Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Murder, Interrupted

This week, we enjoyed watching God orchestrate a miraculous intervention that totally transformed the lives of two people. Two people, rushing headlong into hell were sideswiped by the Holy Spirit and we got to be a part of it. It was absolutely mind-blowing to watch the Lord flex His “Sovereign” muscle. And again, to drive home a point that I make here quite regularly, it wasn’t an accident and it didn’t happen by chance. We were in the right place at the right time and we were there on purpose. It’s like God is waiting on us to position ourselves to be used by Him. So many Christians have this idea that we’re waiting on God, but I’m telling you, He’s the one twiddling His thumbs waiting for us to get into position. Once we are in that right place at that Kairos moment, God intervenes and gives us a show that they couldn’t even dream up in the movies.

It started with a team going to a place near downtown Atlanta that is famous for being a crack and prostitution capital. Every other person on the street is either a crackhead, crackhoe or crack dealer. It’s fast becoming one of my favorite places in the world to be. Anyway, a couple in our church works down that way and they have been going down once a month to grill some food and bless the homeless and poor. The food is like a mousetrap that draws them in and once they’re in, we get to give them the Gospel, both barrels. Last time we were there a BUNCH of healings and salvations took place, so we were very excited to get out there again.

Almost as soon as we got out there it was obvious that this time would not be like other times. For one thing, the crowds were much smaller with only a straggler here and there instead of being bum rushed by a mob. Also, the other times, the main focus is the food with the Gospel being secondary. Not so this time. Some people walked up, received prayer, gave their life to the Lord and walked away without food! How weird. There was a peculiar anointing to lead people to Jesus and an unusual spirit of conviction too. Several times that day, in the first two minutes of conversation I had people confessing their sins to me, only to give their lives to Jesus and be filled with the Holy Spirit immediately after. They weren’t just ripe; they were falling off the tree, right into our lap!

As we’re sitting there, waiting for folks to show, a middle aged guy in work clothes walks up asking for food. We get talking with him and I simply tell him that Jesus is King and His Kingdom is on the earth. I then ask him if Jesus is the King and Lord of his life. He tells me honestly that the answer is no. He relates to us how he just got out of jail about 2 months ago and has been in there since he was sixteen! Just released from prison after being in there over 24 years! Anyway, his mother died and that’s why he was in Atlanta. After his mother died, he has been contemplating eternity and spoke with a pastor at a Christian bookstore about his eternal destiny. To the pastor’s credit, he had answered many of this guy’s questions, but had failed to get the guy to bow the knee and “give it up” to Jesus.

We were STRONGLY encouraging him to give his life to Jesus and he told us that he would get saved “tomorrow”. I asked him, “Why tomorrow?” and he told us that he had something to “Take care of” before he gave his life to the Lord. After digging a little more, he broke it down for us. He and another guy were on a job together and the other guy had stolen a bunch of paint from the boss, only to point the finger at our guy. Needless to say, our guy was ticked and that thing he had to “take care of” was the guy who lied to his boss about him. To “take care of” meant a little more than a simple conversation too. I mean, someone who has been in jail 24 years since they were sixteen is not messing around.

Some others on the team took our guy aside and were encouraging him to give his life to Jesus. As they were talking to him, I saw another guy come walking up to the food line. As he walked up, I saw a vision for him, so I walked right up to him and shared the vision I had for him. He instantly broke down and started confessing that he was addicted to crack and asked for prayer. I gave him the gospel and he quickly accepted the message, repenting of his sin and asking forgiveness from Jesus. It was quick, but it was a meaningful and powerful salvation experience. The presence of God overshadowed the guy and he was feeling the power of God rip through his body. Way cool.

What I didn’t know is that as I was talking with the now ex-crack head guy, our buddy who wanted to get saved “tomorrow” started to tremble with rage. When the guys ministering to him asked him what was going on, he told them, “remember the guy that I was going to “take care of” today?... That’s him!” pointing at the crackhead guy. As it turns out, the crackhead was the person that the “tomorrow” guy had been looking all over for so he could mess him up. Our guys pretty much had to restrain him from doing anything and just kept talking to him about the mercy of God.

The now ex-crackhead got a plate of chicken and sat down just a few feet away from the guy who wanted to get saved “tomorrow”. Tomorrow man waked over to me and was telling me the whole story of how it’s a miracle that he hadn’t done anything to the other guy already. I told him the story that Jesus told about the man who owed the King $100,000 and was forgiven the debt. Then, the man whose $100,000 debt was forgiven went out and strangled a man who owed him $10, throwing him in jail until he paid every penny. When the King heard about this, he had the man whom he had shown mercy brought before him and questioned him as to why he hadn’t shown mercy to his fellow man. As I told “tomorrow” man this, he got the story right away. Who was he to not forgive his fellow man of a minor offense when the Lord was willing to forgive him of his major offenses? He broke and decided to give his life to Jesus right then and there.

After a few minutes, he finished his plate of food, had a drink and said that he was ready. We led him to the Lord and he repented of his sins. He asked God to forgive Him and received the blood of Jesus. We prayed for the Holy Ghost to fill him and he got seriously touched by God. But that’s not even the best part. As we’re getting ready to leave, he pulled me aside and told me, “You know, when I said that I was going to mess the crackhead guy up, I meant a little more than just beat him up”. “What do you mean?” I asked. He then told me with an icy look, “I was going to kill him. Today. That man was going to die today and it was a miracle that you guys were here. If you guys weren’t here, he would have died and I would be going to jail for the rest of my life.”


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