The Lord began to open other doors of ministry also. I had followed the advice that we always gave to others, and my family and I had begun attending a Spirit-filled Baptist Church. I knew that God had called me to preach in addition to the one-on-one witnessing.
I began to go with a gentleman from the Church and assist in some nursing home ministry and I had prayed and asked the Lord to help me learn to play the guitar.
We had gone to the State Fair of Texas, handing out thousands of tracts and had seen hundreds come to know Christ as their savior. Bro. Tony had put together some Gospel Singings in the park, where the groups would sing and we would go out to the people and witness one-on-one.
He had even arranged for us to have a soul-winning crusade in the football stadium in Lewisville, TX. However; my life, family, and ministry were about to experience a dramatic change. Bro. Tony had been invited to bring a soul-winning team to Weatherford, TX and teach soul winning to a group of hungry Christians. I did not realize that this was the beginning of a new chapter in our lives.
My wife Glenda had begun to go out with me and witness on the streets and in the parks whenever she was able: taking care of our precious 3 year old daughter was a full time job.
My guitar playing had improved to the point that I would take my guitar to the nursing home and sing for the residents before I would bring the message from the Word of God. Even my daughter had begun to learn and sing some of the songs with me.
However, they would not be able to go to Weatherford: we were going to be there for a week, holding soul-winning classes in the early evening and then taking people out on the streets to witness at night.
When we arrived in Weatherford, we stayed in a two-story building near the downtown square that was being used to store spare beds and other nursing home equipment. After settling in, we went across the street to arrive early at the meeting hall for the first soul-winning meeting.
Having lived in Dallas for most of my life, I was accustomed to getting someplace early to beat the traffic and get a good seat, but as the time approached for the meeting to begin, not a single person had showed up. I found out small towns are much different than big cities.
Wondering what kind of response we were going to have, I was pleasantly surprised when 5 minutes before the start of the meeting, the doors opened and the meeting room filled up with people from most of the different churches in the area, all hungry to hear how they could reach the young people of Weatherford.
It seemed that Weatherford had the same problem that a lot of small towns have: with little recreation, theatres, entertainment, or activity; the teens and young adults had begun to spend their evenings driving up and down the main thoroughfare, stopping and gathering in the parking lots of closed businesses; drinking, smoking, playing loud music, and generally causing a loud ruckus.
The difference between this situation and something similar you might find in the city, was that on Sunday morning you could find most of this “wild bunch” sitting in church pews, but their evening activities decried their professed Christianity.
Although everyone that came to the meeting displayed a great desire to find out how to reach these young people, one Pastor seemed to stand out from the rest.
Bro. Sonny pastored a community church outside of town, and had already begun to reach the youth by having a regular Youth Night with singing, games, and preaching. He would even drive into town to pick up any young person that wanted to come.
At this first meeting, Bro. Tony presented a stirring message from the Scriptures about winning souls, and we shared about the wonderful outpouring of God’s Spirit and the harvest we were witnessing in Dallas. Then Bro. Tony told the congregation that if they would come back the next night, he would tell them how to reach the young people of Weatherford.
The next night, even more people showed up at the meeting, and after going over the Scriptures contained in our Gospel tract, and how to use them to lead someone to Christ, he said “Here’s how we do it. We just go.
We put one foot in front of the other and just go. Most Christians will never lead someone to Christ because they never go. This is your opportunity to go: come and follow me.” And with that, we divided up into groups of two or three, headed out the door, and down the street.
The Lord had already spoken and showed me a particular way to witness to these young people in Weatherford.
When I would approach them about Christ, and they would say “Oh yes, I already belong to such-and-such church”, then I was to say: “Let me ask you one question. If you were to die right now while I’m standing here talking to you; If your heart was to stop beating just like this (and the Lord showed me to snap my fingers), and you found yourself standing in front of God Almighty, would He say ‘Well done thou good and faithful servant, enter into the presence of the Lord.’? Would he find your name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, or are you not sure?”
More times than not, they would reply, “I’m not sure.” Then I would say, “The Bible says ‘I write these things that ye may KNOW that ye have eternal life.’ Would you like to pray this prayer with me and be born again, and know that you have eternal life with God and have a home in Heaven?”
Many bowed their heads in prayer, and we saw hundreds of young people that week come to know Christ as their Savior. After prayer, I would always ask “How about now? Do you now know for a fact that you are saved and that Jesus came inside your heart?” Without a doubt, the answer would always be “Yes!”
Truly we were seeing the fulfillment of the Scripture in Romans 10:9- “That if thou shalt confess WITH THY MOUTH the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
When we returned to Dallas, I went to visit my Mom and share with her all the things that we had witnessed God do in Weatherford. As I was telling her about the way that I would witness to the young people there, she began to gently sob. “Are you alright, Mom?” I asked. She said, “I don’t know for sure that I would go to heaven if I died.”
Now my Mom was one of the most righteous people that I knew. She was what we call in the south a “straight laced, die hard, dyed in the wool Baptist”: no drinking, no swearing, no smoking, and no gambling.
I can’t remember how many times I heard her say, “They gambled for Jesus clothes.” And now this good, righteous lady was telling me that she was unsure of her salvation.
The Bible says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” Without faith, there is no salvation.
God has provided for us to know that we are saved: when His Spirit comes and lives inside of us, it becomes a point in time to which we can look back to and know that we were born again.
“Well Mom”, I said, “we can pray and you can know for certain that you will go to heaven when you die. Would you like to pray?” She said “Yes”, and she prayed out loud, asked Christ to come into her heart, and was gloriously saved.
I had the honor of standing by her bedside years later when she walked into the arms of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(To be continued…)
Next: “Whom the Lord calls, He justifies”