Friday, December 15, 2006

Roger's New Ride

Men love cars. Men love anything with motors that snort and roar. Roger is no different. Roger is in our men’s Bible study in Cokato and he is quite the Roger. He had to show us his new ride—a sleek silver car. It’s not really new, it’s three years old but it is new to Roger—that’s all that’s important. Roger said to me, “Jerry, this is the nicest car I’ve ever had.” Paul, Jim, Roger and I stood and marveled in joy. This “new” car means more to Roger and his wife Renee than our new cars mean to most of us.

A year and a half ago, Roger was looking for a job. He heard of a job he thought he’d like and he applied. One of the requirements for the job was that you could not smoke. Roger smoked. Many people applied for the job and 12 people were interviewed. It was then reduced to 6 and Roger was one of the final six. Even though Roger told them he smoked, he got the job.

We had been praying for a job for Roger at the men’s Bible study. I remember Roger standing and the rest of us laying on hands praying for the job. A week later Roger came to Bible study; while getting out of his old car, two 19 year olds, Ryan and Dylan, yelled, “Roger, did you get the job?” "Yes", Roger yelled and Ryan and Dylan danced. Yes, they danced for joy; their brother in the Lord got a job!

I marveled. How excited do I get when something good happens to my brothers and sisters? To some of us, dancing is a real problem. We just don’t do it naturally and it has been ingrained in our mind that all dancing is bad. Some isn’t. Psalm 150 says in vs. 3, “Praise Him with sounding of the trumpet, praise Him with the harp and lyre, praise Him with the tambourine and dancing.” So if you have no trumpet, no harp, no lyre, no tambourine, just dance. Yes, dance; just dance.

There is way more to this story. The job Roger applied for was to be a janitor in a church. He loved the job. Roger gave his notice last week as one of his part-time jobs became full time—working as a counselor at a boys’ ranch. Roger also works part-time at a drug treatment center. God does remarkable things. Roger was a former drug user; matter of fact, he was a drug dealer. Roger spent 15 years in prison for drug dealing.

The last 18 months have not all been easy. Roger and his wife have faced sickness and both are now well. They have scrimped and saved. They have prayed and cried. Jesus is real, God is good, and the Holy Spirit moves and makes old things new.

You see, not only has Roger gotten a new car, he has a new heart, new spirit and a new life. And it is all because of Jesus Christ and Him alone. Roger shares his love for Jesus every day with the boys at the ranch. His past, not forgotten, not hidden, not ignored but laid out, to witness to Jesus’ power and grace, forgiveness and joy.

So, the ex-con no one wanted to hire is on the front line witnessing for Jesus. This ought to make us dance. Yes, dance. You see the new car is great but Roger and Renee know it’s a new mind, new heart, and new soul that is important not just a new car. Let’s dance! Let’s dance for joy! Find someone to make music. Let’s dance. Let’s dance for Jesus. What a Christmas gift this all is. Come quickly Lord Jesus, come. As a matter of fact, He is already here!

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