Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Glad to be alive, and a few thoughts about evangelism

I thought I'd jot down a few reasons I'm glad to be alive today.
  • 7:16 I started getting my bike out, 7:29 I had my bike locked up at the Caltrain station -- ooops, my watch is ahead; make that 7:12 and 7:25 -- in plenty of time to make my train.
  • I'm already forgiven, and I have the promise of someday being perfected.
  • A solid house with roof, walls, locking windows and doors.
  • A loving wife and family to return to tonight.
  • A new bike seat -- received for my birthday, or was it Christmas last year? -- my first in 25? years. Much nicer than the old one (which wasn't uncomfortable, but it was starting to tear).
  • An empty 4-seater on the train.
  • An good job with people I enjoy, that pays well and offers challenges and opportunities to learn and grow.
  • Fellowship at a church where the Bible is taught.
  • A working DVD player so we could watch Casino Royale (the 21st century version) last night.
  • An 18-year-old(?), 20” television set, lest we waste too much time watching it.
  • Opportunities (the latest was on Sunday) to talk with people who want to know more about Jesus.
  • Terrific Bible study guides from http://gladtidings-bs.com.
    • The Gates of Paradise opened (See study #36 in Luke from the above)
  • A chance to submit a paper to ICSE 2008, and the hope of visiting Germany next year
Well, that's about 15 minutes’ worth, anyway.

I had a few thoughts on evangelism -- triggered, of course, by experience. A young couple came to our church, and they somehow got in touch with one of our pastors, who I'll call "U". They were from Japan; knowing that we had lived nearly six years there, "U" told us about them; we've met with them twice. At our first meeting, we found out that they were interested in learning more about God, Jesus, the Bible, what Christians believe, and so on. We also learned that they enjoyed the teaching at our church, but sometimes couldn't quite follow the sermons -- especially from one of our pastors, who speaks veryveryfast.

We sent them a pointer to the church's website, where MP3 versions of the sermons, and usually transcripts, can be downloaded. This is very cool for people with limited-speed English listening capability, because they can listen repeatedly to all or part of it, or read the text. At our second meeting, we went through the aforementioned study#36 in Luke, which stimulated a great discussion -- and not only on the study's topics.

One piece of good news from the study was that, though one of the robbers had (humanly speaking) ruined his life, yet in the last few hours of his life he found forgiveness. "Remember me," he asked Jesus, "when you come into your kingdom."

Can you imagine the joy that filled his heart when Jesus replied to him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in Paradise"? How wonderful would that have been? And it's even better for those of us who can meet Jesus months or years before the end, because we can follow him and serve him and enjoy his presence and help here on earth for more than just a few hours.

Yet another reason it's good to be alive, and good to know Jesus.

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