July 14, 2008
Monday, 6:00 p.m.
Letter #44: Almost Persuaded
Greetings! I just wanted to give you a quick update on how God is at work in my life. I am privileged to be the lamb whose leg the Good Shepherd has broken and is being carried around His neck. I’m the one that my Good Shepherd left all 99 of ewe for (sorry … sheep humor)—He left all 99 of you to come find me!—the stray. I’d intentionally, stupidly, wandered off from the fold, and Christ came and got me. From what I hear, it’s gonna take a while for my leg to heal, so I won’t be with the other sheep for quite some time. 🙂
It was asked of me how much piano playing do I get to do. I’ll use this week as an example. Last Monday was our Bible Study Monday, from 9-11 a.m. No piano, just Bible Study, every other Monday. Today was Choir Practice Monday: two hours of piano playing, plus I get to vocally and musically arrange the songs the choir sings. (The choir director just gave me the responsibility to choose which songs to teach the choir too!)
Wednesday was the English Mid-Week Service at 1 p.m. I play for the opening songs, then jet to the chapel library to practice with the Spanish Worship Team until around 2:30 p.m.
Thursdays are the opposite: Spanish service, then English Choir Practice until 2:30 p.m. On Sunday (yesterday), I played for both groups (they take turns in the service Sunday mornings) and accompanied a soloist.
Today was Choir Practice. So, in these past seven days, I figure I was able to play the piano approximately 5½-6 hours. Praise God! I am very blessed, actually. I hear from so many guys how much they appreciate my playing, and they’re very specific regarding what it adds to the service. Praise God that usually they say it brings a whole new life to the music and that it is worshipful. I am humbled by the opportunity, and I’m thrilled to be a part of God’s work here!
One component I sometimes add is playing softly during prayer. It tore at my heart—during the Spanish service—when the invitation was given. Several stood to indicate they didn’t know if they were going to Heaven someday, to have the pastor pray for them. The sweet Hispanic pastor and his son who serves with him began praying for the guys. Then, they told them that if they wanted to give their lives to Christ, to step forward.
All but two did. Those two looked at each other, standing side by side, and the pastor again spoke the invitation. You could see the fear of rejection and presumed embarrassment on the face of the young man on the right, as he looked again to his friend. Again, the pastor invited them to give up everything and come to Christ.
I kept playing, louder as the voices of men repenting before God at the front of the room grew louder, and as the pastor’s pleading with the last two to follow Christ grew more urgent. The young man on the right finally took his eternity into his own hands and stepped out from his seat in the back row and walked to the front! You could picture the shackles of sin falling off of him as another prisoner was forever set free, praise the Lord.
I made eye contact with the only man stubbornly standing his ground in the back row. I saw the look in his eyes and recognized the same look I’d given God. Sure, I asked God to forgive my sins and live within me when I was 6 years old, but I resisted turning my whole life over to Him for years. Even after dedicating my life to God at age 15, I still didn’t yield every area of my life to Him. I had those eyes I saw in the chapel … eyes afraid to let go of everything I enjoyed doing, and I turned from a God who loved me to serve myself.
I closed the song out to fit perfectly with the pastor’s closing prayer of triumphal praise to God for the victory won over sin … but it was a sad moment for me, as I watched a stubborn reflection of myself reject the grace of God.
Thank you for praying for the ministry here. Please pray for Project Angel Tree, which was just launched today—more later. I love you all!