"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

He Took My Place And In Love Bore Death's Sting

Last month I took a swat for the first time since elementary school.

I know that most school districts ban paddle spankings for children, but with parental permission, Emmanuel Christian School still gives "swats" for misbehavior.

I took a swat from Headmaster Steve Glazier and bore the sting of the swat for a second-grade student at ECS. I became the substitute for one I love.

Here's what happened.

The parents of a second-grader at Emmanuel Christian School had asked me to be responsible for their son while they took a trip. The young boy got into trouble while at school. The details are not important. Basically, the student's behavior was disrespectful to a teacher, a secretary, and he'd been disruptive in class as well.

I was called to the office. The offender was still upset, so Dr. Glazier and I sat him down and talked with him about what he'd done. After a while, he admitted that his actions were wrong.

We gave him a choice.

The young man could go seek forgiveness of his teacher, the secretary, and his classmates, or he could receive a "swat" with a paddle; one swat for each offense (a total of three).

I took time to explain the concept behind receive a paddle on the rear end.
"A swat causes a minor, temporary sting which illustrates how if you continue in the behavior that caused the swat, you're actions will eventually lead to deeper and more permanent pain in your life. Of course, seeking forgiveness for your actions means you won't receive a swat because you've humbled yourself, admitted what you did was wrong, and you are expressing a desire to make it right with others."
The second-grader said he would seek forgiveness of his teacher and the secretary, but he would not seek forgiveness of his classmates.

I told him that his parents had given us permission to swat him, and he would receive just one swat since he chose to seek forgiveness for two of the three offenses.

I asked Dr. Glazier for the paddle and told the young man to stand up, to turn around and place his hands on the desk, to bend over and prepare to receive a swat from me.

As he stood, I could see hesitation. I reminded him that if he sought forgiveness from his class, he would not receive any swats. It was his choice.

He said he would not seek forgiveness from his class - but he didn't want to receive a swat either. 

I told him the punishment had been established and could not be revoked.

The young man then lost it. He became hostile and out-of-control emotionally and verbally. For lack of a better term, he had a "melt-down."

I had to leave to officiate at a funeral, so I told our headmaster after the young man calmed down to have him sit in a chair in the headmaster's office and wait for me to return. We would finish the discipline at that time.

As I drove to the graveside, I reflected on what had just happened. Then I had an idea.

I called the headmaster on my cell:
 "Steve, when I get back we'll enforce the agreed upon discipline. I will tell the young man again that he can either seek forgiveness or receive swats. It's his choice. But if he chooses the swats, I want to take them for him."
There was silence on the other end of the line.
"Dr. Glazier?"
Finally, our headmaster spoke:
"On no, Pastor Wade. I can't do that."
I insisted and told Dr. Glazier that it might be an opportunity for me to show my love to this young boy. Dr. Glazier was still not sure, but we hung up with the understanding I'd be back in his office in about 30 minutes and we'd finish the discipline.

When I arrived back at Emmanuel Christian School, I went to Dr. Glazier's office and found the boy sitting in his chair, much calmer than when I'd left an hour earlier.

I sat down and explained again that his disrespect to the teacher and the secretary and his disruption in the classroom harmed all involved, and it was his choice to seek forgiveness from all three people/parties or receive a swat for each offense.

He said the same thing he'd said earlier. He would seek forgiveness from his teacher and the secretary, but he was not going to seek forgiveness from his class.

I told him that was his choice. The punishment was fixed. He would receive one swat.

Then I called him by name and said:
"But I'm going to take the swat for you."
 The young boy's tear-filled eyes got very big, and he looked at me as if he didn't comprehend. I explained:
"I'm asking Dr. Glazier to give me the paddle instead of you."
Dr. Glazier asked me, "Are you sure, Pastor Wade? Do you want to take the place of _______?"

I said that I did. The agreed-upon discipline would be carried out, but I desired to take the swat for the offender.

It had been a long time since I'd been in a principle's office to receive a swat. In fact, I could only recall one occasion during the 1960's and 1970's when I received a spanking with a paddle during my public school education.

I don't mind admitting my heart was racing just a tad.

The secretaries were seated outside the office in the reception area. Dr. Glazier's office door was closed, but there were windows with shades. Dr. Glazier pulled down the shades, asked me to stand, bend over his desk, and prepare to receive a swat.

Pastor Wade got a loud pop on his broad posterior.

And it did indeed sting.

When the shades were pulled up, I took the young man by the hand and led him through the reception area to go seek forgiveness of his teacher. The secretaries all thought the young boy had received the spanking. But the smile on the young man's face seemed incongruous with the event.

I listened to him as he spoke with his teacher and later the secretary. He was humble, took ownership of his disrespectful behavior, and sought their forgiveness.

As I walked boy back to rejoin his classmates, I asked him if he knew I loved him.

He said he did. He knew Pastor Wade loved him.

Why?

"Because you took my swat for me?"

Is there anybody else that loves you like that?

The boy shook his head no.

"Yes, there is," I told him. "God loves you so much He took your swats on the cross."

We had a little gospel talk, and I think the boy understood much better the love of God for him.

I was told that after the discipline in the headmaster's office, there'd come a remarkable change for the good in the boy's behavior for the rest of the school year.
"It is the love of God that constrains us." II Cor. 5:14 


Just a word to my reformed friends who preach and teach substitutionary atonement. Indeed, Jesus the Messiah died in our place. He took our place and bore the sting of death.

But be careful.

The atonement is not about an angry God being satiated by the death of Jesus Christ.

The atonement is about a loving God putting an end to death by taking death's sting for us.
"The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is etermal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23).
"O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (I Corinthians 15:55-57)
"But it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel." (II Timothy 2:10)
The reason there's so much angry preaching is that preachers think they serve an angry god.

But the God the Scriptures is the loving God who removes the sting of death by His sacrifice.

He took my place and in love bore death's sting for me.

Nobody loves me like He.

Nobody.

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

When I first read this story, I was hesitant to agree with showing love in that sort of example. Then I thought about all the Grace that has been shown to me by others, and I realized that this life lesson will be much more memorable to the young boy than to ask for forgiveness from his classmates. He likely will not remember in 10 years asking for the forgiveness of his teacher or the secretary, but he will always remember the picture of the substitute for his wrong actions. One day a time will come when he will be at a crossroads to choose to forgive someone for a wrong against him, or to take revenge and there is no doubt that the Holy Spirit will bring this powerful lesson to his mind, at the right time.

Always forcing people to think outside the "norm" Wade. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Oh, my, I'm going out on a limb. Maybe I'm off base. I'm hearing about a 7-yr-old boy who did some things that he knew very well to be wrong (he did know, didn't he?). I loved everything about this story, and especially how you took the child's place and gave the gospel application, and how God is a God of love through the substitutionary death--a wonderful picture. Except....it sounded "all business". I think this child was seriously grieving over having his parents away. This may have been the first time, and he was simply not adjusting well. I would certainly have talked to him about what he did and the need for apologies, but even before that I would have sat on a sofa with him, arm around his shoulder, maybe have a snack to share with him, and talked with him just casually about his loving parents, their dear family, where he thinks his parents went and what they're doing, his pets, his hobbies...etc...etc. I remember 2nd grade well. I was in no way prepared for this (what seems to me to be)cold treatment. But maybe there's more to the story and I'm not getting the whole picture. I hope I'm wrong.

Anonymous said...

For whom did He die?

Christiane said...

"As I drove to the graveside, I reflected on what had just happened.
THEN
I had an idea." :)


'a willing victim who had committed no treachery . . . '


an inspiration
AND 'a teachable moment'

Well done, Wade . . .
the boy will remember this all of his life




Wade Burleson said...

Anonymous (second),

You may be correct. However, regardless of reasons, actions have consequences. You may murder someone because he/she had an affair with your spouse. That doesn't make the murder right. You may throw an awful tantrum and be disrespectful and curse your teacher and others because you miss your parents, but that doesn't make it right.

geriayers said...

I love everything about this story. You were able to teach and preach a great lesson to this young man. If only more of us would exemplify God’s love such as you did, wouldn’t this world be a much better place! Job well done. Btw, I, too, believe a paddling can be very constructive.

Doug said...

Great story, great example of Christ’s love for us. Wish you’d been around for me, I spent a lot of time bent over the VP’s desk. A lot.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

I don’t think anyone else would of thought of what you did excluding Heaven. Wonderful story.

It sort of reminded me my brother-in-law when he was principle of a kinder garden. It involved a big boy and a small boy. A year earlier the small boy had a serious operation. This is key.

The big boy was sent to the principal’s office for hitting the small boy. After he got a lick, he said it was the only way he could stop the boy from pestering him.

Principle sent for the small boy. “Is it true you pestered the other boy.?"
“Yes.”
“Do you believe you deserve a lick like he got?”
“Yes.”
“Bend over and grab your ankles.”
“Aren’t you going to put me sleep first?”

Samuel Conner said...

Wonderful idea, Wade!

It reminds me a bit of 1 Jn 3:16

I don't think I've ever heard that text preached; I imagine that when the young boy eventually encounters it in his own reading, it will be full of resonance for him.

-----

It's a bit of a shame that the Reformed stopped reforming as soon as they did. Now they are trapped (both mentally and, given the way Reformed churches organize themselves around the agenda of protection of doctrine, sociologically) in a dogmatic system every bit as impenetrable as the one they originally opposed.

Two things helped me to begin to wonder about whether there might be significant flaws in that seemingly airtight system. First, it seemed odd that the Scriptures do not clearly speak of Jesus suffering ECT in order to bear the penalty of sins. Maybe "the wages of sin" is simply "death", an idea that runs throughout OT and NT. More broadly, the concept of "the wrath of God" is very "under the sun" in the OT (not surprisingly), but surprisingly also in Paul. Perhaps we have misunderstood "the wrath of God" (a problem for broader evangelicals as well as Reformed).

Thanks for this story. And thanks for living in a way that images the Savior.

Anonymous said...

This is a wonderful post, and mirrors the methods I was taught to use in teaching SS to children, and in illustrating the gospel with adults. And I agree 100% some seem to have a vision of an angry God.

But I have run into a snag and have a question. I hope, Pastor Wade, you can give me some guidance or recommend resources to help me in finding a way around a conundrum.

You see, for anyone to understand Jesus took our swats for us they have to understand they have some swats coming. And therein lies the rub. For the last decade or so I have that most adults do not believe they are sinners, have sinned, or deserve any sort of punishment or swats at all. That has been my experience, which may have been geography specific or not. But most seem to have been trained in the idea "you are perfect just as you are AND everything you do is perfect by virtue of you having done it."

Gang bangers were more open to the gospel. They instinctively seemed to know running drugs, prostitution, killing, etc were wrong. But your "average" person, meaning not criminal, was another thing. To the point one man was genuinely grieved and shocked to find the church "unsupportive" as he put it the day he brought the woman he was having an affair with to church and sat with her right behind his soon to be ex wife.

I agree we don't need the angry hit them over the head with their sin approach. But again, the only people Jesus saves are sinners and until they see themselves as in need of saving He does not save. (Ok, some 5 pointers will disagree, I know.)

How do communicate the truth that some actions we take and some we fail take make us sinners? There is the whole original sin thing but that will be laughed right off the table in the culture of self esteem.

So what is a better plan? Angry as it can sound, the "Way of the Master" presentations seemed to work best.

Help us out here!

Linda

Rex Ray said...

Samuel Conner,

You said, “First, it seemed odd that the Scriptures do not clearly speak of Jesus suffering ETC in order to bear the penalty of sins.”

“Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of SUFFERING away from me…He prayed more fervently, and he was in such AGONY of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.” (Luke 22:42-44 NLT)

Samuel, do you believe that thinking about Calvary would not be as bad as Jesus being flogged near death? What about the spikes hammered into his hands and feet?

https://www.gotquestions.org/blood-water-Jesus.html

Question: "Why did blood and water come out of Jesus' side when He was pierced?"

Answer: The Roman flogging or scourging that Jesus endured prior to being crucified normally consisted of 39 lashes, but could have been more (Mark 15:15; John 19:1). The whip that was used, called a flagrum, consisted of braided leather thongs with metal balls and pieces of sharp bone woven into or intertwined with the braids. The balls added weight to the whip, causing deep bruising and contusions as the victim was struck. The pieces of bone served to cut into the flesh. As the beating continued, the resulting cuts were so severe that the skeletal muscles, underlying veins, sinews, and bowels of victims were exposed. This beating was so severe that at times victims would not survive it in order to go on to be crucified.

Those who were flogged would often go into hypovolemic shock, a term that refers to low blood volume. In other words, the person would have lost so much blood he would go into shock. The results of this would be

1) The heart would race to pump blood that was not there.

2) The victim would collapse or faint due to low blood pressure.

3) The kidneys would shut down to preserve body fluids.

4) The person would experience extreme thirst as the body desired to replenish lost fluids.

There is evidence from Scripture that Jesus experienced hypovolemic shock as a result of being flogged. As Jesus carried His own cross to Golgotha (John 19:17), He collapsed, and a man named Simon was forced to either carry the cross or help Jesus carry the cross the rest of way to the hill (Matthew 27:32–33; Mark 15:21–22; Luke 23:26). This collapse indicates Jesus had low blood pressure. Another indicator that Jesus suffered from hypovolemic shock was that He declared He was thirsty as He hung on the cross (John 19:28), indicating His body’s desire to replenish fluids.

Prior to death, the sustained rapid heartbeat caused by hypovolemic shock also causes fluid to gather in the sack around the heart and around the lungs. This gathering of fluid in the membrane around the heart is called pericardial effusion, and the fluid gathering around the lungs is called pleural effusion. This explains why, after Jesus died and a Roman soldier thrust a spear through Jesus’ side, piercing both the lungs and the heart, blood and water came from His side just as John recorded in his Gospel (John 19:34).

Rex Ray said...

Samuel Conner,

That link explained physical pain that Jesus felt but what about spiritual pain?

Jesus believed his Father would never leave him as shown: “…the time is coming; indeed it is here now, when you will be scattered, each of you going his own way, leaving me alone. Yet I am not alone because my Father is with me.” (John 16:32 NLT)

“…My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”…Jesus uttered another loud cry and breathed his last.” (Mark 15:34-37 NLT)

I believe the pain caused by God forsaking his Son was more than a human heart could stand, and Jesus died from a broken heart.

“He could have called ten thousand angels to set him free, but he died alone for you and me.”

Anonymous said...

I may be wrong but wan't Samuel saying ECT as in eternal conscious torment?

linda

Samuel Conner said...

Linda,

Yes; I think Rex's replies reinforce my point. Jesus suffered bodily death, with all of its physical and emotional anguish -- and perhaps, being unjustly slain, Jesus' experience of these sorrows was unusually deep. But there is no clear Biblical evidence that Jesus suffered post-mortem torments as part of His sin-bearing vocation. Which suggests that post-mortem torments are not part of "the wages of sin". And that seems to me to be a significant point of tension between the Scriptures and standard Reformed systematic theology as it conceives the consequences of sin.

Samuel Conner said...

Linda (@ 12:26 6/28)

A thought that I'm sure Wade can improve on, but this may be helpful:

If we think of "wrath of God" exclusively in terms of "bad things that happen after you die", then our Gospel doesn't have much to offer people who aren't already in substantial agreement with us. IOW, we may have to convert them to ECT before we can convert them to Jesus. Our message becomes first the bad news of ECT (and persuading people of that may be a "heavy lift"), and then the good news of how, through Jesus, to avoid that.

In Romans 1, Paul speaks of "wrath of God" as something that happens now as we exchange worship of God for created things and suppress truth and experience the consequences of that, first in the darkening of our understanding and then in ways of living that do not reflect the image of God, and finally in bad things that arise out of those disordered ways of living.

This "under the sun" form of "wrath of God" happens to everyone in one way or another, and to the extent that unbelievers can be shown how their worship of created things (often themselves in one way or another) rather than God leads to discernible bad outcomes, that can create opportunities for them to self-assess as "falling short of the image of God" and opportunities to call them to turn from false worship to the worship of the true God.

Anonymous said...

Samuel, many of the more Wesleyan churches have tried that approach only to find people believe they are perfect but victims of this or that, either of other people or addictions or whatever. No matter how you cut it, unless a person can accept that their own actions are negative at times you cannot reach them with a Savior.

And in a few cases, that approach quickly became a "Jesus came to save me from a bad hair day" sort of theology.

I appreciate your answer but in reality haven't found that line of reasoning to bring anyone to saving faith.

Linda

Samuel Conner said...

I think that this approach is not well suited to "explain the Gospel in five minutes to a stranger while waiting for the bus to work" or in "cold call" door-knocking that seemed possible using older methods such as "The Four Spiritual Laws" or the EE questions. I have the impression that those tools don't work as well as they used to and I think that part of the problem is that there is less shared christian cultural background today than there was decades ago.

But I think it can be useful in ongoing conversation with people whom one knows well enough to be able to speak potentially sensitive or hard words to without arousing hostility -- because the relational context is already one of trust. And in relationships with unbelievers in which there is that kind of trust, one will generally perceive ways in which they are bringing "under the sun wrath" on themselves and those they care about.

I agree that this is not suitable for "once and done" evangelistic presentations.

Christiane said...

Hello Mr. Conner,
What is a 'once and done' evangelical presentation? Thanks, if you can help. :)

Samuel Conner said...

CHi hristiane,

Years ago in college I affiliated with the local Campus Crusade for Christ chapter. Their highly structured evangelistic presentation was called "The Four Spiritual Laws" (T4L), a somewhat less intimidating version of typical "Romans road" presentation, that was printed in a little booklet that one could offer to a stranger and work through with him/her in a matter of minutes.

If the person found the presentation persuasive, there was a "sinners prayer" section at the end of the booklet that one could go through with them. Hurrah!

But if the person did not find the presentation persuasive, there really wasn't anything else to say. This is a method that could be used once with a person, and if they did not respond, you were "done" with them. And this is actually how the local CCC staff members at the time viewed things -- the job was to share T4L with as many people as possible on the theory that some of them would respond and be incorporated into the Church. The non-responders were not the concern of the campus evangelists.

T4L was something you would share "once" with a person, after which, if they did not respond, you were "done" with them. "once and done"

I think that this may also be true of many other forms of tract evangelism.



Samuel Conner said...

Hi Christiane,

I should add that this is in contrast to more conversational forms of ministry in which one attempts to ascertain the ways in which a person might be able to perceive how the Gospel is relevant to their life and speak to those ways. That was more or less the point of my above thoughts about "under the sun wrath" and personal evangelism. We tend not to think of ongoing relational-context conversations as "evangelistic" ministry. They are more nearly of the character of simple friendship. Jesus certainly didn't engage in long or repeat conversations with evangelistic "targets" (He did do that with His disciples, and it took even them years to "get it"). But Jesus in his brief interactions with people seems to have had the advantage of knowing their hearts, something that we cannot (IMO) rely on for ourselves.

Victorious said...

But again, the only people Jesus saves are sinners and until they see themselves as in need of saving He does not save.

Linda, I know you asked for help from Wade, but I hope you won't mind my sharing thoughts about Jesus only saving sinners when they see themselves as sinners.

I was one who did not see myself as a sinner; I followed all the rules. I found Jesus when I was 32 yrs. old and the worst sin I could remember at the time was that I stole a York Peppermint Patty from a local drugstore when I was about 7/8 yrs. old. Now we know that's not the only sin I was guilty of, but following my conversion the Holy Spirit began the process of revealing that sin is more than murder, theft, rape, etc., but things present in the heart; i.e. hatred, anger, unforgiveness, envy, etc. But prior to my conversion, I was honestly a good person....lol

What I was, was lonely, hurt, sad and feeling useless. I was married with 2 children and still there was a void. I wondered, like the Peggy Lee song, "Is that all there is?" I sang with Judy Garland's "Somewhere over the rainbow...." and Elvis Presley's "If I can dream..." OK, I know it sounds melodramatic, but that's exactly where I was....searching and in pain.

To make a long story short, someone put a copy of David Wilkerson's book, "The Cross and the Switchblade" in my mailbox and I never did find out who did that. I read it and it seemed preposterous that he actually spoke to God and God spoke to Him so I threw it across the room and it landed behind the sofa until months later when I cleaned back there and found it. I was desperate and figured it couldn't hurt if I read that prayer in the back of the book. What did I have to lose? I waited until my husband went to bed; the kids were asleep and knelt down in front of the sofa and read that prayer. I felt stupid actually. I prefaced the prayer by saying (to God?) that I sure hope He was as real as Wilkerson seemed to think.

I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that not 2-3 days later my husband looked at me and asked what in the world had happened to me. I was different. He saw it. I stopped and thought to myself...could it have actually been that prayer I read???

That was the start of my journey. Hope I didn't get too focused on myself, but I love to share the way this woman who was not a sinner...lol found Jesus. I believe when people reach the point in their lives when they realize how empty it is, that something is missing, and start searching for some answers, they will find Him. I believe the scripture "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you" can be the best path to suggest to some people.

There is no "one-size-fits-all" method imho, but hitting bottom might be just the beginning to the way up for some. I've shared the ask-seek-knock advice many times and prayed for them afterward.

Sorry for the rant, but hopefully someone will give some thought to a different way of sharing Jesus.

Anonymous said...

I too have read the Cross and the Switchblade, and it is very much a traditional way of presenting Jesus as Savior for sinners.

I think I'm not expressing my question well. How do you lead someone to saving faith (and it is saving from God's wrath, be that ect or annihilation or separation from God in the here and now) when the gospel really IS as Wade put it, Jesus taking our swats when someone is adamant (not simply unaware)that they deserve no swats?

Victorious, you would fall into that unaware group. I don't see you standing and boldly stating yourself as perfect. As flawless. I've dealt as a SS teacher with a mom who read the parent handout for the next week's lesson and was firm that "her kids were absolutely not to be taught sex outside of marriage is sin" because she had roughly half a dozen kids and had not been married, and no way did that make her a sinner. I've dealt with the man who got caught visiting a prostitute, caught in a sting and made the newspaper for it. He was livid that his wife and our church saw him as doing wrong. It was not wrong in his sight because he "felt good about it."

I'm suggesting we need a new way to communicate exactly what is sin, what the consequences are, as well as the Jesus took our swats. We no longer live in a society with a basic sense of right and wrong or knowledge of sin. I totally agree beating people up about their sins isn't a good way to go, but we do at some point have to educate them or inform the conscience.

I'm glad God understood your heart and dealt gently with you. But what if you never came to understand the gospel and got stuck with sort of "Jesus came to fill my voids, make me happy, make me wealthy, etc?" I would posit the idea you could enjoy that wonderful make believe relationship and yet die lost and facing wrath. (However God defines that.)

Linda

Samuel Conner said...

Hi Linda,

Strictly speaking, "the Gospel" as the NT speaks of it, is not "Jesus taking our swats". It's the announcement of God's rule over the world through His chosen servant, Jesus, attested to be God's chosen servant, and the person by whom God will judge the world, by Jesus' resurrection from the dead.

It's actually a less "me-centered" proclamation than we are accustomed to thinking of. What we call "the Gospel" is more nearly "applied individual eschatology", how people ought to respond in view of the truth of the proclamation and its implications for them as individuals. The reported public preaching that one finds in Acts, for example, doesn't really sound very much like the conventional Gospel invitations in our churches. That's not to criticize them, just to clarify terms.

If I might reword your question, "how do we persuade people that Jesus really is the Lord of the world, to whom they owe their allegiance and obedience, and to whom they will give account on the last day?"

That's a good question and a challenge. And a worrisome problem is that perhaps too many of our churches are not very compelling bearers of this message, for the kinds of reasons that you mention.

Victorious said...

But what if you never came to understand the gospel and got stuck with sort of "Jesus came to fill my voids, make me happy, make me wealthy, etc?"

God knows how to bring us from point A to point B. Following my conversion mentioned above, He sent a neighbor to invite me to a prayer meeting. The only thing we had in common was that we both were Catholic. The prayer meeting she invited me to was at an Episcopal church and I had serious misgivings about that until she told me the meeting was going to be led by 2 Roman Catholic priests.

At that prayer meeting the priests mentioned something about the baptism in the Holy Spirit and said that God had something more for me. So I went into the church library after the meeting and borrowed a couple books: Larry Tomczak’s “Clap Your Hands” and John Sherrill’s “They Speak With Other Tongues”

After reading those two books, I knelt down and told the Lord that “they” said you have something more for me. “But, Lord, they are Episcopal so I don’t think I should believe them because as you know, I’m Catholic.” (smile) So…If it’s true that you have something more for me, I want everything you have for me….”

My mouth immediately opened like a baby bird wanting to be fed. Nothing came out of my mouth (at the time) but I knew beyond a doubt that Jesus heard by desire to learn everything about Him and receive all that He has for me.

Then came the desire to buy a Bible and read it. What I read astonished me and I began to thirst for more of God's Word. There were many more of the Lord's leadings, but trust me....He knows the heart (as you said) and gently leads them through a wonderful journey.

Of course, Linda, time and circumstances will be different for everyone. I searched for 1 1/2 yrs. before finding that book in my mailbox and reading the prayer in the back.

Sometimes we may be used of God to merely plant a seed that others will water.

Christiane said...

"a different way of sharing Jesus"

The Eastern Christians teach that a humble person can draw thousands to Christ.... and the sacred Scriptures do tell us that God gives 'grace' to the humble, and one product of God's grace is the ability to harbor within one's self 'the peace of Christ' and to bear that peace to others who need Him.

Too many 'angry' Christians in Western Christianity these days, and the anger is directed towards those who 'aren't like them', so you see the growth among these Christians of an extreme wrath which presents these Christians as 'easily offended' by others. It is not a scene that draws many to Christ, no. So when a Christian DOES come along who is willing to humble himself in order to point a young child to Christ, is it any wonder that we stop and take notice and seek to understand. :)

"Domine, fac me servum pacis tuae . . . "

Rex Ray said...

Really enjoyed reading how people were saved in different ways. I remember how Orthel Large was saved.

Our uncle Hez was strong. He could pull a bailing wire in two with his hands. He was a conscientious objector in World War I. He made a vow not to kill anyone. Both sides followed the rule of no shooting when they fought ‘hand to hand’. All rifles had bayonets.

Once Hez stood at attention with his bayonet buried in the ground as a German started to kill him. Their eyes locked and the German passed him by.

But back to the story. While in his pasture, Hez heard a voice behind him, “Go to Ector”. (Ector was mainly a grocery store three miles away.) Hez turned to see who it was but there was no one there. After hearing it again, he went home and asked his wife if they needed any groceries.

After she said no, he told her he thought he’d go anyway. He hitched up two horses to a wagon and went to Ector. At the grocery store a man said, “Have you heard the news?”

“What are you talking about?”
“Orthel Large is on his death bed!”

Everyone knew he had never been saved.
Hez asked Orthel if he’d like to be saved.
“Yes, but I don’t know how.”
Hez held his hand and told him to repeat after him.
Afterwards, Orthel yelled to his wife in the next room: “I’ve got some hay to haul!”

(My father never confronted Orthel for taking hay from his ‘hay barn’ from time to time to feed his milk cow.)

In being saved, Orthel wanted to make restitution.

His wife replied, “You old fool, you’re not in any shape to haul hay.” He died three days later.

Lori Beth said...

You are reading a story of the event. Of course, prior there was plenty of Grace given. There were more conversations, hugs, and redirection. Be assured the teachers at our school love our children well. This wasn’t all business, but it’s a blog post not a novel. ��

Lori Beth said...

My comment was meant as a reply to Anonymous the second .

Anonymous said...

I read the story and loved it. And I am glad that you gave the advice at the end for the reformed believers. I am not reformed. But I too used to see our Lord as an angry,'expecting me to be perfect and disgusted when I wasn't' kind of God. Over the past several years, God has done alot of healing in my view of Him. I can now see Him as a loving Father. It was not immediate. It was a process. I love the grace shown this little boy and the 'concrete' illustration of what Jesus did for us. I only have one concern. Please know this is coming from someone who struggled alot in school socially and to be accepted pretty much thru elementary school and part of middle school. I wonder about asking the boy to apologize to his classmates. Those who were not bullied or otherwise suffered derision may not understand. I just ask that maybe those in charge at the school may offer up a prayer about it.

Christiane said...

Hey REX RAY,

Loved your story about Orthel Large and Hez.
You have always had stories that make me laugh and cry in the same story . . . that's some GOOD writing, my friend. :)