Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Night Time @ Rapha

Like I wrote yesterday, There are a lot of memories scattered around that property. Every where I look, there was a story. There was the time that a man came forward to be saved, but he wasn't real sure about whether it was the right thing to do or not. Truth was, he wasn't sure that he truly wanted to quit using. You know how it goes. "If I could have a little bit of Jesus---just enough to keep me out of hell, then I'd be o.k." That particular night, with this particular man, I blindfolded him (with his permission), took him outside and lead him all over the compound. He was so confused because he could not get his bearings of where he was. As we took this little journey, I read scripture after scripture to him. "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God"....."The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life" scripture after another. We probably walked all over the place for 30 minutes. Finally we wound up at the cross there on the property. I stood him up in front of it and before I took the blindfold off I told him that he was fixing to see the answer to every problem that his addiction created in his life. As I removed the blindfold and this man's eyes fell upon that cross....he crumbled to the ground and cried out..."Oh God forgive me...I'm so sorry for the things I've done." Powerful stuff. 

Like I said, I've got a ton of memories out at Rapha. Last night was one more to add to the collection. I drove out at 6:30 to prepare for the Bible study I was to teach. Evening is my most favorite time out at Rapha. Nothing had changed. Men were moving around, fishing, talking. throwing a football. A crowd had gathered on the steps of what use to be the R.A. Office. Lot's of laughter and good natured ribbing. I made my way to the chapel to see who was going to come to the study. Shortly before 7 p.m., five men walked through the door and took a seat around the table where I was. "Thank you, Father.." short prayer for the five.

Over the next hour, we shared with one another in an effort to get to know each other a little better. Then the Bibles were opened and we began. Matthew 11:28-30. For the better part of the next hour we tore those verses apart.

Opening word of the verses..."Come". Sounds like an invitation. If you receive an invitation you have one of two things that you can do. You can respond by going....or you can reject and stay away.

Next was "Come to me". An invitation and a direction to move in. Someone has called out to you for a specific purpose. Kind of vague in what is going to happen but an invitation none the less.

"Come to me all who are weary and carry heavy burdens"... Jesus was taking to people who were trapped under the religious system of the day that put tremendous pressure to "BE" holy. I shared how the devil has his own religious system of burden, false accusations, lies and deception that is heaped on the shoulders of everyone who lives outside the salvation and will of God.

"Come to me all who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest". So if you put it all have an invitation that will lead you in a direction to someone who can do for you what you cannot do for yourself. 

Lot of note taking...
Lot of back and forth sharing among the group...
At the end, I told them that this isn't going to work unless you apply what you're learning. Without application, you are merely collecting data and information. Last time I checked, such has no value to getting you into the kingdom.

Closing with prayer, hugs and handshakes all around, I made my way to the door. Looking back into that room before I turned out the lights, I whispered..."Thank you was a good night".
Hopefully this will be the first of many more studies.

God on you..

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