Friday, March 11, 2011

A Modern Day Story of Faith


Considering the shape the world is in and the church’s message being rejected so often in the United States, I began to  ponder the statement of Jesus from Luke 18:8, “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” We hear all about the courageous stands of those being persecuted overseas and even the miracles of God, but where are they here in the good ole USA? 


Are you standing for Jesus or are you by-standing for Jesus? 

A while back I was working as a press operator in printing firm in Boulder Co. For months I had shared my faith with my co-workers during breaks and such. One day when I arrived for work I noticed that the person on day-shift had setup a job on my press for Playboy magazine! I was taken back. The first thing that came to my mind was, “Why me, Lord?" "What am I going to do?" Then I quickly thought of all those on the shift I had witnessed and expressed my faith to, which was practically speaking, the whole shift. As I gazed out toward my co-workers it seemed they were aware of my predicament as they were all standing, some with folded arms, awaiting my response. I knew then that I had to make a decision. Jesus and I were just put on trial.

Standing up for Jesus is a Choice Based on Devotion

Before I continue with the post I want to pause a moment and ask: How often do we bring Jesus into our everyday decisions? Do we care about the souls of those around us? Does being a witness for Christ ever cross your mind? We are indeed surrounded by a “great cloud of witnesses,” Heb. 12:1. We find them in the Christians we live around, in the saints who have blazed the paths of Christianity before us, and the lost who daily surround us. Now more than ever the world needs to see genuine faith. Jesus is still asking today, will I find faith on the earth when I return?

How do You Respond?

When your faith is under fire every excuse not to stand will cross your mind. One of three things usually occur:

1) You back down
2) You compromise
3) You make a stand

What about you? People always put their time and talent where their priorities lie. Maybe we should consider what ours are. Christ has been asking Christians for nearly 2000 years to go into the whole world and make disciples, teach, and baptize, yet we often never leave our front yard or the church pew. I believe most of the church today is to swallowed up in self that we cannot see beyond our fingertips. We are more concerned for self-preservation on earth than self-preservation in heaven. To be a standing witness for Christ means being able to put all outcomes into His hands, to include, home, family, vehicles, job, and friendships--whenever He calls us to action. What things are you willing to trust to God if standing for Him may bring them into jeopardy? Anything? If Christ returned today…and He could…what will He find you doing?

Let's Get Back to the Story

Decision day had come. Before me was an order for two-million renewal letters for playboy magazine complete with a color photo of a full-frontal-nude woman. All those months of witnessing for Christ were now on-the-line. Would I stand or would I fall? My job was at stake. I was 2000 miles away from family and had few friends to turn to, if things went south. How would I feed my family if I got fired? How could I face them? How could I get another job with this on my record?

I desperately needed an answer from God. I needed refill on faith. I walked the fifty feet to the back of my press and just fell on my knees and began to cry out to God. I begged Jesus for the strength to stand and the courage to trust Him. I prayed for what seemed like twenty minutes. When finished, I got up and walked to my workbench where I was met by my shift foreman in full stare. His stature was like that of Merlin Olsen, large, strong, and tough. He proceeded to ask why the press was not running. I told him I could not run the job because I was a Christian and I did not feel it was appropriate for me to print those for the glory of God. Then it came out...I blurted Acts 5:29, "I would rather obey God than man." The fury that mounted up in his eyes was unrivaled by any other occasions where I have been met with contempt because of Christ. I could tell that reason was not going to fly. I knew I was in for it. I started stuttering and shaking profusely. What was coming next? This job was big money for that company and was a rush order. I soon found out and I will never forget the tone in his voice. He started yelling at the top of his lungs giving me every reason I should run that job and if I didn’t I would be fired. He then sent me to the break area where I wept and prayed for about fifteen minutes, trying to muster every bit of faith I could.

The press row seemed to be well pleased with the drama considering that they were not in any hurry to crank up their machines while patiently watching. Again with my body trembling and shaking in fear I asked God, “Why me?” But no comfort came, only silence. I regained my composure when my boss returned. Walking in and slamming the door behind him he ushered me upstairs to the office of the production manager where I felt I would be sentenced for high crimes against the company. Again, the door slamming behind me as I walked in. I was then met with another series of expletives which ended with the with the familiar words “Your fi….” But he didn't finish his sentence when the door swung open and a very tall, thin, well-dressed gentleman appeared. I have to say I had never seen him before.

When the man walked in, the production manager was very startled--like he had seen a ghost. Now he was the one shaking and stuttering. He lost his composure and began to look very faint--his face became flushed. He then began to stutter in his welcome. The man simply said, “What’s going on?” He directed the question to the production manager who then proceeded to tell him that I opposed running a job on one of the presses. The man then looked at me and calmly asked “Why?” I expressed my faith again and made my case. He then said without hesitation, “No Problem. I noticed nobody was running press 13, You can move him down there and someone else can run that job.” I was overflowed with relief. God had came through just like the Bible says He would.

Later during a break I spent the whole time in tears again, still shaken up over the ordeal. But God had come through and my co-workers actually became friendlier to me than they previously had been. Many even asked me questions concerning my faith giving me an open opportunity to share Jesus.

Standing is not Easy

No one ever said standing for Christ was easy. But if we do, He will carry us through. The Scripture states in Matthew 10:32 (NKJV):

“Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven."

If we are to win this world for Christ it is going to take more than just church attendance. It’s going to take men, women, and children standing firm for Christ in support of reaching others with the gospel.

By the way, the gentleman who showed up by surprise in the story....I was told he was a high ranking executive of one of the largest publishing firms in the nation, who was making a surprise visit, having flown in from NY, to check on his subsidiary company.

If you have been in a similar situation I would like to hear your “Story of Faith.” If you have  had to make a stand for Jesus in the face of opposition, please share it. We need to hear these testimonies. They are faith builders. Just post in the comments section below. You can either post anonymously or sign in using one of the preferred methods presented on the comments screen.

God bless you all…and don't forget to stand firm!! Jesus is counting on you! Do not give your faith away through compromise. He who promised is faithful.

God Bless,
Pastor Mike

3 comments:

Meg said...

Wow Mike, that is one amazing testimony! I am so glad you stood your ground, because as you saw for yourself, the whole world is watching and wondering just how much our faith really means to us. It is rare for most of us to be faced with a choice that can cost us our jobs, but many are indeed faced with much lower stakes... How often do many stand?... I don't really desire to answer that question either...

Michael (Mike) Henderson said...

LOL!!! Hi Meg! Thanks for posting.

God Bless!!!!

Anonymous said...

Dearest Michael,
I am always so moved when I hear this story. I am so blessed to be married to a man that still 20 years later is still that in love with Jesus. I know the risks you take for Jesus and proud to be by your side when you do. My family may think you are over the top for Jesus, but I think you are right on the mark. Your Angel