Recently I was preparing a talk about CSB, the big picture as well as our local unit. The focus was how we build leaders and the guys our unit has sent into ministry.
It was easy to go through the photo albums and find photographs of all the guys I know that have gone into ministry. Youth Pastors, Church Pastors, Young Life Regional Directors, and Missionaries. Often pursuits from guys who showed little promise of doing spiritual work.
One young man who's photo I pulled I could not even remember his name (very unusual for me). I had heard he became a Youth Pastor, which wasn't surprising as that was his goal when I moved away from that area 23 years earlier. I scanned his photo and kept it in my computer and looked at it regularly for a couple weeks. There was something about him where he was constantly in my thoughts.
While finalizing my talk, I was looking at his photo and decided to remove him from the presentation as I truly had no idea where he was or what he was doing. I clicked on the "next" button to go to the next slide and my phone rang. Since I working, I let my machine pick it up. The message played and then I heard someone on the other end of the call hang up.
10 or 15 seconds passed and I started to think that it was odd to get a hang up at 10:30 on a Saturday night. Being the cheap person that I am I don't have caller-ID and usually don't give much thought to missed calls. This one was different. After finding the phone I hit *69 (at a 75¢ charge) to obtain the number of whomever just called. It was a number from New York City, the Bronx. It was an odd location as I have never known anyone in the Bronx.
I decided though to call the number and was greeted by a sound of a multitude of young kids all talking at once than then a hesitant
"Hi, this is Jim, I just received a call from this number"
Yes, I'm Jim.
"Jim from St. Paul's?"
"A long time ago yes. I ran Stockade there along with Ricky who ran Battalion"
Except for the sound of little kids all talking at once in the background there was a few seconds of silence from the other end.
"Jim, you won't remember me but this is Scotty..."
In an instant I knew it was the guy I have been thinking about for the last 2 weeks. After a two brain block everything about Scotty came back to me, right down to his brother and their hobbies.
For two weeks Scotty said he has been knowing and being convicted that he was not living the life he should and that he needed to be the person and the father God wanted him to be. For whatever reason, he decided he needed to talk to me.
The truly amazing thing is he didn't remember my full name, where I moved to or anything about me. He only remembered that as a 12 year old, 23 years earlier, he began attending a group he thought was called Brigade, that my name was Jim and I was a leader at St. Paul's.
Scotty couldn't contact anyone at St. Paul's for information as they have all passed away or moved on. Instead, that Saturday he did some google searches and found there was a group called Christian Service Brigade, he found a "Jim" who was a Brigade leader and listed as a staff associate. For no real reason other than a long last name he decided this was the right "Jim".
After we exchanged some pleasantries I told Scotty he would not believe what I had on my computer screen at the moment of his call, his photograph. I explained everything and we were both amazed at how God works and that non-Christians would say it was a coincidence!
Scotty lives in New York, is a husband, property owner, a father of two sets of twins and someone who is seeking to be the spiritual leader of his family!
For a couple days I told nobody about Scotty's call. I was too humbled.
As I thought about the call I was reminded that the ministry we have can impact people in ways we have never imagined. What we say and do may bounce around the thoughts of those we minister to for many years. The Stockade boy at next weeks meeting may make a spiritual decision that will affect his future family. A Tree Climber Dad who stays in the background may become a Christian and start bringing his family to church instead of sending them to church. A Battalion guy may see God working through us and it may be so important to him that he will remember it for 23 years and then go through extraordinary steps simply to make a phone call.
Let's remember this week to make some time and build relationships. Let's share what it is to be a Christian, let's keep those we have and those we have had in our groups in prayer, let's Win and Train for Christ.
Are you still praying?
It's been nearly 2 months since the "24 Hours of Prayer", are you still remembering to pray?
Some prayer reminders:
Let's turn the 24 Hours of Prayer into a year long commitment to pray.