6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: The average Christian in America doesn’t share their faith with others. According to the Barna Group, in 2003 just over half of all born again Christians shared their faith with someone else.

Start with Evangelism Video 5 min 2 sec

There is a phrase that I want you to remember. It is extremely important that you do not forget this simple four word sentence.

Here it is, don’t forget, “Each one reach one.”

One of my friends as a teenager was a guy by the name of Dave Olson.

Dave’s dad was a preacher and he had a sister named Lori who was real cute and an older brother who had fallen away from the Lord at that time.

Dave was also experiencing a time of rebellion in his own life. His brother had drawn him into a world of alcohol, drugs and rebellion against God and their parents.

His parents were taking some time off from the ministry and began to attend the church we were attending at that time.

As the months went on Dave and I began to form a friendship.

There were times in our friendship when I would try my best to get Dave to serve God and there were times when Dave would try his best to get me to not serve God.

I think I have shared this before, but as a teenager I struggled in my walk with God. I did a lot of things that I am not proud of nor would I suggest.

Half way through my senior year in high school God really got a hold of me and I made a decision to follow Him and do whatever He wanted me to do.

It’s funny to me, but I thought God wanted me to be a policeman, I had already been accepted to the Police Science School at Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, but God had different plans for me and I ended up at Open Bible College in Des Moines, studying to be a pastor.

At the age of 17 my life of rebellion to God and the church and my parents ended and so did my actions of conforming to Dave’s lifestyle.

I was going to chase after God’s plan for my life and do what He was calling me to do.

I also made a decision that I was not going to let Dave miss God’s plan for his life; I believed then and believe now that God has a plan for everyone’s life.

For Dave it was a plan that did not include alcohol and drugs; a plan that did not include rebellion. It was a plan that God had set in motion long ago for his life.

I was going to invest time and effort into my friend’s life, because I did not want my friend to go to hell and the way he was living his life; that could have happened any time.

Dave was a preacher’s kid; he knew about salvation, he knew about the Word of God, he was really knowledgeable when it came to Scripture. But he had made a decision to live in rebellion to all the Truth he knew.

In the spring of 1983 a group of people visited our church.

They were from the Teen Challenge of Iowa. Their leader at that time was a man by the name of Carol Huston.

I made sure that Dave was in that evening service. I remember it like it was yesterday.

Dave sat through the whole service and you could see that the Holy Spirit was working on him. He watched and listened with determination as each person gave their testimony of how God rescued them from drug addiction, alcoholism, rebellion and many other things.

They shared how God was able to heal their broken lives and restore what they had lost.

And at the end of the service, when Carol Huston got up to give the alter call, Dave Olson was the first hand up and Dave Olson was the first person at the alter.

He gave his heart to God, sought forgiveness of his sins, turned his life over to Christ, enrolled into Teen Challenge and a few weeks later left Ottumwa and went to the Teen Challenge center in Colfax, Iowa.

He was a changed man.

He graduated Teen Challenge, became a staff member there, they promoted him to the director of Teen Challenge of Iowa a few years later and then after a couple more years, Dave accepted the pastorate of an Assembly of God Church in Ankeny, Iowa.

The last time I talked to Dave his church was running about 800 people.

Why is this story important?

It is important because someone took the time to reach someone else for the kingdom of God and those efforts have made a lasting difference in the Kingdom of God.

Each one reach one.


Father, open my eyes to see Your Word.

Open my ears to hear.

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