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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Signs and Wonders

By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady

Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands. Acts 14:3 KJV

“By the way,” read the text. “My sinus trouble cleared up right after you prayed for healing.”

I read the text in wonder. When my friend told me he was sick, I immediately prayed for healing. God had indeed sent a “sign and wonder” to affirm His power and the power of His word. I thought back to my own ignorance regarding the gifting of signs and wonders when giving testimony unto the word of his grace. I simply didn’t understand the power the Bible promised would be granted to me. I didn’t have the faith that what I prayed for would be done and without faith, it is impossible to please God.

For the first few years I traveled as an apostle and evangelist, I didn’t pray for people to be healed physically. I ministered but didn’t exercise what was my right and responsibility under the word of God. Then I sat through an evangelism class with Riley Stephenson with Kenneth Copeland Ministries. He encouraged us to lead people to Christ and then ask them if they had any physical needs that needed prayer.

I told my mentor Rev. Ron Fuller, who was also in the class, that I didn’t pray for physical healing with people.

Surprised, he asked, “Why not?”

“Oh,” I explained. “I don’t have the gift of healing. You and Riley do but I don’t. I don’t want to mislead people.”

“Cheryle,” he said. “When you are giving the gospel, you can claim healing under your evangelism call to give testimony to the power of God. The apostles often prayed for healing as they traveled. It was a Biblical demonstration of the signs and wonders of God.”

I must admit that I was dubious. We left after the class to go evangelizing at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival so I couldn’t confirm Ron’s words in my Bible. Because I trust his Biblical knowledge and understanding, I decided to try it. I led a young woman to Christ. Afterward, I asked if there was anything else I could pray for.

“My sunburn,” she said. She had red hair, was fair skinned, barefooted, and wearing a very skimpy bathing suit. She was beet red from the roots of her hair to the tips of her toes.

Feeling a little foolish, I laid hands on her and prayed for sun protection in the name of the Jesus she had just invited to be her Savior. As we said, “Amen,” two young men ran up, both carrying bottles of sun screen, and in a wild spraying frenzy, they covered her entire body in sunscreen, including the part in her hair. Without saying a word, they ran off.

“Wow,” said the woman, her faith and decision to accept Christ completely affirmed. “I guess prayer really works.” Yes, God had demonstrated his power through “signs and wonders.”

I did go home to check out the scriptures regarding signs and wonders. They are promised 56 times, starting in Exodus and going through the book of Hebrews. Yes, God does promise that power to those of us giving the Gospel. If the Bible says it, I believe it and that is the end of that. If I believe it, I certainly am going to claim it.

Since then, when giving the gospel, I’ve prayed for many things. I pray with the authority that it will be granted in the name of Jesus Christ. I depend on prayer for myself. When I got sick just before the Ohio Halloween Block Party, I asked for prayer in my Facebook Intercessory Prayer group. When Rev. Ron Fuller and Riley Stephenson both messaged that they were praying, I had no doubt that I would be well enough to do the event. I was and I was not surprised.

If you are like me, you may wonder why God does not heal or send a “sign and wonder” every single time we ask. I asked God about about that. His answer, “Trust me. I know what I’m doing.” After all, God knows when a “sign and wonder” is necessary to demonstrate His power. Who am I to question Him? Watching “signs and wonders” in wonder is one of the many benefits of being obedient to the call to fulfill the Great Commission.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

But I Have Tattoos

By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Cor 5:17

I remembered the swing as soon as I saw it. I remembered sitting by the lake with Belle and my Bible talking and listening to God. The last time I was there, Bob was with us. I let the sweet memories rush through me. I couldn’t wait for my morning devotion time. I was at my favorite campground, James Island in Charleston, South Carolina.

Morning finally arrived and Belle and I headed to “our” swing. We hadn’t been there 5 minutes when Jeanette walked up. Jeannette had left the semi she was camping in to wander down by the lake for a smoke. I noticed the tattoos right away. Identifying tattoos and guessing why people have them has become kind of a hobby. Some are drug or mood-altering tattoos – mushrooms are especially popular right now. Then there are religious, gang, Satan, prison, zombie, vampire, theme, relationship, and Wicca – to name just a few. The theme tattoos can be categorized as well – music, nature, politics… Some choose one category and others mix and match to turn their body into a canvas portraying who they are and what matters to them. I suspected Jeannette’s were prison tattoos and I was right.

Jeanette’s face had the leathered look of someone who worked outdoors and sure enough, she was currently a ranch hand from Nebraska.

“Is she a Sheep Dog?” Jeanette asked about Belle.

“She is,” I said.

“May I take a picture for my daughter? She loves Shelties. I’m traveling with Rottweilers but I hate them.”

When Belle sees a camera, she knows just what to do. She delighted Jeanette by sitting and cocking her head at the camera. Jeanette knelt and hugged Belle.

“If you hate Rottweiler’s, why are you traveling with them?”

“They belong to a friend. That is her semi over there. We are staying in it. I came because I wanted to see Charleston.”

“Do you go to church in Nebraska?”

“My daughter has been trying to get me to go to church. I’ve tried a few where I live but I have tattoos. They don’t want me. I like my daughter’s church but it is too far to drive every week.”

I knew it. I knew this was her moment to meet Jesus. I could feel it. Her daughter was praying for her and trying to get her into church. Jeanette was seeking something – trying to keep her life on track.

“I’m sorry they rejected your tattoos,” I said. “A church is supposed to love you like Christ loves you. What about eternity?” I asked. “Do you know where you will spend eternity?”

“I hope heaven,” she said, hanging her head low. “But I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I’ve been in trouble.”

“You’ve been to prison,” I confirmed. “I can tell from your tattoos.”

“Yes,” she said, sighing. “I’m working on a ranch now. My daughter is helping me. I’m trying to live right.”

She didn’t know it yet but her entire destiny was about to change. Her daughter’s prayers were about to be answered. I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit so strongly that I could hardly get the words out as I quoted scripture and invited her to meet Jesus. Without hesitation, Jeanette agreed to pray.

“I can feel it,” she said when she finished praying. “I can feel it!” Her eyes flooded with tears and her hands were shaking.

“That is the Holy Spirit,” I said. “My pastor preached a sermon on Sunday talking about getting on the team and getting out of the huddle. You are now on Team Jesus. Getting out of the huddle and onto the field will be up to you. Somewhere, there is church who will celebrate what has just happened to you. Christ sees you as holy and pure. Find a church who loves you. Get involved, baptized, and begin reading your Bible. Call your daughter and tell her what happened to you.”

When I called Bob to report in, he said dryly, “Typical morning for my wife – alone in the woods with a cigarette smoking, tattooed, ex-con.” He and I both knew that was no longer Jeanette’s identify. She is a new creature in Christ, who makes all things new.

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Friday, October 26, 2012

Sometimes I Go With Grandma

By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady

I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. 2 Tim 1:5-6 NIV

You would be surprised at how many times I hear, “Sometimes I go with Grandma.” Most recently, I heard it on the University of North Florida’s college campus. On college campuses, I introduce myself and ask where they are from. I follow up with asking if they have a church back home. Most college students I meet do not have a church back home but many have a grandma who occasionally takes them to church.

“What is the name of the church your grandmother goes to?” I ask. They seldom know. “What flavor is it?” I ask. They always laugh. They know what I mean. They usually don’t even know the denomination or religion. My night at University of North Florida’s campus was no different. All that college sophomore knew was that Grandma’s church was some kind of “Christian” church. When I mentioned church, she instantly thought of Grandma.

When I asked this lovely co-ed and her friend where they would spend eternity, they answered that they “hoped” heaven. They had tried to be "good." Good – “but not perfect."

“Heaven sure beats the alternative,” I quipped. They agreed. I asked, “Do you believe in Jesus?”

“I do,” the sophomore nodded. Her friend agreed. If young people have been to church with Grandma and listened to Grandma’s Jesus’ stories, they probably have some kind of belief in Jesus and “hope” they are going to heaven. Thanks to Grandma, it was easy to lead that UNF sophomore and her best friend into a “relationship” with Jesus. Two salvations happened in under 10 minutes because of the faithfulness of one grandma.

“I can feel it,” one said with surprise when we finished praying.

“That is the Holy Spirit,” I said, knowing that it was the Holy Spirit she was missing. “Please call your grandma and tell her you prayed to receive Jesus,” I encouraged. “Your grandma has probably been praying for you.”

“Oh, she has. She is always talking to me about Jesus. It worries her that Mom doesn’t take us to church.” I wondered of “Mom” had ever met Jesus personally.

I believed her when she said her grandma was worried. Today’s Christian grandmas do a lot praying and worrying. If their grandchildren don’t go to church, they make a point of working “Jesus” stories into bedtimes, mealtimes, and long car rides. They pray and have others praying as well. They take these grandchildren to church at any opportunity.

While I’m grateful for the foundation that modern day Christian grandmas lay, I often wonder why so many grandmas talk so much “about” Jesus but don’t take that final step and tell their precious beloved grandchild “how” to meet Jesus. I wonder the same thing about the churches these grandmas take their grandchildren to. Why didn’t the churches tell their grandchildren “how” to meet Jesus personally?

Yes, I am aware that this is a bit of a rant but my heart is broken for all the worried Christian grandmas of lost grandchildren. These grandmas fret about why their children don’t take their grandchildren to church and blame themselves. They teach their grandchildren about Jesus, but many never get up the courage to give the simple Gospel and invite their grandchildren to meet Jesus.

My heart also breaks for all of the children who cycle through churches and Christian homes, listening to lessons “about” Jesus, but never meet him personally. They leave church or home without experiencing the peace that passes all understanding. They hear about a God who moves mountains but never meet him. They are told to be “good” but never receive the power that enables them to do all things through Christ who strengthens them.

If you are a grandma reading this and fretting about your grandchildren, certainly keep praying. Teach them Bible stories. Take them to church. But - also talk to them about sin. After all, all have sinned and fallen short. These children already know they make mistakes. Help them admit it. Tell them the truth – that the wages of sin is death. Let them know eternal life is a gift from God and cannot be earned by “being good.” Give them the best news you could ever give – that ALL who call on the name of the Lord Jesus will be saved. Invite them to pray with you. Lead them in a prayer where they confess belief in the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Help them admit that they are a sinner and ask Jesus to forgive them. Lead them in a prayer that calls on the name of Jesus – asking Jesus into their lives to be the Lord – the boss – the leader – the Savior of their lives.

Christian grandmas - take a deep breath and just do it. You know you want to. Yes, I know it is hard – but do it anyway. Yes, I know their parents might object but do it anyway. It is the most important thing you could do for your grandchild.

P.S. If you are not sure your own children ever met Jesus personally, if they are still here on earth, it is not too late. I know that this may be even harder but apologize if you didn't make the "how" clear, share the gospel, and invite them to meet Jesus.

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Little Child Shall Lead Them

By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady

And a little child will lead them. Isa 11:6

“Jesus loves you,” Four-year-old Abigaile told the woman who handed her a free sample. Thursday was “Evangelize with Abigaile” day.

“Awww,” said the woman as Abigaile took her food. “Jesus loves you too.”

“All have sinned and fallen short,” Abigaile continued. “The wages of sin is death. The gift of God is eternal life. All who call on the name of the Lord Jesus will be saved.”

Everyone listened to Abigaile. How could you not listen to an innocent child who loves Jesus with the purity of a whole and undamaged heart? We walked through Target, giving the gospel time after time. When the conversation turned serious, her four-year-old attention span kicked in and Abigaile ran happily back to Mommy.

I didn’t plan to make Abigaile an evangelist. She was born with that desire. I’ve evangelized in front of my grandchildren their entire lives. All three of my older grandchildren eagerly hand out tracts and are interested in the encounters. Abigaile is the one who begs to go out and tell others about Jesus. She asked to be taught the scriptures that convict the heart. At four, it is already clear that she has the gift of evangelism.

I’m fascinated by watching all of my grandchildren’s unique spiritual gifts develop. Each has their own response to the Divine Encounters we have. Abigaile wants to be right in the middle giving the gospel.

Noah has the spirit of generosity and when we evangelize, he enjoys giving money and food to those needing it. He was incredulous when he learned about the homeless. “Gi Gi,” he said firmly. “Let’s go buy all of them homes.” Made sense to me. I explained the concept of needing money and he is already planning on how to make that possible. He also has the gift of leadership and tries to direct our encounters and outings. To his credit, he takes into account the needs and desires of everyone as he plans what we do next. When we are giving out tracts, he is the first to suggest who we give them to. He also tells me where and how to drive. I look forward his gift of leadership maturing.

Ava has the gift of service. When we talk to people, she knows they get distracted so she keeps an eye on their children. She has been a part of more than one “wandering child” rescue. She likes to pick up dropped items for people and hold the hands of younger children when we cross the street. Her insights about people are so deep that I’m starting to suspect the gift of prophesy. She loves to memorize and quote scripture.

Both Abigaile and Ava have the gift of mercy and find the pain of others heartbreaking. Little Frederick is one and I am already seeing signs of leadership and mercy. That will be an interesting combination of gifts.

Yes, a little child shall “lead” them. What fascinates me is that even children “lead” people in their own unique way using their own unique spiritual gifts. God calls all Christians to the Great Commission – to go, teach, and baptize. One of the things I enjoy about helping others learn to share their faith is helping them discover their gifts and how they can be used for the Great Commission. As my grandchildren grow and mature in faith, I look forward to watching Abigaile evangelize, Noah lead, and Ava serve – all with the same goal of fulfilling the Great Commission. I smile when I imagine how those gifts will work together as they lead their generation to Jesus.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Plentiful Harvest

By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady

For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 2 Cor 2:15-16

If you have followed my blogs for very long, you know that I love Hart Haven Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida. My membership letter has never resided there but it has been the most consistent church in my life. During family crises, their pastor, Rev. Don Cooley, assists us by praying, making calls, offering church food, giving advice, notarizing documents, singing, sitting beside us in hospital waiting rooms, and always always making us laugh. Technically, it is my Aunt Ka Ka and Uncle Bobby’s church but I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve worshiped, partied, eaten, spoken, or played the piano there. This week, I had the privilege of going evangelizing with their pastor, Don, and their pianist, Bill Milligan, (yes – my nephew). We visited the Jacksonville Farmer’s Market and the harvest was indeed plentiful.

The sweet aroma of Christ was stronger than even the sweet aroma of the ripe and ready fruit and vegetables piled high on the tables in the many booths we visited. We had four salvations in an hour. Think about the power of that – four people came for fruit and left with access to the “Fruits of the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:22) Not everyone we talked to said yes to Jesus but four people listened, asked questions, thought about it, and agreed to invite Jesus to be their Savior.

Each had a story for how they arrived at that moment in their lives. One man was there with his Messianic Jewish friend. She had given him the gospel of Jesus and prayed for him throughout the years. That day in the Farmer’s Market, God answered her prayers with her standing there.

The most amazing story of the day came right after I had just finished praying with a man. When we said “Amen,” I heard Don ask a woman standing behind me, “Did you pray with us?”

She shyly nodded yes. I went weak kneed by the power of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. I had not even noticed she was standing there but she had listened to every word and had prayed with us. Thank God, Don was paying attention so we could affirm her salvation. The three of us turned our attention to her and indeed, she was meeting Jesus for the first time. Just hearing the word of God, without even being spoken to directly, had the power to convict this woman of her sins and her need for salvation.

I wanted to shout the words of Hebrews 4:12 from the mountain tops: For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

I wish there was a way to do justice with the written word to what I see when people become the sweet aroma of Christ for those needing salvation. I thank God for Hart Haven helping to spread the sweet aroma of Christ to me.

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Holy Ground

By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady

When Moses saw it, he wondered at the sight: and as he drew near to behold it, the voice of the Lord came unto him, Saying, I am the God of thy fathers, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Then Moses trembled, and durst not behold. Then said the Lord to him, Put off thy shoes from thy feet: for the place where thou standest is holy ground. Acts 7:31-33 KJV

“I am undone by what happened,” my friend John Turnburke said. “I’ve read your stories but I wasn’t prepared for what just happened. I am drained. I feel like I need to take off my shoes. How do you do this all the time?”

Our group of five had just spent a couple of hours giving the Gospel. Four people we met had prayed to receive Jesus. Several more heard the Gospel but said ‘not right now.’ We’d prayed with people for healing and wisdom. It was indeed a night of walking on Holy Ground. We all understood what John meant about wanting to take off his shoes.

I’ve learned not to keep evangelism “newbies” out for too long. Standing in the presence of the Holy Spirit and watching Him change lives is indeed Holy Ground and can be overwhelming. Those of us called to do that full time constantly identify with Moses’ encounter with God when he “trembled” and “dared not to look.” First time evangelists are usually tired after an hour but they never forget the experience and want to experience it again.

If anyone could have been prepared for what was about to happen that night, it would have been John. After all, he has read my blogs since my first journey in 2002. I try to describe what happens on the road by painting word pictures of the light coming into the eyes and what I call the “Holy Spirit Glow.” I post pictures of beaming faces. I write about trembling fingers, tears, arm hair standing up, and hugs and still I cannot find the words for walking on such Holy Ground.

I write about the “drawing” sensation I feel when the Holy Spirit nudges me to give the gospel and what physically happens to me at the moment of someone’s salvation. I describe my trembling hands, tears, and pounding heart. I’ve used words like “electricity” and “power” flowing into me and out of me as I hold someone’s hands. I’ve said that it takes my breath away and that I become weak kneed. No matter what I say, there are no words to describe the feeling of walking on Holy Ground.

Not all encounters are so emotionally charged. Some are intellectual and almost cold. “Evangelism naysayers” often warn me that these “on the spot” encounters can’t all be real. Since even the great evangelists like Billy Graham say that not all people who walk forward to say they’ve received Jesus, really have, I begrudgingly agree. I’ve tried to come up with a heuristic for which ones are sincere and life changing. Is it the emotional ones? Maybe trembling fingers are the real ones. Perhaps my emotional connection with the individual is the indicator. Does a monotone voice or hard face indicate a lack of sincerity? Every time I think I’ve found a formula to understand what is going on between the Holy Spirit and the other person, I get proven wrong so I’ve quit trying to guess about the sincerity of the encounter. I pray before I talk with someone and follow the Holy Spirit’s lead. I give the Gospel – using words directly from the Holy Bible. If someone has a “mustard seed” sized belief in the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus, is willing to admit they are a sinner in need of forgiveness, and has a willingness to ask Jesus to be their Lord and Savior, I invite them to step up and change their destiny. If they say yes, we pray. If they say no, I give them a tract and move on. My act of obedience in giving the Gospel is Holy Ground, even if the Gospel itself is rejected.

What I do know is that some encounters are so powerful that no one involved has a single doubt about the impact. The night I went out with John and his friends, all of our encounters were that way. Sometimes, it is just like that. Those times make you want to take off your shoes because you know you are on Holy Ground. If you want to be “undone” by the power of the Holy Spirit, let’s go evangelizing.

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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Not Part of the Heavenly Hosts

By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady

Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. Matt 18:19 KJV

I was somewhere on I-95 and needed to take a break. I was relieved when I finally saw a rest stop. I noticed Shirlie right away because she looked worried.

“Where are you from?” I asked. Shirlie lived in North Carolina and was on her way to visit her sister.

“She is my only sister left,” Shirlie said. “I thought I needed to go see her.”

“I’m glad you are going,” I encouraged. “My mama just lost her last sister. They were so close. Sister time is precious. Make time for it.”

“My sister is so worried,” she said. “Her six year old grandson was just diagnosed with leukemia.”

“You’re worried too,” I said. “That was what made me stop and talk to you. Do you believe in prayer?”

“I do,” she said.

“May I pray for your family?”

“Absolutely!” She didn’t even know my name or my story yet but we stood in the parking lot of that rest area holding hands and praying for peace for the family and healing for her great-nephew. The power of the Holy Spirit swept through both of us – it was like electricity. When we finished, we were both trembling.

“The Bible says when two agree in prayer, it will be done. We are believing that in faith,” I said and she agreed.

“Who are you?” she asked suddenly.

I knew what she was wondering. When encounters have gotten Holy and intimate so quickly, some have confused these “Divine Encounters” with an “angel encounter.” I’ve actually been asked several times if I was an angel. Even when I denied it, one man wasn’t convinced until he contacted me later via the US Post Office. I guess he figured out angels wouldn’t have a Post Office Box.

I went to laughing and explained what I did and the ministry. I’m pretty sure she was relieved. We had both felt the presence of the Holy Spirit and believe me, she was already weak kneed enough without finding out I was part of the Heavenly Host. I’ve come to expect that kind of power in prayer but it still rocks me every time.

It turns out that we had a lot in common. She was saved. I am saved. We had both grown up Southern Baptist and raised our children in church. She was a widow but like me, she adored her husband. We swapped contact information and she invited me to stay at her home any time.

I have a new friend. I will visit Shirlie and we will go evangelizing together. I also believe her sister’s grandson will be healed. Do you agree with me in prayer about that?

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I Believe

By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16 KJV

“How long have you been in this country?” I asked.

“Twenty years,” she said.

“Has anyone ever invited you to church?” I asked.

“No,” she whispered. “I would be afraid. Everyone know Bible. I would not know how to act.” Jody was from China. She was my nail tech when I was in Raleigh, North Carolina. In China, she had been Buddhist but she knew the difference between Christianity and Buddhism. She told me that Buddhism was a way to live and Christianity was about God. Guiltily, she added that she supposed Buddha a “kind of god.”

“Do you believe in Jesus?” I asked.

“Of course,” she said. “How could so many people believe and it not be real?”

“Have you heard the story of Jesus dying on a cross and being raised from the dead?”She nodded. I quoted John 3:16, stopping to explain the harder English words. Her eyes lit up.

“Do you know the word sin?” She shook her head. I explained that it was doing wrong things and making mistakes.

“I try to be good person,” she said quickly. “But I not so good. I do bad things.”

“We all do. In fact, the Bible says we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” I took a moment to explain what "glory of God" meant. She nodded eagerly.

“Do you know what the word wages means?” I asked. She did. I went on. “The wages of sin is death. The gift of God is eternal life with God. We do not do deserve it – it is a gift. Do you understand?” She nodded.

“My favorite line in the Bible says, ‘all who call on the name of the Lord Jesus will be saved.' Do you know what Lord and Savior means?

“Lord means God,” she answered.

“Exactly,” I said. “It also means you are agreeing to let God be in charge of your life.” I went on to explain what Savior meant. She was fascinated. We talked about heaven and hell.

"Would you let me lead you in a prayer asking Jesus to be your Lord and Savior? I will tell you what to say.”

I have no words for her eagerness. For 20 years, people in America had talked about Jesus. She had read about Him. She knew many of the details. She walked by churches but was afraid to go in. No one had ever told her how to meet Jesus or invited her to church. She already believed and really wanted to know him. It was so easy –it always is when the Holy Spirit has prepared the heart. All I had to do was tell her what to do. She boldly prayed to receive Jesus – confessing her sin emphatically and asking for forgiveness. She asked Jesus to be her Lord and Savior and beamed at me because she knew what that meant.

I tried to get her contact information but Christian literature being mailed to a Buddhist home is not well received. We talked about Chinese Bibles and she knew how to get one. She even knew where to find a Chinese church. She was still afraid to go but now, she had the Holy Spirit to give her courage.

Pray for Jody. Invite people to church. Be aware of how frightened so many people new to this country are about going to church. Make it easy. Do not be afraid to explain Jesus to someone where English is a second language. Go slowly, speak scripture, explain the hard or confusing words, and trust the Holy Spirit to do the rest.

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Monday, October 15, 2012

Encouraged to Evangelize

By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thess 5:11

Our friend John Turnburke has followed the adventures of Pocket Full of Change Ministries since Day 1. He was the first to encourage me to go into full time ministry. When we became a non-profit corporation, he agreed to serve on our Board of Directors and encouraged our growth by being the first to contribute monthly. Over the years, his encouraging e-mails, voice mails, Face Book posts, and telephone calls to Bob and me have carried us through the ministry valleys and celebrated with us during the mountain moments.

Up until last week, John had never seen the fruits of his encouragement in action. On Thursday night, he and a group of his friends joined me in mall evangelizing.

As an encouragement to come evangelizing, John bought everyone dinner. I trained the group over dinner, we prayed, and went out to tell the mall about Jesus.

We had walked about 200 feet when we had our first encounter. It was quick, powerful, and the presence of the Holy Spirit rocked all of us. A woman wept and asked Jesus to be her Lord and Savior. We were stunned by what had just happened.

As we continued through the mall, we led 2 more people to Jesus. Both encounters were unique, powerful, and moving. We gave the gospel about 10 times in under two hours. Several more were under conviction and we knew they would pray to receive Jesus soon.

It was getting close to mall closing time. “This is your first time,” I said to the group. “Being in the presence of the Holy Spirit snatching a soul for eternity can be overwhelming. I could do this all night but I know you might be tired. Are you ready to stop yet?”

“No,” they said in unison. “Let’s do this for a little while longer.” I didn’t have to be asked twice.

We walked over to two young women eating at the food court. One beamed as she declared Jesus as her Lord and Savior. The other got tears in her eyes as she admitted she had no idea where she would spend eternity.

As we gave the Gospel, the Christ Follower encouraged her lost friend. “This is what I’ve been talking about. They are saying the same thing to you that I have been saying.”

“Have you been praying for her?” I asked.

“I have,” she said.

“Your prayers brought us here,” I said. “For the rest of your life I want to you remember the power of your prayers.” I turned to her lost friend and invited her to meet Jesus. She agreed and tearfully asked for forgiveness of sin and invited Jesus to become her Savior.

After the salvation prayer, her faithful praying friend looked at us and said, “You have no idea how glad I am that you were here. Thank you.”

“Your prayers brought us here,” I reminded her.

That night, we were encouraged to evangelize by John Turnburke. Four people met Jesus because John encouraged an evangelism event into a reality. Many have met Jesus because John encouraged me into ministry. Having people in my life with the spiritual gift of encouragement is essential for my life and ministry. To everyone who has encouraged me and others to evangelize, I want to say, Thank you. Encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. The angels also thank you because every time someone prays to receive Jesus, the Bible says it is party time for the Heavenly Hosts.

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