I had such a gift on Sunday. I love Facebook. I let friends know I was in Ozark, Alabama and Suzanne Sudduth Taylor let me know she was right up the road. Suzanne is the sister of my son’s best friend and was a neighbor for many years. I helped with her wedding reception and accompanied my son singing in her wedding. The last time I saw her was when I met baby Travis and gave Suzanne a baby gift. Imagine my excitement to get to see her – especially on Sunday because it meant we could go to church together. Then, imagine my shock when I saw tall handsome 15-year-old Travis – I still pictured him a child. How had 15 years flown by?
Suzanne’s youngest son was sick so her husband had to stay home with him but I loved worshipping with Suzanne and Travis. The service was uplifting. My favorite part was at the end when the pastor gave a pure and simple positive Gospel message and invited people to Jesus. He said, “We want to know if you just met Jesus. We won’t know unless you tell us. Please tell us by walking to the front during the music.” Wonder of wonders, a husband and wife came to join the church and the husband tearfully made a profession of faith. After the service, I took a moment to go speak to someone I had noticed under conviction during the service and then stopped by the ladies room. There was a woman in there crying and joyful – it turned out it was her brother that accepted Christ that morning and she had been praying for him for years. I didn’t think my day could get any better than it already was, but I was wrong.
Suzanne invited me to lunch and I jumped at the opportunity. She was just as I remembered – fun and funny. She looked the same and as I studied Travis, I decided he was a blend of both parents. Travis loves technology and I enjoyed talking to him about that. He didn’t seem to mind a bit being at lunch with someone who loved him but he had no memory of. I told him stories about his mother’s wedding and he seemed to enjoy them.
The question surprised him. He thought for a second and finally said no.
“It’s Sunday. We just came back from church,” I said. “You probably didn’t get to go because of work. I’m sorry.” He shook his head but didn’t quite meet my eyes.
“I don’t think he’s saved,” I told Suzanne and Travis. “We’ll talk to him when he gets back.”
I was right - he wasn’t saved. Avoiding eye contact was guilt over not going to church. He grew up in Mexico and was Catholic. He said he wasn’t going to church because of his job but I suspected he hadn’t been in a while. He believed in Jesus and hoped he was good enough to get into heaven. He looked relieved and hopeful when I quoted the Bible verses that explained he didn’t have to be good enough, just forgiven. I didn’t have to ask him twice about praying to meet Jesus. We talked about his wife and his two teenage children. He thought they believed in Jesus but didn’t know if they had a personal relationship with Him. I gave him information and a lesson on how to lead his family to Jesus. We talked about his responsibility of being the spiritual head of his home. I gave him a copy of the prayer I prayed with him. I feel certain that he went right home and led his family to Jesus.
“Have you ever been with anyone when they got saved?” I asked Suzanne after he left.
“Not like that,” she answered.
“It’s not always that easy,” I assured her. I gave Suzanne and Travis what I call the “evangelism cheat sheet” and went on to explain to both Suzanne and Travis that what made this particular encounter so easy was that our waiter’s parents and church taught him to believe in Jesus. While he had never developed a personal relationship with Jesus, nothing had happened to him to make him not want to believe. The hard parts of becoming a Christian are to believe in the resurrection of Jesus and admitting you are a sinner. He had already done both and knew something was missing. All he had to do was invite Jesus into his life. It was a huge relief to him to know what was missing and we could tell by the look on his face that he experienced the Holy Spirit.
Suzanne drove me back to Hallelujah. They took a tour and Shiloh put on her Jesus show. I’m still smiling about our day together. What a gift – to visit with an old friend and lead someone to Jesus together.
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