IVP - Online Pulpit - When Opportunity Knocks - Don't Knock It!

October 1, 2007

When Opportunity Knocks - Don't Knock It!

Recently, while teaching the book of Acts to a group of adults, I learned something. We were noting how the early Christians took every opportunity to proclaim Christ. Every circumstance was seized as a moment to talk about Jesus. We decided to take up this challenge. Little did I realize how much I needed it! It’s easy to get so caught up in the management of the church that we miss its real purpose. Suddenly I was seeing interruptions and annoyances as opportunities.

An Interruption

It was 5:30 p.m., and I had been on the job since 7:30 a.m. (without a lunch break). As I was going to my car in the church parking lot, a young man approached me. He was looking for someone to baptize his baby. Obviously this young man knew nothing about faith or baptism. And I just wanted to go home. Suddenly, I remembered I had asked God to help me reach out to the Hispanic parents in the neighborhood of my new church. Here stood a young Hispanic parent, and I almost didn’t recognize the opportunity. I told Jimmy I would love to help him, but that baptism, like surgery, is serious business. His request was a bit like asking a doctor in a hospital parking lot to operate on his little girl! I gave him my number and asked him to call me for an appointment.

The next week, two other young Hispanic parents came to my office to ask about baptism. (They didn’t even know what kind of church they were in.) My businesslike response could have been, “You don’t understand; there are many requirements before a baby can be baptized. You’ll have to … blah, blah, blah” (the list could have gone on forever). Thank God that the Spirit interrupted me and allowed me to see an opportunity. The result: a discussion group with several young Hispanic parents is going on in our church. They are hearing the gospel for the first time!

An Annoyance

A Syrian man walked into our church and had the audacity to ask for a letter stating that he was a member. (He had attended our church a couple of times several months earlier.) Obviously, this man didn’t know how Presbyterians do things (or how many pages of the Book of Order were involved in such an endeavor!) Eventually I discovered that he was seeking political asylum. It annoyed me that this man was using faith and our church for his own political ends.

But suddenly, I remembered my calling—to preach the good news to every creature. Here was a creature, an annoying one, but no less a creature. I didn’t write the letter he requested; instead I invited him to come back to talk about it. He came back twice. The second time, his desire became so clear to me I almost laughed out loud: He wanted a letter saying he had converted from Islam to Christianity. I was ready to argue with him about the ethics of writing such a letter when I realized he needed to hear the gospel! So I opened up the Scriptures and explained the good news to him. I prayed for his salvation and invited him to come back again.

Opportunity Knocks

This is what the church was about in Acts. This is what the church is to be about today—taking every opportunity to boldly proclaim the good news of the gospel.

Thank God that his Word can even get through to pastors!

Posted by Candie Blankman at October 1, 2007 8:53 AM Bookmark and Share

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