Pastoral thought for the week

A while ago a young man called me on the phone to talk about a new business scheme he had just got involved in.

by Jeff Kilmartin

Pastor, Wiesenthal Baptist Church

A while ago a young man called me on the phone to talk about a new business scheme he had just got involved in. It was 10 p.m. and he talked to me until it was midnight. Finally, he stopped for a breath and asked me what I thought of the whole matter. I am not a businessman but I did have one cogent question. I asked him whether he felt this new venture might take him further away from God or closer to him.

For the next two hours until 2 a.m. we talked about the things of God. He said later that he only consented to do this because I had listened to him for two hours already. I shared with him the good news about Jesus that while he and I were sinners before a holy God, and only worthy of death, Jesus had come to take our punishment upon himself and free us from judgment so that we might live for God.

It took him a week to think about these things, and seven days later he called me at the supper hour. “What can I do be born again?” he asked me. That was an easy matter. We prayed over the telephone, confessing his belief in Christ, his desire to turn from his old way of life, pleading that he might be forgiven, and begging God to come into his life. As with all sincere requests of that nature, God heard his prayer and did as He was asked. The young man became a Christian.

He was a drug addict at the time. He had been addicted to heroin for about 14 years or so. He had fallen in with the wrong crowd in high school, taking up drinking and drugs, and had continued on with it all those years. Now as a Christian man his life began to change.

One day, though, about six months after he had believed, he had an urge that he could not dismiss. He went downtown (he lived in Calgary), found a dealer, bought some of the stuff, and began to shoot up. To his surprise and anger, nothing happened. He thought he had been cheated. But no the drug was not at fault. Something else had happened in his life, and the “high” that he had known simply had no more effect on him.

His life before knowing Jesus had been one of accumulating “toys.” He had a very fast sports car, a great home entertainment system, all the gadgetry that one could ask for. But once he was a Christian the appeal for those things simply dissolved in his life. They no longer interested him.

Another thing about his life he could barely read. That was one of the reasons for his previous drug habit; his lack of reading ability gave him a very low self-esteem. He could not read a newspaper article with any understanding at all.

One day, about a week after he had become a Christian, I called him up and asked him how he was doing. “Oh, really great!” he said. It was a Sunday when I called him, so I asked him what he done on Friday, as I knew that particular evening would present its own challenges for him. “Well,” he replied, “since it was Friday I thought I should do something cool. So I got my Bible and started reading the Book of Revelation.” I was dumbfounded, and let him know it. How could he do that when his reading level was so low? He could not explain it. He just knew that when he picked up the Bible he could read with comprehension, but with other things there was no understanding. (I should report that today he can read anything he pleases.)

Some folks think that they somehow need to “get cleaned up” or become better somehow before they become Christians. My friend and many millions just like him shows that Jesus came precisely because we cannot clean ourselves up. He himself makes us a new creation, and this is the gift of God to us.

The Pipestone Flyer has invited pastors and reverends from local churches to write a regular column for the paper.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Government of Alberta COVID-19 Aggregate Data Map. Screen Grab/ https://www.alberta.ca/stats/covid-19-alberta-statistics.htm#geospatial
City of Wetaskiwin under 10 active cases; single active case in County

Active COVID-19 cases in the City and County of Wetaskiwin continue to drop.

File photo
Alberta’s central zone has 670 active cases

301 new cases identified Sunday

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Red Deer reports 25th COVID-19 death

415 new cases identified provincially Saturday

Alberta Health reported two new COVID-19 deaths in Red Deer Friday. (Image courtesy CDC)
Two more deaths linked to Olymel outbreak in Red Deer

Province reported 356 additional COVID-19 cases Friday

Black Press file photo
Wetaskiwin RCMP execute search warrant; illegal drugs seized

Two Wetaskiwin residents have been charged with possession and trafficking of Methamphetamine.

A ” Justice for Jeff” T-shirt. (Photo submitted)
Rally to be held outside Red Deer courthouse for slain Ponoka man

Sentencing for accused charged with manslaughter with a firearm set for March 4

A cross-country skier glides along the banks of the Ottawa River in Ottawa on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. Canadians across the country can look forward to a mild spring peppered with the odd winter flashback throughout the first part of the season, according to predictions from one prominent national forecaster. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Mild spring with some wintry blasts predicted for most of Canada: Weather Network

Weather Network is forecasting a slower than average start to spring in British Columbia

AstraZeneca’s vaccines are ready for use at the vaccination center in Apolda, Germany, Sunday, Feb.28, 2021. (Michael Reichel/dpa via AP)
Feds hoping for AstraZeneca shots this week as Pfizer-BioNTech prepare next delivery

The first of those doses could start to arrive in Canada as early as Wednesday

People line up outside a vaccine clinic as seniors wait to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Edmonton Alta, on Friday February 26, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta Health Services head sorry for glitches in vaccine booking system for seniors

AHS president said technical issues have been fixed and a virtual waiting room is in place

Vandalism is shown on Alberta NDP MLA Janis Irwin’s constituency office in Edmonton in this handout photo on Saturday, February 27, 2021. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney quickly condemned vandalism at an Opposition legislature member Janis Irwin’s Edmonton office after the MLA posted pictures showing her front window spray-painted with the words “Antifa Liar.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Janis Irwin *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Alberta Premier slams vandalism after slur painted on MLA’s office window

Edmonton MLA Janis Irwin posted pictures showing the front window spray-painted with the words ‘Antifa Liar’

A helicopter flies past a mountain near McBride, B.C., on Saturday January 30, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Avalanche warning for backcountry users in North and South Rockies

Avalanche Canada is urging backcountry users to always check their regional avalanche forecasts

Most Read