Three Guys Walk Onto A Plane…..
“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14: 6
Today I am going to share what happened during my 4.5 hour flight to Seattle yesterday. As soon as we got airborne I pulled out my copy of my friend Marc Winter’s book “Was Church God’s Idea?” and began to read. About ten minutes later the fellow sitting across the aisle from me began to ask some probing questions of me. The conversation quickly moved to what my personal beliefs were concerning Jesus Christ. At that point the person sitting immediately to my right got involved in the conversation.
In a few minutes we learned that I was a follower of Jesus sandwiched between a follower of Buddha and a follower of Islam. We each shared a little concerning what we believed about faith in God in general and then the Holy Spirit began to stir and move within me greatly. I then asked Ben and Joseph if the believed that Jesus was a prophet and they each replied yes.
Following up on that question I asked them if it was okay if we looked into exactly what Jesus had to say about Himself and the so called “Christian” faith. They both agreed and then I pulled out my bible and began to read the sayings of Jesus throughout John’s gospel.
We spent the next 3 hours reading the direct words of Jesus and discussing in depth what each of us believed in light of Christ’s words. There I was, simply conversing about the Lord with two people whose belief systems radically differed from my own, but you know what? We all found common ground in the sayings of Jesus about Himself and the Body of Christ.
Both men remarked how they had never found “Christians” to be so free, non-judgmental and open. And that they normally had “Christians” trying to shove their personal beliefs down their throats. They were accustomed to being told that they were going to hell because of their religion, but no one had actually ever taken the time to listen to their personal beliefs and journey towards God.
Then it hit me and it was totally obvious to me that others had tried to push religion and doctrine AT these men, but none had actually taken the care to share Jesus WITH them. During the final hour of our flight together I was able to share with these dear fellows the difference between relationship and religion and dead religion at that. (as if there is another kind?) I continued to solely focus on the words of Jesus Himself and invited them to prayerfully consider a potential relationship with Him beginning today. We then grasped hands and prayed together that God would continue to open our hearts, eyes and minds to faith, hope, love and truth…..Wherever it may be found.
I gave my only extra bible to Joseph and gave my copy of Marc’s book to Ben and I encouraged both of them to read and focus only on the words of Jesus. Ben then asked, “What about the other parts of the bible…The books that Paul, Peter and others had wrote?” I told them that in time they may be able to look into those writings, but that right now what was setting them free were the actual words of Christ Jesus Himself. I then shocked myself a little by saying to them that religion had been built on the words of Peter, Paul and others; but relationship, true faith and love were built on the direct words of only Jesus. Then I told them to be safe and only look into the saying of others when they felt Jesus leading them to do so.
Before we landed I gave them both my e-mail address and asked them to stay in touch. I suggested that they not be afraid to ask me anything, because God loves honest questions. Once on the ground and in the terminal we all exchanged sincere hugs. I hope to hear back from these men in the near future, but if not the Spirit will still do His work within them I fully trust. All in all this was just another day in the life of Captain Kirk.
Kirk Out !
P.s. It is hard to believe that what happened written above took place one year ago. It really does seem like it just happened recently. I felt HIS leading to post this here again today and to also give you all an update. Ben dove head first into the things of Christ and still serves Him to this day. I hear fron Ben often and in the last year he has brought Jesus to several close relatives, a few friends and his wife to be. They gather each Saturday to break bread and seek a deeper walk with Christ and each other. I have not heard from Joseph in over six months, but the last time we spoke he was still actively seeking and serving Jesus. He has participated in several gatherings with Ben since then and Ben says he seems to be growing in the Lord. I will never forget that flight or these men. It is amazing what God can do with simple conversations and sincere hearts. Where religion fails relationship can flourish. I have found this to be true time and time again. My sole desire and goal in life is authentic fellowship in and with Christ; and the relationships birthed by such fellowship. In fact I am writting this post from SW New York state where I am totally enjoying a weekend of awesome fellowship. I hope these simple words encourage everyone who reads them. I am so grateful for The Body Of Christ in my life.