Rite of passage parenting: If you paint it, they will come
I want to thank all those who showed up for the Baptist Messenger Family Reunion at Oklahoma City, Putnam City. I saw so many friends from the past and met many new ones, too. I want to say a special hello to the two sisters who sat on the back row . . . you were a blessing!
I’d like to share a story with you. It happened last week while I was leading a team of 50 students to Mexico, many from Inola, Calvary.
We got into Nuevo Laredo, Mexico late Saturday evening. The students spent the rest of that night and much of Sunday learning to present the Gospel in what is known as chronological Bible storying. The students refer to this presentation as “the drama.” It starts with creation and goes through Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. At the end, the students go out in teams of three and explain the truths of God to those who saw the presentation.
Every day, First Baptist Church of Nuevo Laredo had a schedule of the areas where they wanted us to present the Gospel. Each was a place where workers were planting a new church. Sometimes we shared in the nearest market. Sometimes we presented the Gospel on a dusty Mexican road.
On Thursday morning, we were scheduled to minister in a juvenile detention center. Our team got a call before we left that two of the youth from the center had escaped the night before. The place was on lockdown, and no one could come in or out.
Since we knew our disappointments become God’s divine appointments, we began to pray and seek the place where He was moving us. First, we went to a Flea Market, where we presented the Gospel, but I didn’t feel it was where we were supposed to be.
Before long, God impressed me to take the group to a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center, where we had ministered two years ago. I went to our local contacts and told them my idea. “There’s no way we can get in on such short notice,” they said. “They’ll have to reschedule their daily activities to accommodate us. We need to give them more time.”
”Let’s try,” I said.
As we drove toward the center, the team prayed. As we pulled up in front, the students got out and, with their hands raised, cried out to the Lord to open a door of opportunity. As I walked into the lobby, the director greeted us and said our timing couldn’t be more perfect. The men were all out in the courtyard and had a 30-minute break.
As the students set up to present the Gospel, I looked at the wall and noticed a mural I hadn’t seen before. It was a picture of the crucifixion drawn from the back side of the cross. I found Tyler Olsen, the student who was playing the part of Jesus, and told him, “When the crucifixion scene comes, throw yourself on the wall and mimic the painting.”
As the drama unfolded from creation to Jesus being flogged and mocked, I watched as the men were moved by our portrayal of Christ’s story. When the crucifixion scene came, the students did as I had asked. As they began to crucify Tyler, they held his hand up against the painting to match the outline of Jesus.
This electrified the crowd. Men began to weep and hearts began to break as the students portrayed Christ’s crucifixion. At the end, we gave an invitation. Revival broke out, and that day, God did a mighty work.
As we were leaving, one of the addicts asked me, “Do you know what happened today?”
I responded, “God showed up and many gave their hearts to the Lord.”
The young addict explained that two weeks ago, he had either a dream or vision; he couldn’t tell which. In it, God said to him, “If you paint it, they will come.”
“I didn’t know what it meant,” the young man said, “But two weeks ago, I started painting the picture you see on the wall. Yesterday, I finished it. God said, ‘If you paint it, they will come,’ and today, you showed up!”
Without knowing it, our students had become an answer to prayer. Many of the rehab center clients came to know Christ after our presentation. For them, the painting combined with the truth of the drama confirmed the reality of God. They heard His message and received His love.
I know many of you are facing times of disappointment. But when you love and follow God, your disappointments become His divine appointments. And someday, He may use you as the answer to a prayer.
Walker Moore is president of Awe Star Ministries in Tulsa, P.O. Box 470265, Tulsa 74147, email, firstname.lastname@example.org. Phone 800/AWESTAR (293-7827).