A few months ago a naked man came to our Church with a loaded gun. This was a man I met a few nights earlier on a Thursday. We were in the middle of our Addiction Recovery group when he knocked on the glass doors of the church. He was a large man, about 6’4 who seemed very distraught. He told me he needed to give money to the church, so I handed him an offering envelope and he said he would need something much bigger.
That night he brought over $20,000 in cash to the church and was emotionally hurting. He was very depressed and didn’t know where to turn. Brother Larry sat with him and prayed over him and listened as he shared. After about 45 minutes, he seemed to be in higher spirits even smiling at times. The next day we (Larry and I) met with him at a local coffee shop and it was obvious he was feeling much better than the night before. We shared our stories with him and listened more to his story and at the end of that meeting, he came to know the Lord and gave his life to Jesus Christ. AMEN!
It was an amazing day in my spiritual journey as it was the first time I had ever walked someone through prayer to the saving grace of Jesus. That was Friday.
The next morning I get a call from the head administrator of our church. At this time I was the head of security and lived about a block away. She tells me a naked man is sitting in front of the church. It takes me about one minute to arrive at church and as I drive through the empty parking lot towards the entrance I see him.
The same man that came to the church on Thursday, and the same man that had coffee with me the day before and gave his life to Christ. He is sitting in front of the church, cross-legged. Head down. Hair so long his face is hidden. And yes buck naked.
As I get out of the truck and walk his way, it is not until I get about 15 feet away that I stop and see the gun on the ground next to his feet. A fully loaded 9-MM semi-automatic. Next to him is a pile of clothes and more stacks of money. For his privacy I won’t provide his name here, but I called out to him by name. He looks up at me with an empty stare and says “are you Jesus?”… my heart sank… I could only reply, no buddy, it’s Keith. He simply says “I cannot help you then” and looks down at the gun on the ground.
Fear and anxiety over what would happen next began to take over my mind, as I slowly backed away and entered the church through another side door. I told office staff to call 911 immediately. It was only minutes later that police had swarmed the area, it looked like the scene from a movie outside the church. It was then I was suddenly struck with grief, crying out to God… praying that he would not hurt himself or others.
Through the brick wall of the building I could hear the police commands to DROP THE WEAPON… and tears overcame me… as I hear a loud resounding gunshot through the wall. The sound of dozens of patrol officers, K-9 units and a helicopter was overwhelming. It was only moments later an officer inside the building reported… he’s alive and in custody. PRAISE GOD! My heavy heart lifted but the adrenaline and emotion wore on me.
This man was shot once in the arm by police and no one else was hurt.
In the days that followed I was able to visit him in the hospital, and when I entered his room he recognized me right away, with little memory of what happened in front of church that day. We spent great time together, praying and laughing and hugging. Today I am not sure where he is, but I only pray that the hand of God is over him continually.
The reason I want to share this story with the world, is not because of its newsworthy appeal. But because of a far greater reality… we are NEVER guaranteed a tomorrow. None of us. In fact, who can be sure what will happen in the next hour?
For most of my Christian life I had concern for those who were lost, particularly people I knew like friends and family, but this day changed something deep inside of me. If I really believed all of this Jesus stuff, how could I sit idly by as those around me, in great multitudes, walked right by me and straight into an eternity separated from God!?
This made me imagine If I was a firefighter sitting down for lunch at a restaurant. Across the street a building breaks out in flame on the first floor and I see countless people working in the floors above through all the windows. My Christianity was such that I would see all of that happening, and continue eating my sandwich. I have full knowledge of the fire that is about to engulf all of those unsuspecting people and yet I do nothing to warn them. I just go about my life.
We all look at that example and think of how ridiculous it sounds… I mean what kind of a monster would let those poor people suffer like that? And yet when I looked in the mirror of my Christian life, that was me.
God has brought new life in me recently, a spiritual revival if you will, a new calling to Ministry… and He has been crystal clear with me. Reach the lost. Time is short.