Monday, November 24, 2014

"This Was Definitely an Example of That Love"

For the last several years, I have had the privilege of serving alongside two men who lead our weekly Men's Bible Study. Monty Briley is our administrator; Russ Deason is our prayer leader; and the men allow me to teach the Bible regularly. (Currently, we are in the Gospel of Mark.) Just a few moments ago, I received the following email from Monty. He kindly agreed to allow me to post it here (with a few minor changes intended to protect privacy).

There are so many ways that our men serve throughout the week (daily leading their families, weekly evangelism, prison ministry, ministry to addicts, other social ministries, seminary administration, etc.), as well as on Sundays (deacons, musicians, etc.). I am so amazed at what God does through these men of Birchman Baptist Church. The following is a tangible example of how, through spontaneous acts, these men have Christ in their hearts and the Holy Spirit leading their eyes to focus upon a lost world. 

Enjoy, and be encouraged to go, live, and share your faith likewise.

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24 November 2014

Men,

It is a tremendous blessing to be a part of such a responsive and caring group of men! Yes, I'm talking about you! Let me give you a glowing report on a huge group-effort to minister to a homeless man, Matt, who yesterday found himself looking to our church for help. You were God's quick hands and feet and it was a pleasure to watch it all unfold! I have always thought that the truest form of love is when a person helps another who has no means to ever return the favor. Let's see how you did yesterday.

Apparently, Matt had worked locally for a period of time, but had been swindled out of his wages and was now desperately needing to get home to North Dakota.


Next, Chris brought Matt to our class, where we welcomed him in and immediately were able to give him some of the coffee Danny had made and the food that Jeremy and Grady had brought. Many of you greeted him personally and made him feel welcome. Russ got him a Bible and opened it to the appropriate passage and, throughout the lesson, it was obvious that Matt was listening intently to Malcolm's message from Mark 7.

During all this time, Chris had been working to see how we could physically help Matt and was asking about assistance that might be available. Matt's great need was to get back to his home in North Dakota. Chris began checking bus schedules and costs. A one-way, two-day bus ride to Williston, North Dakota was $253. Our class and the church together were able to pay the fare, and provide some food money along the way. Chris's wife was also making plans to pack a bag of food for Matt.  

Our involvement started at a nearby restaurant when Matt asked if there was someone locally he might turn to for assistance. A worker at the restaurant remembered seeing our Christmas at Birchman cards on the front counter and said, "That's a good church", then suggested that Matt go to talk to someone at Birchman. So, after struggling to stay awake and warm through a cold night, on Sunday morning he came to us.  

One of the first folks he encountered here on the Birchman campus on Sunday morning was Chris. Chris listened to Matt's story then allowed Matt to use his cell phone to call a friend back home in North Dakota. Chris wisely spoke privately with the man back in North Dakota and verified Matt's story.

As class was almost over, I asked Matt if we could send more food with him and he gratefully accepted; Danny agreed to bag up an assortment.  Matt quickly informed me that what he really wanted was to talk to someone.  I asked Malcolm if he could stay behind and counsel Matt and he eagerly agreed. During their conversation, Malcolm confirmed that Matt had previously confessed his sin to God and had become a Christian. He also learned more about Matt's unfortunate recent circumstances.


Without money, Matt had been sleeping outside in the cold very recently, so several men decided to foot the bill for a nearby motel room for the evening. When Matt was told he would be staying in a warm, comfortable room with a bed, he almost collapsed into tears.

The only bad news was that the bus was scheduled to leave at 5:25 am this morning. How would we find volunteers to get up at that hour and go to a rather unsafe neighborhood to help Matt get to the bus station? I was not really surprised to learn that several of you stepped forward to do just that. The first two volunteers, Robert and David, met at the church at 4:25 am and went together to meet Matt at the motel. Matt was ready and was already coming out of his room when they got there. David and Robert said they had a good time of fellowship with Matt and between themselves.  

As is usually the case when we bless others, the blessing we receive in return, by following God's promptings, is even greater than the gift we give. Thank you all for being the generous, hilarious givers that you are and for caring for "unknown" people like Matt. I believe the truest form of love is when you help someone who you know can never return the favor. This was definitely an example of that love.

Monty Briley
Men’s Bible Study

"Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love." I Cor. 16:13-14

Men's Bible Study Meets Every Sunday Morning, 9:00 am, in Room C214, Birchman Baptist Church

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