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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Ripples

On Wednesday mornings I facilitate a Bible study on Romans.  For the past several weeks we have been working through chapters 8 – 11.  It is hard.  Peter said in 2 Peter 3:15 – 16, that Paul wrote some things that are hard to understand; Romans 8 – 11 qualifies.  One has to deal with foreknowledge, election, predestination, eternal security, and the sovereignty of God as a short list.  There have been some interesting discussions those mornings as men are working through what the text says that may not align with what they have thought or believed in the past.  It is a good, healthy struggle.
One of the men missed the study this week.  He was in Minneapolis on a business trip.  At breakfast he was reading through chapter 11, that was what we were working through this week, and found himself distracted so he began to pray.  That started a chain of events on Wednesday that, based on his emails to me, resulted in a major shift in His relationship and intimacy with God.  The week before when he told me that he would be in Minneapolis, I suggested that he check out Bethlehem Baptist Church, it is the church John Piper leads.  He went there Wednesday evening.  Suffice it to say that the Lord showed up in big, very specific way to meet with him there.  On Thursday morning I got a couple of lengthy emails thanking me for the Romans study and suggesting BBC.

After reading the emails I began to think through what had happened to my friend.  Thinking and praying through the events I began to list all of the men who had impacted my life both negative and positive ways that resulted in my being both in a position to facilitate the study and be in a position to suggest the church in Minneapolis.  There were about 61 men on the list spanning about 48 years when I finished; I probably left some out.  Each of those men, had a hand in helping my friend by virtue of the impact they have had on me.  That is just my side of the equation.  That does not take into account all of the people who have impacted my friend to get him into the study.

What is the point?  Hebrews 3:13 says we are to be engaged in daily encouraging one another.  All the touches we have in the lives of people, to encourage them, to build them up in the Lord, have impact, impact that in most cases we may never see.  They are used by the Lord to shape and mold so that those folks can bear fruit, in some cases years later.  Like ripples in a large pond, we cannot see either the impact those experiences will have on others through the words and encouragement we give other or that others give us.  But our majestic Lord uses them to help a brother in a far city on a business trip not only break through to a different level of relationship with Christ, but also to engage in the life of one whom he met in the hotel who was contemplating sin.  The ripples continue.

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