"But among you there must not be even a hint
of sexual immorality,
or any kind of impurity, or of greed,
because these are improper for God's holy people."
Ephesians 5:3 (NIV)
Why is it that when the Spirit of God moves in a seemingly odd way we are surprised? I asked myself that question yesterday after an event on a downtown city street. I know I shouldn't have felt this way, but I was caught completely off guard with what transpired. All I can do now is say, "Praise God, and please Lord, continue to work in J's life."
I had gone to a downtown store to meet a couple dear friends from out of town who called and said they were there. This all came about because a while ago I had mentioned that I would like to learn to play the guitar again, not having touched one since my high school days. We were looking at acoustic guitars and enjoying each other's company. It was a really nice time. After we left the store, we just stood outside by their car and just fellowshipped for a while.
I'm not sure exactly the context, and it doesn't even matter, but as we fellowshipped, my friend used the word "Fornication" at the precise time that a young man walked past us. He suddenly stopped, turned to look at us, and stepped forward to where we were standing. What followed seemed to me a divine appointment. We talked together for about a half hour. His questions flowed as did the tears in his eyes, and when my brother asked if we could pray for him, he consented. Afterwards we hugged each other, and he was on his way.
I asked myself, "what just happened?" I mean, when I think of sharing the Gospel, and of street evangelism, I don't usually think of it as springing forth from the word "Fornication." The very word "Fornication" seems almost archaic in our sexually permissive society today. For those who may not be familiar with the word, my dictionary defines "Fornication" as, "voluntary sexual intercourse other than between a married couple, especially where either person or both persons are unmarried." While our society seems to have evolved to the point where it has no problem with this, God does have a problem with it, and He calls it "sin."
Was God using that precise moment and word to speak to J's heart? I think He was. I also think God was using that moment to speak to my heart and to remind me of what "being" the church is really all about. Oh, He has convinced me for years already that church is not about where you go but rather about what you are. Even the Great Commission points to that when Jesus said, "Therefore GO and make disciples..." (Matthew 28:19). How easy it is for us, though, to become lethargic about "being" the church and taking the church outside of the building.
I think the main thing I was reminded of from this is, as the Apostle Peter said, "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give to give the reason for the hope that you have" (1 Peter 3:15). I was also reminded that though we often tend to pray with Isaiah, "Here am I. Send me" (Isaiah 6:8), we ironically forget that He has already sent us (again, see the Great Commission: Matthew 28:18-20).
Lord, thank you for the lesson on those downtown streets yesterday. Thank you for that divine appointment. Thank you for "J" and I pray that you might continue to work in his heart. Lord, continue to make me a blessing to someone each day. Thank you, Jesus.