The Everlasting Gospel Changed Bill’s Life!
By Dan Serns
Shortly after moving to a new neighborhood, my wife and I discovered that it got pretty loud at night. We complained about our neighbors for a while before deciding that we should be praying for them. We didn’t even know their names, but we made a prayer list anyway.
We prayed for “the-big-boat neighbors,” who had a massive boat parked in their driveway. We prayed for “the cussing neighbors,” who cussed more than the rest. We prayed for “the man with two dogs,” who always came by our house every evening, yelling at his dogs, who were pulling him along faster than he wanted to go.
When you pray to Jesus consistently for people for a few weeks, He puts a desire in your heart to do something else to help them. We talked it over and decided to start a Bible-study group in our home on Tuesday evenings. We personally invited the people on our prayer list. We also handed out invitations to the rest of the homes in the neighborhood. And we invited people from our church family to join us.
On the first night, we had six visitors in our home: five from the church and “the man with two dogs.” We learned his name was Bill and he was 65 and about to retire. Bill didn’t say much during that first hour together, and when it was his turn to read the Bible, he said “Pass.” At the end, he thanked us and the next week he came back. He came back the week after that as well, and the third week no one came except Bill.
Since no one else was in attendance, he began to ask us questions. His first question was, “In our Bible study guides there are often two numbers with two dots between them. What is that mean?” It was a great opportunity to help Bill learn how to read and use the Bible. He was very grateful.
The fourth week everyone came back, including Bill. The study was about the everlasting gospel from Revelation 14. We read how we are all sinners and deserving of death, but Jesus came to live and die and pay for our sins. We shared how when we confess our sins and put our trust in Him, we receive eternal life. Then we shared how Jesus gives us victory over our struggles and how He’s preparing an incredible future for each one of us.
At the end of the study, I invited each person (if they were willing) to say, “Jesus, I want You to be in charge of every part of my life.” That night Bill invited Jesus to be His Savior and Lord. I was so excited! I could just imagine Jesus up in heaven saying to the angel Gabriel, “Start a new mansion! Someone else has accepted Me, and I am giving him a sense of peace that he’s never experienced before. I’ll transform him, and someday I’ll bring him home to My house where he will live forever with me.”
A few weeks later we learned that Bill had died of a heart attack while out spending time with his grandson. Bill’s wife asked us to conduct his funeral. As we were preparing for this sad and unexpected funeral service, his wife Sharon told us, “Bill loved the Bible study at your home each week. He never owned a Bible before you started studies with him. But it changed his life.”
Bill’s life story is over, but I believe he will be among the first to rise in the clouds to meet Jesus when He returns. And we look forward with that hope!
The same Jesus that transformed Bill’s life can transform anyone! Our great news, also known as the “everlasting gospel” (Rev. 14:6), will be proclaimed to the whole world before Jesus returns (Matt. 24:14). Let’s be bold with sharing this good news while we still have opportunity. Let’s not keep hiding behind closed doors or share a watered-down gospel that fails to lead people to the foot of the cross. This beautiful gospel of the three angels’ messages has power to transform our entire lives. Let’s share it! Jesus is coming soon!
Dan Serns is president of the Central California Conference.
Isn’t it amazing to see what is possible when we start praying for people and then ministering to them as God leads? You never know, you might be somebody’s last chance to hear about Jesus. Why not ask God right now to show you people you can pray for and minister to in your own neighborhood. Ask for the ability to share the truths of the Three Angels’ Messages with Holy Spirit effectiveness. If you pray these prayers in sincerity, amazing divine appointments will happen!
As you prayed for the 7 names on your list, we want to encourage you to keep praying and to keep reaching out to them. Minister to them. Seek for ways to serve them and love them like Jesus. God is able and willing to move in the lives of these individuals, and as you continue to pray, it makes a difference in the unseen world. Someday, if not now, you will see the answers to your prayers.
- Pray for the Holy Spirit to lead in the final days of the General Conference session.
- Pray for those coming into positions of new leadership, that the Holy Spirit would equip them for the task ahead of them.
- Pray for opportunities to reach out to your family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers with the gospel of Jesus.
- Continue to pray for your 7 names, looking for ways to serve them.
- Pray for God to give you at least one person who you can lead to Christ in this coming year.
Resources to Go Deeper
Visit https://www.revivalandreformation.org for ongoing new resources.