One of the most wonderful things about following Jesus is a personal relationship with God. It is overwhelming to think that we can know, love, and communicate with the creator of the universe. And, what a joy it is to see God in action as He does things through us that we could not do on our own.
Last Sunday afternoon God had a plan and blessed me beyond measure to be a part of it. I got to be on His team as He called me into action.
After church, our family went to an ice cream parlor to celebrate an award my wife received at work. On the way home the Holy Spirit started putting pictures in my mind of Old Sacramento, a tourist area like an old western town from the cowboy days. I go there now and then to street witness and God was calling me there that day to spread the Gospel.
How did I know God was calling me to evangelize that day? After many times of being obedient to the call of the Holy Spirit, I’ve learned to recognize Him. When I follow the Holy Spirit I’m often able to connect the dots and see His purpose. This brings me closer to and more sensitive to Him.
God doesn’t always call us to action when it’s convenient for us. On this afternoon I was full from a big lunch of tacos and ice cream. I was tired and looking forward to a lazy afternoon nap. I asked God if I must go now or does he want me there in the near future. I was really battling my flesh that wanted to sleep. I realized I knew what God wanted and He would supply the energy. With that, I was on my way with my “Jesus Saves” shirt on, tracts, and Bible.
Arriving in Old Sacramento I parked at the top of the garage. As I stopped by the garage stairwell to tie my shoelaces the smell of marijuana was overwhelming. I quickly went to the stairwell to avoid the scent only to find it was the source.
There were about ten teenagers crammed in the stairwell smoking away. There was no room for me to go down the steps. I stood at the top, and they stared back at me. One individual at the bottom shouted, “Clear the stairwell.”, and they all got up and moved out the door. I quickly began talking and telling them that I was there to share who Jesus is. Five of them took my Bible tract and smiled.
Walking out onto the street I was thrilled that God had put me into position to share the Gospel with these kids. But, that was just the beginning of God’s plan that day.
I began walking along greeting people while passing out a tract about Jesus. The tract has a picture of Jesus from the back with a crown of thorns and the words “Who do YOU say JESUS is?”. Many people accept it and some will stop to talk to me as well.
While I was talking to someone something extraordinary happened. I had my Bible and tracts in one hand and a single tract in the other ready to go. I felt the tract leave my hand without knowing who drew it from me. I looked over to my right and saw a Muslim woman in a long black dress and hijab walking away. I finished my conversation quickly and caught up with her.
Reaching her I said hello and noticed she had rolled up my tract in her hand. I asked her if she knew Jesus and had Jesus in her heart. She spoke Arabic and didn’t quite understand me. I pointed to the word Jesus on my tract. She said His name in Arabic. She communicated to me that she wanted to know Jesus.
I was so happy and excited to see what God was doing before my eyes and how He softened her heart giving her the desire to know Him.
I showed her my Bible and told her it was all about Jesus. I asked her if she had a Bible. She said no. Working through the language barrier I was able to let her know I wanted to give her a Bible in Arabic. Her eyes lit up and she confirmed I said it was in Arabic. I then got her address and let her know I would see her at 2 PM the following day.
Saying goodbye and on my way I was overjoyed. I knew God had used me to bring her closer to Him. What was special about sharing the tract with her was that God did all the work. I was just standing there with the tract in hand. God had opened her heart, drew her to the tract, and she accepted His invitation to know Him.
Being apart of God’s work or as I like to say, “being on God’s Team”, is one of the greatest blessings God’s children could ever receive. It is a whole other way of knowing God and spending time with Him. Evangelism is more than sharing the Good News. It is loving God and being loved by Him.
The following day I arrived at her apartment complex. I noticed other people there that looked Middle Eastern. Many of the local apartments are filled with Muslims in this part of town. Here in Sacramento this year, the federal government has placed over 4,000 Muslims refugees who helped the army in the Middle Eastern wars. I know God intends to reach out and save by bringing an Arabic Bible here.
I knocked on her door and she answered. She’s an older lady with a pleasant smile. She was happy to see me and appreciated her Bible. As she held it with both hands I took her photo.
I used Google Translate to write her a note in Arabic letting her know to start reading about Jesus in Matthew in the New Testament. I then thanked her and said, “God bless you.” before saying goodbye.
To think this all started with a gentle urging, a call to action from God. His timing is always perfect. And, I love to think about the fact it was His plan from eternity past for her to have His Word.