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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Now Is The Time of God's Favor

Pocket Full of Change Ministries’ 2012 Ministry Call:



Now Is the Time of God’s Favor - Now is the Day of Salvation

Every morning, I pray, mediate, and study the word of God. I keep getting the same message:

I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation. 2 Cor 6:2 NIV


I feel God whispering: I spent years training you in the corporate world. Take that training and education to build a ministry that has evangelists working all over America. In the corporate world, you were bold and hired the best of the best. Do the same for Me. In the corporate world, you were never shy about asking for software sales. Take that boldness and ask people to contribute to leading America to Jesus. You were a piano teacher. Use that training to teach people how to share the gospel. I gave you the spiritual gift of leadership. Inspire others to share their faith. I gave you the gift of evangelism. Continue to lead My beloved to me. You were a business and technology leader and speaker. Now, I ask you to use that training to go into my churches, ministries, and Christian media to inspire them to love Me and their neighbors enough to tell the world about Jesus. I let your heart be broken so you could serve a broken world. I let you experience disappointment so you could appreciate My favor. I even use your fears, weaknesses, and mistakes so victory over them may bear witness to My love, redeeming power, and grace. 2012 is the time of God’s favor. Now is the day of salvation.

Would you join us in honoring God’s favor? Will you help make the day of salvation possible for the people we meet in America? They need your generosity. Would you prayerfully consider:

  • Making a Year-end Tax Deductable Donation? (In Enclosed Envelope or On-line)
  • Making a Monthly Tax Deductable Donation?
  • Donating MORE in 2012?
  • Becoming a Part of Our Prayer Team?
  • Going Witnessing With Us?
  • Letting Us Help you With Our Coaching Program?
  • Inviting Us to Your Area To Speak or Host a Boot Camp?


  
Thank you to all who donated in 2011. Above, meet three people YOU helped lead to Christ in 2011. God has amazing plans for all of us – plans to give us a hope and a future. Together, we will love God and people.

Blessings,

Cheryle M. Touchton

Friday, July 8, 2011

I Wish You Could See What I See


By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady


I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. John 4:35-36 NIV

I wish you could see what I see. I remember church revivals in the late fifties and early sixties. Members filled a pew with their friends and neighbors. Each night, the pastor preached. At the end of the service, the members sang and prayed as people flooded aisles, weeping and crying out for Jesus. When we saw the fruits harvested, revival filled our souls. People need revival.

I wish you could see what I see. I don’t know if churches stopped having revivals because members stopped inviting friends and neighbors or if those friends and neighbors stopped accepting the invitations… but something changed. Now people tell me no one invites them to church. A pastor and I went witnessing together in the blocks surrounding his church. To his astonishment, six people prayed to receive Jesus in just two hours and many others thanked him for the invitation to church. One young man said that he had passed their church every day, stopped to read the message on the marquis, and had always wondered what it was like inside. People want an invitation.

I wish you could see what I see. People leave some churches without knowing how to meet Jesus personally. I don’t know if those churches forgot to tell them how, did not know how, or began assuming that everyone already knew how. One very religious woman sternly said she believed in Jesus, prayed every day, and “hoped” she was good enough to get into heaven. When I mentioned that God loved her so much that He sent His only Son to die so she could have eternal life, she agreed with me. When I mentioned that the wages of sin was death, she also agreed. When I said that all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved and that she needed to confess with her mouth and believe with her heart, she sounded surprised. When I invited her to make it personal and invite Jesus into her life, she said, “I’m in a hurry. I’ll pray if you can do it in 4 sentences.” I could and did and when we ended with her inviting Jesus into her life to be her personal Lord and Savior, tears flooded her eyes. “Thank you, thank you, thank you,” was all she could manage. She hugged me because she finally knew what was missing. After that, we said way more than four sentences to each other. People want to know “how.”

I wish you could see what I see. The Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival is a place where 100,000 young people gather to spend four days listening to music and partying hearty. A handful of Christians with the Sojourners Fellowship in Manchester, Tennessee led 98 people to Jesus. Last Halloween weekend, thousands of young people poured into Athens, Ohio to party at the Halloween Block Party. About a dozen Christians led 350 young people to Jesus. Young people want to hear about the one true Jesus.

I wish you could see what I see. Christians wring their hands over the spiritual state of America and believe God has given up on America. I visited a church and witnessed 12 people walking forward to receive Jesus. On July 4th, hundreds crowded around our booth on the mall outside the Capital building in Washington DC just to hear about Jesus. Over 500 people prayed to receive Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. The Holy Spirit is still convicting Americans.

I wish you could see what I see. In the last four weeks, 282 strangers eagerly prayed with me to invite Jesus into their lives. When they prayed, what I call “The Holy Spirit Glow” filled their faces. A young man named Erick invited Jesus into his life and asked if he could hug me. A young mother prayed to receive Jesus, burst into tears, and said meeting Jesus must be the reason she decided to drive 15 miles to take her children to the park. While some said no, few were offended when I shared about Jesus. People want to hear good news.

I wish you could see what I see. After spending a day watching me witness, a pastor said, “I feel like I’ve been let out of a cage.” A woman who spent a few days following me and praying as I shared, shared her faith with someone on the plane ride home. Another called me 48 hours after following me and excitedly said he’d just led someone to Christ. When Christians discover how easy it is to share their faith and how much people want to hear it, their faith deepens beyond their wildest dreams.

I wish you could see what I see. In the last four weeks, I've traveled through 13 states and shared the Gospel with many people. People were so eager to receive Jesus that it hurts to be sitting in my house writing this. The world wants and needs Jesus.
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Cheryle M. Touchton is the Director of Pocket Full of Change Ministries. This ministry exists because people like you are called to help fund the work of the kingdom. To help keep the Pocket Full of Quarters Lady on the road leading people to Christ, you can donate at

Donate

Turning America Inside Out


By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady



Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave. As you enter the home, give it your greeting. If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. Matt 10:11-15 NIV

I love Inside Out Ministries. Based out of Seattle, Washington, their group has expanded to include a few of us from the East Coast. I go where I’m invited and celebrated and I met them several years ago when I was evangelizing and staying with my dear friend, Julie Aires, in Seattle. They immediately invited me to meet them in DC for July 4th and I agreed. I’ve been going ever since. I also sometimes go with them to New York City.

Inside Out Ministries is a group of lay evangelists who use their vacation and leisure time to do evangelism events throughout the year. The mix of the group changes every year but there is a core group of about six who are faithfully in Washington DC every year on July 4th. This year there were nine of us.

Debby from Seattle has been every year that I’ve been there. In addition to the gift of evangelism, Debby has the spiritual gift of administration and makes sure we have tracts, bracelets, a place to stay, and enough money. She leads our group when the founder, Tom, is unable to make it. She makes sure we take the time to pray, prayer walk, and study the Bible so we go out into the world equipped with the full armor of God. She also pushes us to keep going when we get too tired to say or do another thing.

We always have East Coast and West Coast Gary. West Coast Gary was Jewish and found Messiah a number of years back. He is a dedicated Christian who has a heart for gently leading people to Jesus. His wry sense of humor surprises and entertains us. He also has the spiritual gift of encouragement, which we desperately need after so many hours of standing up in the hot sun.

East Coast Gary lives in Maryland. He is our cheerleader and driver and when he witnesses, people stand before him spellbound and eagerly say yes to Jesus. He also has the gift of leadership and the amazing ability to find his way around New York and DC. He and my husband Bob are a sight to behold when they excitedly study maps together.

This year, East Coast Gary introduced us to his friend, Sue. Sue quickly became our friend as she joined us in evangelizing. She feels led to pray for and encourage people as they witness and is gifted at working with youth. In the booth next to ours, a church youth group was “face painting” in the name of Jesus. Sue encouraged some of the youth to watch us evangelize. It wasn’t long before those young people were leading people to Jesus.

Dedicated Kathy is always there. She is dedicated to evangelizing, speaking truth, and handing out tracts to everyone. She knows the word of God and has the spiritual gift of teaching. She weaves Bible applications into most of our conversations and uses the pure truth of the Gospel to lead people to Jesus. She also has the spiritual gift of mercy and a heart for people in pain or needing help.

Sweet Betsy from Seattle loves to lead people to Jesus. She is playful, fun, and the peacemaker of the group. She demonstrates the peace of Jesus when she leads people to Jesus. She is also amazing at building things, which comes in handy with all the tents and materials we set up. She has the spiritual gift of service and jumps in to help wherever needed.

This year, we had a new addition. Jasper visited our DC booth last year and joined us in ministry this year. He is a brilliant young technologist from the DC area who is developing his gift of evangelism. It did not take him long to get into the grove of our evangelism style. He is a Chinese American and was very useful in helping us understand how to communicate better with people of Eastern religious backgrounds.

My husband Bob has joined our mighty band of evangelists every year that I have. It always surprises me because he has limited time off and normally isn’t nearly as excited about spiritually intense events and people as I am. At first, he used his gifts of service and leadership to help us sort tracts and set up equipment and his humor when our exhaustion created tension. Inside Out Ministries encouraged him to begin evangelizing and for the last two years, Bob has boldly stood alongside of us giving the gospel to the crowds of people surrounding us. Bob will always share the gospel in his own unique and humorous way but because of Inside Out Ministries, he has grown more comfortable sharing his faith outside of church teaching environments.

I love evangelizing with Inside Out Ministries. This year, together, we led hundreds of people to Jesus. There were so many that we lost count. I know I had at least 167 salvations and the rest of the group was evangelizing and praying right beside me. There is no telling how many people actually prayed and invited Jesus into their lives.

Jesus says that when we travel, we are to search for worthy people, stay at their house until we leave, and let our peace rest on it. He tells us that if anyone will not welcome us or listen to our words, shake the dust off our feet when we leave that home or town. One of my mentors simply says, “Go where you’re celebrated.” I celebrate Inside Out Ministries and the people who volunteer for it and they seem to celebrate Pocket Full of Change Ministries and all of our staff. They are indeed worthy people. As two ministries joining forces to lead people to Christ, we welcome and listen to each other’s words. I am a better evangelist because of my time with them. I consider myself a part of Inside Out Ministries and them a part of Pocket Full of Change Ministries. We are all on Team Jesus and together we are turning America Inside Out.

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Cheryle M. Touchton is the Director of Pocket Full of Change Ministries. This ministry exists because people like you are called to help fund the work of the kingdom. To help keep the Pocket Full of Quarters Lady on the road leading people to Christ, you can donate at

Donate

Sunday, July 3, 2011

I Like the Back Part Better


By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady


Do you not say, 'Four months more and then the harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. John 4:35 NIV

“India,” they answered when we asked where they from. A Hindu tour group swarmed us, all wanting free Liberty Bracelets. Our evangelism team scrambled to give out bracelets and break into groups small enough to use the bracelets to tell the story of Jesus.

I took one of the families. “The gold bead represents the amazing plans God has for you,” I shared with a father, mother, teenager, and grandfather. “Heaven is paved with streets of gold. The dark bead represents our mistakes. The Bible word for that is sin. Those mistakes separate us from God and the plans He has for us.”

“Wait,” the father said. “Would you start over?” He pointed a video camera at me. “We want to show it to our family back home.” I began again and told them about red representing the blood of Jesus and how He died for us. I explained that Jesus came back to life and if they confessed belief in Jesus, asked for forgiveness of sin, and invited Jesus into their lives, the white bead represented the blood washing them clean. When I got to green and growing, I talked about growth in faith and truth.”

“Wow,” I thought. “They’re actually interested.” I considered inviting them to receive Jesus and a voice inside my head whispered, “They’ve just heard the gospel. How could they possibly know enough to pray to receive Jesus?”

“We have some additional information written in Hindi,” I offered, handing them tracts. “It has the Bible verses I’ve mentioned and a prayer for you to pray when you’re ready.” As I heard my words, it sounded like a copout.

“We have a Bible,” the father said. “We’ve been reading it. I like the back part better because it tells stories about Jesus.”

You’ve been reading the Bible?” I asked, startled. They nodded.

“He has read more than I have,” the wife said.

“We call the back part the New Testament,” I explained. “The reason you like it is because it is about the grace God offered to the world. Jesus died so that you could have life here on earth and in heaven – like the gold bead.”

They all nodded and I continued, “I know you have many gods but Jesus said he was the way, the truth, and the life and that no one could come to the father except through Him. God says He is the one true God and that we are to have no other gods before Him. Would you like to meet the Jesus you’ve been reading about? You only need faith the size of a mustard seed to invite Jesus into your life. Do you believe in Jesus that much?”

All four of them nodded eagerly and right there on the hot mall across from the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, four Hindu family members visiting from India prayed to receive Jesus.

“Can I have four more bracelets,” the grandfather asked. “I want to play the video for my other grandchildren and help them to pray.”

The rest of that tour group left without the gospel making any sense to them. Seeds were planted but they did not believe. I wondered who gave the family of new believers the Bible and thanked God for them.

The voice that hadwhispered, “They’re not ready,” was not from God. The “back part” of the Bible had done its work. God’s voice said, “I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” Everyone needs Jesus. Satan is certainly reaping his harvest and we have no business closing our eyes to the ready harvest. My job as an evangelist is to offer the gospel and invite people to the party. The listener’s job is to accept or reject the good news.

Cheryle M. Touchton is the Director of Pocket Full of Change Ministries. This ministry exists because people like you are called to help fund the work of the kingdom. To help keep the Pocket Full of Quarters Lady on the road leading people to Christ, you can donate at

Donate

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Let Me Out


By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady


How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Ps 119:103 NIV

“I thought there was no way to reach this community,” the pastor excitedly told his outreach committee members. I’d just finished giving them an evangelism training class. The pastor and the chair of their outreach committee had spent three hours following me through the park and past the sidewalk caf├ęs and shops that surround his church building. “I couldn’t believe how eager people were to hear about Jesus. Only one person got annoyed. Even the Jewish people did not seem to mind talking with us. I feel like I’ve been let out of a cage. I’m going to commit to doing this two hours every week.”

“I’ll go with you,” the outreach chair offered. “Cheryle just speaks scripture and invites people to Jesus. I can’t believe how simple it was. She didn't push us or make us uncomfortable. She just let us watch.”

I wanted to cheer. The pastor had started out dubious about walking around so close to the church. He was well known and respected in his beloved tight knit community and didn’t want people uncomfortable. To his astonishment, almost everyone welcomed the conversation and six people eagerly prayed to receive Jesus. That pastor was starved for what he’d witnessed the Holy Spirit do that afternoon.

“One woman burst into years when Cheryle introduced herself. The woman said we were the reason she’d driven 15 miles to take her children to this park,” the pastor said. “She prayed to receive Jesus. 16-year-old Kyle goes to our local high school. We talked to him a while and then he followed to ask more questions. We need to get him plugged into our youth group. Three junior high school girls prayed to receive Jesus. We saw them a couple of hours later. They were still beaming. We met a man named Jim and when he realized what church I was from, he said my name like I was a rock star. He’d walked by our church every day and read my name and the quotes on our marquis. He was longing for someone to invite him in. Two men wanted to challenge us about God being real. I want our church to offer something where they can come in and feel free to discuss those kinds of things.”

I’m starved for that light to go on for other Christians. I look at Christians struggling to maintain the joy of their salvation. I know that if they would share their faith, it would accelerate their spiritual growth in a way that nothing else would. I look at churches discouraged and struggling and know that if their members would give the good news of Christ to the people they meet on the streets, it would transform the culture of that church in a way that nothing else could. I long to help others share their faith because of what it does for individual Christians, the church, and the lost. It is like a funnel. The Holy Spirit fills us up but if we don’t let Him flow through us and into the world, the funnel gets stopped up.

Are you in a cage about sharing your faith? Are fears of offending or saying the wrong thing, excuses about not having the gift of evangelism, or false beliefs like ‘people don’t want to hear it’ your jailers? Regardless of your spiritual gifts, sharing your faith with others will set you free. Churches that share their faith soar out of their cages as if on eagle’s wings. It is so easy to share our faith. We just speak the words of the Bible and invite people to the party. The true words of the Bible are sweeter than honey and it draws people to it like Humming Birds are drawn to sweet nectar.
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Cheryle M. Touchton is the Director of Pocket Full of Change Ministries. This ministry exists because people like you are called to help fund the work of the kingdom. To help keep the Pocket Full of Quarters Lady on the road leading people to Christ, you can donate at

Donate

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Let's Go Witnessing


By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady


After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Luke 10:1-2 NIV

“What percent of time are people with you when you are evangelizing?” Steve asked. He’d just spent a day following me through a mall, watching and praying for me as I shared the gospel. Ten people prayed to receive Jesus and a couple more took The Jesus Challenge to ask the Jesus they don’t believe in to reveal Himself to them. It was a good day.

“Not much,” I said. “I’m by myself most of the time.”

“Think about it,” he pushed. “What percent?”

I counted. It was six months into the year and I’d evangelized with 8 people. Some had spent multiple days with me. I compared that number to the total days I’d evangelized and estimated I’d been alone 90% of the time.

“That is a waste!” Steve said. “You should be with someone 90% of the time. People need to see what you do.”

“I invite people to come with me,” I said. “I think it scares them. I encourage contributors to go because I want them to enjoy what they make possible. Now that I think about it, I lead more people to Christ when someone is with me. I don’t know if it is because the Bible says go two by two, because someone is praying, or because I’m more focused.”

“It’s probably all of the above but I’m not talking about the efficiency of more salvations or even blessing people. I’m talking about people waking up to how simple and straightforward it is to lead someone to Christ. I enjoyed seeing what you did today but it was more than that,” Steve said. “I needed to see how simple it is to lead someone to Christ. There were no tricks, no manipulation - just straight scripture and an invitation. I guess I thought talking about religion was private and people might get offended. These people today seemed to want to hear what the Bible said.”

“They do,” I said. “God made us that way. Everyone is born with a need for Jesus. Evangelize simply means to give good news. I often introduce myself as a ‘Good News Christian.’ Everyone wants good news. People mix up evangelizing and proselytizing. It is not my job to manipulate or talk anyone into salvation. I simply share good news and invite people into the Kingdom. For many, the invitation is too good to pass up. Did you notice that if someone didn’t want to talk, I affirmed their privacy, handed them a tract, and pointed to the prayer. Most of them were reading it as we walked away. Many accept Christ just by reading tracts.”

“I did notice,” Steve said. “Today wasn’t scary for me. You just let me watch and pray. That is what I want you to offer to others. Just invite them to follow you, watch, and pray. Anyone can do that. I needed to know how easy it was to fulfill the Great Commission and maybe next time, I’ll want to take a turn talking. If I hadn’t watched, I might have thought it depended on my words. I still can’t believe how simple and straight forward it is.”

Within 48 hours, my phone rang and Steve said excitedly, “I just got a Father’s Day gift. My family took me out to dinner and I led my waiter to Christ. I plan to go out witnessing tomorrow night.” Steve is beginning a journey that is going accelerate his spiritual intimacy, awe, and faith in a way that nothing else will.

So, let’s go witnessing. Invite me to your area. All you have to do is follow, watch, and pray. You can do that. If you want to take a turn talking, ask and I’ll let you, but all you have to do is follow, watch, and pray. Evangelism may not be your primary spiritual gift but you can learn to use your spiritual gifts to fulfill the Great Commission. If you go witnessing with me, I promise you a day of watching the Holy Spirit work. I promise I won’t push or make you uncomfortable. You’ll leave with a fresh understanding of just how much the world wants to know Jesus. Let’s go witnessing.
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Cheryle M. Touchton is the Director of Pocket Full of Change Ministries. This ministry exists because people like you are called to help fund the work of the kingdom. To help keep the Pocket Full of Quarters Lady on the road leading people to Christ, you can donate at

Donate

Monday, June 20, 2011

S & S: Salvation & Sunscreen

By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady



You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. John 14:14 NIV

Yes, I know that the Bible says whatever we ask in His name will be done. I know that when two agree in prayer, we are promised that it will happen. I know that we can and should call on the Lord to do miracles as a testament to the power of Jesus. I’ve traveled with evangelists who do this regularly and I’ve witnessed miracles. However, I must confess that when I travel as an evangelist, I stick to the use of one of my primary spiritual gifts – evangelism, and don’t often call for other miracles. My spiritual mentor recently challenged me about trusting the word of God so I’ve gotten a slightly braver on this journey.

“You are already sunburned and it is only day 1 of Bonnaroo,” I said to a young woman huddling under the limited shade of where people wash their hands. This lovely strawberry blond haired, fair skinned woman, wearing a spaghetti strapped sundress was beet red.

“I know,” she sighed. “It is so hot here and I didn’t realize I was getting burned.”

Louise and I talked with her a few minutes and she decided that she wanted to ask Jesus to be her personal savior. I led her in the standard prayer that I lead most people in when they say yes to Jesus but added the words, “Lord, please protect her from the sun.”

The second we finished the words, “In Jesus name, Amen,” two men rushed up to her and without asking, sprayed her completely with sunscreen. They covered every inch of her body. When they got to her face, they instructed, “Close your eyes.” She did and they sprayed her face. They even sprayed the part on her hair. She thanked them and they left. There was no flirtation, no ulterior motive - just protection from the sun.

We were all stunned and delighted by the instant answer to prayer. What a testimony to the power that Jesus is going to have in the life of that young woman.

“See how God answers prayer,” I said to her.

“I do,” she said in awe.

Since praying worked so well with protection against the sun, maybe I’ll get bolder with my requests to God.
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Cheryle M. Touchton is the Director of Pocket Full of Change Ministries. This ministry exists because people like you are called to help fund the work of the kingdom. To help keep the Pocket Full of Quarters Lady on the road leading people to Christ, you can donate at

Donate

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Calvary Leads to Calvary


By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady



This is the rock on which I will put together my church, a church so expansive with energy that not even the gates of hell will be able to keep it out. Matt 16:18 The Message

“Hello,” I said, walking up to a man and woman sitting on a bench in a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania mall. I was with Steve Harrison, a board member of Pocket Full of Change Ministries. I’d driven to Philadelphia to participate in Steve’s Quantum Leap program for writers. Quantum Leap helps writers learn how to market their books and services. While Quantum Leap is for writers of every genre, Christian and traditional markets, Steve is a committed Christian and wanted to spend a day following me and learning more about evangelism.

The man sitting on the bench gave us a wide grin, stuck out his hand to Steve and said in a childlike voice, “Hello, I’m Jack.”

Steve shook his hand and said, “Hi Jack.”

“Hi Jack,” I said, smiling. “I’m Cheryle. Nice to meet you.”

Jack delightedly shook my hand. He then turned to Steve and shook his hand again, saying, “I’m Jack.”

“Jack,” I said. “Jesus loves you.”

“I love Jesus,” he said. “My granddaddy loved Jesus.”

Wondering if they had the same granddaddy, I asked the woman sitting with him, “Are you two related?”

“No,” she said. “I work at the group home where he lives.”

“Jack sounds like he knows all about Jesus,” I said as Jack beamed.

“He does,” the woman said. “He talks about Jesus all the time.”

“What about you?” I asked. “If something happened today, would you know where you would spend eternity?”

“I hope heaven but I’m not really sure,” she said. “I go to church sometimes.”

“You don’t have to hope,” I said. I went into the good news of Christ. Throughout my sharing, Jack agreed playfully with me, loving hearing us talk about Jesus. Every few minutes, he stuck his hand out for Steve to shake it again.

Jack’s companion listened to my words but wasn’t very interested until I asked where she was from.

“I live in State College,” she said.

Wow” I said. “I live in State College too. You said you go to church sometimes. Where do you go?”

She gave a name of a local Methodist church I didn’t recognize and added, “I’m not very active.”

“I go to Calvary Baptist,” I said.

When I said Calvary, her entire face lit up. “I know Calvary!” she said excitedly. “They do City Serve. They come out to where Jack lives and help us fix up the place. I love Calvary.”

“We call ourselves the Church Without Walls,” I said. “I love Calvary too. We like to go out into the community and be Jesus to the world. The weekend of City Serve, we cancel all services and just serve. We also send groups overseas to help orphanages and other kinds of projects the same way. We’re pretty excited that City Serve is expanding to other churches in the community.”

Once this woman knew I was from Calvary, everything changed. When I invited her to pray with me, she eagerly agreed.

“I want to pray too,” Jack said.

“Of course you can,” I laughed. Jack and his companion repeated the words after me. When we finished, Jack was grinning and the woman’s eyes were brimming with tears.

“If you fill out a card, I’ll send you free stuff and promise not to hassle you,” I said.

“Sure,” she said, taking the card and filling it out.

“Me to, me too,” begged Jack. “I want one too.” I gave Jack a card and he carefully drew his name in big letters.

“Here is something to help you understand more about what you just did and what to do next,” I told the woman, handing her a tract. “Maybe you can visit Calvary sometime.”

“I want one too,” Jack begged again. I smiled and handed him a tract.

When the day was over, Steve and I had led 10 people to the Jesus that Jack loved so much. Because Jack prayed the prayer, some evangelists might have counted sweet Jack among their salvation numbers but I did not. I could tell that Jack’s grandfather had already led him to Jesus. Because Jack’s grandfather had been Jesus to Jack, Jack helped me lead his companion to Jesus.

I love being a part of a church family that lights up the faces of non-members and even non-Christians. I was 200 miles from my church but because of their determination to be Jesus to the world, Calvary helped me offer Calvary to someone else. When a church is the church Jesus intended, the reach of the church is limitless.
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Cheryle M. Touchton is the Director of Pocket Full of Change Ministries. This ministry exists because people like you are called to help fund the work of the kingdom. To help keep the Pocket Full of Quarters Lady on the road leading people to Christ, you can donate at

Donate

Saturday, June 18, 2011

We Can Have Sweet Fruit


By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady



But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Gal 5:22-24 NIV

“Why did you write your book?” the speaker asked. I was in a class that was supposed to teach me how to describe my book so I could increase sales. “Maybe the best way to figure that out is to figure out what makes you mad. Take a moment and write down what makes you mad.”

I sat and prayed about what made me mad. I couldn’t think of anything but I knew what broke my heart. I want to weep when I meet broken, mean spirited, or hardened Christians who make Jesus look unattractive to a world that needs Him so desperately. I want to weep for those poor Christians not experiencing the fruits of Jesus’ spirit and for those they influence.

Jesus got furious at the Pharisees because they were religious but legalistic, judgmental, and just plain mean. He scolded the disciples when they were afraid, wouldn’t let the children talk to Him, and wasted time trying to figure out which of them was more important. He came to give us peace. He told us that the greatest commandment was to love God with our entire hearts, souls, minds, and strengths and to love our neighbors as ourselves.

So many of the people I meet on the streets believe Jesus has no power because the Christians in their lives were not exhibiting the sweet fruits of the spirit that were readily available to them – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. It has been my observation that the lack of those fruits in their lives is the single biggest reason people don’t share their faith and why so many in our country are disappointed with Christianity and the church. I wrote my book, The Secret to Everything, to those Christians who longed for more spiritual fruit in their lives.

Pastors Need Sweet Fruit

“I went to church and it made me cry,” a young man at Bonnaroo told me. “Since nothing had ever done that before, I went back. I became friends with the pastor’s son. One day, I was over at the pastor’s house playing basketball and I beat his son at basketball. The pastor got so mad that I beat his son that he started yelling profanity at both of us. I haven’t been back to church.”

“I’m so sorry that happened to you," I said. "It sounds like that poor pastor wasn’t experiencing the joy of his salvation. The Bible promises us what it calls the fruits of the spirit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. The Holy Spirit was what made you cry. He touched your spirit and wanted you to know the Jesus that offered you those fruits. That pastor didn’t demonstrate that to you but please don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Let me introduce you to Jesus.” Within a few minutes, the young man prayed to receive Jesus

Families of Pastors Need To See Sweet Fruit

After leaving Bonnaroo, I stayed the next night at a KOA. When I went over to the office, a sad looking woman sat outside smoking a cigarette. She was in the middle of divorcing her abusive husband.

“I had to get my daughter away,” she said. “She looks just like me and he was starting to turn his anger on her.”

“I’m so sorry,” I said. “Do you have church support?”

“No,” she said. “I was saved when I was little but my pastor was my aunt. She was nice to everyone at church but she was always mean to my mother. I don’t know how a minister can act like that. I’ve tried a couple of other churches but nothing has stuck.”

“What about your daughter,” I said. “You say you’re saved but does she know Jesus?”

“She’s been to Bible School and sometimes we go to church but she hasn’t been saved.”

About that time, nine year old Katie, walked up. “Hi,” I said. “Your mother told me you’ve been to Bible School. Did they tell you about Jesus?”

“Yes,” she said.

“What do you know about Him?” She went on to tell me that Jesus was a baby and had died on a cross.

“Did you know He came back to life?” I asked. She did.

“Do you believe it?” She did.

“Have you ever done anything wrong?” She had.

“Jesus loves you and will forgive you for anything.” I looked at her mother. “May I invite your daughter to accept Jesus as her Savior? She already believes and I think she is ready.” The mother eagerly agreed.

“Katie, Jesus loves you very much and is sorry that that your Mommy and Daddy are getting divorced. They still love you and Jesus wants to help you. Would you like to invite him into your life right now?” She nodded eagerly. Together with her mother, Katie prayed to receive Jesus.

Relationship, Not Religion Creates Sweet Fruit

“I grew up in a Christian family,” a woman told me. “They answered the phone with ‘praise the Lord.’ And yet, they were all depressed and angry. They fought all of the time. Two of those ‘Christians’ committed suicide. When I was 12, my Christian father attempted suicide. I found him and saved his life. What bothered me most was that no one over talked about it or anything else. They just put Bible band-aids on everything and never dealt with anything. I still consider myself a Christian but I almost died from bulimia before I realized that I had to have a relationship with Jesus and not just a religion.”

Who Wants Sour Fruit?

God has called me to go into dark places like Mardi Gras, Bonnaroo, and the Ohio Halloween block party to lead people to Jesus. The Bible says where sin increases, grace abounds and I can testify to that. At all of those events, there are “Christians” there who stand on street corners and walk around, yelling judgment down on the crowd. They call the people walking by horrible names and inform them they are going to hell. They don’t stop with judging the “party hearty people.” They also yell judgment on those entering churches whose doctrine they disagree with. I sometimes follow behind what I call the “sour Christians” and apologize to the crowd on behalf of Jesus Christ who loves them very much. That apology often leads people to Christ.

I wrote my book, The Secret to Everything, because I believed Jesus when He said the most important thing we could do was to love God with our entire heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love our neighbors as ourselves. It hurts so much when I see Christians so miserable that they exhibit hate and depression rather than the life Jesus intended. It hurts when I see Christians worrying, fighting, or looking as if the burdens of the world are on their shoulder. It hurts because I was once one of those Christians and I still remember what it felt like. When I discovered that the secret to everything was to stop working on fixing everything and everyone and just love God and people more each day, the fruits of the spirit began to taste sweeter each day. I wrote The Secret to Everything because I long for more Christians to know how to fertilize and prune to have fruit as sweet as sugar. The sweeter the fruit, the happier we are, the more people want what we have, and the easier it is to lead people to Jesus.
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Cheryle M. Touchton is the Director of Pocket Full of Change Ministries. This ministry exists because people like you are called to help fund the work of the kingdom. To help keep the Pocket Full of Quarters Lady on the road leading people to Christ, you can donate at

Donate

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Salvation Bonnaroo Style

By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady



I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Ps 139:14 NIV

For most of my life, I worked hard on music. I studied with the best teachers, practiced, and even got a degree in it. There was only one problem – I was not gifted musically and training only goes so far without that gift. What that meant was that I recognized talent, taught the talented, but always knew what I was lacking. The music world is competitive and musicians usually know where they stand in comparison to other musicians. I loved teaching music and was confident with the spiritual gift of teaching, but because I wasn’t musically talented, no matter how much I practiced, I always felt insecure.

A few years back, God dealt with my insecurities and taught me to nurture and appreciate the gifts He blessed me with and accept the gifts and talents He did not send my way. Since I was born into a family of musicians and had spent most of my life around musicians trying to be one, it was both painful and a relief to step out of the musical competitive whirl wind. At Bonnaroo, the enemy tried to hand me back my insecurities and use them to stop me from leading a group of young people to Jesus.

Louise Milligan and I were walking back to our car with the leader of our evangelism team, Rev. Ron Fuller – The Sojourner. It was the last day of the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. It had been a good day with 16 people praying to receive Jesus. We were hot, exhausted, and ready to get back when we heard strains of the song, “Take Me Back to West Virginia.” Ron is from West Virginia and couldn’t resist weaving his way between tents to find the music. They finished just as we walked up.

“I’m from West Virginia,” Ron said. Then, using his best imitation of an old man’s voice, he pleaded, “Sing it again for an old man.” They complied and we sang along.

While we sang, I looked at the 12 young people sitting and singing under an open-sided tent. One was playing guitar and another, a harmonica. Three young women, dressed in bikinis, were puffing on pot out of what I now know is a pot bowl. Most had beer cans in their hands. One young man was wearing a bathing suit and two shells strapped across his chest. His girlfriend complained the entire time that he had eaten all of her “mushrooms.” I knew they weren’t talking about portabellas. According to the girlfriend, 7 grams of mushrooms was too much for him to eat and his punishment was to walk around wearing the shells. I prayed for them as we sang.

When we finished singing, Ron stepped behind me, and quietly instructed, “Now, add them to your number.”

I knew what he meant. I stepped forward, used my “outside voice” and said, “You were kind enough to sing for us so I want to tell you about Jesus.”

They were in a great mood. They clapped. One shouted, “Yea Jesus.” I kept it light and fast paced. “The Bible says all have sinned. Sin is the Bible word for making mistakes. Anyone sinned this weekend?” I paused as they laughed, agreeing they knew all about sin.

“It is a level playing field,” I said. “We’re all sinners. The wages of sin is death but the good news is that the gift of God is eternal life. All who call on the name of the Lord will be saved. Jesus loved you so much that He died for you. I want to lead all of you in a prayer to invite Jesus to be your personal Lord and Savior.”

They looked at each other, hesitated, and one shouted, “We’ll pray it if you sing it. This is Bonnaroo.”

I stuttered and froze. I’d already noticed that at least four of this crowd was gifted musically. I thought about Ron and Louise standing behind me and knew that while I’d probably never see these young people again, I’d have to go home with Ron and Louise knowing how my music compared to the gifted musicians we’d just heard. Louise is my sister-in-law and I’d been her son’s piano teacher. If I sang, I was afraid she was going to find out just how untalented I really was. The familiar musical shame crept into the marrow of my bones. Then, I got mad that the enemy was using it against me.

“Ok,” I said, shaking off the bad feelings. “I’ll sing a line and you repeat it back to me.” They all cheered.

“Dear Jesus,” I sang and waved my arms for them to repeat it back. They sang the words back.

“Thank you for dying for me.” They cheerfully sang each line as I sang through confessing faith in Jesus, admitting sin, asking for forgiveness, and finally, asking Jesus to be their Lord and Savior.

My internal music teacher critiqued as I sang and I was vaguely aware that my melody line made no harmonic sense and that I changed keys at least 3 times. I must have had some kind of rhythm because they clapped as we sang.

When we finished, I said to the now quiet group, “There are 12 of you sitting here. How many of you really sang the words and meant them?” Nine raised their hands. I added nine to our count, making the total of 78 for me and 98 for our entire group.

Later, Louise and Ron said it was great, that I’d gotten quiet at all the right moments. “They clapped along,” Louise said in wonder.

I knew what my musical grade really was but also knew that evangelism is a spiritual gift and that spiritual gift had carried the moment. The harvest was ripe. No wonder the enemy was throwing old insecurities back into my face! I am beautifully and wonderfully made and the gifts God gave me are enough to do what He calls me to do. I tossed those insecurities right back at the enemy. They don’t belong to me.
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Cheryle M. Touchton is the Director of Pocket Full of Change Ministries. This ministry exists because people like you are called to help fund the work of the kingdom. To help keep the Pocket Full of Quarters Lady on the road leading people to Christ, you can donate at

Donate

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Team Jesus


By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady



I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
KJV Phil 4:13


“You guys sure are a great team,” Ron Fuller with the Sojourners Fellowship said.

“We are,” I agreed. “We used to work together. We’ve been family a long time.”

Louise Milligan is my sister-in-law, friend, sister in Christ, and the mother of 2 of my 4 four nephews. Louise joined me at the annual Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee. We both like many kinds of music but we were there to tell concert attendees about Jesus. We heard several times what a great team we were. Team Jesus is the best!

Each morning, Louise and I grabbed a cup of tea, read our Bible, and prayed together. Team Jesus is prepared.

“I hope you are careful,” I told one young man. “You probably have a mother who wants you safe.”

My mother told me to party my “A..” off,” he replied. (You’ll have to fill in for yourself the word he really used.)

Louise walked around behind him, looked, arm bumped him, and said, “It’s still there.” Team Jesus has a sense of humor.

“What is that?” I asked a couple. They were lighting a 4-inch colorful piece of glass and puffing.

“It’s a bowl,” they explained.

“I assume it is for pot,” I said. “How does it work?” They explained the technology and then went on to teach us about how and why people ate poison mushrooms. Louise and I listened without commenting when they said, “It’s natural so it is safe.” Team Jesus just loves.

After they finished sharing about pot, we shared about Jesus. They listened to our good news and invited Jesus to be their Savior.

“I can’t believe what people tell you,” Louise said as we walked off. “Thank goodness they didn’t offer us a puff.” Louise and I have never smoked pot and plan to keep it that way. Team Jesus lives in the world but is not of the world.

“I was worried about that too,” I said. “I always ask when I don’t understand things. It helps me in my work. That information will come in handy for leading someone else to Christ.” Team Jesus wants to know.

A couple of days later Louise and I were walking across the Bonnaroo field when someone called us over. It was our pot smoking friends, clear headed, relaxed, and excited to see us. Team Jesus is effective!

Louise and I walked around for four days in 90 degree plus weather, sharing Jesus. While we were together, 49 people prayed to receive Jesus as their personal Savior. Team Jesus in unstoppable!
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Cheryle M. Touchton is the Director of Pocket Full of Change Ministries. This ministry exists because people like you are called to help fund the work of the kingdom. To help keep the Pocket Full of Quarters Lady on the road leading people to Christ, you can donate at

Donate

Saturday, June 11, 2011

It's A War Out There


By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady



For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against… the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Eph 6:12-13 NIV

It’s a war out there. When it happened the 1st time, I was disappointed. When it happened the 2nd time, I was surprised. When it happened the 3rd time, I knew we were under enemy attack and the team I was with, Louise, Tanya, and I, prayed. When it happened the 4th time I got mad. When it happened the 5th time, it simply didn’t work. The enemy’s newest strategy was to snatch people away, just as they were about to pray to receive Jesus.

Just as two lovely young women were about to pray to invite Jesus into their lives, their long lost best friend ran up and started hugging them. I was disappointed because the moment seemed lost. When they finally finished hugging, I tried to snatch the moment back. The “interrupter” glared daggers and said, “I’m really uncomfortable.” She stormed off, which ended any possibility that the other two were going to pray. The enemy had snatched them away and had used their friend to do it.

Another time, just as we began to pray with a young woman, 3 friends stormed over and demanded she come with them “right now.” The enemy snatched her away and used 3 friends to do it.

It would have been comical if it hadn’t been so frustrating. Later, a drunk burst into our group asking for directions just as the group was about to pray. My sister-in-law Louise is nothing if not bold. She actually ran what I call a “block” by putting herself between us and them. She had no idea where the stage was but she managed to head him in another direction.

On our way out of the park, it happened one last time. We met a lovely but frustrated young woman standing next to her suitcase. She had been standing beside the road for an hour waiting to hear from her friends. As we talked she confessed that she had been struggling and had lost all hope. We prayed for healing for her and shared Jesus. Just as she was about to pray to receive Jesus, her phone rang. Louise and I couldn’t believe it was happening again and we were done with the enemy winning. We waited for the conversation to end, insisted on helping her carry her stuff, and walked with her. She eventually prayed to receive Jesus.

On Day 1 of Bonnaroo, we had 3 salvations but it would have been much higher the enemy hadn’t snatched people away at the exact moment they were about to be reborn. It is a war out there – a war against the spiritual forces of darkness. The enemy may win a battle but he can’t win the war. We have our own secret weapon at our disposal – prayer.

They don’t call them prayer “warriors” for no reason. It’s a war out there and we put our warriors to work. Prayer worked and the enemy didn’t even bother trying the strategy again. On Day 2 of Bonnaroo, Louise and I led 13 people to Jesus. On Day 3, we had 7 salvations. Together, we’ve had 23 salvations in 3 days. I’ve had 50 people pray with me since I left on this missionary journey. Our entire team, lead by the Sojourner, Ron Fuller, has had 65 salvations in 5 days. It may be a war out there but we already know who will win!


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Cheryle M. Touchton is the Director of Pocket Full of Change Ministries. This ministry exists because people like you are called to help fund the work of the kingdom. To help keep the Pocket Full of Quarters Lady on the road leading people to Christ, you can donate at

Donate

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Wonder in Wal-Mart

Give’em Heaven In 2011 – Wonder at Wal-Mart



By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady



Do you not say, 'Four months more and then the harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. John 4:35-36 NIV

A couple of days before the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival there is wonder at Wal-Mart as the parking lot fills with painted vans, excited people looking for a party, lots of beer, and Christians giving the good news of Christ. In the last 24 hours, our tiny group of about 8 people led 37 people to Jesus.

“I have the best job in the word,” I told one young person, “I get to travel the country giving the best news anyone could ever hear.” In moments, this pierced, painted, and scantily clad young woman prayed to receive Jesus.

“You’ll enjoy the concert more if you drink more water than beer,” I advised a group of young people. “At about day 3, people are walking around looking miserable. Heat and hangovers are a bad combination. They came all this way and spent all this money and they look like me the day after surgery.” They laughed and two of them prayed to receive Jesus.

“Please be careful,” I said. “You probably have a mother at home who wants you to return in one piece.”

“You’re right. I just got off the phone with her.”

“If something bad happened and you didn’t live through this week, do you know where you would go next?” I asked.

“Bonnaroo heaven,” he said.

“And if you got to Bonnaroo heaven and God asked why he should let you in, what would you say?” God adores this young man and in a few moments, he said the words that meant he could go somewhere even better than Bonnaroo heaven.

“My I tell your children the story of Jesus?” I asked.

“They’re not my children but I’m watching them. Sure.”

I pulled out my cube that had pictures and told the children a story that two of them had never heard before. Their eyes were as big as saucers. One of the children was in tears. I asked if they wanted that Jesus to be their savior and they all nodded. I prayed with them and gave them pictured tracts that explained what they had just done.

If you wonder if the wonder of their salvation was real, relax. We have good news and people feel it all the way to the marrow of their bones. They crave what God has to say as people camped outside of Wal-Mart in 90-degree weather pant for water. Everyone wants Jesus, even if they don’t know it.

My beloved Jesus said, “Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest'? Open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” At Wal-Mart today, we opened our eyes and looked at the fields. They were ripe for harvest. I am filled with wonder.


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Cheryle M. Touchton is the Director of Pocket Full of Change Ministries. This ministry exists because people like you are called to help fund the work of the kingdom. To help keep the Pocket Full of Quarters Lady on the road leading people to Christ, you can donate at

Donate

Monday, June 6, 2011

We Care

By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady


As the Father has sent me, I am sending you. John 20:21 NIV

Jesus has sent me out on the road again. I left today for a month long missionary journey made possible by faithful churches and Christians who love God and people so much that they use time, talents, and resources to lead strangers to Jesus. I'm writing this from Wytheville, Virginia. I want to shout for joy about how much Christians care about leading people to Jesus.

The Church Cares

The Sojourners Ministry out of Manchester, Tennessee cares so much about the 80,000 people about to descend on their city to listen to rock music and “party hearty” that they invited evangelists in and have rallied the community to share Jesus with attendees of the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. I am headed there now.

My church, Calvary Baptist, cared enough about strangers to financially and prayerfully support a missionary journey that will reach people who may not ever come to State College, Pennsylvania.

Tiny Hart Haven Baptist Church out of Jacksonville, Florida cares enough about America to donate monthly a part of their limited budget for missionary journeys that span the country.

The church cares about leading people to Jesus!

Christians Care

Pocket Full of Change Ministries has yearly, monthly, and occasional ministry supporters who care so much about leading total strangers to Jesus that they send money that they could otherwise use for themselves. A faithful prayer team spends time praying for the work of this ministry.

A faithful woman who lives in Arizona cared enough about people visiting Tennessee to send money for 2 Bonnaroo concert tickets – one for me and one for someone to walk with me continually praying.

My sister-in-law Louise Milligan, out of Jacksonville, Florida cares about the people in Tennessee. She agreed to be the person who goes with me and is using part of her vacation time to take Jesus to Bonnaroo. Another faithful person heard Louise was joining me and donated her personal frequent flier points for Louise’s plane ticket.

Pocket Full of Change Ministries has a faithful Board of Directors who uses their time, talents, and resources to faithfully and prayerfully guide the work of this ministry.

Christians care about leading people to Jesus!

God Cares

The reason that Christians care about strangers finding Jesus is that God loved us so much that He sent His son Jesus to die so that we could live. Just as God sent Jesus to us, Jesus’ loving spirit dwells in us, and if we tried to keep quiet about how much God cares, the Bible says the rocks would cry out. Just as God sent Jesus to us, so Jesus sends Christians to the World. God cares about people spending an eternity with Him.

It is an honor to be sent by Jesus!

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Cheryle M. Touchton is the Director of Pocket Full of Change Ministries. This ministry exists because people like you are called to help fund the work of the kingdom. To help keep the Pocket Full of Quarters Lady on the road leading people to Christ, you can donate at

Donate

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Jesus Is More Interesting Than Texting

by Cheryle M. Touchton

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Rev 22:1 NIV

“Can I give you something more interesting than that text you are reading?” My friend and ministry supporter, Deb, were strolling through a mall in Philadelphia and noticed three teenage girls huddled together reading a phone.

“Huh?” one mumbled, looking up.

“I want to give you something to read that is more interesting than what you are reading on your phone. It’s about Jesus.”

“Who?” one of them asked.

“Jesus,” I said, handing the 3 girls a Christian tract. “Have you heard of Him?”

“Yes,” they all agreed. We listened to their varied religious backgrounds and views. Before long, all three teenagers eagerly prayed and invited Jesus to be their Savior. One had told me she was a Christian and Baptist but prayed aloud along with her friends to show support. When we finished praying, the self-proclaimed Christian looked stunned. “I’ve never prayed a prayer like that,” she said. I was surprised and reminded not to assume that anyone is a Christian, regardless of the church they grew up and were baptized in.


Notice the sparkle in their eyes. It amazes me that strangers will allow me to take picture but I always ask because I love the capture the thrill of just meeting Jesus.




A few minutes later, Deb and I met Nicole. “I pray all the time,” she said. “Some people think I’m not Christian because I have a daughter and I’m not married but I don’t believe they are right. I hope I’m going to heaven. I go to a Catholic Church and I’m trying really hard.”

“The Bible says all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God. That includes the people who tell you you’re not a Christian because of your daughter. The wages of sin is death and while what you did to get that daughter was a sin, your daughter is gift and not a sin. You don’t have to try so hard to get into heaven. It’s easy. All who call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”


With relief in her eyes, Nicole prayed and invited Jesus to be her Lord and Savior. We took her picture and as we walked away, she thanked us repeatedly. A few minutes later, we interrupted another woman who was reading her phone. She also prayed to receive Jesus.

I don’t have to be timid about interrupting people texting, listening to IPods, or reading a book. Jesus really is more interesting than anything anyone could possibly be doing. After all, He is the Alpha and the Omega, the First and Last, and the Beginning and the End. If I can get their attention, many figure out just how interesting Jesus is in just a few minutes. It is totally worth taking the chance of offending someone and in all my time on the road, I’ve only had a few people “shoo” me away.

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Cheryle M. Touchton, the Pocket Full of Quarters Lady, is the Director of Pocket Full of Change Ministries. She and the Missionary Dog Belle travel the country as missionaries. For more information or to schedule a speaker for an event, go to www.pocketfullofchange.org.This ministry exists because people like you are called to help fund the work of the kingdom. To help keep Belle the Missionary Dog and the Pocket Full of Quarters Lady on the road leading people to Christ, you can donate at

Donate


Copyright: Pocket Full of Change Ministries

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Birthday Gift


By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Change Ministries



But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? Rom 10:14-15 The New Living Translation

May 9 was Deb’s birthday and I wanted to give her a gift. Everything I thought about giving seemed trivial for one who has made such a difference to so many. Deb has a heart for helping people meet Jesus. She is a financial and prayer supporter of Pocket Full of Change Ministries. Some of us are called to “go” and in order to go, we must be “sent.” (Romans 10:15) Deb is a sender.

I met Deb leading a women’s retreat for her church in Arizona. When she sent her original donation, she included the words, “Give’em Heaven.” Those words have become our ministry slogan and this year it is “Give’em Heaven in 2011.” Her initial donations often came at a time when I was personally discouraged about finances and seeking God’s will in evangelism. It takes money to lead people to Christ and the economy is tough. Monthly support is essential for stabilizing ministries and Deb’s monthly donation has helped us budget and plan for our part in building God’s kingdom. She also has helped fund specific ministry events that led to the salvation of many. I wondered what possible gift I could give that would represent the love I have for her as a sister in Christ and a partner in evangelism.

Sunday, while sitting in church, listening to a Mother’s Day sermon on faithful women, I knew the gift I was going to give Deb. On her birthday, Belle the Missionary Dog and I were going to go to the Penn State University Campus and tell people about Jesus.

It was lovely day. After so much cold weather, students were giddy to be outside frolicking in the sunshine. Many were about to graduate and the campus was bursting with energy. Belle the Missionary Dog did her thing and drew the students to us. Belle did tricks as I gave the gospel of Jesus Christ. We handed out Christian tracts to people waiting for busses and studying for finals on park benches. Young people shared their faith stories and disappointment with God and church as we all basked in the sunshine.

One young man, Matt, was still grieving the sudden death of his 12 year old brother, who died from a simple bowel obstruction. The horror of it was worse because it occurred only four days after 9/11. He lost his faith when his Godly mother, who stood steadfast in her faith through everything died only four years later from complications of radiation treatment for cancer.

I shared with him about the loss of my son and gave him a salvation tract and a scripture card about dealing with grief. I invited him to pray with me but he said that after being mixed up for so long, he needed to read the material and get alone to think. I invited him to my church, gave him my phone number, and offered him a ride to church.

Three beautiful young women crossed the campus carrying the caps and gowns they’d just picked up. Their faces beamed with hope and excitement for the future. As we passed on the sidewalk, Belle made sure that she got their attention. We talked about their destiny, in the immediate future and eternity. All three had attended Christian churches as children and believed in Jesus at some level. None had a personal relationship with Him nor had they ever prayed to ask Him to be their personal Savior. After hearing God’s words, two prayed the words that would change their destinies. Their spiritual birthday will be the same as Deb’s earthly birthday. The third listened to God’s words, bowed her head when her friends prayed, but refused to pray herself. She promised to read the tract and consider it for later. I believe God will send many more Christians her way with the same offer.

Happy Birthday, my dear Deb. The birthday gift I gave you was a day of ministry in the work we both love so much. The real birthday gift came from God. As I prayed for you today, I asked God for a special gift for you – for Him to send at least one person to receive Jesus on your birthday. He sent two that will forever share a birthday with you. I love you. Thank you for your partnership in the work of Pocket Full of Change Ministries.
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Cheryle M. Touchton, the Pocket Full of Quarters Lady, is the Director of Pocket Full of Change Ministries. She and the Missionary Dog Belle travel the country as missionaries. For more information or to schedule a speaker for an event, go to www.pocketfullofchange.org. This ministry exists because people like you are called to help fund the work of the kingdom. To help keep Belle the Missionary Dog and the Pocket Full of Quarters Lady on the road leading people to Christ, you can donate at

Donate


Copyright: Pocket Full of Change Ministries

E

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

In the Garden

By Cheryle M. Touchton


My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will. Matt 26:39 NIV

On Holy Week, I think about Jesus praying alone in Gethsemane. His soul was overwhelmed to the point of death. He took His disciples to the garden but they had to sit and wait outside. Imagine the emotion as Jesus begged, “Daddy, if possible, take this cup from me.” Then, my sweet Savior modeled acceptance and obedience by finally saying, “Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

What sends you to the garden alone? Because of my oldest son, David Paul Touchton, I got into the habit of going into the garden regularly. Bob and I met our adorable David when he was six. He moved in on this 7th birthday. God gifted David intellectually and musically and for a few years, it seemed like his future was bright. When his future fell apart, there was no putting it back together. I begged God to take the cup of David’s mistakes from us but my poor troubled David, broken before I ever met him, used his free will to ruin his life and break my heart. David found God again the last year of his life and when he died of AIDS in 1995, the only place for me was in the garden.

I had to go alone. I wanted my family and friends to enter the garden with me but all they could do was sit outside and pray. At first, I was mad to be there alone but God taught me that there are times when I have to enter alone. I had begged God to heal my son and had to accept that God gave David His perfect healing in eternity. I left that garden finally saying, “Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

In the Garden* is my favorite hymn is. I love it. I understand it. I’ve told my family to sing it at my funeral. I ignored nephew Bill when he asked, “If you’re dead, why do you care what we sing?” I’ve warned everyone that they are not to leave out any of the verses because together, they tell a story. I’ve tried to get my family of singers to learn it for me while I’m still alive but they don’t seem as excited about it as I am. Anytime there is a hymn request, I ask this hymn to be sung. I include it in conferences that I lead. I have many different recordings and when I listen to In a Garden, I feel God telling me that I am His own.

Verse 1- In the Garden*


I come to the garden alone.
While the dew is still on the roses.
And the voice I hear falling on my ear,
The son of God discloses.

I no longer wait for tragedy to send me to the garden. My special time with God is early in the morning. I enter that holy time alone. If I’m still, quiet, and listen carefully, the voice I hear falling on my ear, the son of God discloses. Don’t misunderstand. I’ve never been blessed to hear the audible voice of God. I had an aunt who heard voices and we locked her up so if I heard voices, I wouldn’t admit it anyway. Nevertheless, I do hear God’s voice in the early morning while the dew is still on the roses.

Verse 2- In the Garden*


He speaks and the sound of His voice,
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me,
Within my heart is ringing.

As soon as my eyes open, the rush of anticipation of my time with God washes over me. I awaken hungry so I rush through my breakfast, quickly make my coffee, and trot upstairs with my dog Belle to my special vibrating recliner and kneeling bench. I kneel before the window and the sweet sound of God’s voice rings in my heart. I sit in my chair, open my Bible, and read the melodious words of God. If weather permits, I go outside. At first, I listen to the birds but the voice of God is so sweet that, to my ears, even the birds hush their singing.

Verse 3- In the Garden*


I’d stay in the garden with Him.
Though the night around me be falling,
But He bids me go, through the voice of woe,
His voice to me is calling.

I want to stay in the garden but the work of the day beckons. If what I hear in garden is difficult and the day ahead of me dark, I beg to stay in the garden but God bids me to Go, through the voice of woe. When I beg for my cup to be removed, I wait in the garden until I can pray, “Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

Chorus- In the Garden*


And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

As I leave the garden, the chorus stays with me. God walks with me and He talks with me throughout my day. When I’m frightened or uncertain, He whispers that I am His own. The joy we share as God and I walk together in the garden surpasses anything I have ever known.

*In the Garden – Words and Music by Austin Miles

Copyright: Pocket Full of Change Ministries

Friday, April 1, 2011

If the Devil Doesn't Like It, He Can Sit On a Tack

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deut 31:8 NIV


I was 8 years old and loved to sing an old hymn that included the words, “If the devil doesn’t like it, he can sit on a tack.” I sang them fearlessly. I still believe those words just as much today but sometimes it takes a moment to recognize the devil’s hand in something.

It was time to write an April newsletter article. I had much to write about. Ministering with my best friend, Nancy Edwards, at Mardi Gras in New Orleans was amazing. 15 people prayed to receive Jesus. When I returned Nancy to Atlanta, 2 more people said yes to stepping up and changing their destinies. I’d also spoken at several events. I sat down to write and words wouldn’t come. What was my problem?

Discouragement
During and in the busy week after Mardi Gras, criticism of the effectiveness of evangelism and what I do came from several sources whose words cut to the bone. Those words, so casually spoken, grew in my mind until I found myself doubting the validity of my call from God on a week where heaven had literally come down and glory had filled my soul. I sought the council of my husband, Bob, who immediately began praying for what he labeled “Cheryle’s discouragement.”

I’ve come to believe discouragement is a demon who follows me when God is with me and goes before me. It attacks right after a spiritual victory. Most often, it finds its way into my heart through Christians or those I love or respect. It is sneaky and ruthless. It preys on my doubts and fears and uses my very heart for God and God’s word against me. It is cunning because I have trouble telling the difference between the demon discouragement and Godly council that I depend on to keep me spiritually fit.

When I heard myself saying to Bob, “I’m confused about what I should be doing,” I knew Bob was right. The demon discouragement had cleverly found a home. It was why I couldn’t write. Truth never confuses me. When my heart is open to God, truth pierces my soul. When my heart is spiritually cold, I can ignore truth so I’m not confused. The fact that I was confused meant the demon discouragement was attacking me and threatening to hinder my ability to Give’em Heaven in 2011. Get thee behind me, Satan!

The Answer
If the demon, discouragement, is hindering your ability to Give’em Heaven in 2011, let me share some truths I’ve learned.

The only effective tool against a demon is to rebuke it and speak the word of God aloud.

If someone has told you that Christians are too “preachy,” know that God calls us to go into the world and preach the Gospel.

If you are wondering if people who pray to receive Jesus are sincere, let me state that all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved.

If you’ve heard that people need to be convicted of all of their sins first, know that they only need to admit they are a sinner and ask for forgiveness. The Holy Spirit often convicts new Christians of one sin at a time over an extended period.

If you think you can’t tell someone all about Jesus in just a few minutes, believe that the lost do not have to understand everything about Jesus to receive Him. They only need faith the size of mustard seed to call on the Lord.

If you are uncomfortable quoting numbers of salvations, please consider that the number of people we lead to Jesus matters because each number is person and people matter. We are to place our light on a table for all see. The Bible often quotes numbers and it is my conviction we should as well. At Pentecost, 3,000 people called on the Lord. In 2010, 132 people prayed with me to receive Jesus. At Mardi Gras, 15 people prayed with Nancy and me to change their eternal destiny. I do not apologize for bragging on God because the God’s word is sharper than a double-edged sword and those salvations came from speaking God’s words aloud.

For those who argue that salvation isn’t just about speaking a few words but is about a changed heart, let me assure you that a prayer that calls on Jesus is made up of words and speaking that prayer aloud is the single most powerful tool I’ve ever witnessed for leading to a changed heart. While “the sinner’s prayer” is not specifically in the Bible, 1) accepting that sin has separated us from God and asking for forgiveness from that sin, 2) confessing that Jesus died on a cross and rose from the dead for our sins, and 3) asking Jesus to our Lord and Savior is absolutely in the Bible. The order of the words may not matter but confessing, believing, and praying to receive Jesus is the difference between an eternity in heaven and an eternity in hell.

To those who question the feasibility of leading people to Christ while they are in the middle of sinning, let me quote Romans 5:20. Where sin increases, grace abounds. I can personally attest that when Christians evangelize at dark events where sin increases, grace does indeed abound, and many pray to receive Jesus.

To those who counter that it is impossible to follow up with people who pray to receive Jesus right on the street, may I remind you that just as the Holy Spirit sends evangelists to lead people to Christ, He is equally faithful to send teachers to disciple them.

Join us at Pocket Full of Change Ministries and Give’em Heaven in 2011. People are hungry to know Jesus. Don’t let the demon discouragement keep you from being bold. As the old hymn says, “If the devil doesn’t like it, he can sit on a tack.”

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Why Hell?


By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady



The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, “Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.” Luke 16:22-24 NIV

“I don’t believe in hell,” our server, Ally, told my best friend Nancy and me. “How can a good God create hell?”

Nancy and I had just left her church choir practice and were sitting at the end of a long table with several of her friends, including her Minister of Music. Sensing Ally was shy, we talked so quietly that Nancy’s friends at the end of table didn’t even know what was going on.

“Do you believe that Jesus died on a cross and rose from the dead?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said. “I believe in Jesus. I just don’t believe in hell. We’re all good and God loves us so we’re all going to heaven.”

“If that were not true, would you want to know it before you die?”

Ally stared at us for a few seconds and finally said, “Yes. I just can’t believe God would create hell.”

I began explaining the theology about hell. I talked about fallen angels, free will, and Jesus going into hell. Ally’s eyes glazed over and I remembered that non-Christians don’t have the Holy Spirit and can’t understand such things.

“Ally,” I said. “I’m a Christian. Like you, I believe in Jesus. I’ve gone a step further. I’ve invited Jesus to be my Lord and Savior. When I did that, the Holy Spirit entered me. The Holy Spirit helps me understand things that cannot be understood without Christ. The Bible is God’s letter to me. When I read it, God is talking directly to me. The Bible says that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Sin is the Bible word for making mistakes. The wages of sin is death. The Bible says there is a hell and that's enough for me to believe it. It also says all who call on the name of Jesus will be saved. I may not like it but I believe hell exists and I trust God about that. If you pray to receive Jesus, you’ll also start developing that same kind of trust and understanding.”

Ally relaxed. Believing it because it was in the Bible was enough for her.

“Would you like to invite Jesus into your life right now?” I asked.

“Oh no, I can’t,” she said, frantically looking at Nancy’s friends. “I’m self conscious.”

“Ally,” I said. “We’re the only people in the restaurant. Everyone else at this table is talking and aren’t watching us. Look at my hands. They’re shaking. My heart is about to beat out of my chest. This is your moment. I don’t usually push but I can’t describe how I’m feeling. I think God wants you to do this now. I’m good at making this easy and will tell you exactly what to say.”

“Ok,” she whispered.

Nancy and I took her tiny, trembling hands. Together, we gave Ally the words that would change her destiny. Aloud, I added the words, “God, please help Ally understand all the things she doesn’t understand.”

When we finished, Nancy asked Ally if she could tell everyone sitting at the table. Ally said yes so Nancy got their attention and announced Ally’s good news. Everyone at the table clapped.

“Do you have a Bible?” I asked. “The Bible will help answer your questions.”

“No,” she said.

“I’ll bring you one this week,” Nancy’s Minister of Music eagerly spoke up. He will follow up, get her a Bible, and invite her to their church.

“Thank you,” Ally said, as we left. “Thank you so much.”

Nancy and I have been together a week. We’ve had 17 salvations. I leave her tomorrow to move to the next stop. Like Ally, I sometime wonder, why hell? The only answer I have is that I trust God and believe the Bible. I hate the idea of people going to hell.

Join us in our “Give’em Heaven in 2011” campaign. Invite me to your area to go evangelizing. Pray for us. We’re almost out of money and it is only March. Consider making a donation to this ministry. Tell your community about Jesus. Give’em Heaven in 2011!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Yes, No, We'll See


By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady



I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6-7 NIV

Mardi Gras came to an end. It is time for me to give my best friend Nancy back to her husband, Barry. It was a good four days and well worth our time and the money people donated to make it happen. We had 15 salvations, passed out tracts, and presented the Gospel numerous times. We met so many faithful Christians there doing the same thing. The Bible says to think on what is lovely and leading people to Jesus is lovely.

Yes


“If you get to heaven and God asked, ‘Girlfriend, why should I let you in?, 'what would you say?” I asked a woman who had just told me she was going to heaven. I’d guessed she was about 25. Her black skirt was so tight and short that I wondered how she moved.

She was silent for minute. Finally, she said, “I have no idea!”

“Good answer,” I said. “You’re honest. I can work with that. Do you believe in Jesus?”

“Yes,” she said. We confirmed the facts of His birth, death, and resurrection and she was well informed. I spoke scripture about how to get to heaven and she listened with rapt attention. Someone had taught her about Jesus but not the way to Him. When I invited her to pray, she was ready and eager.

I love telling children about Jesus. With the permission of the supervising adults, we gave out many children’s tracts and presented the gospel to several groups of children, using a picture cube that tells the story of Jesus.

One grandmother agreed to let me talk to her 5 grandchildren and said, “These 3 here're saved but these 2 ain’t. I told them about Jesus but their mama don’t take them to church.”

As I told the story of Jesus, I stopped at each section of the cube to make sure the two unsaved little boys, aged 6 & 8, understood. They not only understood, they believed. The grandmother had taught them well.

“May I ask them to invite Jesus into their lives?” I asked.

“Yes,” the Grandmother answered without hesitation.

I turned to the boys. “You know and believe everything you need to know to become Jesus’ friend. Do you want to do that now?”

They both nodded solemnly but when they repeated the simplified salvation prayer, they said it clearly and enthusiastically.

No


I long for every encounter to be lovely, but not all are. Many refused the tract. A few were rude and occasionally obscene. I heard several times, “I’m good. Don’t bother me.” I honored their wishes and moved on, praying for them as I left.

We’ll See


Several listened to the Gospel, took the tract, and promised to say the prayer later. I believe that at least two of those will really do it. Who knows, maybe more than that. I didn’t push beyond my invitation to pray.

My favorite, “We’ll See” are the intellectuals who love to debate. They pontificate about science, future lives, philosophy, other deities, or what ever book they have just read. I listen completely and do not debate. In fact, I try to express no opinion about their opinions. I’ve found opinions escalate debate and while they might enjoy it, we get nowhere.

When they finish their speeches, I usually ask, “If Jesus were the way, truth, and the life and no one could get to the Father except through Him, would you want to know it?”

One person this week said no so I moved on.

Most often, I hear something like, “That’s a silly question. I could never know that. It would be impossible to know.”

I smile and say, “I knew you were going to think it was silly but it is a serious question. If there were a way you could know beyond a shadow of doubt, would you want to know? If Jesus were the only way to heaven and you were going to end up spending an eternity in hell without Him, would you want to know it before you die?”

Most say yes. I then say, “I want to give you the Jesus Challenge. It takes courage but I think you’re up to it. Ask the Jesus you don’t believe it if He is real. Tell Him you need proof. Feel free to tell Him you don’t believe and how ridiculous you think the notion of there being only one-way to heaven really is. He has big shoulders. He can handle it. Ask Him if He is real and then watch with an open mind. If He isn’t real, you have nothing to lose. If He is real, you have eternity to gain.”

Two Mardi Gras clad confirmed atheists took the Jesus challenge this week. I gave them my card and said, “You’d better hang on to your hat and my card. Over the years, I’ve heard back from several people who took the Jesus Challenge. Their stories were astounding. Contact me and tell me your story about how Jesus proved Himself.”

Yes, it has been a lovely week. I love going outside to play with my best friend, Nancy. Evangelism is my favorite kind of play. Evangelism is not Nancy's calling but she is always willing support me in my adventures. When we wake up tomorrow, I’ll drive Nancy back to Atlanta.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Reason


By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady



Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Rom 10:13 NIV

Today, I think I discovered the reason I felt so driven to attend Mardi Gras. I suspect Anthony was the main reason God wanted me here.

On Sunday, Nancy and I took a break from witnessing to watch a delightful street show. For an hour, we watched 4 talented young men perform amazing gymnastic feats, tell jokes, and dance.

Throughout the show, I focused on Anthony, who appeared to be the leader. His mouth contained what I think is called a “grill” and when he laughed, his twinkling gold teeth competed with his twinkling eyes. Because of some of the jokes, I suspected he wasn’t a Christian, but I appreciate talent and anyone who can make me laugh.

After the show, I stood in the long line to give my compliments. “You guys were great,” I said. “You are also good at getting money out of people. You asked us for $5 and sure enough, I found myself putting $5 in the basket instead of my usual $1. I’m in ministry and $5 is precious.”

“Oh, he’s good at a hustle all right,” quipped the young woman standing next to him.

“Yes, he is,” I said. “As I watched the show, I couldn’t help but think that God has big plans for your talent and humor. I can see it one day leading young people to Christ but that would mean you’d have to become a Christian first.”

Anthony and his friend laughed.

“I know another group who uses karate to lead people to Christ. They go into high schools and churches. They are using their talent to change the world,” I said. “It was all I could think about as I watched your show.”

Anthony was polite but people were waiting so I left and didn’t expect to see him again.

Today, Nancy and I meandered over to Artillery Park, the same place Anthony’s group had performed the day before. We were expecting a huge Christian worship service but were surprised to see Anthony’s group finishing a show and the Christian worship team standing around.

It turned out that both groups had paid for permits for use of the same space. I watched Anthony interact with the Christian team as they compared permits. Then, Anthony stuck out his hand, shook the pastor’s hand, and started removing his equipment.

I walked over to Anthony. “You guys are a class act. You could have made that difficult and yet you didn’t. I know this is costing you money and you must be disappointed. I appreciate how cooperative you’re being.”

“I just wanted to see his permit,” he said. “Last year Christians told me they had a permit and it turned out they had lied.”

“Lying isn’t Christian,” I said. “I’m sorry that happened to you. By the way, I still think God has big plans for you.”

“You remind me of an old lady who always comes to Mardi Gras and tries to pray with me.”

“Maybe that old lady couldn’t come so God sent another old lady to talk to you about Jesus,” I joked.

To worship with what looked to be a thousand Christians right in the middle of Mardi Gras was amazing. There standing across from fortunetellers and party goers circling Jackson Square, Christians danced, sang, jumped, waved flags, prayed, and took communion, all in the name of Jesus. As the worship service neared the end, I noticed familiar athletic pants moving up behind me. Somehow, in that big crowd, Anthony had ended up right behind me.

He seemed to be under conviction so I began praying for him and waited until the end of service to talk to him.

“I’m glad you came,” I said, standing up and touching his arm. “I’ve been sitting here praying for you. I can’t stop thinking that God has big plans for you in the body of Christ.”

“I think I’m getting there,” he said quietly.

“You don’t have to ‘get there.’ We can do this right now. The Bible says all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. The wages of sin is death and the gift of God is eternal life. All who call on the name of Jesus will be saved. Let’s call on Him right now. I’ll tell you exactly what to say.”

“OK,” he said.

Anthony gave me his hands and together, we prayed for him to receive Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior. Nancy congratulated him. Anthony left to set up for his next show, changed forever.

“I knew it!” I told Nancy excitedly. “I knew last night he was going to accept Jesus. God is going to use his talent in the church. I think Anthony may be the reason I was supposed to come to Mardi Gras. I feel like I could go home now and I’d be finished.”

“I’m OK with that,” Nancy grinned. I knew what she meant. Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras was definitely not Nancy’s choice for a place to be. I’d needed someone with me and she’d come because I needed her.

“No,” I said. “Sorry. We have one more day. Let’s finish this.”

We’ve had 10 people pray to receive Jesus. Tonight, we strolled Bourbon Street praying for the drunken crowd and handing out tracts. We were encouraged by how many Christians were there doing the same thing. Tomorrow is Fat Tuesday. Where sin increases, grace abounds.