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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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