WOODBURY, Tenn. (BNC) by Joey Ferrell — About 5 years ago, a man joined a Facebook group that I administer that helps connect gospel preachers and church openings. After a few days, Roger Leonard messaged me and asked, “Do you know this guy? He is posting some strange stuff in the group.”
I was in West Virginia for a Gospel meeting/mission trip and had no phone signal and very minimal internet. There was not much I could look at or do to alleviate any confusion. After I got home, Roger, myself and a couple of the other admins discussed this man and the things he was saying that caused us some concern. We decided it best to remove him from the group until one of us could talk with him by phone. When I did get home, I realized that this man was actually my “neighbor” from a mile or so away. We could talk in person!
We did just that. A few times. He and his daughter visited where I was preaching once and one of the elders and I studied with him extensively. I learned a great deal from his convictions and his study efforts. We gave him a copy of Muscle and a Shovel. He read it. I gave him a copy of Transformed. He read it. But he had been so convicted about what he had been taught that it was his strong belief.
We would have many discussions over the five years. Some in person, some by phone, some by text, many through Facebook. Some would end in disagreement, some even in anger, it seemed. We just couldn’t reach an agreement.
This man also friended many of my friends, and they too would discuss with him, sometimes to a point that frustration would surface For the sake of a good spirit, I even unfriended him so we would not have such discussions that would sometimes go so far off of scripture that they had to be deleted (guilty on my side as any). I even asked Roger one day how he was able to keep discussions open.
Fast forward to two weeks ago. Sometimes I would get texts from this man and I would either answer very short or reply at times with a question or two. When I would see him out, we would have amiable discussions. But this time, something was different in the text. It’s impossible to read tone; however, I felt something was up. He said, “I need to talk to you. Can we meet when I get home?” I replied and eventually called him. He shared that he had listened to a lesson from Roger about Nicodemus and that something just was not right and he wanted to study that.
Due to conflicts in our work schedules, we were only able to speak on the phone last Saturday. We studied briefly on the phone and then I sent him every lesson that we have at The Gospel of Christ involving Nicodemus and John 3. He diligently listened to them Saturday night and called me on Sunday afternoon on his way to California and said, “I need to be baptized.”
Being that Roger and I had tried to find a congregation just the week before en route and we could not find one, it would seem that we were at a dead end. After talking with this man more on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, I was praying so hard that he would be given a safe journey home.
One reason was because he wanted his wife to also study with us.
I am excited and still praising God that this study happened on Saturday morning, Nov. 3, with me, an elder from a local church, Tommy Pomeroy, his wife Debbie, and even their sweet daughter Cheyenne. After a couple of hours, my friend Tommy became my brother in Christ!
On top of that, Cheyenne expressed a desire to become our sister in Christ, and on the way to the baptistery, Debbie pulled Tommy aside and had a wonderful change of heart from just minutes earlier. I felt that Debbie wanted to study more and she said she did not want to be baptized today, but thankful to God, she told Tommy she wanted to be absolutely certain of her salvation.
Tommy posted to his social media account this explanation of why he left his denomination.
Sunday church service there would be small babies in the audience and at different points in the service you hear that child whimper or become fussy because discomfort is setting in and the mother will pull out a pacifier and stick it in the baby’s mouth. The baby quietens down through the use of a lie. The Pacifier is fundamentally a lie. It is designed to give the impression that you are feeding on something.That you are receiving something and it is an artificial replacement for the real thing. It is designed to keep the baby at Bay to pacify them and satisfy them to keep them quiet and not cause a disturbance. The Pacifier calms the baby down because it appears that they are getting something that they’re really not getting. But after a while the baby will wise up it will become aware that Mama is messing with me. There’s no food here this is just me sucking away getting nothing. For a while being pacified works because the baby thinks it is getting somewhere but then it begins to figure out I’m just going through the motions but I’m still hungry. The baby begins to cry out because they’re tired of fake food and the baby will reject being pacified and going through the motions. They will want the real thing. Many people come to church Sunday after Sunday to be pacified. They want enough to make them feel like they’ve gotten something only to discover all week long they’re still hungry so they’ll show back up to get some more pacification: a service, a song, a sermon only to discover they’re still hungry. They got the impression that they got the real thing but you’re still unsatisfied something is still missing. Let me say as long as we are satisfied with pacification we will never cry out for the real thing. God feeds hungry people!
Praise God for receptive hearts, prayers on their behalf, and for the knowledge of the truth through study of His word!
Joey Ferrell is Media Minister and Field Rep Coordinator for The Gospel of Christ Media Program.
Randal and his wife Vicki have lived and worked in Brazil since Nov. 1984. They have three children, two daughters-in-law, and five grandchildren. He enjoys his new home office. http://randal.us