My God Sighting

Every once in while God shows up in the most unexpected and unlikely situations. The following is an account of actual events that took place at our Wednesday night prayer service on 12/28/05:

A couple of weeks ago (12/18/05) at our 9:00am service, I had just stood up to give the message. As I was beginning my opening thoughts when the door opened to the sanctuary and in walked a visitor who sat down on the end of an isle. He was an older man with his hair pulled back in a ponytail. His cloths were weathered and old and his face had the appearance of someone who hadn't shaved in a while. As I spoke I would make eye contact with him and he looked like he wanted to be any place but there. When the service was over I tried to greet him and tell him thanks for coming but he was out the door quicker then he came in. I stood at the door and watched as he walked down the sidewalk to only God knows where.

Fast forward to last night. John and Melissa show up for the prayer service and as they do John comes in and tells me that we have a visitor. I come out of my office to greet them and discover it's the same old man from a couple of weeks ago. I introduce myself and find out his name is George Hicks. We all go into the sanctuary and gather around for our prayer time. As we go though various prayer request from within our church and out, I ask if there is anyone else we overlooked or we need to add to our prayer list. At this point George spoke up and asked if we could pray for him. He went on to tell this story:

He said he had been homeless for the better part of the last 25 years or so. He basically traveled from town to town all over the southeast. He had made his way into Kernersville and was just planning on passing through. As he walked down the sidewalk that Sunday morning he saw our church sign and felt something telling him to come in. He said even though he was raised in church he hadn’t been in a church in over 20 years. He said he wouldn’t have come into any big church. He said he didn’t know what to expect or why he felt such a strong pull to come in. When it was over he said he couldn’t get out fast enough and only thought about moving on out of Kernersville. That’s when his plans changed. He said he all of a sudden felt like he didn’t want to leave just yet and for some reason he had a desire to come to our Christmas Eve service. He said he planned all week on attending but when the time came he chickened out and went on to sleep under a local over-pass. He asked if we had noticed his shoes when he came in that Sunday and we had not. He went on to explain that the size 13 shoes were all duct-taped up. He said when he woke up on Christmas morning there was a pair of new shoes, size 13, laying right beside his head with $10 in them. He said he spent the whole day thinking about that gift, our church, and what he had experienced over the past 20+ years of being homeless. He then said at 7:00pm on Christmas night he asked God to forgive him for the very first time. He went on to tell of the amazing peace he had that was like no peace he had ever felt before. He said that he couldn’t wait to come back to church on Wednesday for our prayer service so we could pray for him.

As if that story weren’t an amazing enough, there was more. He said it had been a long time since he had spoke with his mom. She still lived in Oklahoma where he was from. After giving his life to God he felt the next thing he had to do was give his mom a call. He said he called her and the first thing she said was, “when did you get saved?” He asked how she knew and she said all this time she had been praying for him and knew that the next time she heard from him that he would have given his life to the Lord. She asked him to come home and he said yes. He then went to the local Waffle House to ask if any truckers ever came in that went to OK. A trucker over heard the conversation and said he was leaving for Arkansas on Wed. night and he would give him a ride there if he wanted. After hearing this story we all gathered around George to pray for him. After our prayer meeting, George headed up to the Waffle House to catch his ride.

Before he left I asked if there was anything he needed. He said he didn’t come for that. He just wanted prayer that he could make it home safely. I gave him a bible, our address & phone number so he could call us when he got there, and some cash to eat off of on the trip. He shook all of our hands and thanked us again for the prayers.

So that left me pondering something. I believe over the past 2 ½ years God has sprinkled in these little “God-sightings” here and there to keep letting me know He is still with us. That His blessing is still on our church and the best is yet to come. I also have to think that in each of these “God-sightings” that we did nothing more but stay obedient and be ready to serve in any and every capacity we could. To love who needs loving, to care for who needs care for, and so on. Now that has been great, don’t get me wrong, but does God desire us to be more pro-active as it pertains to His ministry and His people? Micha 6:8 tells us that God requires us to ACT justly, LOVE mercy, and WALK humbly with your God. Act, love, and walk are all action words. How many more “God-sightings” could we have if we took the initiative to reach out beyond the walls of our church more in 2006? How many more people could we reach if we stopped waiting on God to bring them to us and instead went out and took that bold next step to reach the George Hicks of the world?

Just some thoughts as we approach the New Year. What does 2006 have in store for The Refinery? God only knows but I think it’s a safe bet to say it would blow our minds if we knew where He was going to take us over the next 12 months. Happy New Years! I’ll see you all either at 9:00am or 10:30am this Sunday.

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