After my encounter with the miraculous power of God at the motel fire, it was as if everyone that I cared for had cancer, and I had discovered the cure.
I couldn’t wait to tell friends, relatives, acquaintances- anyone I knew that might listen to me about how Jesus Christ would save, set free, and deliver them from sin: that we didn’t have to be lost or sinners anymore! I couldn’t understand why they weren’t as excited as I was to find this out.
I had yet to understand about the gentle leading of the Holy Spirit; that He would lead me to the ones whose hearts He had already prepared to receive the good news of Jesus Christ, even as He had to prepare my heart before I could receive.
The night DJ at the Christian radio station had announced that if anyone wanted some Gospel tracts to distribute, they should contact him and he would be glad to provide them. I thought that I could insert these Gospel tracts into the newspapers that I sold and this would be a great way to spread the Gospel.
His name was Bro. Tony, so I called and he remembered me from the conversation we had the night of the fire. He said that I could come by the next day and pick up the tracts from a Christian Outreach Center that he operated in the Oak Cliff area of Dallas.
I went the next day to pick up the tracts, and was surprised to find out that the Outreach Center was a humble house in a modest neighborhood, not some big church-type edifice as I had expected. They didn’t even have a sign on the building.
I was to find out, that from this simple frame house a great ministry was going out into the Dallas area. They had a 24 hour prayer telephone line, held a gospel singing every Friday night, showed Gospel movies every Saturday afternoon, and printed their own Gospel tracts to distribute.
They went out witnessing on the streets of downtown Dallas, and even went yearly to the State Fair of Texas giving out Bibles and sharing the saving message of Jesus Christ; all with no charge to anyone.
They truly believed the Scripture, “Freely ye have received, freely give.”
He gave me all the tracts that I asked for, and was thrilled that I was going to put them in the newspapers. He wouldn’t even take an offering for the tracts, but I left knowing that I had to do something for this mild mannered servant of God.
Little did I know how entwined our lives would become.
I began to insert the Gospel tracts in the newspapers, and whenever I needed more Bro. Tony would provide them for me.
They were a simple tract: no man’s opinion or theology, just simply “Do you know Jesus loves you?” written on the front, with short Scriptures on the inside about the need for being saved and “born again”; along with a simple prayer for salvation on the back, the address for the Center, and the number of the 24 hour prayer line.
I felt like I had begun to do something to spread the Gospel, but I still wanted to do more: I envisioned a sign for the Outreach Center.
Made from 4×4 wooden posts, it would be in the shape of the Cross, six feet tall, with a metal sign hanging down from one side of the cross saying “Christian Outreach Center”, where additional signs could be added to describe that night’s activity.
My wife helped me to construct it, I had the signs printed, and I carried it over to the Center and installed it in the front yard by the street.
I began to attend the Gospel singing and Christian movies, and then one evening Bro. Tony announced that if anyone wanted to go with him and his wife to hand out tracts downtown, they should meet at the Outreach Center on Monday before noon.
I knew that I had to go. We met at the Outreach Center and rode together in Bro. Tony’s van, parked on a side street near downtown, and began walking to the corner of Akard St. and Elm St.
It was at this intersection in Dallas that thousands of people from the office buildings crossed each day at lunchtime.
As we were walking, Bro. Tony and his wife began handing out tracts to people we passed, asking if they knew that Jesus loved them.
I just could not bring myself to talk to someone I didn’t know, and soon I drew Bro. Tony aside and said, “Brother, you’re going to have to pray for me that God will give me boldness!”
He said that he would, and soon I felt emboldened to start handing out tracks and saying, “Jesus loves you!” to perfect strangers.
By the time we reached Akard and Elm, I was so energized and on fire, that I told Bro. Tony “I’m so excited, that I believe I could preach!”
He pointed to a marble planter about two feet higher than the sidewalk and said, “There’s your pulpit, preach.”
With a lump in my throat that seemed the size of Texas, I opened my Bible that I had brought, turned to the Gospel of John where Jesus told Nicodemus “…Ye must be born again.”, stood upon the planter, and began to read out loud.
(To be continued…)
Next: “And ye shall be brought before Governors…”