God’s Word, a movie and another enters the kingdom
Bob BaysingerManaging Editor
March 17, 2004
JEFFERSON CITY – It all started about six weeks ago when the church secretary at my church – Concord Baptist, Jefferson City – handed me a note with a name.
“We received a call from a friend of this man,” she said. “The caller said he has cancer and is not saved.”
I glanced at the note. It contained the man’s name, Earl … and his address.
I read the name and prayed silently. I told the Lord that I didn’t know this man, but that I would go and share Jesus if He would open the door. I remember reminding the Lord that I was just a messenger and that He would have to do the convicting and saving.
I remember tucking the little slip of paper inside my soul winner’s New Testament that I carry most of the time.
Because of my busy schedule, I must admit that I forgot about Earl for a few days, but God has a way of reminding about things of this nature.
It occurred about week later as I was waiting for a soul winning partner to arrive at church. My wife and I are part of a small group at our church that go out regularly on Monday night to share Christ with the Jefferson City community.
I don’t know what caused me to do it, but I pulled out my Bible and laid it on a table. It fell open to the page that contains Rom. 10:13, “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” There was the note with Earl’s name.
My friend arrived a few minutes later. I told him there were several places we could go, but I wanted to go to Earl’s house first. I remember telling my friend that it may “take a little longer” at this stop.
We parked in front of the man’s house in western Jefferson City . We could see him through a picture window, sitting on a couch watching TV.
Earl greeted us after we rang the doorbell. He was very cordial, inviting us in. It was difficult to get serious for a while because Earl’s pet dog demanded most of the attention. Finally, I was able to turn the conversation to spiritual matters. I asked him if he were to die, was he sure he would go to Heaven.
This was a particularly important question because Earl told us that the cancer had spread from his brain to his lungs.
As our conversation continued he reached down and picked up a Gospel tract another church had left at his house. He said he had read the tract but “didn’t feel anything” after reading the tract. That gave me a chance to share Christ, beginning with how he could know he was a sinner.
About 30 minutes later, I finished the presentation by explaining that Jesus Christ had paid his sin debt. I remember quoting to Earl 2 Cor. 5:21: “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”
I asked if he understood.
He said he did.
I remember thinking “that’s great, another one is about ready to be born again.”
But my hopes sank a few seconds later when Earl replied, “I know that’s what I need to do, but I’m not ready to do it tonight.”
I left Earl’s house that night not knowing if there would be another opportunity because of the seriousness of his illness.
Several weeks passed, and I couldn’t get Earl off my mind. I continually asked people at Concord Baptist to pray for him. I requested co-workers at the Missouri Baptist Convention to pray for him. I prayed for him.
Several weeks passed, and I decided it was time to make another visit. This time I took my wife.
Again, we were welcomed into Earl’s house.
I didn’t want to use pressure tactics, so we had a friendly conversation and stood up to leave. That’s when Earl made a statement that let me know God’s Word is true when it states that His “Word will not return void.”
“I’ve been thinking about what you told me when you were here before,” Earl said. “I need to get with you and make sure I know the Lord.”
I had watched Mel Gibson’s movie, “The Passion of The Christ” a few days before the second visit to Earl’s house. Something impressed on me to invite Earl to go.
“Do you ever watch a movie? There’s a movie, ‘The Passion of The Christ’ that is the talk of the country. Would you like to see it?” I asked Earl.
Earl said he had seen the movie advertised on TV. I told him I would buy him a ticket and go with him later that week if he would go.
He accepted the invitation.
March 4 was a very wet night in Missouri ’s capital city. I arrived at the theater about 30 minutes before the movie started. Earl promised to be there at 6:15 p.m. He kept his promise.
As the lights dimmed, I started praying, “Lord, would you use the scenes in the movie to impress upon my friend his need of You. He has cancer in his brain and lung. He may not have long to live. Save him tonight.”
Earl watched intently.
When the movie ended, Earl had to wait for the crowd to clear. Chemotherapy treatments had weakened his legs.
I helped him get to his feet out of the theater seat, and we walked to the exit. It was pouring rain.
That gave me the opportunity to talk to Earl while standing under the movie marquee. I asked him what he thought of the movie. He said he never realized that Christ was treated so brutally.
I explained to Earl that Jesus endured the brutality and shed His blood just for us. With other people standing around us and some listening, I explained to Earl that I had explained the Gospel message and he had now witnessed it. I told him, however, that it wouldn’t do him any good just to know about the story.
“It’s a gift that is being offered to you, Earl,” I said. “If you don’t accept it, it won’t do you any good.”
He responded, “I want to do that, but I’d like to do it in a more formal setting.”
“Earl,” I replied, “you’re not guaranteed that you will have an opportunity to do it in a formal setting. If you leave here tonight and something happens to you, I’ll never see you again. My greatest desire, Earl, is that you have a home in Heaven.”
That’s when something happened.
“I think I want to do it right now. Would you help me?” Earl said.
With the rain falling and people walking by to enter the theater to see the second showing of “The Passion” that night, Earl bowed his head there in front of the theater and invited Jesus to be his savior.
March 18, 2004