I have been involved in many evangelistic outreach in urban centers across America working with churches from coast to coast. I have seen hundreds of lost people trust Jesus as Lord and Savior. Many of these people were involved in hard core lifestyles and involved in hard core habits and groups. Others were suburbanites, and yet others were in the upper socioeconomic status. And just recently God has taught  me a lesson why it seems some individuals are more difficult to get connected to the local church.

Since February I have been assisting in mentoring a 44 year old man. He has been a business man during the week and a biker on the weekends. He confessed that he had been on some type of mind altering substance since the age of 14. He told me that he had been in rehab centers from Florida, to Virginia, to Tennessee and Georgia. He had spent thousands of dollars training to kick the habits, but he was not able to lose the desire to get high.

It was not until he was on the verge of losing his second wife, and had lost his job that God got his attention. He moved back to Georgia, to a suburb of north Atlanta and got into another Alcoholics Anonymous group.. This time he was serious about trying to lose the desire for drugs. His sponsor encouraged him to seek God, not a god, not a tree or a chair god, but God Almighty. I can gladly say that in his desperation he called out to God to take away the desire for any mind altering substance.  He asked God to forgive him of his sins. Just like that God took away his desire and he was a changed man.

During dinner on night this new brother in the Lord, told me that he could not explain why or how he had lost the desire to stop doing drugs. His only explanation was it had to be God, because he was not able to do it himself. This fellow went from not being interested in talking about God, not attending church and trying to stay away from Christians, to now he is consuming all the Christian books he can get his hands on and reading his Bible everyday. He prays regularly and needless to say is in church.

He had to be instructed/discipled on a nightly basis. He called my son who was mentoring him every evening after dinner by phone answering the many questions the new follower of Christ has. He had to be instructed to be baptized. I explained to him the why and the how of baptism. It was a joyous night to see our new brother in Christ follow Jesus in believer’s baptism.

I am also mentoring another new believer, who trusted in Jesus the second week of March. He had voluntarily stopped being involved in drugs and alcohol but he still felt empty. He knew there was something more to life. He was seeking God. He attended church occasionally and even had prayed the sinner’s prayer at church. But yet he said that he did not feel anything nor did you desire to come to Bible study or church on a regular basis. He said he felt nothing.

I visited him at his home one evening and shared my testimony how I came to have my sins forgiven and how I invited Jesus to be Lord and Savior of my life. When I asked him if he wanted what I had, he said, “You have a freedom that I do not have and that is what I want.” I explained that trusting in Jesus and asking Him to forgive our sins would set him free. He prayed and said afterwards, “I feel different”. I know that faith in not a feeling but from my own experience and from the testimonies of many others salvation does make you feel like changed. I explained it was the weighted of our sins taken off of us and put on Jesus.

Three weeks after trusting in Jesus, he was struggling with being worthy to be baptized. He had to be taught that a Christian is only worthy because of what God has done and not due to anything we have done. We explained that he was now a child of the King, and a child of God. He had been born again by God’s Spirit. He got it and is going to be baptized soon. You can see that a change has taken place in this man.  I think of 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature…”

We had to work hard to teach and disciple these two new brothers to help them understand what God had done in their lives and what was the next step. They did not have the history nor the association with a local church or body of believers to know the next step. I believe many new believers who come from hard backgrounds are in the same situation. This is the lesson that God has taught me in recent days. As I wrote in the last article, even Jesus had many leave Him. He even had to question His disciples if they too were going to leave as well.

Evangelism is hard work and so is discipleship, do not let anyone tell that it is not. If you do not believer me then stop and examine all the churches that have membership roles filled with delinquent members who have not attended worship nor Bible study in months and years. We must go out and intentionally follow-up with people. Just like Jesus had to do, especially with a new believer. There is a battle going on between the flesh and spirit within each one of us. Anyone who says he has conquered this battle is either lying, or they are in heaven with Jesus.


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