Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Man from Cabrini-Green

I mentioned earlier that when I was in Chicago I talked to a man on a street corner that was from Cabrini-Green. My husband Brad, who joined me in Chicago for the last two days of the Founder's Week Conference, was with me, and we were walking to the Moody Bible campus for the morning sessions. As we walked we were reading street signs, and a man called over to us to ask if we needed directions. We stopped and talked with him, and when we told him where we were headed, his face lit up. He said, "We love the Moody people at Cabrini-Green, where I live." He said that the Moody students run a tutoring program for children there, and that he liked how, when the Moody people shared the Gospel, there was never any pressure to accept.

This man, whose name is Tony, summed it all up by saying "nobody touches the Moody people in Cabrini Green. We watch their backs."

I was so heartened to hear what he said, because it was a testimony that faith plus works is what is taking place, to the point that the Moody students are loved and protected while in the midst of Cabrini-Green. The students not only tutor, putting faith into action, but they also witness and share the Gospel--without, as the man made sure to point out, pressure.

The Gospel and works both are happening in Cabrini-Green by Christians who don't have to pressure anyone because they realize that WE DON'T SAVE ANYONE, GOD DOES. When we bring the Gospel in Word and Deed, God is quite capable of doing the rest. Romans 1:16 says "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes..." When Christians use pressure "to get" people to accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ, they are taking a limited view of God, as if God needs us to cajole and arm twist. God simply calls us to prayerfully go out and He will be the Lord of the Harvest, not us (Matthew 9:38).

As we said goodbye to Tony, our newfound brother in Christ, I marveled at yet another example of Christians--"the Moody people"--quietly and without fanfare or elaborate write-ups in Christianity Today--doing the work of Christ by simply going out in Word and Deed, just as Jesus calls us to. Thank God for Moody Bible Institute and for Tony and those in Cabrini-Green who watch the student's backs.

"So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord..." 2 Timothy 1:8

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