We have been sharing some more formal outreach efforts by OPC churches, but as we all know there are opportunities all around us in “normal life.” Sometimes God takes the most mundane aspects of life and turns them into moments of eternal significance. In today’s examples, eating dinner and taking a walk.
We share these stories with you hoping they aren’t just more information—even more great information. We want everyone to hear about the work God is doing in the OPC and realize we are all a part of it. As we support World Wide Outreach, Home Missions, and pray for church plants, God is at work in our church. There is also something inherently contagious in seeing God at work and encouraging us to welcome the stranger and speak to our neighbor. Be encouraged by these two stories.
First, from Matt Cotta pastor of Pasadena OPC….(this just happened last week):
The other night I was at In-N-Out with a brother in Christ who has been visiting our church lately. We were discussing an issue that he had been wrestling with, baptism and covenant children. We had barely begun to dig into our burgers and the topic at hand when a man came over to our table and just stood there, looking at us. We looked up and greeted him and introduced ourselves. He said his name was Robert. We asked Robert if he wanted to sit down and join us. He gratefully accepted the invitation. He asked what we did and when he found out that I was a pastor he began to talk about friends of his (from prison) who had become Christians. That launched us into a full-blown conversation about Robert’s past, his knowledge of God and of his sin, and of the free offer of the Gospel. We also found out that Robert had come to sit with us because he was concerned that some police who had come to In-N-Out would connect him with the car that was illegally parked, had been blasting loud music, and smelled of marijuana. We were cover. Nonetheless, we recognized and stressed to Robert God’s providential hand in it all. By the end of what was probably a half-hour conversation with Robert, he expressed that he wasn’t quite ready to pray with us about his life and salvation, but was interested in coming to church this next Sunday. We gave him our contact information, the church’s address and meeting times, and warned him not to delay coming to Christ in repentance and faith.
Afterwards the church visitor and I prayed about Robert and gave thanks to the Lord for His providence. We gave Him thanks as well that our in-house discussion of the proper subject for baptism was providentially redirected and that we were blessed with the opportunity to bear witness to Christ together to one who is not in the household of God. It really put our discussion into perspective and made us rejoice in the God of our salvation.
This from Bob Holda, pastor of Resurrection Presbyterian Church in Oshkosh, WI:
A couple of months ago, while I was walking the neighborhood and praying about a sermon I was working on. I came across a man doing some gardening in his lawn. I said, “Hello” and was walking away, about to leave our contact at the level of that one word exchange. But I was convicted that I should say more and seek to engage him more personally. So, I turned around and began asking him about his garden. One thing led to another in conversation and when he found out that I was a pastor and that our church was moving into his neighborhood, he exclaimed, “Praise Jesus!” Now he attends regularly, almost every Sunday morning. He had not been attending church regularly, but used to worship at the large evangelical church in town. His continued attendance is largely dependent upon the love that he sees among the saints in worship and the warm welcome he has received from all the members. We had an outreach fellowship night at my house last week. We prayed and planned and stuffed envelopes with letters I was sending to all the local churches in Oshkosh to let them know about our ministry, ask them for prayer, and offer to pray for them. This man attended and was very engaged in offering ideas of how we might reach out to his neighborhood, which is now RPC’s neighborhood as well. What a great asset the Lord has given us in him!
God is at work. Be encouraged.