As I write this, I’m returning from Burbank, to San Diego on the Amtrak. My train departed before the sun came up at 4:53am and when I alighted onto the train platform at 8 o’clock am I called an Uber to take me to a church planter assessment. Before I exited that car, the Uber driver had come to faith after pulling to the side of the curb and praying with me. A young hipster from China, he’d been pursuing a film degree in Hollywood, and had been feeling God communicating with him directly, but didn’t know how to make sense of it. He said that he knew God was real, but didn’t believe in Christianity. He looked at me in the rear view mirror and asked, “Do you believe that God still speaks to people?” Being a psych nurse, and preparing to assess his sanity, I said, “Yes I do”.
After he told me how he felt God speaking to him, I determined he was sane, and that God had been invading his life.
I’ll never forget the words he spoke towards the beginning of the conversation. “I started reading the bible. I got to Matthew 10, and I stopped reading, because during that time I had started trying to go to churches, but I read something amazing in Matthew 10, but it seemed like churches didn’t live their lives like that anymore. So I stopped believing that the Bible was true.”
I sat there with a smile. I was covered from head to toe with chills. God was almost palpable in the car. I had just been working on another book on the train ride to Burbank. “Nobody lives like that anymore” he had said. Before I got out of the car, I was able to tell him, “There are people like me, and soon there will be more.” This is why the work I do of training church planters is so important. The apostles moved around. They went to the people. They went where Christ was not named. They went where the need was. They didn’t expect the need to come to them. The work I do trains others to do the same.
Oh, I should mention that before we parted, he’d pulled over on the side of the road, and gave his life to Christ after talking for about 40 minutes. What should have been a ten minute trip turned into a new eternity for him. Not to mention what it did for me. For me, it’s what I call “being fed by ravens”. As I’ve been called out from planting on the ground to train others for the time being, I’m constantly in need of the spiritual food that Jesus spoke about “to do the work of my father who sent me”. I’m still a “sent one” and must continue to “live sent” no matter what my day job is. This is how I have been able to sustain myself over the past few years, but these small, underground encounters. After living as an overseas missionary for 12 years, I can’t switch it off. For my soul, it’s what oxygen is to my lungs. It’s what blood is to a vampire. It’s what cookies are to Cookie Monster. I need it to live.
“Give us this day our daily bread”
Want to read more about this type of evangelism? Read my latest book Reaching The Unreached: Becoming Raiders Of The Lost Art.