Summary: Taking a risk and stepping our of your comfort zone.
Seizing Your Divine Moment
As we begin today I would like to read a true account of an experience that pastor, speaker, and author, Erwin McManus had in the early years of his ministry. Listen to what he says…
“I got a message through the urban grapevine that I was dead. It might surprise you that in the dark corridors of the urban jungle there are many prophets – mostly prophets of doom. This angel of death went by the name William. Through my work in one of the projects, his common-law wife had come to a personal faith in Jesus Christ. He was in prison and heard the news of her conversion. He did not consider this good news. I had trespassed onto his territory. A crime punishable – yes, that’s right, you got it – by death. So I got the word – several times actually – that when he got out of prison, I was going to be his first stop. He had spent most of his adult life behind prison walls, and by his own description he had broken all of the commandments. This time he had gone to prison for slitting a man’s throat. That mans was the brother of his common-law wife, whom we will call Lupe.
“When I heard he was released from prison, I decided to find him before he found me. He lived in a small apartment complex surrounded mostly by dilapidated houses and run-down storefronts. The complex was walking distance from the skyscrapers downtown and sat in the middle of what had once been one of the city’s most prestigious neighborhoods. You don’t ever forget meeting someone like William. He was in some ways an ethnic anomaly. He was a white guy in the middle of a Latin community who had a reputation for being good with a knife. He was in his mid-thirties, and life had made him as hard as stone.
“We sat face-to-face in a dingy apartment filled with loud children and usually inebriated neighbors. But before I knew it, we were there alone – just William and me. I don’t recall how it happened. I never noticed the exodus. It was only the silence and discomfort of the moment that made me aware of how everything had changed. Metal bars on the windows, the door soundly shut. We were alone.
“He swiftly reached into his jacket, pulled out a knife, and with a quick move of his wrist opened it were its position made the metal gleam in my direction. Like someone remembering a secret pleasure he smiled and said, ‘This is the knife I slit his throat with. The police never got it.’
“A thousand thoughts were rushing through my mind. But I really didn’t have any material in the category of ‘witty responses to use shortly before dying at knifepoint.’ I remember entertaining the thought that Lupe’s brother didn’t die; William just cut off his vocal cords. That thought was not at all comforting. I knew my next, my first, perhaps my last sentence was of utmost importance. And then the words came. It was as if I heard them for the first time even as he heard them.