For the past three years I have been teaching a faith-based class at a men’s halfway house here in Grand Rapids, MI. The guys there have really grown on me and I’ve learned much about the ways others grow up, the effect it had on them, and have gained a new perspective on many things in life. What used to catch me off guard there has now become the norm; but I believe it has only strengthened my relationship with the guys and increased my own faith.
Each time I visit, I have dinner with the residents before class starts. To be honest, it can be a revolving door; new men are constantly coming in and out of the program. A couple months ago at dinner, I noticed one guy who sat next to me but never looked up and hardly ever spoke to anyone. I didn’t say much to him either. One day I looked down on his arm and noticed a satanic symbol and the numbers “666” tattooed on his arm. Rather than writing him off completely as a lost cause, I invited him to class. He denied. Still, God burdened my heart for this young man and I began to pray for him, not even knowing his name. The next week I got his name (Jesse) and invited him to class and to everyone’s surprise…he showed up! I preached a simple message on Biblical fatherhood that night. I continued to pray even more for him that week. The following week I invited Jesse again and once again, and he came back to class! Wow, I thought to myself, there may be something here. The message that week was a bit more bold and Gospel-centered. As I was saying goodbye to the guys after class that night Jesse came up to me. “What’s up?” I asked. Without hesitation, he asked me, “What do I have to do to be saved?” I explained a little more in detail on what faith in Christ means and soon afterwards, Jesse surrendered his life to Jesus! salvations
Here’s the point: How many people do we automatically write off on inviting to church or sharing the Gospel with them because of how they look, act, or we cannot relate to them? In this case, my persistence in inviting Jesse to class has made an eternal difference in his life. And guess what? Now he wants to be baptized!alvation
Parents, if we are to model Christ to our children to the fullest, then we need to live it out- despite how uncomfortable it may be. All we have to do is ask. With that said, who can you invite to church this week or begin telling them about the Good News of Jesus Christ?
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…
teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you;
and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
Matthew 28:19-20 (NKJV)
By Matt Haviland
Husband to Christy
Dad of one daughter
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Founder of A Father’s Walk
Author of A Father’s Walk: A Christian-Based Resource for Single Fathers, co-author of The Daddy Gap
Get a copy of The Daddy Gap!