What are you going to do?
That is what the Spirit of God asked me.
I had just registered for my last semester of classes so that I could finally graduate from college. I had signed up for nearly a double load just to get finished. My dad had been prodding me to graduate. His thought was that, if the US government re-enacted the draft (in that post-Vietnam war era), I would go in as an officer. Less likely to be the first guy on the front line.
It was a nice sunny morning at San Jose State University, California. I had just walked out of the Student Union. “I will finally finish college. My dad will be relieved. I will be relieved!”
Those were my thoughts.
Then, clearly, concisely, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart. He asked a question. Have you ever noticed God does not ask us questions because He needs to know something? He asks us to reveal our own hearts.
The Spirit asked me, “Bill, what are you going to do this last semester of college to reach people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ?”
My Heart Was Struck
The sharp point of His Word struck my heart. I had to find a quiet place under a shade tree and repent. Tears streamed down my cheeks as I, alone with God, came to a reckoning with His purpose for my existence.
You and I must reckon with the fact that we are witnesses. We are lights to the world. (Notice in Acts 1:8, Jesus said, “you shall be witnesses unto Me.” He did not just say, “go witnessing.”)
You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.Matthew 5:14-16 (emphasis added)
There is no peace in my soul until it is willing to obey the voice of God.Dwight L. Moody
Our love for others is our grateful response to the love God first demonstrated to us.
1 John 4:19 TPT
Where is Your Light?
That is the burning question. Is it on the hill, or in a hole? Mine was hiding in a hole, a deep, private hole where no one would bother it.
As the moment passed, I cried in repentance to God for my apathy. (God told me several years later that He would use me to directly confront many believers with this truth as I directly confront you now. His Spirit comforted me. Then I prayed to God: “Lord, I will go out (to witness) one hour per week, every Friday between 4 to 5 o’clock.” I was sincere, but also sincerely scared! I figured there could not be too many students still on campus by 4 pm on a Friday afternoon. (Praise God, He is merciful with our minor efforts of progress.)
I went out.
Every Friday at 4pm, I kept my promise to God.
And He was so gracious. I was not powerful, bold, or skilled. But I was something I had never been before: available.
I cannot remember one person praying to receive Christ over the course of the semester. But something significant happened. I started caring about the lost all around me.
Where is Your Love?
God’s love is in your heart and mine.
Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
For a lot of us, we bury it under a bunch of dusty things in the attic. “I know it is up here somewhere.” Do you remember saying words like that while trying to find something you haven’t used for ages?
To the church today I ask this question: “Do you really love?”
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. (v.35) By this all will know that you are My disciples if you have love for one another. John 13:34-35
Can you say, “I am a Christian, I love the Lord,” and be motionless, silent, unfeeling towards people all around you who are slipping off into an eternity without God and without hope?
That at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenant of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. Ephesians 2:12 (emphasis mine)
Can You Hear the Cries?
The worship leader of a church I pastored came up to me after a very moving service and said, “When you got up in between songs and explained how you could remember what it was like when you were lost, walking the busy corridors at school, people all around, yet feeling alone, so very alone, I heard it. I could hear their cries. Not your cries. But the cries of the lost going to hell. When I heard them, I knew I was getting what you have been talking about for so long.”
Believer, what do you hear?
Still nothing? Ask God to help you find your love again. It is in there somewhere!
To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, ‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars, and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place — unless you repent. But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” Revelations 2:1-7 (emphasis mine)
If anyone boasts, “I love God,” and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won’t love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can’t see? The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both.1 John 4:20-21 MSG
The Sick I Didn’t Know How to Heal
While in college, I had a friend and co-worker (from the campus donut shop) who had polio (or a similar disease). I approached her one day, telling her the Lord could heal her. She graciously let me pray for her. We then got up and walked. She struggled as before. We prayed again, walked again, she limped along. Once again. Then once again. Poor girl. Yes, the Lord could heal her, but I knew little about the subject.
Demons? I Had No Clue!
Another day, I visited a friend near the campus who worked at a half-way house. This was an old Victorian home near the college that housed residents (I called them inmates) released from mental facilities or from prison. My friend and I were just chatting out on the street. While we talked, a resident came right up to me. He put his face right up to mine and snarled, “I am the devil!” I looked right back at him and did what any self-respecting Christ-follower would do. I told the spirit to “Get out!” With a snarl and a jeer, the man just walked off.
Some man of God I was!
The Lost I Didn’t Know How to Reach
Shortly afterwards, my friend and I went to get a burger. We had walked a few steps when suddenly I stopped and turned. I pointed my finger in my friend’s face and declared, “I may not know how to cast out devils. I may not know how to heal the sick. And I may not know how to lead people to Christ, but I’m gonna find out how!”
But I Got Hungry to Learn!
There it was. Something I never had before in my Christian life: hunger.
Hunger to follow Jesus to be like Him and do what He did.
Hunger to take Him at His Promise:
I tell you this timeless truth: The person who follows me in faith, believing in me, will do the same mighty miracles that I do -even greater miracles than these because I go to be with my Father!John 14:12 TPT
Are You Hungry?
You have to want it.
You must be hungry if you really want to follow Jesus.
His way (John 14:6) is not for the fainthearted. It definitely is not for the apathetic.
You have to want it.
My wife was an administrator at a Christian school for many years. Countless times I have heard her say, “You cannot want it more than they do.” Jesus will help you become a fisher of men. You can walk in His shoes. That’s what being a Christ-follower is. That is what he or she does: we walk in the ways of the Master.
But we must want it.
Let the Dead Bury the Dead
Why did Jesus say such unusual things like “let the dead bury the dead?” (Matthew 8:22) The culture was different then. The man may have put off Jesus’ call to follow because he was saying, “my father is old, let me wait until my father passes.” But what I know is that Jesus wants you to follow Him now.
Are you hungry?
Are you willing?
I Know You Want to Win the Lost to Christ
I know you want to see people brought to Christ, and you want to be used of God to help make that happen. How do I know? I will prove it to you.
Before you became a born-from-above believer in Jesus Christ, your wants were different. Before I came to Christ, I did not think about reading the Bible. Did you? I was not interested in attending church, and certainly did not think about becoming a vital member. How about you? Prayer- what was that? Did you pray much before being saved? (Maybe in a crisis.) Now I know that for some of you, you may have been brought up in church. If you were Catholic, there were many things you were supposed to do, but was that out of love and freedom, or duty?
But when you and I became children of God (I love John 1:12, But as many as received Him (Jesus), to them He have the right to become children of God, to those who believe in Hs Name:) things changed.
You wanted to go after God. Church, Bible reading, prayer, fellowship with other believers, all became of value. We may swerve in our Christian walk from day to day, but in our heart of hearts, we love Jesus. If we are mad at someone who may be a believer, we still love Jesus. We yearn for all His love. We want to see Him. Each of us wants to please Him. Our greatest delight would be to hear Him greet us ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant.’
You Want to Please Him
Do you think He would be pleased if you were to bring even one precious soul to heaven with you? Certainly! Why? Because you love the Lord. And you want others to know Him.
Why? Because you and I are children of God. That’s who we are.
A Fresh Start
Pray right now and repent for losing your first love and your first works. Repent means to “change direction; to think one way, and then turn to think another.” In practical terms, repenting means to get your eyes off yourself and to get them squarely upon the Lord Jesus who saved you. He saved you from yourself.
Pray this prayer right now with me:
Dear Heavenly Father, I love you. I love you, Jesus. I am so grateful for you Lord. But Lord, forgive me. I have acted ashamed. There have been specific times I know I should have witnessed for you, Lord, and I did not.
I acted ashamed of you, Lord.
I am so sorry.
I am not ashamed of You.
Wash my heart, God.
Give me a fresh start. Forgive me.
Give me a fresh hunger to follow You. To follow you where you lead. To get out of my comfort zone and go seek and save those who are lost.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
Attitude is Everything
Remember, all God needs is our availability. He promises He will give us what to say. (Mark 13:11) We will delve into that later. Right now, just enjoy your fresh heart adjustment.
Attitude is everything.