As I type this newsletter article, I am flying back from Raleigh, North Carolina, after preaching the funeral of my friend Phil Sharitz. I was the interim pastor at Green Pines in North Carolina while teaching at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest. Phil would come to church with his wife, Mary, but really did not want to be there. He would sit in the pew, fold his arms, and just stare at me. Over time, the Holy Spirit chipped away at his tough spiritual exterior and Phil gave his life to Christ, and I had the privilege of baptizing him. God radically changed 47-year-old Phil. He leveraged his financial means as a business owner to reach more people with the gospel. He developed a passion for the children in the country of Belarus and God used Mary and him to make an eternal difference in the lives of many. Phil was an encourager to pastors, and I will miss him. We kept up with each other through the years, and I was able to go to Belarus with him. I will miss this man of God, a saint who truly was used by God for the work of ministry.
I look forward to gathering with our church family on Sunday and to preaching the second message from Revelation 2:1-7 looking into our Lord’s words to the church at Ephesus. Take some time this weekend to read over this text again, pray for me as I preach, and invite someone to join you for worship.
Thank you to so many who gave to the Bucket Project, which will allow us to help many in Africa suffering from AIDS. It is a blessing to serve as pastor of a church that has a heart for the hurting people of this world.
I finished reading a historical fiction novel entitled Lion of Babylon. It was a good read about a special ops American who went into hostile Iran to rescue his friend from captivity. His heroism reminds me of the Lion of Judah who continues to love and rescue the spiritually lost and perishing.
On Wednesday evening I felt a strong impression to go down to the hotel lobby and share the gospel with a man. After three very distinct promptings by the Holy Spirit I went to the lobby. I also felt in my spirit that this will be the last time this man has to hear the gospel. I introduced myself, gave him a gospel tract and asked about his spiritual beliefs. He told me he was raised a Muslim but became an atheist two years ago. We had a very good conversation. I told him I felt a clear impression from God to speak with him which startled him because he does not believe God exists. I gave him the name of a website, truelife.org, and he said he would look at it when he got home. Then I left him with this thought: Of all the knowledge in the world, to know 1% would make you a brilliant genius. But could God exist in the other 99% that you do not know? I am praying for this intelligent man to embrace the Lord Jesus as his Savior.
Have a blessed weekend and be open to the Holy Spirit’s prompting for you to share Christ, for “the Son of Man has come to seek and save the lost.” (Luke 19:10)