I am posting this story about life evangelism because my fellow saint at Reformission In Progress posted something similar and it triggered me to recall something similar that God actually allowed me to witness for over the course of my early life. This is what I witnessed and desire to write about today. After you read this story, please go read his edifying story.
The story involves my dad (Stan), and two mutual friends of his (Bob and Cap). Bob was a test pilot and colonel in the US Air Force and a very influencial person in the lives of his two other friends. Our families lived in the same small Ohio town and together visited a few of the upstart local churches in the area. As was the nature of Bob and Stan they wasted no time getting involved in ministries in those churches. After getting to know the pastor and learning about his direction they would often disagree with him and have to move on. Cap was an unbeliever at the time and mostly attended church out of love for his wife Dorthy. Cap had shared many bitter stories of attending other churches with his wife and having the pastor or deacon come around to their home the following few days to speak to him about salvation. He did not appreciate the emotional manipulation they would all try on him to get him to repent and acknowledge Christ as his savior. Most of the churches these three families visited were much like that.
Bob and Stan had many bible studies together and through these studies they had developed a desire to grow spiritually and find a church like the one described in the New Testament. But every church they visited down played the sovereignty of God and salvation only through His grace. Cap would attend these bible studies and had also become quite curious about this different God Bob and Stan were discussing and worshiping. This God who chose who He wanted to save. Not through the manipulation of men and the emotional arm twisting. Through Bob’s many connections he discovered a new church a few miles away in Columbus and the three families drove the 20 miles or so to visit this newly started church. The church was meeting in a home at the time and the pastor was not a full time pastor. He also worked full time as an engineer with Ford motor company. As a younger man this pastor had also worked with Albert Einstein’s team to develop what eventually became the atomic bomb. This must’ve been how Bob got connected to the church.
This pastor was not a graduate from any seminary school but he taught the bible as he interpreted it, basically as it was written. He knew enough about the Greek language to help interpretation in the more difficult texts but for the most part he was not what you would look for in a pastor in many churches today. He taught about the doctrines of grace, the sovereignty of God, election, and predestination. For most of these three families the spiritual light bulb flashed on that day. Eventually it would come on for all, even Cap.
Cap learned about a sovereign God who chose those who He would save through the blood of His Son. He learned about love through the lives of two other men who dared to look for the truthful teaching in a local church. He learned that only through the act of God opening his eyes and changing his heart could he ever have peace and restoration with a righteous God. He learned that he needed a savior and only God can save. I believe Cap has encountered such a God and was saved. Cap learned a lot from Bob and Stan, but most of all he learned about real love and real friendships. Friendships that are eternal.
My dad passed away a few years later. Bob and Cap were both pallbearers and I will never forget Cap looking at me on the day of the funeral and telling me not to worry or be anxious that God was still in control. I was just beginning what would later become my rebellious teenage years so it did not dawn on me the awesome story behind that proclamation until later in my life.
I thank God each and every day that He drew me once again to a church much like the one of my childhood. Although I am not perfect and still have a long way to go in my spiritual maturity I pray that God would use me much like he did with Bob, Stan, and Cap.
Thank you Cap.
Thank you Jacob.