Jon DeBell's Blog

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Location: Charlotte, North Carolina, United States

Friday, April 27, 2012


Every preacher likes to hear an occasional, "Amen!" and other words or actions indicating that he is on target with what he is saying. It is encouraging to the speaker to know that his words have struck a cord.

Last Sunday I preached a message about Peter and Cornelius. One of my main points of emphasis was that God is always at work. He works in ways that we are aware of and in other ways we do not perceive. He worked in Peter's life and in Cornelius' life at the same time to orchestrate their meeting and the door of salvation was opened to the Gentiles. This event changed history and eternity!

God might be working in your life and in the life of someone you've never even heard of right now. In His divine providence He has planned for your paths to cross. He knows how your life will bless your new acquaintance and how his/her life will bless you. How wonderful it is when we sense that is happening!

Monday morning I was driving to work and I stopped in at a nearby convenient store to buy a cup of coffee. I wondered if I would have the opportunity to share a little more with Frank, the manager of the store. Over the last few months I have struck up a friendship with him. I discovered he immigrated here from Iran in the 70s. Before our mission trip to Honduras I had managed to share just a little about our faith when he asked several questions about the nature of our trip.

When I went inside the store I found a man already at the counter who did not seem in any hurry to leave. I thought he was scratching off multiple lottery tickets! I got my coffee and approached the counter to pay thinking that I'd have to wait for another time to go any further with the gospel. But as I handed Frank my money he pointed to the other man and said, "He's going on a mission too."

He then introduced me to Lou, a native of Laos, and I discovered he is leaving shortly for an extended mission to Thailand. He pastors a Tai congregation in Gastonia. He told me he had been sharing with Frank for a while. I told him I would keep it up while he was gone. Frank just stood there smiling.

Lou and I talked some more outside. I told him about our friends from EBC who have just returned from Thailand. I handed him my business card and invited him to email me.

As we parted I was struck with the awareness of how awesome a God we serve. He had worked to create a concern for Frank in me. He had already opened the door for me to share in a very natural way. I was anticipating additional opportunities. But for some reason I had never considered the possibility that God was working in someone else's life in the same way. In fact Lou had been working with Frank for some time--well before I was. What was he doing at the counter earlier? Writing down contact info so he and Frank could keep in touch while Lou is away.

Driving away I had to laugh and say, "Thank you God for amening my sermon. Thank you for working in my life and in the life of a man from Laos to provide a witness to a man from Iran of the saving power of Jesus! I can't wait to see what new surprise You have next."