Posted by: Kerry Spencer | November 3, 2008

Kerry’s November Newsletter

Greetings Friends and Family!


We are getting busier and busier in the Day Shelter as more folks are trying to escape the cold weather during the day.  Only recently, while lying in my warm bed on a cold and windy night, did I let my mind wander: “I wonder where my homeless friends are sleeping tonight . . . “  That was a sad and depressing thought.  One statistic claims that 3.5 million people in America will experience homelessness in a given year.  How blessed are we who consider shelter a given in life?


Not long ago, Matt and I visited one of our regular Day Shelter guests, Bill, in the hospital.  Bill’s a guy who has been very open about his life’s struggles and the fact that he does not know God.  Early in our visit, he quickly changed the topic from his physical health to his spiritual condition.  As bad as his health was, he realized that his spiritual state was even worse.  We began to talk about what he would need to do to “get right with God.”  His mindset, coming from a rough upbringing without any Christian influences, was that he needed to clean up his act and do more good deeds in order for God to accept him.  We began to share the good news that God does not require our good deeds for salvation.  Instead salvation is by grace and through faith and repentance.  We shared some scriptures and talked for quite a while on the intricacies of the Gospel. 


Eventually the patient on the other side of the room, who appeared to have been watching TV the whole time, pulled back the curtain.  My immediate thought was, “this could be really good or really bad.”  It was really good.  By God’s providence, Bill’s roommate was a retired minister.  He told us that he had been listening and that he had some things to say as well.  He began to eloquently and powerfully enhance the message we’d been teaching.  [At this point I began to feel like I was acting in some cheesy Christian movie in the type of scene that never really happens in real life.  But no, this was really happening.] Then the former minister’s daughter-in-law, a pastor’s wife, arrived and chimed in as well.  Bill had a 4-person ministry team to help him understand the Gospel.


Bill was very attentive, soaked it all in.  I tried a couple times to push him to formally pray to ask God to save him, which he did not do.  At the same time I got the strong sense that God was perfectly orchestrating all of this and that Bill was in fact on the path to salvation.  Thus, I decided that we need not rush him.  We’ve returned to visit Bill a few more times.  Each time we learn of other Christians the Lord had brought across his path to encourage and teach him.  Bill has acknowledged God’s divine appointments by saying, “He’s all around me.”  Bill is trusting God for his healing and is learning more and more about what it means to follow Christ.  Only God knows his heart, but Bill seems to have a newfound Hope, who he is getting to know better and better.


I feel this story of God pursuing Bill is evidence of a lesson that God is reteaching me.  The more I learn about God and the Bible and life, the more I come to see that apparent contradictions and paradoxes are actually results of our failure to grasp the complexities of reality.  For example, who can understand the Trinity:  that God is three, yet one?  Or how is it that salvation is by faith, yet good deeds seem to be required as well?  And what about our free will and God’s sovereignty?  In this same vein, Bill’s story is reminding me that we are responsible to be bold and prepared witnesses, yet it is only by God’s power that our words and actions have any eternal impact.  As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2:1-5, it is not our wisdom or eloquence that will change people’s lives.  Instead, it is God’s power.


I’ve been praying, and last time asked you to pray, that I would have boldness and wisdom in my conversations.  That’s all well and good, and I’d appreciate you continuing to pray in that way.  But lately I’ve been praying more that God would work and make Himself known to the people we share with.  Please join me in this prayer.


Some prayer requests:

  • Please pray that God would continue to work in Bill’s heart and life (physically and spiritually).
  • Please pray that God would work in the hearts and minds of the many others who we minister to here at Jeff. St.
  • Please pray that all of us here at Jeff. St. would be a bold and prepared ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor. 5:20).


Thank you so much for your support of me and our ministry here at Jeff. St.  Take care and God bless!

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