earth and we pass through the veil of death and into eternity – to enjoy with our Lord in heaven or suffer with Lucifer in the Lake of Fire.

What does it mean to run the race that is set before us? It starts with us preparing for the race – spending time with our Lord in the morning in His Word, reflecting on His calling upon our life, perhaps in a diary, and in prayer. It also entails putting on our spiritual armor, for we are ambassadors from the Kingdom of God to the Kingdom of Man, and “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places”. (Ephesians 6:12) It is also important to spend time with fellow spiritual warriors who are encouragers.
The race that is set before us is a life in the Spirit:

* Fulfilling the vocation or job the Lord has for us (it might be as a full-time parent).
* If we are Spirit-led Christians, we are also in full-time ministry, in touch with the Holy Spirit, serving Him in the ways of His choosing, and showing up for the divine appointments He has for us, to share the love and Truth of Christ.
* Realizing that there are people all around us who are lost and don’t know our Lord. (If there aren’t, we need to get out of the Holy Huddle and interact with people in the world).
* In all likelihood, the person next to us in the line at the grocery store (or sitting next to us at church) is going through a struggle we know nothing about, and needs the comfort and peace that can only come from our Lord.
* When we see someone with long hair, tattoos, or nose rings, they are sending a message: NOTICE ME! Every generation does this.
Every person we meet has a story, is broken, and needs the Lord. So let us go forth with boldness to reach the lost, for time is short, tomorrow is not guaranteed, and eternity is a very, very, very long time.
To God be the glory

Reaching Out

A Patrick Mahomes Moment

Super Bowl 2023 became the second most watched program in American television history, as the Kansas City Chiefs<> defeated the Philadelphia Eagles<>, 38–35. 113 million people, over one third of all Americans, watched these highly skilled professional athletes do battle on the gridiron for the Vince Lombardi trophy and claim the title as world’s best football team.
This compares to just 20% of Americans who attend church regularly, down from 70% in 1960. Sounds like a new religion has emerged in America. In many ways, Super Bowl 2023 was a snapshot our nation – its culture, issues, and current milieu:

· This year’s Super Bowl was the first time that the Black National Anthem was sung,

· It was also the first NFL championship game where both teams were led by black quarterbacks,

· Sixteen billion dollars was legally gambled on the Super Bowl, much of which was by people desperate to improve their life circumstances,

· Many people watch the Super Bowl, not for the competition on the field, but for the commercials (which included two with a Christian theme), and

· the Super Bowl halftime show was a wanton display of human depravity.

First of all, we shouldn’t be surprised when we see human depravity. What would we expect from people who don’t know our Lord? We no longer live in a culture that embraces Christianity unequivocally. We no longer shop in stores that hide porn magazines behind the counter or watch TV shows or movies that embrace modesty. No, we live in a country growing antagonistic to Christianity.

Secondly, in the midst of this great spectacle put on by the woke NFL, we see points of light – the light of Christ. One of those was Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes, named Most Valuable Player for the Super Bowl. Mahomes started his recent MVP acceptance speech with “First, I want to thank God for giving me this platform.”

But Mahomes was not only thankful to God for providing him with the opportunity to witness to the nation as the Super Bowl MVP. In an interview the week before, he described how he had suffered a high ankle sprain in the previous week’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, an injury that typically requires six to eight weeks to heal. In two weeks to be able to perform at the Super Bowl level was unheard of, which Mahones recognized when he stated: “I wanna thank God, man. He healed my body this week to battle through that. He gave me the strength to be out there.”

So a Patrick Mahomes moment is when you have a unique opportunity to speak to an audience or take meaningful action, and they are all watching you. It might be 113 million people, as it was for Patrick Mahomes, or it might be for a much smaller group.

I had such a Patrick Mahomes moment several years ago when my sister Maurine and her family came down from Iowa for a visit. We had just visited the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History, and as we got into my car, a very scruffy man came up to my driver’s side and asked for a little money, saying that he had not eaten all day. He did not appear to be on drugs and seemed to have a real and legitimate need. So while my nephews and nieces were all watching, I gave him some money. They were probably thinking: “I wonder how Uncle Mark will respond to his plea for help.”

You probably have had Patrick Mahomes moments, and you will have more. You have just completed an extraordinary task, or perhaps you have been selected for a high honor, and all eyes are on you as you are asked to respond to this honor. What are you going to say? Who gets the glory – you or God? A Patrick Mahomes moment is a rare moment in time when you have the opportunity to speak to the world about your honor and how it came about. Are you going to take all the credit for yourself (as you stretch to reach around and pat yourself on the back)? Perhaps you will give credit to your parents, your teammates, coach, or colleagues. But what about God? Did He not provide you with the innate abilities, parents, and circumstances that allowed you to flourish?

Be watching for Patrick Mahomes moments, because they often just pop up. And always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is within you, for time is short, we are not guaranteed tomorrow, and eternity is forever.

To God be the glory

Reaching Out

Sharing the Love and Truth of Christ

God has called each of us to partner with Him to reach people with His love and truth. One of the greatest joys we can experience as Christians comes from making Jesus known to those who don’t yet know Him. As the body of Christ, we are Jesus’ hands and feet on earth to continue the work that He began. Although we do not know the cravings and challenges of each individual we meet, God knows the deepest secrets of every person. Through the Holy Spirit, He is more than able to speak through us to touch the depths of the human heart. Only the Spirit can give us the words to compel others to follow Christ.
Here are ten things that are helpful in sharing our faith:

1. Be led by the Holy Spirit (Acts 16:6, 9-10<>). Like Paul in Acts, we can continually ask the Holy Spirit to lead us to people whose hearts are ready for the harvest. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you<> to those who are desperately searching for more in life and will be open to God.

2. Take God’s perspective. What is your motivation for evangelism? Are you just doing it because it is the Christian thing to do, or to grow a bigger church? Pray and ask our Father to give you His heart for the lost. When God shares His breaking heart and compassion with us, we will share his burden for the lost.

3. Discern cravings of the soul. I believe everyone has cravings for purpose, meaning, and significance in life. By listening to and speaking into a person’s cravings, we can delicately awaken them to recognize that the fulfillment of their deepest cravings can best be found in God Himself.

4. Develop relationships. Jesus was the complete expression of the Father’s love to the world, and the love of God flowed like a spring of living water through Him. God’s love is more compelling than scientific evidence of God or a theological argument. Is God’s love flowing through you? Are people in your life touched by how passionately and personally you care about them? If you have few non-Christian friends, challenge yourself to move beyond the walls of the church.

5. Share your story. You have a very powerful story and God wants to use it! People will be most touched by your thoughts and experiences because they know you. If Jesus is a tangible reality in your life, others will see that and want it.

6. Become empowered by the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8<>). Learn to look to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and allow the Holy Spirit to take over the conversation. Know with confidence God will lead you and give you the right words to say to the right individuals.

7. Be patient and faithful. For many people, evangelism can be very discouraging because they don’t see immediate results. Though the ultimate goal of all evangelism is to lead people to Christ, it may not happen overnight. We must remember that only God knows when the seeds we plant will bear fruit<>.

8. Remember that we all are on a journey. Every person we encounter is in a different place on their journey, and some may not be ready to commit their lives to Christ. Our responsibility is to simply lead them further down the path and bring them closer to finding a relationship with Jesus.

9. Pray unceasingly. One of the most essential components of evangelism is prayer. You may have loved ones or friends for whom you have been continually praying for years. Do not give up hope! Prayer is the catalyst that initiates God’s will being done on the earth.
10) Remember that it’s not up to you. Campus Crusade for Christ
founder Dr. Bill Bright had a very simple and powerful definition of success. He said, “Successful witnessing is simply sharing Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit and leaving the results to God.” That’s it. Isn’t that encouraging? If you have taken the opportunity to talk about Jesus with someone in the power of the Spirit, then you have been successful.
Adapted from To God be the glory

Reaching Out

Her Last Ride

“Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living. One night I took a fare at 2:30 am. When I arrived to collect the fare, the building was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window. I honked the horn, then walked up to the door and knocked. ‘Just a minute’, answered a frail, elderly voice. After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90’s stood before me, wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat. She looked like somebody out of a 1940’s movie. She had a kind smile.

By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.
‘Would you carry my bag out to the car?’ she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.

She kept thanking me for my kindness. ‘It’s nothing’, I told her. ‘I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.’ ‘Oh, you’re such a good boy’, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, ‘Could you drive through downtown?’ ‘It’s not the shortest way,’ I answered quickly. ‘Oh, I don’t mind,’ she said. ‘I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice to die.’

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. ‘I don’t have any family left,’ she continued in a soft voice. ‘The doctor says I don’t have very long to live.’ I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived as newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. Sometimes she’d ask me to slow down in front of a particular building or corner and she would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun creased the horizon, she said, ‘I’m tired. Let’s go now’. We drove in silence to the address she had given me, a small hospice where people go to die. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They must have been expecting her. I opened the trunk and took her small suitcase to the door. She was already seated in a wheelchair.

‘How much do I owe you?’ she asked, reaching into her purse. ‘Nothing,’ I said. ‘You have to make a living,’ she answered. ‘There are other passengers,’ I responded. Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly. ‘You gave an old dying woman a few hours of joy, a last gift,’ she said. ‘Thank you.’ I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.

I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly, lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

Reflecting back, I don’t think that I could have done anything more important in my life that day. That lovely woman gave me the gift of seeing the world through her eyes. I take nothing for granted now. I treasure every moment and every person I meet. We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware, beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.” Source: Nancy Burban

We never know when will be the last time we will see a loved one or a friend. So let us make the most of each moment we have with them. Each day is special; that is why it is called THE PRESENT. And each person is special – an Image Bearer of God. So let us reach out to them with the love and truth of Christ, for time is short, tomorrow is not guaranteed, and eternity is forever.

To God be the glory

Reaching Out

Icy Waters – the Story of the RMS Titanic

On April 14, 1912 at 11:40 p.m., the RMS Titanic, a massive luxury cruise ship with 2,224 people on board, collided with a large iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean, sinking in less than three hours. The largest ship in the world at the time, the Titanic was four days into her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City when tragedy struck.
Although warned he was heading into iceberg-laced waters, Titanic Captain E.J. Smith pushed forward at a high speed (22 knots), reportedly seeking to better the crossing time of Titanic’s White Star sister ship, the Olympic. Ironically, he is even reported to have said: “Not even God himself could sink this ship.”
With the deaths of more than 1,500 people, the sinking of the Titanic was one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in history, quickly becoming a catalyst for change. The United States Congress held hearings on the casualty that resulted in measures to improve the safety of navigation.
One of the most famous scenes in the 1997 movie “Titanic” was when Rose DeWitt, played by Kate Winslet, was floating on a small door panel, while her lover Jack Dawson, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, was in the water and holding on to the door panel. The panel was large enough to hold Rose, but not both of them. In the final scene, Rose and Jack expressed their love for each other, just before Jack succumbed to hypothermia, slipped beneath the waves, and perished. Rose was then rescued by a lifeboat sent by another ship that finally arrived on the scene.
Important lessons from the sinking of the Titanic are many, including the importance of paying attention to danger signals in our lives (90% of icebergs are underwater and cannot be seen), and the fact that serious crises, and eventually death, come to every person, rich or poor, black or white, male or female, in a time not of our choosing.
But most importantly, we believers in Christ are in Christ’s life boat – His Eternal Life Boat, and yet we have family, friends, and acquaintances who are in the icy waters. If we don’t reach out to them and help them get in the Eternal Life Boat, they will perish and be gone forever. So let us reach out to them and all who the Lord brings across our path with the love and truth of Christ, for time is short, tomorrow is not guaranteed, and eternity is forever.
To God be the glory