This is a email prayer update I received last Thursday from a pastor I’ve mentored for twenty-five years, has an inner-city church in a store front, and lives next door.
–WeakDave, trying to get Jesus to be so contagious in us believers that we love pre-believers into the Kingdom
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Praying Friends, I am writing to ask prayer for an unusual opportunity that the Lord has literally put right on our doorstep. There is a guy — he goes by “Butch,” who is a fixture in town. He is the town drunk. He has been for years, long before we arrived here over twenty years ago. He is always on the street – and always intoxicated.
In recent weeks, a couple of things have happened.
First, Butch began to “camp out” on our doorstep. He literally spends hours there, sitting, taking in the sun. Each morning as I come out to walk over to the church, I greet him and he returns the courtesy. We have had a couple of more lengthy conversations as well. I began to open the door to finding out how Butch became Butch (please pray for that right now if you would!). A couple of times, Butch left his trash on our step, and my wife said, “If he does that again I’m gonna kick him in the teeth!” (Oh.. my Tina!)
So one day I went out, and told Butch, “My wife says, you leave your garbage on our step, she’s gonna kick you in the teeth!” He chuckled. But he hasn’t left any trash out there since! I told him that we expected him to show us the same respect that we show him — and he has. He even moves away from our door when he smokes so that the smoke doesn’t end up in our house.
The follow up to this has been that Butch started to come to church. He showed up one cold Sunday a couple of weeks ago, and we all kind of thought that he was just coming in to get warm. But he stayed for the entire service. Not only did he stay – but he stayed awake, even attentive! There are people in our congregation that don’t do that! J I went up to him afterward and thanked him for being there. Last Sunday, he came again – with a friend. My wife noticed that he had showered before he came (his hair was still wet, and the fragrance that we had come to know was missing!). That may seem incidental, but it’s huge for Butch to show that kind of consideration.
When I talked with him yesterday, he said that he and his friend really want to get their lives on track. They want to sober up…they want to LIVE. Now – we all know that without the Lord that just ain’t gonna happen. So – that’s where you all come in. Please pray for Butch! Pray that the Lord will change his heart from stone to flesh and bring him into His family. Pray that the Lord would give me the right words to speak – especially that I would be sloooowwww to speak and quick to listen – pray that our congregation would show the love of Jesus to him.
In Mark 5, Jesus encounters a man with a legion of demons – this guy had been this way as long as anyone could remember. Everyone stayed away from him. Jesus delivers him, and we read in vs. 14, “..people came to see what it was that had happened. And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid.”
I cannot imagine what the impact of seeing Butch “clothed and in his right mind” would be on our community of Phillipsburg. But I am going to keep praying, looking to our God Who does abundantly beyond all we can ask or imagine, to do just that. Will you join me?
Thanks! By His Grace, Pastor Bill Slack