Todayís study was a "keeper". Both truckers who attended had embarked on a project of reading the entire Bible. The first man was in the book of Hosea and had some questions about it. Hosea is a wonderful book because it shows clearly the mercy of the God of the Old Testamentóthat He was not the vengeful, angry God as so many assume.
The discussion lead naturally to Godís plan for all mankind and how only a very few will likely be condemned to the lake of fire. He believed that those who are not converted in this life will be judged based on what they do knowówhich is more merciful than the common teaching of an ever-burning hell. We explored the judgment in Revelation 20 and he seemed to be glad to hear it. He asked for a copy of the "Second Chance" study from CEM and Lesson 1 of their correspondence course.
We spent some time on spiritual gifts. The man said he had a terrible time trying to show people what he understands about scripture, as sometimes it is met by hostility. He wants desperately to share what he understands, but, first, does not know how, and secondly, does not want to have his ego swell at any successóa very humble and gentle attitude. He wonders where his gifts are, and wonders if he has a gift to lead him to the ministry.
I believe that God gave great favor to this morningís study. These men have humbled themselves before God and walk in His way as best they understand it. I came home with ideas for sermons. Truly a blessing for all involved.
Wow! These studies have some of the highest highs and lowest lows, but todayís surpassed them all. We had five men today, one of whom was a repeat customer who came specifically looking for us.
The first gentleman to arrive today wanted some personal help in connecting with God not only for himself but, also for his "daughter" (not really his daughter but his sonís girlfriend). The other men were able to contribute to this discussion. Much of helping others come to God is in living a life worthy of our calling and setting the right example, not by arguing them into it. Some people (such as Job) follow God just by their nature, while others (such as Jacob) need a significant emotional experience before they begin to seek God. Two of the men today were able to relate addiction problems that they were able to overcome, and they attributed the strength to overcome to the power of Godóbut they had to hit bottom first.
We read Luke 4, where Jesus stood up in the synagogue in Nazareth and read from Isaiah, and how the gospel is about healing the brokenhearted and setting people free. That is the good news that we can offer people looking for answers.
The current situation in Washington is on peopleís minds these days, and even though the polls show that people are tired of hearing about it, we should not interpret that to mean that people donít care about it and what it portends. Not all people who claim Christianity come down on the same side of the issue, as was evident today. I pointed out that the bottom line for our society is to relate what has happened to the nationís concept of right and wrong. Sure, there has been questionable moral behavior in times past. Today, however, we have no moral certainty. In days gone by, the people recognized standards, and while everyone didnít come up to standards, at least people knew what the standards were. Today we donít recognize any standards at all. That is the problem. We looked at Isaiah 5, where God says: "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink: Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!"
I suggested that they read the prophets. Their writings can be lifted word for word, published in the editorial page of a newspaper, and they would describe our nationís condition to a "T". Having said that, I told them something we hear too little of today. We went through several passages in Isaiah where Godís warning about a nationís sins is often followed by a millennial picture of Godís blessings. The point: God assures us that in the end we win. So donít get too discouraged if things look bleak in our country. God never leaves us without hope, and the light of the Gospel is that Christ is going to return and bring the world peace, and all the world will one day seek God. That message of hope seemed to strike a vibrant chord. I believe that this is the best way in todayís society to present the wonderful message of the Kingdom of God.
What happened next surprised me. We closed with prayer, and the men came forward and started handing me money (a fairly substantial amount), which Iíll put in the account to buy more Bibles.
ó Lenny Cacchio
Lenny Cacchio can be contacted at:
705 NE Bryant Drive, Lees Summit, Missouri 64068