The Southwest District of Minnesota, which includes four churches (Artichoke, Marshall, Pipestone, and Windom), invited Karen Lewis to speak for our District Rally on August 30, 2014. Karen graciously agreed to drive the three hours to the Windom SDA Church in order to present and train our members on how to do personal evangelism. As always, her presentations were stirring and inspiring for everyone in attendance. Her unique Bible study approach of “Lifting Up Jesus” before ever presenting doctrine or prophecy has been very effective in anchoring people in God’s Word and in faith.
The following Tuesday I met with my Head Elder in Marshall to talk about our little church. We prayed for God to use us and to help us apply the things Karen shared just three days before. We poured out our hearts and opened ourselves up to the Holy Spirit’s leading in the city of Marshall. Usually I do not spend the entire day in Marshall, but that day I did. While I was at the church some other members were there as well. As we were visiting, a man named John walked in the door and began to tell us his story.
John explained, “Six weeks ago I was fed up with the life I have been living so I decided to douse my TVs and electronics in gasoline and set them on fire!” What John said next absolutely shocked me and the other two ladies with me. He said, “I kept one TV and after hooking it up to my antenna I was able to get two channels; NBC and 3ABN.” (At that moment I felt like a giddy little child on Christmas Eve and I could not help myself from grinning ear to ear. I must have looked like the Cheshire Cat.) John continued to say, “Every day I take notes while I watch Pastor David Asscherick on 3ABN followed by two hours of reading my Bible to see if what he said is true.”
I was in disbelief! How can God answer my prayers before I even pray them? After a few more minutes of talking with John I found out that he quit his job because he wanted to honor the Lord’s Sabbath; he went to the library to look up the closest Seventh-day Adventist Church; and he thinks Ellen G. White is a “really neat lady” and asked if we had a copy of Steps to Christ! “Of course we do,” I blurted! The two ladies with me were so excited they practically invited him to next year’s Camp Meeting, but I chuckled and said, “Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.” I have been studying with John every Tuesday for the last three weeks and he has come to church two weeks in a row. Hallelujah!
God is amazing, but my story does not end there! After prayer meeting that evening I stopped by a church member’s apartment whom I had not seen for a while but he was not home; however, his two roommates were. Both men are in their twenties and I had seen them before when they visited our church. Since I had spent a year in Kenya, it was easy finding things to talk about with a Kenyan and Rwandan my age. They were so surprised that I am a pastor because I am so young. And somehow that led to a discussion of what Adventists believe. Two hours later we were wrapping up an impromptu Bible study on the validity of the Bible and the importance of the Sabbath. We prayed together at the end and I asked them if they would be interested in studying more about the Bible on a regular basis. They both said, “Yes! We would love to.”
I have now been studying with Franklin and Joshua for three weeks and they are as excited as ever. To date, God has sent five people for me to study the Bible with and present the good news of Jesus. Up until three weeks ago I had not had one Bible study in the city of Marshall since I started working in this district. I am convinced that Jesus was absolutely serious when he said, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” John 12:32 The Lord was waiting for myself and the Marshall Seventh-day Adventist Church to LIFT HIM UP.
I encourage you, whether you’re a pastor, a full-time mom, a student, a deacon, or even a pew-warmer, open up your life to be used by God and he will do great things through you. If we are willing to be an instrument used by God, He will gladly bring you in contact with just the right person who is ready to receive Jesus today. It’s not about what WE are or what we do; it’s all about who HE is.
Pastor Tyson Kahler
The names of the individuals in this article have been changed for privacy.
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