Tuesday, January 31, 2017
January 28 1999
I Corinthians 2:1-2
And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
January 28th is a kind of anniversary of sorts for me. Maybe that is the wrong terminology...to say it is my anniversary. it really isn't about me...it's about God.
Him at work...me cooperating with Him. Him exercising power.....me an empty conduit for that power to move and touch. any who, I digress...it is an anniversary.
I came to Rapha in August of 1998. I was simply someone who filled in where I was needed. Some days it was to oversee a class....other times it was to show a video to the group. In December of that year, Steve Yarbrough approached me about taking over a time slot to teach. I immediately said yes and told Steve that I would teach a "God-101" class, kind of an intro to God. My first group started in January of 1999. The dynamic of teaching such a group was a whole other ball game than what I had was accustom to. Those first classes were not very good and thank God that He didn't give up on me. I am grateful as well to those who had to sit in those first excruciating teachings. I stumbled and fumbled thoughts and words, but I kept on coming back every day to teach.
Through the class time and the questions that seem to come my way, I learned to "hear" God on the fly (that is how I refer to it). In other words, the Holy Spirit truly became my guide taking me to Scriptures to help answer questions that were asked. He helped me to learn how to directthe flow of the teaching so that it was exactly what God wanted to teach rather than some meandering trip into topics that had no value to the group.
On January 28, 1999, I finished up the days teaching and began to talk about God's desire to have relationship with us. I spoke of His love and mercy that was present for all who gave up life and will over to His care. As I began to pray, a young man off to my side began to cry. Bending over and placing his hands over his face, you could tell that God was all over this man. As quickly as the crying had started, he began to rock back and forth and the crying grew harder. There was a struggle going on for this young man's very soul. There was evidence that there were demonic spirits involved trying to keep him from entering into this offer for salvation. Much prayer and interaction with the young man only brought out more of the demonization. But, God was not to be denied. The young man renounced all the darkness and sin he had embraced. He renounced the presence of the demonic influences in his life. With each declaration of wanting to break free from the darkness, the presence of God grew stronger. Finally the young man screamed at the top of his voice, "I want to be saved...I want God!!!" It all broke with that declaration. Salvation came to this young man. He looked different. He talked different. He was different. He was now a new believer....a child of God. Brad had been freed from the demons and darkness that had held him in bondage for years.
This was the first man who was saved in my class at Rapha. Each one since then, who comes to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ is a celebration to God's faithfulness. I never will tire of seeing lives changed and the name of Christ celebrated. Lives changed...that's what it's all about. As I've mentioned before....every time someone gets saved, that is payday to me.
I haven't heard from this young man in years....
But on this day, I always think back to the first work God did in that cafeteria there on the compound at Rapha, and I have to declare..."God is good!"
God on you...
Matthew 2:1-2 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerus...