Evangelists can have a hard time when it comes to presenting Bible prophecies. People sometimes get offended and stop coming to the meetings. This was the case many years ago when I was a young evangelist. In fact, the meetings almost did not take place because the scheduled evangelist became very ill and could not come. But the large hall had already been rented and the TV commercial time had been secured. So as a young pastor I was asked to fill in and go cut the commercial at the CBS studios in downtown Phoenix.
You must be the anti-Christ
We were only the second group of any kind to hold public meetings in the brand new Mesa Convention Center following the State Republican Convention. Our evangelistic meetings included area churches and several pastors. Over 700 people attended on opening night and I was kept very busy each day visiting guests and potential new members to our faith.
In my daily visits I came to the house of a woman who had stopped attending, so I was anxious to find out why and encourage her to return. “I’m not coming back to your meetings anymore,” she announced. “You made me very angry night before last when you told me about my church and about the antichrist power. In fact, I think you must be the antichrist. So get out of my house right now and do not come back!”
I tried to help her see that we were dealing with history and what the Bible says about the end time. In fact, maybe the same thing could happen in the future as it did with Nineveh and Jonah. Perhaps a revival and repentance could take place from the preaching of the gospel and people and institutions could turn away from an anti-gospel. Nothing I said could keep her from throwing me out of the house. She was livid as she escorted me from the property. As a young pastor it was a jolt to my nervous system. I left in defeat and discouragement.
The next day I was out visiting again. I saw that the street leading to this woman’s house was about a mile away. Suddenly I received a clear impression. “Go, visit that woman again right now.” There was no audible voice or angel in the car—just a strong sensation. But I rebelled at the thought. “You’ve got to be kidding,” I said out loud. “I’m NOT going back there!”
I started arguing (actually yelling) at God while pounding on the front seat of the car. People driving past probably thought I was singing earnestly to the radio. “Don’t You remember what happened only yesterday?” I reminded Him. “She threw me out of the house and told me never to come back. She really meant it, Lord—and she was scary too.”
Silence. I continued my rant at God while turning the wheel and driving down that lonely street to her house and parking in the driveway. Somehow, I mustered up the courage to walk to the front door and knock.
I could see through the picture window that the woman was working in the kitchen. Without turning to see who was at the door she simply called out, “Come right in.” As I stepped inside she turned around and saw me—and she was holding a knife. Immediately her face turned red. It’s amazing how fast the mind can work. I quickly calculated how many steps would be needed for a hasty retreat to my car.
The drama continued to build as at that moment a young lady walked into the living room and asked, “Who are you and how did you get here?” She went on, “Yes, it really is you! Who are you?”
I responded, “I’m a pastor out visiting people who have been coming to my meetings.” The woman of the house introduced the young lady as her niece and added, “Yes, this is the pastor from the meetings. And he was just leaving!”
I was completely unprepared for what the young lady said next. “I’m sorry to act so strangely, Pastor, but I saw you last night in a dream, and yes, it was you (as she more closely examined my face) and you were teaching me from the Bible. What church are you from?”
“I am a Seventh-day Adventist pastor teaching on the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation,” I replied.
Next the young lady informed me that she lived in Argentina and was visiting all her relatives in America. “I am only here today visiting my aunt in Phoenix and flying out tomorrow. Aren’t you with the radio program the Voice of Prophecy (La Voz de Esperanza?)”
“Yes, that is our radio program.”
“That is interesting because I have been listening to the radio program and was just telling myself that I needed to write in for the Bible studies. Don’t you keep the Sabbath? The Seventh-day Adventist Church (Iglesia De Septimo Dia) is just down the street from my home and I was thinking that I would visit the church and introduce myself to the pastor. Now I have this dream and meet you, a pastor from the same church. This cannot be an accident.”
I responded, “Clearly, God has done something special for you today. I feel so humble to be a part of your answer to prayer. Will you promise me that you will write in for the lessons and do whatever God tells you to do? And that you will visit the church and introduce yourself to the pastor when you return home?”
“I certainly will,” she promised.
Being bold for Jesus
“I will probably never see you again,” I said. “But let’s pray right now that if we don’t meet again on this earth we will meet again in heaven and find out all that happened.”
With that we formed a circle of three and I thanked God for His special intervention. I prayed that He would be with this young seeker as she studied His Word and followed it wherever it would lead her. I also prayed for the woman of the house and His blessing on her life. Then I was back in my car and heading down the road asking myself, What if I had not obeyed that impression?
I determined that day to go on God’s errands no matter what. I was reminded of what my first conference president, Elder Frank Sherrill, said so many times: “God is not blessing evangelistic meetings that are not being held. He is not blessing sermons not being preached. He is not blessing Bible studies not being given. He is not blessing visits that are not being made. He is not blessing prayers that are not being offered.”
I determined that day to be bold for Jesus because God is with His disciples!