Thursday, January 11, 2007

Sermon On The Mount - Onething!

I was in a hallway outside of the main auditorium having a conversation with my friend Eric. A woman came very close to my “personal space,” and stared at my name badge. I acknowledged her but she stared off into space and walked away. Eric and I both commented on how strange her behavior was and went back to talking. Moments later she returned and asked if I on was staff at IHOP. She pulled me aside and in hushed tones told how a family of Muslims had wandered into the arena by mistake. Some Arabic speaking Christians offered them seats in the main auditorium.

Kirk Bennett was taking the offering. At one point during the offering he mentioned the growth of Islam in America. Although it was not a derogatory or hateful statement it made these visitors feel uncomfortable and they immediately left.

Her name was Judy; she had sat next to this family and was devastated. In fact she was close to anger over the issue. If not dealt with promptly offense and bitterness would easily set in. She was hoping that I would take her complaint directly to the speaker…because “this was another example of Christians being insensitive to non-believers.” I was suggesting that we pray for them and that she could email IHOP, when I looked up and there 15 feet in front of us was Kirk. She was reluctant to approach him, but I didn’t let her miss this chance.

We walked up together and I introduced her to Kirk, she proceeded to tell him what happened. He responded with empathy and compassion, reminding her that God was capable of using our mistakes and that the main thing was for these Muslims to encounter Jesus. Immediately we prayed for these four people. Judy’s whole demeanor changed, I reminded her that this was not a coincidence but a divinely orchestrated moment. What my friend Joe Ford calls a “coinciGod.” There were 12,000 people at this conference.

She went back to her seat in the main auditorium free and full of joy. I had just witnessed the mercy of God in action. God gave her a chance to let go of “offense,” and she responded with a YES. She was allowed direct access to the person whom she believed had caused offense. Kirk responded with the Sermon on the Mount attitudes. Three of us agreed in prayer for four Islamic strangers to encounter the living Jesus Christ who is more than a prophet but is actually God.

Jesus said if we had offense against our brother we should go immediately and set it right. Is there any offense in my heart?

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4 Comments:

At 9:40 AM, Anonymous Ruth said...

first, that picture is really great!
second, wow to that story!
you know, it's still amazing how there can be 12000 people at a conference and God still looks to each one of us individually. He zoomed in and saw that woman's heart..it mattered to Him..amazing..
btw, great blog!

 
At 8:46 PM, Anonymous Jared Diehl said...

This is my first time reading your blog..... I am digging.

Check my blog out at jareddiehl.wordpress.com

JD

 
At 11:00 AM, Blogger ChriS & Yvette Ferguson said...

Ruth,

His LOVE is both "corporate" and personal. The revelation of the personal will change our "corporate" expression. He loves ME!

 
At 12:16 PM, Blogger Joshua Olsen said...

That's why I love your Ferguson, you're full of ideas :):)

 

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