Picking up where we left off, Saturday night simply built upon Friday night in a lot of ways. The Lord filled a bunch of us up with His presence and His joy and then He provided opportunities to release. And that’s really what it’s all about… releasing His life into this world. I’ve been itchy to do so for a while. And I’m sure I’ve missed or turned down my share of opportunities lately. But thankfully the Lord keeps bringing them my way and maintaining belief in my ability to represent Him in spite of my fallibility.
I spent much of the day hanging out with my former roommate Dan Page. Now living in Grand Rapids, Dan came back for Homecoming Weekend at Spring Arbor. He called me up to make sure we connected and caught up. We ended up getting some Chinese for a late lunch and then went to SAU to check out some of the changes happening on campus and to watch some basketball.
Afterward, we connected with Emily, Jen and Sherry to hang out at my apartment. Dan’s working through a recent break-up and wanted some women to talk some sense into him. I did my best, but there’s only so much another guy can do. Sometimes you have to break out the big guns and have a girl grill ya.
Well, 11:30 rolls around and our conversation topic had transitioned to the power of God’s presence. I had left the living room to retrieve something in my office when a knock came to the door. And I wasn’t expecting more company. Not giving it much thought, I simply opened the door rather than use the peep hole.
Standing there was a man drunk off his butt, eyes bloodshot, teetering on feet, obviously unaware who’s door he had knocked. I can’t remember all he indiscernably babbled, but at first it sounded like he was hunting for drugs. He asked for “some of that sweet stuff in there” or something like that.
“Umm… I’m not sure what you mean, sir.”
“Well, what were you guys doing in there?”
“Actually, we were talking about the Lord.”
“Would you like us to pray for you?”
“You would do that!??!! Sure!”
And so I let the stranger into my apartment.
There’s a lot of detail I could go into about what transpired the next two hours, but that would take considerable writing. Basically, Anthony got “that sweet stuff ” he was looking for. I don’t know exactly how the Lord went about directing him to my apartment, but He did. Why was Anthony curious about what we were doing in my apartment before he got there? He knew something was going on. God’s glory was radiating out of that place.
It’s interesting, because starting sometime Thursday or Friday, I had saturated my apartment with the Word of God by playing an audio Bible 24-7. I didn’t know specifically why I was doing it, but I knew it was good to have the Word of God spoken over my headquarters. In retrospect, it’s clear God was having me lay a foundation for Saturday night’s time of ministry. I’m sure that was some of the reason my apartment was glowing with God’s glory and drew a drunk man in. It’s possible only a drunk man, who had left his natural mind a bit, would allow himself to be drawn to an apartment for a reason he couldn’t quite put his finger on.
Anyway, with Anthony inside, we let him share a little bit about himself–as best he could in his drunken state–and then simply asked him if there was anything specific he wanted prayer for. He mentioned his daughter and awkwardly removed his outer shirt to reveal a large necklace he was wearing with her picture on it. We made sure he had a relationship with Christ before we proceeded and then we went to work.
I prayed for him as the Spirit led and then we talked to him some more. He was obviously hungry for more and could hardly contain his gratefulness for stopping whatever we were doing to let him in and pray for him. We assured him that he was simply part of the night and that he was no interruption at all. Juiced up, he confessed he wanted “more of what we had.” So, Sherry gave him some more.
After that prayer was done, Anthony was ready for church. He saw my Bible laying out and wanted someone to simply read what page it was opened to. Isaiah 42 was the book and chapter, so I read a portion of it to him and shared with Anthony that the Lord “shall prevail against His enemies” (Is. 42:13). It was clear Anthony needed to consume more of the Word, so I went back to my office and grabbed my old Life Application Bible and gave it to him. I invited him to read some of it out loud and he opened it up to somewhere in I Kings. I steered him to John 3:16 and had him start reading.
He slowly worked his way through the paragraph. He wasn’t a great reader, so I helped him along. At the end, I told him it was time to pray to God himself. He immediately dropped to his knees and cried out to the Lord for help being the man he wanted to be. It was powerful.
Anthony’s hunger was only growing. He wanted more church. So, we all sat down–him on the floor by my TV–and Dan jumped right in to share on Romans 8. You had to be there, but as Dan was reading the Word, Anthony was physically crawling along the carpet toward him. The Word of God was literally drawing him in. It was amazing. When Dan finished reading, Anthony said something like: “It’s like you were hitting me in the side with that!” God’s living and powerful Word at work, piercing his soul and spirit, joint and marrow (Heb. 4:12).
Some more conversation ensued and things were kinda wrapping up. But there was one last prayer we need to have with Anthony. And so I shared with him how the Bible tells of Jesus’ disciples laying hands on people and God releasing the Holy Spirit through them in fresh and powerful ways (Acts 9:17, 19:6). I let him know that when we asked God for the Holy Spirit, He gives the Holy Spirit (Matt. 11:13). So I prayed for Anthony again and had him ask for the Holy Spirit. And we watched as the Comforter gently laid Anthony down on my apartment floor and ministered to him in the calm and quiet. A few moments later, Anthony slowly sat up and said it was the best feeling he ever experienced. God’s so good!
After that, we chatted a little more and then helped Anthony figure out where he was and where he needed to go. We gave him the address and directions to our church and our meeting times. I gave him my phone number and my old Bible. And then we sent him out and entrusted him to God’s grace and mercy.
Closing the door, we quickly joined in heaven’s celebration over a sinner coming to repentance (Luke 15:7) and praised the Lord for using us.
So, I guess I did go into detail after all. Thanks for following along. It was an amazing night none of us will ever forget. The best part? We know this is just a start.