One of my favorite true stories about being a “Church without Walls” is found in Jerry Cook’s dynamic book, “Love, Acceptance & Forgiveness: Equipping the Church to be Truly Christian in a non-Christian world” (1979).
A woman named Jackie, a fairly new Christian, walked into a major discount store in Portland. As she passed through the prescription area, she noticed a woman leaning on the counter, obviously very sick. Jackie felt an impulse to stop and pray with the woman, but she did what 90 percent of us would do and said to herself, “No, she would think I’m nuts.”
Jackie did her shopping and, on the way out, passed the prescription counter again. The woman was now seated in a chair, still obviously very ill. Again Jackie was impressed, “Go, talk to her; pray with her.”
Jackie started on out the door, but she just couldn’t go. So she resigned herself to become the classic fool for Jesus. She went over, sat down beside the sick woman, took her by the hand and said, “I can see that you’re quite sick and I don’t want you to think I’m imposing, but I’m a Christian. Would you mind if I prayed for you?”
The woman began to weep. She said, “I’ve been sick for so long.” Jackie just held her hand and with eyes open said, “Lord Jesus, I know you love this lady, and I know you don’t want her to be sick: Just because you love her, heal her and show her how much you care.” That was it. They exchanged phone numbers and Jackie went home.
The next day Jackie got a phone call from this woman asking her to come to the woman’s house. Jackie went. The woman’s husband had stayed home from work in order to meet Jackie. The prescription the woman got the day before was unopened on the kitchen table. The woman and her husband were both standing there weeping.
The woman said, “When I came home I went to bed and slept all night. You know, I haven’t slept all night for years.” With her particular sickness, she slept only for short periods and had to get up to take medication. Her husband thought she had died. He came in and awakened her to ask if she was OK. She said that she felt great.
He said, “Well, you haven’t taken your medication.” She said, “I know it, but I slept all night.”
She then told her husband what had happened at the shopping center. So he wanted to meet Jackie.
The couple knew practically nothing about the gospel. Jackie explained to them the love of Jesus, how they could be free from their sin, how Jesus wants people well not only physically but on the inside. They both trusted in Jesus Christ.
A miracle happened because Jackie was willing to reach out and pray for someone in need. The miracle did not happen at a church altar. Instead, it started at a shopping center and led to a couples’ home. It happened because Jackie, though a new Christian, was sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. She was willing to pray for someone in need, even though she did not know the person plus it was in a public setting. Not only was the woman healed of her serious disease, but also both she and her husband surrendered their lives to Jesus. Two miracles happened: A miracle of physical healing and a miracle of spiritual transformation!
Are you willing to be available to be used by the Lord in unknown, and maybe even uncomfortable, situations? Jackie’s first thought was to pass by and ignore the woman and her need. But the Holy Spirit kept nudging Jackie and she obeyed. She had eyes to see the need and was willing to step out in faith to make a difference. Let’s do it!
This Sunday, September 19, Pastor Ron Peer and a representative from the River of Life Mission will be with us to share a new “Compassion Sunday” presentation. Please join us in-person in the building at 10:35am for worship. If not, please join us online for the Live broadcast on either Facebook (Search: Honolulu AG) or our YouTube channel (Search: Honolulu Assembly of God). A link will be posted later to our website (honoluluag.org).
Note: Tory’s Roofing, Oahu’s longest operating roofing company, will begin work replacing the church building roof this week. It will be exciting to see the difference. Please pray the Lord’s protection on them as they labor.
Aloha and Aloha ke Akua!