TITLE: Once A Cheerleader (Part 2) 12/23/15
SEND A PRIVATE COMMENT
SEND ARTICLE TO A FRIEND
Please critique everything. I sincerely appreciate all input.
Thank you very much.
A few years later, after I moved to Japan for work, Rick called me in the middle of the night because he was so excited that he didn’t think about the time zone difference. He blurted out, “I’ve accepted Jesus as my Savior and wanted to let you know that you’re part of the reason why I did it!”
At first, I was groggy and thought, who would call me at this hour? But upon hearing Rick’s enthusiastic voice, I sat up like a seat returning to its upright position and said, “Wow, that’s great.”
Although I thought I had bungled the chance at leading Rick to Christ, God turned it into a success story for His glory. Rick explained, “That Evidence for Faith book you gave me helped me understand that Jesus is the truth. I was impressed that intellectuals confirmed the historical records and claims about Jesus. Everything clicked. I finally got it—why Jesus died on the cross. He was the only sacrifice that could pay for all sins and unite us with God. Sin’s power died with Jesus.”
But Rick expressed the following reservations, “No close family member or male friends were Christians. How would they react to me or how would I relate with them? Could I still hang out with ‘the gang’? I was afraid of the unknown. My major concern was that once I made a commitment to Jesus there would be no turning back.”
After allowing Rick time to wrestle over a commitment to Him, God confronted Rick on the fifth anniversary of his father’s death.
“The Holy Spirit’s conviction grew stronger than my fears. I thought how cool it would be to transform the date I associated with death to one of rebirth and salvation! Plus, believing the truth about Jesus and not accepting Him made me a hypocrite. Yet I still struggled to make that commitment. I sat on my bed until 11:55 p.m. I knew I had to do it or wait another year for a similar opportunity. So I took the leap of faith: I prayed the prayer written on a God’s Salvation pamphlet that I had. I felt relieved. I remembered that I slept peacefully that night.”
Rick further explained, “My mom told me that dad had accepted Christ before he passed away. I was troubled not knowing where my dad’s spirit was, but now I’m happy that my dad is with God.”
May 27th, the anniversary date of his father’s death, became a double celebration day. It was the day that God welcomed Rick’s father home to Heaven (“when we are away from the body we are at home with the Lord” 2 Corinthians 5:8), and the day that the angels rejoiced at Rick’s repentance (“there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” Luke 15:10). God used Rick’s love for his father to initiate his interest in Christ and to fulfill that interest in Him.
“As time passed, I figured I should see what church was like, so I visited a couple of churches,” Rick said as he explained why he attended the Hawaii Kai Community Church. “It was close to my house. I think it was because they needed a bass player for their worship team. Pastor Andy recruited me right away. He was excited to finally have a bass player. I felt wanted. Pastor Randy helped me to understand the Bible. I’ve never looked back.”
God taught me that Rick’s salvation and growth in Christ had nothing to do with my performance, but it had everything to do with God turning my perceived fumble into His win. God said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9). What we might think is our weakness, God may use for His glory.
God also taught me that being a cheerleader for Him means being a member of His team. I might not be able to escort someone into the spiritual end zone of accepting Christ, but I can play a part in that person’s advancement toward Him. The Apostle Paul explained, in 1 Corinthians 3:6, that God assigns each team member a position. “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.”
Today, Rick is thrilled when God throws him a “Win a Soul For Him” football, and it is Rick who encourages me to keep being a cheerleader for Christ. We know the joy of facilitating improved lives, and the hope of reuniting with believers in heaven (2 Samuel 12:23).
Once a cheerleader, always a cheerleader for Christ.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.