April 17, 2010

The Thread of a Story

Yesterday I was listening to a chapel pod cast from Dallas Theological Seminary. It was a chapel service at which Dr. Gordon Johnston spoke. During the course of his talk Gordon mentioned a chain of events that showed how God can work in our lives. As you will see, this story connects for me:
  • Gordon was discipled by a man named Dean while in college. Dean made it a point to try to share his faith with someone every day
  • Dean was instrumental in Gordon deciding to attend DTS after college
  • While a student at DTS, Gordon was pastor at a small church in Carrollton, TX and invited Dean to come speak on evangelism
  • Dean spent a week with Gordon and having not shared his faith since he got to Dallas, prayed to God one morning that he would do so before his stay ended
  • Thirty minutes later Dean answered the phone, a wrong number. The same guy called right back, having dialed wrong again
  • Dean shares the gospel with the guy, a fellow named Rafe, over the phone. Rafe stays on the phone and accepts Christ
  • Gordon disciples Rafe after Dean goes home, helping him in his walk
  • Rafe leads his parents,, his sister, his sister's boyfriend, a guy named Bernard Bourque, to Christ. He also led the guy he was trying to call when he dialed wrong and got Dean on the phone, twice.
At this point Gordon tells about Rafe and a buddy who played for the Eagles, who also came to Christ around the same time as Rafe. Good story about someone coming to faith. An interesting, interwoven story of God at work. If you listen to all the circumstances as to how the story comes together, you know it can only be God doing it. But there was a thread to the story that Gordon did not talk about that I would like to:
  • Gordon also disciples Bernard (Rafe's sister's boyfriend) and influences Bernard when he was choosing to attend DTS.
  • Years later, Bernard is preaching in a small bible church in Colleyville, TX that my wife and I walk into on a recommendation from an acquaintance. We hear the gospel like we had never heard before, and shortly thereafter, both of us come to a saving faith in Jesus. Bernard now pastors a church, Telos Bible, in Branson, MO. He is and will always be a dear friend and mentor. As we developed our friendship in late 2003/early 2004 I remember Bernard telling me about Gordon and the impact he had when Bernard was new to his faith, how Gordon now taught at DTS
  • Bernard helps influence my decision to attend DTS in 2008 (OK, that isn't going as smooth as planned and yeas I am on a leave this semester, but I got my reasons and stick to the main story, will you?)
  • My wife and I attended an orientation session a couple of months before I started seminary where they have one of these get acquainted with the faculty at lunch deals. We grab a box lunch and head for an empty table. A guy, obviously one of those seminary profs we are supposed to make kissy face (that is from the original Greek) with walks over at the same time and sits down and introduces himself to us.
  • "Hi, I'm Gordon Johnston. And you are?"
  • "Friends of Bernard Bourque"
  • He almost fell off his chair. (OK, it didn't happen just that way. It took a few minutes for me to make the connection between Gordon and Bernard, but I really wish that had been my response. And Gordon did almost fall off his chair when I mentioned Bernard. This version sounds better, don't you think?). We still smile when we talk and think back on that first meeting and how God made us connect.
Hearing him talk about part of that story was a great reminder that God is at work in my life, at times in ways that are not apparent and may not be for years. What a comfort I get from knowing He is in control.

We are all threads in the divine tapestry He is weaving.

I cannot wait to see what it looks like when He is finished.

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