Sometimes it's difficult to know how God might use the proclamation of His Word. The life which I now live in the flesh AS I PREACH, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself up for me (Galatians 2:20). I preach by faith, knowing that God's Word never returns void, but always accomplishes the purpose for which He sends it. Most often I don't know and I never know what that purpose is . . .
But every now and then God is gracious in giving me a little peek through the window of how He's using the sounding forth of His Word from our little corner at Pismo and Osos (1 Thessalonians 1:8) I don't deserve these peeks and God is still good when He doesn't provide them, but I sure am encouraged when He does.
I received the following email from one of our graduated college students (name has been changed), who's been on a year long short term international team in East Asia. I hope this encourages you today!
This is Jane Doe writing to you from East Asia, where I'm serving with Blankety Blank this year. I'm loving my time here right now, but also eagerly await my return to SLO and wonderful Grace Church in just about 3 months from now!
I just wanted to encourage you and thank you for the work that you're doing by letting me know one way it has affected lives on the other side of the world. Recently I was leading a discussion on prayer for my teammates that are here with me, and so we started off by listening to your podcast from January about prayer, based upon the story of the persistent widow from Luke 18. It was so encouraging and a great lesson for everyone. But, that is not the reason for this email.
I want to tell you about 2 of my East Asian friends. Their names are Mia and Stefanie, and they are 2nd year students at our university. Last year Mia became a Christian, and has been growing and growing since. She has 3 roommates- Stefanie is one of them- and ever since she became a Christian, she has been consistently sharing with the other girls. A few months ago, Stefanie decided to start coming to Bible study, and has been learning and asking questions. Well, I can't pinpoint exactly when she chose to believe, but at some point in these last several months, God called her to Himself, and she is now a new believer.
Today, I was spending time with them just hanging out at a coffee shop, and Stefanie leans over, and whispers she wants to ask me a question. She asked me, "When I talk to the God, what kinds of things should I say to Him?" So, I told her my thoughts, and then on my computer we looked up Matthew 6, the Lord's prayer, in both our languages, and then talked about it.
Then I was suddenly reminded of what you had said during that sermon. So I googled "persistent widow", and we found the passage online again in both our languages, and then after reading it I really just repeated what you had said, and encouraged her also with the truth you said about how God is different than the judge because He DELIGHTS in our prayers and loves it when we come before Him. She really understood, and thanked me for telling her.
Then I flipped my computer screen closed, only to see Mia sitting across from us; she had been listening intently, and had her Bible open in her lap. She looked at me for a second, and then just said, "I've never thought about this before. This is GOOD for me to hear." I just said, "Me too."
So, I just wanted to thank you for serving the Lord at Grace Church, because God is using what you're doing there to help shape the hearts and minds of new believers across the world.
Keep up the good work!!
In His love and grace,
The message on Luke 18 that Jane references can be listened to HERE.
In my response to Jane, I let her know that I have preached a whole series on the Lord's Prayer that's available HERE.
By the way, did you know that every sermon I've ever preached here at Grace in the last 5 years is available for listening online? Our goal is to eventually get this growing library of Biblical teaching indexed topically, by series, and by passage. Right now they are only available by year. To start browsing and listening, start HERE and click "Archived Sermons."