Each year one-third of the entire world population observes Christmas. Two billion people celebrate that a Child was born in a manger 2,000 years ago. Yet comparatively few truly understand the meaning of that famous hymn—that Jesus was “born that man no more may die.”
January 19, 2018
I was horrified by what I saw. A very small dog had wandered out into busy traffic to sniff something in the middle of the road. I was about to watch the tiny creature become part of the pavement.
Suddenly, a police car appeared and pulled to the side of the road about fifteen feet from the sniffing animal. Whatever it had its nose in must have been pretty good because the dog was oblivious to the cars screeching to a halt on each side. I wondered if the officer was going to rush into the traffic and, like some comic book hero, scoop up the canine and carry it to safety. He didn’t do that. Instead, he sat in his car and began to honk the horn. You could tell from the dog’s reaction that the incessant honking was annoying it. The dog continued sniffing for a few more seconds, then, much to my relief, ran to the safety of the roadside.
A Great Warning to Sin-Sniffers
Three days later, our team was in Georgia at a conference, teaching on the importance of reaching out to the lost. After the conference was over, some of the team sat glued to the Weather Channel as a tornado was heading toward us. Killer tornadoes had hit the area only six weeks earlier, causing massive devastation. I grabbed my video camera and asked each of them if they were fearful, and what would happen if, that night, we were all caught up to meet the Lord in the air. Jaylene, Trish, Liz, and Lisa all rejoiced that if they were to die that night, they had the incredible consolation that they had eternal life. I filmed the lightning, the rolls of thunder, and the weatherman—who had an incredible ability to talk about weather for forty minutes straight. I filmed cats and dogs falling from the sky, and the expressions of the team as they watched the tornado coming closer and closer. There was a strange sense of excitement in the air, probably because we were all from California where tornadoes are rarely seen.
“I filmed cats and dogs falling from the sky, and the expressions of the team as they watched the tornado coming closer and closer.”
Then Jaylene, one of the single girls, went and spoiled the exciting atmosphere. She said, “We should go door to door in this hotel, warn people about the tornado, and then witness to them.”
Horrors. What was she thinking? I thought of 400 reasons why we shouldn’t do such a thing: it was 10 o’clock at night, people were in bed, they wouldn’t want to be awakened by fanatics pounding on their door, etc. We had just spent the day telling people that we should be concerned about the lost, yet we were tired. There was silence in the room. Then I cheerfully replied, “Sure, let’s go. Good one, Jaylene.” I suggested that I boldly follow the four females with the video camera to capture the action.
Jaylene knocked on the first door. As it opened, she said, “Hello, have you heard about the tornado that could strike tonight? We are making sure everyone is prepared, and we’re also asking them if they know where they are going if they do die tonight.” A deep voice replied, “We’re Southern Baptists.” “That’s good, sir, but it’s important that you’ve repented and trusted the Savior…” While she was still speaking, he rudely closed the door in her face. Sadly, his reaction showed that he was more interested in sniffing sin than he was in heeding Jaylene’s honking.
On we went to the next door. It opened to reveal a clean-cut, 20-year-old man with a cross around his neck. She gave him the same approach as she did Mr. Door-slammer. But this young man listened as she warned about sin and the fact that the vehicle of Eternal Justice was coming and would grind to powder all that it found in its path. He could see that he needed to get off the road of sin. So we prayed with him, that God would grant him repentance that night, then left him with his conscience and moved on to the next door.
Inside were four young men sitting on beds. Standing in their open doorway they saw the exciting sight of four attractive young ladies. I was out of their view and wasn’t surprised to hear an enthusiastic, “Come inside, ladies!” I nodded for them to go in, and I followed with, “Do you guys mind if I come in and bring a video camera?”
They hid their obvious disappointment that the females weren’t alone, and gave me permission to film.
Away thundered Jaylene like a wet blanket, with the same tornado sermon. They listened intently for about 20 minutes, and we were able to pray with them as well and ask God to do a work in their hearts that night.
The Better Thing
For some reason the tornado didn’t make it to our area. While there was a sense of relief, I have to admit that I was a little disappointed. I was hoping for some riveting footage of the storm. But after giving it some thought the next day, I realized that what I gained was far better than a great video and much more valuable than the ease of sitting around the TV with friends. Instead, we had the very great privilege of stepping out of our comfort zones to knock on the hearts of dying sinners. There is nothing more fulfilling than warning the hopeless of their great need of a Savior and pointing them to the gracious and faithful God.