Two different readers, while vacationing here in S. Florida, have paid me a visit recently. One was Norman R., and the other was Joe K., both of whom claim to be readers of my articles and Rapture Ready.
We met at the Cracker Barrel restaurant here in Naples at different times a week apart, and both men were earnest Christians. It was nice to have met them both. Norman was much like me in that he is very evangelical – even though we have different techniques. I outgrew the technique period and have gone on to deal with people on an individual basis.
One of the first things I ask is, “What is your name.” Then I use their name as often as possible in our conversation. But this is not a technique, only a way to bring them out of their shell. I call it loving on them. There is nothing like the sound of your own name coming from someone else.
Norman shares Christ on YouTube, and with flyers, he composes himself while Joe is just beginning to get his feet wet.
Joe is not much of a talker, but he is attentive, and so with me talking most of the time and telling stories that abound in my upcoming book (in which I tell of my many evangelistic exploits and a little bit about my career in showbiz), Joe and I sat for the better part of an hour eating and conversing.
In any case, after sharing, he suggested we step outside and sit awhile to finish conversing. This restaurant has seating outside under an overhang and two small checker tables where customers can play checkers while they wait for seating. So, we sat at one of them, and I remembered that I had three little red Bibles in my pocket to hand out, and I gave them to him.
Just then, a guy with a small fedora on his head was walking by to fetch his wife, who was still in the restaurant. We both said “hello” at about the same time.
I said, “I like the hat.”
The man stopped, and we began to chat while Joe just watched.
The man in the hat replied, “I get comments about my hat all the time, but I have to wear a hat so as not to get sunburn on my bald head, especially down here in Florida.”
“You must be a visitor,” I replied.
For the sake of conversation and knowing that most people want to talk about themselves, I said, “You must be from Joysey.”
“Howdja know?” he said with his gravely New Jersey voice.
“I can tell by the way you carry yourself and the hat on your head,” I countered.
We laughed together.
“What’s your name?”
“My name’s Bill”
“Well, Bill, my name is Jim; glad to know you.
Bill continued, “Most people ask me where my saxophone is when I wear this hat. Musicians wear headgear during their performances, ha ha ha.”
“You’re right, they do!” I replied.
The laughter continued, and soon Joe, who had sat quietly, joined in.
Meanwhile, I was thinking about how often other people responded in the same way as Bill. They just want to talk to someone but are afraid to step out. But if you give them the opportunity, they will tell you the story of their entire lives. What a sad commentary on our once-social society.
Later I received the email below from Joe, and I was humbled by what he had to say. Here is an excerpt:
I believe God was instrumental in encouraging me to reach out to you in the past few months in preparation for this meeting (our Lord has footprints when seen from our rearview mirror). I thought about the four or five people you approached in conversations in the time it took me to pay for breakfast. Wow, to witness your ability to turn the conversation to Christ and redemption in a matter of minutes. I admire you and your stories that display such frankness, boldness, and witness to the countless number of lost souls in need of redemption. You’re doing what our Lord has asked all of us to do, and I can see that you’re doing it out of love for the individuals themselves. You truly are what you write about.
So why, Lord, as I’m driving back, did you encourage me to step out of my comfort zone and ask this man to breakfast? I think it may be that He moved me to expand my boundaries, which is a form of exercise in our love in Jesus. It’s really unlike me to request what I asked you. Yet the whole time, it seemed like the most natural thing…. I told my wife about my plans and asked if she would like to come along. [She said] “Now, why would I want to come and listen to a couple of old men talking about the end of the world.” I can’t remember if she said end of the world, but I’m pretty sure she was thinking it. Of course, I just needed to offer her this invite to put her mind at ease. I found it odd that we talked as though we knew each other. But this makes sense, considering we are of one body, the remnant of believers in Christ our Lord!
So God blessed me in my walk with Him on February 13th, 2023. I got to meet the man who [is an example of whom] Christ says, watch and learn, see my humble servant, Jim actually does walk the talk and talk the walk. So this was all inspirational, educational, and recreational….
Yes, you have an amazing story to tell, Jim. Just scratching the surface tells me your book will be very much an inspiration to many people.
I thank you for our humble meeting and the excitement you brought to my vacation while here in Florida, as well as the inspiration and teaching this provides me. I’ll continue to pray for the success of your book/movie being brought into the light of a darkening world. If there’s anything I can do to help, please don’t hesitate to ask. Oh, and I hope you don’t mind if I reach out to you on occasion. It really does feel like kinship.
May our Lord continue to richly bless you and all of your family and friends.