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Stunning Evangelism


He was not an apostle. He didn’t hold any high ecclesiastical office. He held an ordinary responsibility, just to serve food to the Hellenistic Jewish widows. Perhaps, in our modern terminology, we can call him “waiter.” Yes, Philip’s ministry can be called, “The Waiter’s Ministry.” He is an example in the history of Christianity about how God can use ordinary people to do extraordinary things. He went in the fullness of the Holy Spirit to Samaria and did an awesome ministry. Many came to the Lord. People got baptized. Amazing wonders and miracles took place.

Now, what is the secret of his astounding ministry? A life lived under the full control of the Holy Spirit.

During the peak of his successful ministry, one day Philip was told by an angel of the Lord, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” Later, the Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.” He obeyed the Lord, leaving his successful ministry in Samaria, and eventually leads the Ethiopian eunuch to the Lord and baptized him (Acts 8:26-38). Hearing the voice of the Spirit resulted in winning a soul for the Lord. Such instances are also found in other parts of the book of Acts (Peter to Cornelius, Ananias to Paul (post-conversion) and Paul’s call to Macedonia). The Lord not only commanded His disciples to go and preach the gospel to all nations, but He also at times led them specifically to individuals He prepared for the harvest.

Spirit-led Ministry
Brother Bakht Singh of the last century was a powerful instrument in the Lord’s hand in leading thousands to Christ and in planting numerous churches in India and abroad. One late night, about one o’clock, he was extremely tired and wanted to throw himself on the bed. As he went to sleep, he heard the voice of the Spirit saying to him, “Rise and go out.” He struggled to obey, for he was quite weary and sleepy. However, as the voice came to him again, he went out. Immediately, he found two young men walking in front of him. He called them and said he had something to tell them.

After sharing how the Lord had led him to them, when brother Bakht Singh shared from the Bible the message of transformation, one of the men said, “I know God has sent you for my sake. I was unhappy and have longed for a Bible. Could you give me a Bible?” He bought the Bible from Bakht Singh and received the Lord Jesus Christ.[1]

There are numerous amazing accounts about how God led this ordinary man to do extraordinary ministry for His glory.

Stunning Evangelism
Baptist minister and evangelist Tony Campolo shares an intriguing incident he experienced. Let’s hear in his own words:

Several years ago I was invited to speak at a small Pentecostal college located near Eastern College, where I teach. I love going to this little school because the people there seem to be so much in touch with the power of the Holy Spirit.

Before the chapel service, several of the faculty members took me into a side room to pray with me. I got down on my knees and the six of them put their hands on my head and prayed for me. Pentecostals seem to pray longer and with more dynamism than we Baptists do. These men prayed long, and the longer they prayed the more they leaned on my head. They prayed on and on and leaned harder and harder. One of them kept whispering, “Do you feel the Spirit? Do you feel the Spirit?” To tell the truth, I felt something right at the base of my neck, but I wasn’t sure it was the Spirit.

One of the faculty members prayed at length about a particular man named Charlie Stoltzfus. That kind of ticked me off, and I thought to myself, if you’re going to lean on my head, the least you can do is pray for me. He prayed on and on for this guy who was about to abandon his wife and three children. I can still hear him calling out, “Lord! Lord! Don’t let that man leave his wife and children! Send an angel to bring that man back to his family. Don’t let that family be destroyed! You know who I’m talking about, Lord…You know who I’m talking about…Charlie Stoltzfus. He lives down the road about a mile on the right-hand side in a silver house trailer!”

I thought to myself, with some degree of exasperation, God knows where he lives…what do you think God’s doing, sitting up there in heaven saying, “Give me that address again”?

Following the chapel talk, I got in my car and headed home. I was getting on the Pennsylvania turnpike when I saw a young man hitchhiking on the side of the road. I picked him up. (I know you’re not supposed to, but I’m a Baptist preacher and whenever I can get someone locked in to where I can preach to him, I do it.) As we pulled back onto the highway I introduced myself. I said, “Hi, my name’s Tony Campolo. What’s your name?”

He said, “My name’s Charlie Stoltzfus…”!

I didn’t say a word. I drove down the turnpike, got off at the next exit, turned around, and headed back. When I did that, he looked at me and said, “Hey, mister! Where are you taking me?!”

I said, “I’m taking you HOME!”

He said, “Why?”

And I said, “Because you just left your wife and three children! RIGHT?”

He said, “RIGHT! RIGHT!”

He leaned against the passenger door the rest of the way, staring at me. I drove off the turnpike and onto a side road – straight to his silver house trailer. When I pulled into the drive, he looked at me with astonishment and said, “How did you know I lived here?”

I said, “God told me!”

Well, I believe that God did tell me. I think God may set up things like that, just for fun. I mean, if you’re God, you’re probably having a pretty sad time of it looking down on all the things that are going on in the world. I can just imagine God nudging Peter and saying, “Hey, Pete, Watch this!”

I told Charlie, “You get in that house trailer because I want to talk to you and I want to talk to your wife.”

He ran into that mobile home ahead of me. I don’t know what he said to his wife, but when I got in the house trailer her eyes were as wide as saucers. I sat them down and said, “I’m going to talk and you’re going to listen.”

Man, did they listen! And during the next hour I led both of them into a personal relationship with Jesus. Today that guy is a Pentecostal preacher down South.

When the Spirit leads, there are all sorts of surprises in store for us.
[2]

How wonderful and exciting it is to experience supernatural guidance from God in winning the lost for His Kingdom. I am not saying we must not preach the gospel unless we receive supernatural direction from the Holy Spirit. God may not always give us supernatural guidance in reaching the people with the gospel of Christ. However, as we keep on preaching the gospel, He may at times divert us to the people or to the places where He wants to reap a harvest.

Are we willing to believe that God at times, according to His sovereign will, can lead us in a marvelous way to lead people to the knowledge of the truth? Are we seeking Him to make us quite sensitive to the Holy Spirit so that we would know how to win the lost souls? Evangelism will be adventurous and exciting when it is done in the Holy Spirit. When we move in the Spirit, lives are marvelously touched, even without our knowledge. I have seen a glimpse of it in my own life and how thrilling Spirit-led ministry is! Oh, may we long for Spirit-filled life and ministry!
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Notes:

[1] T. E. Koshy, Bakht Singh of India: The Incredible Account of a Modern-Day Apostle (Colorado Springs, CA: Authentic Publishing, 2007), pg. 62
[2] Tony Campolo, Let Me Tell You a Story (Nashville, TN: Word Publishing Group, 2000), pg. 60

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