Scott Jackson of the Mountain Joy Bible Fellowship, representing Gideons International , gave the Sermon I’m synopsizing this week. Pastor Shim will be back from vacation during this week, back to preach to us next Sunday.
Scott began with a story about when he made a visit to a prison to lead a Bible study. For about 20 minutes before the Gideons lead a prison study, they walk around inviting prisoners to the study. As he was walking around, he found one man sitting and staring at the wall. When Scott invited the man to the study, he man looked up at him and said, “Man, you Bible-thumpin’ Christians don’t have a clue about this life.”
Scott asked him why he was in prison. The man threw back his shoulders and said proudly, “I’m a cocaine dealer.”
Scott told him, “I’ve probably done more cocaine than you’ve ever sold.”
The man followed him into the Bible study, and Scott heard two weeks later the man gave his life to Christ.
The Gideons International organization has been around since 1899, handing out Bibles and leaving them in motel rooms since 1909. It took some 26 years to hand out their first million scriptures. Now there are very few motels that don’t have a Gideons Bible in every room. The Gideons replace old Bibles from motels and recycle them to prisons.
As I’m sure most of you remember, the Gideons have handed small pocket Testaments out to students for many years. They used to visit classes in schools, but regulations now forbid that gift in public schools. But—they still hand them out on the sidewalks in front of schools. They have a letter from the Attorney General allowing these gifts—all that is required is that they give a 12 minutes’ notification to the local mayor, sheriff, or police department and a 2 minutes’ notice to the principal of the school.
The Gideons recently made a trip to Honolulu where they handed out Testaments to the students at Central Junior High, where the principal was a Buddhist. She took the Testaments away, telling them it was wrong to have the Testaments. The school janitor, who was a Christian named Benson, retrieved the books and gave them back to the students, but the principle asked them not to bring the Testaments to school.
While they were at another junior high school in north Honolulu, an Oriental woman came running toward them waving her fists in the air. The Gideons thought she was angry. It turned out she wanted to urge them to give all of the students the Testaments, every one, but had to pretend so that the teachers behind her thought she was angry!
Another story involved a Gideon on a bus ride, sitting next to an atheist, a professor. The Gideon told the professor he admired his faith, because surely it took more faith to believe everything came out of nothing. The professor asked him what he meant by that. The Gideon pointed him to several scriptures. The professor left the train with much to think about. Two weeks later, the Gideon was again on the bus, and the professor walked up and again sat down beside the Gideon. The professor told the Gideon he got off the train two weeks earlier and went to the nearest bookstore to try to buy a Bible, but couldn’t find one. He went to his motel room and knelt down and for the first time ever, prayed to God to show him where to find a Bible. He opened the drawer of his nightstand, and sure enough, there it was. In those two weeks, the professor had given his life over to the Lord.
One last story—on October 31, a young lady named Sandra Blackman died in an accident. She had carried a Gideon’s Testament for some time in her purse, even though some of her schoolmates made fun of her. At the back of the Testament, she had signed her name, saying she made a commitment to Christ on October 30.
God’s Word will not return to Him void, Isaiah 55:11. If we preach it, teach it, give it, we will plant a seed, feed and water the seed, so God can receive the harvest. It’s just up to us to see that people hear the Word. We are His hands, His feet, His mouth to the world.