Dr. David Cox, our co-pastor at First Baptist Church of Daytona Beach, had an extraordinary experience several years ago, prior to coming to Daytona Beach. This account proves again that you never know what thrilling happening is ahead when you take the gospel into the world!
The Lord never ceases to amaze us, does He? His mercies (and blessings) are new every day. His faithfulness is great. Some of His greatest expressions of blessing and faithfulness have been expressed, in my Christian life of late, via the FAITH ministry.
I was elated upon being invited recently to preach for revival services at First Baptist Church, Montgomery City, Missouri, where my father had pastored from 1968-1973. On Monday afternoon of our revival week together, I was visiting with a FAITH team, knocking on doors as we invited people to the evening services.
"Hello," a forty-year-old lady said as she answered the doorbell.
"Have you heard what's happening at First Baptist this week?" I went on to tell her about the revival and how the Lord was blessing our time together. When I paused for a moment she said, "You're David Cox, aren't you?"
Surprised by this total stranger's recognition of me, I replied, "Yes, I am. How did you know?"
"I saw your picture in the paper with the church's promotion for the revival."
Then came the stunner. "You don't remember me, do you?" I was speechless. Where could I have possibly met this lady? She was a total stranger to me.
"I sat next to you in the fourth grade. Remember me? I'm Mary McDougal*."
I was "blown away," so to speak. I didn't remember her name nor did I remember her at all.
"Mary? Mary McDougal? I thought that was you," I kiddingly responded. We went on for several moments remembering details about our school days now over thirty years in the distant future.
The special moment came, however, when I asked her the key question. I was privileged to then share the FAITH presentation, and Mary asked Jesus to come into her heart. I could hardly contain my joy. "Lord, You're SO good," I thought! THANK YOU for this incredible blessing. To think I had gone to school with Mary more than three decades prior ... and now this!
But my joy was made even more complete. On Wednesday evening, Mary made a profession following the revival service. We had a baptismal party. The pastor at First Baptist allowed me the opportunity to baptize Mary.
As I stepped into the baptismal waters, the reality of past and present were merging in an awesome way. For it was in that exact same baptismal pool in October 1972 that my father, Rev. Fred Cox, baptized me upon my profession of faith during a revival meeting that fall! I now stood in my father's footsteps, and Mary descended those same blessed steps that I had descended as a ten-year-old.
As Mary shared her testimony, and I immersed her a moment later, my heart was full to overflowing. I was, in one moment, overwhelmed with joy for Mary's changed heart, deeply thankful for my own day of salvation, profoundly grateful for my Christian father (and mother) who led me to Christ, exceedingly appreciative of the work and ministry of the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ, and so blessed by the FAITH strategy that was miraculously used by Almighty God to bring all these together in this one holy moment.
If you or your church are not participating in an organized evangelistic outreach, why not? You have no idea how the Lord may use you and amaze you all over again. You never know whom you may meet or "meet again!" And you'll never know just who may meet Jesus for the first time. By the way, He, unlike us, won't ever forget them once that relationship is established.
So who is out there in the world just waiting for you and the gospel?
* Not her real name.
Bobby Welch is pastor of First Baptist Church, Daytona Beach, Florida, and originator of the FAITH evangelism strategy.