Friday, September 11, 2009
Another Link in the Chain
Another quiet night in Hollywood. Very few people out on the street, especially considering that it's Summertime, when the warm weather normally brings out the masses. But the conversations we did have were great.
i enjoyed the unique pleasure of walking around with Antquan last night, our director, who normally picks up pizza and sets up bible study while we're out meeting people and bringing them to The Refuge. Antquan is an awesome speaker, which I'm used to because I hear him almost every week. But I forget how amazing he is relationally as well. God has uniquely blessed him with this ministry because he can relate to almost anyone and make them feel comfortable quickly. Within moments of passing a random stranger on the street, we had gotten to know each other and were onto the topic of sinners vs. saints. Eric was completely entertained with Antquan and able to enter into a great dialogue with us - and he even remembered me from months and months ago from a guy we used to hang out with out there.
During that conversation our friend 'Jake' showed up, who had gotten a ride out to the are specifically to come see us. He told me it'd been two weeks that he'd been clean, was going to lots of AA meetings, had a place to stay, and was making friends and surrounding himself with people who are sober and clean. Clearly he was doing much better and was very excited about the progress he was making and how much he enjoyed being in control and realizing he doesn't need drugs or alcohol - and feels better without them. He asked if we were having bible study, as well as if I was going to church in Hollywood this weekend because he was anxious to attend both.
Bible study ended up being the two of them and our buddy Bryan, plus our group of 6, so we once again had a pretty casual, small group type of discussion with Antquan speaking about 'fast food prayers' and Isaiah 58. How fasting and praying and going to God when we need him aren't what God asks of us, because if they don't involve our hearts they are meaningless.
Eric, who had been hesitant to even come to bible study, ended up thanking us afterward for being there and for praying with him and talking with him. He acknowledged that God had brought him there and seemed to recognize something spiritual happening in him.
These types of posts seem so simple. As if almost nothing happened out there. Yet these are no small things. We may not see hundreds come to Christ, but we get to assist and watch people as they start recognizing and acknowledging God, discovering truth about him, and finding hope and freedom in him. We get to see people like Jake leave behind the destructive chains of substance abuse, and talk to people like Eric who otherwise would've wandered down the street with no one to talk to on a mission to get booze. And instead they end up hearing the word of God and being moved by it.
I strongly believe in discipleship and not only leading people to accept Christ, but walking alongside them as they discover what that means. Anyone can say they accept him and then walk away if they have no one to help disciple them. But we get to watch people change from week to week and see them become followers of Christ. It's not a fast easy process, but sanctification never is for any of us. I think God has uniquely created our ministry to be a link in the chain - a link to other organizations with more resources, to churches, and on the path to God - whether planting a seed, watering it, or reaping the harvest. What a privilege!