Feature

Fishers of Men

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Shadows fell across the floor. The surroundings were unfamiliar. As I reached for a box on a shelf, a darker shadow loomed over me, and I could “feel” someone behind me. I jerked around as a man walked toward me. I couldn’t see his face clearly, so I asked, “What do you want? Who are you?” He said, “My name is Eddie.” Startled, I woke up. Red digits on the radio read 4:30 a.m. “Wow,” I thought. “That was strange.” I couldn’t sleep, so I read my Bible. At first light, I walked to the beach.

After spending a week in Orlando, Florida, for Council 2007, I took advantage of a friend’s offer to stay at her beach house. The morning was gorgeous, peaceful and warm. Blue herons and snowy egrets were everywhere. Some kind of ray was gliding in the shallow water along the shoreline. Fish jumped from the water, and an angler stood on the shore, casting his line. Only a few people walked along the sand.

Sunrise is my favorite time at the beach. The tranquility of the ocean and majesty of God’s creation bring me to my knees, which is where I was when I heard singing. A man was walking my way. “You look like you are deep in thought,” he said. “Yes, I am,” I responded. “I’m praying.”

I told him that I had attended a conference in Orlando and was visiting friends. “What did you confer about?” he asked. I explained our denomination, telling him about the work of The Alliance from the Gulf Coast to Africa. This led to a lengthy conversation, touching on many subjects. But the beachcomber came back to the topic of religion. “Now, I respect your view, but nobody, nobody knows for sure if there is a God,” he said forcefully. “Nobody knows if there is a heaven or a hell. And if there is, the churches are filled with people going to hell. Besides, I believe it boils down to what’s in a man’s heart.”

I let him talk, without arguing or debating. When he mentioned man’s heart, I said, “You know, that’s just what Jesus said.”

“Really?” he said. “I quoted Jesus?” I told the man the Scripture where Jesus said that what comes out of a person is what makes him unclean. “Wow,” my new friend answered. “I didn’t know that. I never read the Bible.” I saw that God had opened a door, and I stepped through it. “Let me propose a question,” I said. “What if—just
what if—it’s true? What if Jesus is who He says He is—the way, the truth and the life—and that no one comes to the Father except through Him? What if His blood shed on the cross is the only true atonement for our sins? What if there is a heaven and a hell?”

For the first time, the man was speechless. Then he stood and said, “Well, that gives me something to think about. I need to go.”

“OK,” I said. “It was nice talking to you. By the way, what’s your name?”

“My name is Eddie.”

Past Alliance Life Issues

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