Monday, December 8, 2008
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I've had the chance to meet some fascinating people with our Native American outreaches when I go out with our On Eagles' Wings Teams. One of those would have to be Chad. He was raised to actually be the last traditional chief in his tribe and a spiritual shaman. Like many Native Americans over the years, he was sent to a religious boarding school, and in Christ's name he was forced to dress, look and speak like a white man - punished if he accidentally spoke a word of his own language. The anger that built up in him made him a most unlikely candidate to ever give his heart to the one that he was sure was "the white man's God." Chad actually said he wanted to die, so he went to Vietnam, hoping that someone would kill him. He became one of the few good that were good enough to be called a Navy Seal and then he went through the horrors of being a prisoner of war. When he returned from the war, he became a gang leader in a major city with some 10,000 people in his organization. Stabbed twice, shot three times, and one night he found himself on an operating table with surgeons fighting very long odds to save his life.
Chad remembers vividly the near-death experience he had. He actually found himself looking down on his own life-or-death surgery. As he looked down on the operating room, Chad testifies that a big man with shoulder-length hair appeared next to him - a man wearing a long white robe with a gold sash around it. He spoke to Chad and He said, "I died for you, Chad. I want you to give your life to me." What blew Chad away was that this man spoke to him in his own native language! That night Chad realized this Jesus could not just be a white man's God. As Chad said, "No white man's God would have spoken to me in my language!" Since 1996, he's been a powerful leader for Jesus Christ among native people, and now a great friend and partner with us in reaching his people.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Whatever it Takes to Save a Life."
Our friend Chad is living proof of something about our Jesus that you might need for your own encouragement right now. He will do whatever it takes to find and rescue someone that He died for. Including that one that you've been praying for who shows absolutely no signs of ever caring about Jesus. They don't come much harder than Chad, and Jesus knew exactly what it would take to change his heart and He did it.
Matthew 18:12-14, that's our word for today from the Word of God. It is a vivid picture of what Jesus is doing right now on behalf of someone you care about who's far from Him right now. The Bible says "If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go out to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it ... he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off." Jesus is actively, lovingly, and skillfully pursuing the lost person you have on your heart. Or you might be that lost person who He is pursuing right now.
In Peter's words, God does not "want anyone to perish" (2 Peter 3:9). He knows exactly what will get their attention, exactly what kind of messenger they will listen to. The prayer needs to be, "Lord Jesus, please rescue this one I care about, whatever it takes, within your will." There are no limits to His saving love, no limits to His saving power, no limits to His creativity and persistence in reaching them where they are.
The question may be: how far are you willing to go to rescue them? What's God waiting for you to do and be part of the answer to your own prayers? Please do whatever He asks you to do, whatever that takes, whatever that costs to assist in the rescue. And don't stop praying for them, don't stop loving them, don't stop believing God for their eternal soul. As long as there's breath, there's hope, especially with Jesus pursuing them with His stubborn love.
And if you're the one who He's been pursuing, it could just be that He's found you right here, and He's offering His nail-pierced hand for you to grab. You've lived long enough without Him. You could tell Him just this very day, "Jesus, I'm yours." We'd love to help you get connected with Him. I think you'd find some help at our website. It's YoursForLife.net. Why don't you grab Him now, while He's close?