Something really wonderful happened last night and I felt like sharing it...
As many of you know, I just finished writing a book and I'm in the process of working with marketing people and a publicist and one of the things I'm doing is giving out 50 signed copies of the book to close friends, family and other people who may be in a position to assist me in doing the Lord's work.
I have a friend, who just a few short years ago was a youth Pastor. Today, he has fallen away and as a result, spends most of his life dealing with tribulation. He can quote Scripture and you can tell that he really loves the Lord, he just can't seem to "walk the walk" so instead of seeming like a hypocrite, he has tried to remove himself from God's sight. (you and I know he can't do that, but that's not the story...)
This friend of mine also happens to be a big drinker. He goes to the pub every night and averages about 15 beers every single day. Yes, WE know he has a drinking problem and I think deep down inside he knows he has one too. The only problem, is that he's in denial and he's dug his heels in good.
Well, I've had his copy of the book sitting on my desk now for about 2 weeks, but our schedules don't seem to mesh lately. Even when I cancel plans to be where he is, somehow his plans get changed and we keep missing each other.
Last night, I asked God, "Lord, he really needs to read this book and I know that the only place I can meet with him, where I know for certain that he'll be, is the Pub. Should I go to him there?" Of course God didn't waste any time and told me I should, so I did.
I get there and he's sooooo happy to see me. It was like he hadn't seen me in years! He asked me what I was doing there and I told him that I had a small gift for him. I handed him the book and he started to weep. You see, he knew that I had been writing the book. In the world that he associates himself with these days, everyone is always talking about what BIG things they're up to and nothing ever materializes. I suppose that when he heard about me writing the book, he forgot that I wasn't part of THAT world and he thought that I was just making stuff up too.
Early on in the book writing process, I had told him that he was one of the inspirations of the book, so handing him a copy of the finished book with a personalized message in it for him made him bust out in tears of joy. He jumped out and gave me a real, loving hug. The kind that men will rarely give another man. He proceeded to tell me how much it meant to him and proceeded to show it to everyone in the Pub telling them, "See this book? My friend over there wrote it and I was his inspiration!"
Of course now I'm sitting down with my head hanging a little bit low. Here I am, a member of the clergy, sitting in a bar and having someone who's on his 7th or 8th beer bragging about me AND the book.
So people started to come over, one by one asking me if I was really the author of the book and if I was really a Minister. I told them that I was and then the really drunk guy comes over and at the top of his lungs says, "HEY... You're a Pastor?" And I said yes. He then says, "HEY... What's a Minister doing in a bar?"
So I now have better than 90% of the people at the Pub looking INTO MY EYES and awaiting my answer. I looked back at them, and right into THEIR EYES and said, "Hey... Jesus himself spent time in bars with drunkards, prostitutes and tax collectors!" And they were like, "what??" And I said, "Sure... Think about it.... Jesus was trying to find people who needed him the most. Where would he find those people, IN CHURCH or at a bar?" Everyone was like, "WOW... YEAH... THAT'S SO TRUE... etc..."
What started out as a trip to quickly drop off a book turned into a FOUR HOUR impromptu Bible study! IN A BAR! I've never heard of anyone doing anything like this before and I can assure you, I certainly had NO INTENTION of staying more than a couple of minutes.
Right before I was leaving, the owner of the Pub came over to me and said, "Come back when you get your first shipment of books. I want you to sell them HERE!" I almost fell down!
What an amazing God we have!
Can I get an Amen?