During the holiday season my wife and I were shopping at a large, crowded, retail store when I noticed a couple headed in our direction. The man waved me down and we settled in behind a Budweiser display in the middle of the aisle to talk. It wasn’t the most unusual place I’ve ever talked about Jesus, but it was unique. “You don’t know me,” he said, “because we’ve never been formally introduced.” He was a big guy, a man’s man, with a contagious smile. He told me his name, we shook hands, and his story began.
“My wife and I have been attending OFC for a few months and I’ve wanted to meet you.” He said, “We moved to the area in an attempt to start over. I had an opportunity for a new job; it didn’t pay much, but it was a start. The people we rented a house from were awesome. They took us in and helped us get settled. It wasn’t long before they invited us to church. We refused at first, but they were persistent in a friendly sort of way, so eventually we gave in. Right from the start we felt at home. A few weeks later with our new friends, we…ummm…” He paused and looked away at this point, “prayed the prayer.”
People were all around us, shopping and talking. Yet in a strange way we were very much alone. After a moment or two, he began again.
“That made all the difference. “ He looked up with a smile and the trace of a tear on his cheek. “We love OFC and can’t wait for Sunday to come. I’ve never been part of a church before,” he said laughing. “I never dreamed I would be, but I am and I love it.”
I congratulated him on his decision to accept Christ and thanked him for the kind words about our church. Suddenly he stepped forward, put his finger on my chest and said, “But guess what?” I leaned back, with absolutely no clue as to what was going to happen next. “There’s more to this story. Our landlords, our friends, the people who invited us to church and prayed the prayer with us; they just recently helped us buy our own home. It’s awesome. We couldn’t have done it without them. These people have been amazing to us! God has been so good! I just wanted to say thanks!’”
I thanked him back and we hugged the way a couple of Christian guys do standing behind a Budweiser display in the middle of a store at Christmas. Then, he went in search of his wife and I went in search of mine. When I found mine she said, “So what was that about?” “That,” I said, “was about the church, and is just about as cool as it gets.” I love the church!