Sabbath 2nd Service

Shawn Boonstra continues with his second message titled "Hope for Today II" during second service.

Let's bow our heads for prayer. Father in heaven this morning, what a joy to congregate and step into your presence on this day. I ask that you bless blow the dust outta my soul. Give me clarity of thought so that when I'm done, heaven is smiling because I've been found faithful to Jesus. And we covenant with you that when you speak to our hearts today, again, we'll follow the lamb wherever he goes and we pray it in Jesus name.

Amen. In the 11th chapter of Matthew, there's this story where Jesus has just spent private time with his disciples, and I don't know about you, but I wish sometimes they would record those private meetings and they don't tell us what went on. And I guess when we get to heaven, we can look in the books and see what the discussion really was.

Obviously we don't need it in the 21st century if God didn't record it. But it's one of those meetings in Matthew 11 and just as the meeting is ending and Jesus is getting ready to go back out on the trail to preach the disciples of John the Baptist show up and they start to ask some really awkward questions in front of everybody.

Are you really the one we've been waiting for? Are you really Messiah, or, we've made some kind of a colossal mistake because you know, you're out here preaching and our master, John the Baptist, he's locked up in prison and it's not looking good. They were sent by John himself because after years in the desert teaching about the coming Messiah, telling everybody Jesus was on his way.

He's starting to get a little bit confused about his own preaching in his own message. It's in Matthew chapter 11, verse two. And when John heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples and said to him, are you the coming one or do we look for another? Jesus answered and said to them, go and tell John the things which you hear and see, the blind see and the lame walk.

The lepers are cleansed and the deaf here, the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them and blessed is he who is not offended because of me. That's a really strange story to include in the pages of the Bible. If you think about it, it has often bothered me that that's in there because this is the last thing you hear about John the Baptist.

He doesn't make some kind of grand soliloquy. He doesn't offer a final prayer. He doesn't perform a miracle. No fiery chariot shows up to take him to heaven. He's just sitting in prison. He's confused and he's about to lose his life, and that's the last thing we hear about him. So you gotta wonder, why did God put that story in the Bible that way?

Why is that there? Yes. You know when you first come across the truths of this book and you begin to believe, dare to believe in God, it's one of the most exciting moments of your life because finally, life begins to make an awful lot of sense. You can even look at world events, turn on the news, and.

Doesn't frighten you anymore because you think, well, we knew this was coming. It just means Jesus is getting closer. I can look at the mess that my life is and have hope and say. It says here that even while we were yet sinners, Jesus died for me. I didn't have to fix my resume before he agreed to take me.

He takes me as I am. He forgives my, it's one of the most brilliant moments. Of life and, and it started to answer some questions that I had when I heard about Christians and what they believed. Somebody gave me a Bible in 1974. It wasn't a scholarly Bible. I'd be ashamed to bring it to a seminary class.

It was a children's paraphrase and a really horrible one. But I remember sitting on my bed reading this thing, and of all the things I chose to read in 1974, the book of Revelation. Oh my goodness. What a mess that was for me. It's like candle sticks and bees crawling up out of the sea, and I couldn't make heads or tails out of it.

That didn't make a lick of sense to me. But I do remember saying, behold, I come quickly. So I walked out in the backyard and I looked up and into the sky. I thought, well, it's gotta be any minute now. I should see Jesus coming. And at that point I wanted to know more. What else do we know? About the second coming of Christ.

And in my town, I mean, there was no internet back in the day. And if you wanted to know more, you had to get on a bicycle cross town and go to the town library. And my town on a soaking wet day was 4,500 people. We had a tiny, tiny little library. You think they had books on the second coming of Christ, not one.

And so I was a little bit disappointed. And then, and then one day I'm sitting in my grandfather's. Living room and I'm looking at his bookcase and there's a little book about the second coming of Christ sitting among all his other books, and I did something that is only kind of a sin, kind of a sin. I stole a book on the second coming of Christ as a little boy.

It's sort of a sin, but not really. I mean, really. I mean we, I'm sure there's a little grace for that one. I stole it and I went home and what a story. Oh my goodness. Computers in Belgium and all sorts of things. I couldn't believe what I was reading. It was one of the most exciting stories I had ever read.

So I got out that children's paraphrase and I started to look for what I had read in that book, and it wasn't there. Anywhere I thought, where did that story come from? I was confused. Can you imagine my joy and relief so confused about it when an Adventist evangelist opened the Bible and showed me, look, it's really pretty simple.

When Jesus comes, he just comes. Oh, it feels really good to know stuff, for sure. When I was a little boy, every time a family member died, I was on my best behavior for about two weeks because who knows how it works over in the great beyond. I mean, when Uncle Amel died, I remember that we have strange names in my family.

We're all European immigrants and we have very, when Uncle Amo died, I was on my very best behavior because what if he's watching me and what if he reports me straight to God? I mean, I understand that's childish thinking. God saw it all anyway, but what if the dead, or can you imagine my joy when somebody showed me the dead?

Don't come back to their house anymore. They have nothing to do with anything under the sun. My closet was liberated when I saw the truth. There are no ghosts in the closet. It was fantastic. I got sent to catechism class Tuesday nights. And I grew up in a tradition that taught that God chose certain people to be lost ahead of time.

You just, you don't have any choice in the matter. You're born lost, you stay lost, and God wants to flip and fry you in the fires of hell for all eternity to display as perfect justice. Other people, they get in, but not you necessarily. And that bothered me and I, I said, I'm just a kid. I'm sitting in the class and I said, excuse me, que question at the back.

Y Yeah. What's your question? I said, well, how do I know which group I'm in? So what do you mean? I said, well, what if it turns out I really behave really well and I'm lost and I'm gonna go right into the fire and or what happens if I'm guaranteed to get into heaven and it's guaranteed and I can live like I want?

Right? I could rob banks and chase women and all that kind of stuff, right? And the pastors shaking, no, you can't do any of that stuff. I said, yeah, well help me understand which group am I in? And here's what he told me. He said, look, if you're even asking the question, you're probably okay.

I don't want probably. I was one of those weird kids that noticed everybody dies. At the age of eight. I started to get a sense of urgency. Oh my goodness. Time is limited. I'm gonna die. And I know the truth of the matter. One day if the Lord doesn't come, you're all gonna show up for my funeral cuz you'll so nice and wanna support my wife and you'll be there at my funeral and, and they'll say a few nice.

Things, hopefully they'll think of a few nice things to say, and then you'll cart me out to the graveyard and lower me into the hole and do that little thing with the dirt, ashes to ashes. D, just, I'm putting that in there so that if you're at my funeral and nobody's doing that, that's what I wanted. I want somebody to do that old thing.

So go ahead and do it. Dashes to ashes, dust to dust. And then you're gonna go back to the church and have one of those casseroles made outta cream of mushroom soup and tater tots and cheese on top. You'll call it the health message too. You know you will. And you're gonna sit there and within five minutes the conversation's gonna drift back to what you're gonna do at work tomorrow.

And I'm still gonna be in the hole. I don't want, probably. I wanna know before that moment comes. Am I okay with God? Can you imagine my relief when an Adventist evangelist sat me down and said, let me put your mind at ease first, John five 13. These things I have written unto you. Not that you may feel like you have eternal life, but that you may know it, know it.

Oh, it feels good to know things for sure. Everything makes a lot more sense when you know things for sure. It's a nice place to be, but in recent years I've started asking myself another question. It's gonna seem like a weird question, but hear me out, because there's a method to my madness. I'm going somewhere with this.

What, how it happened. If suddenly you came under the distinct impression that you were wrong about everything, that you were wrong about your faith. What if all the evidence around you started to point in the wrong direction? That would never happen, Sean. Well, it's a possibility you probably have to consider because the man Jesus called the greatest prophet in the history of the world is sitting in a prison cell confused about the subject of Bible prophecy of all things, and the very Bible prophecy that he had been preaching in his mind.

The kingdom should be here. He should not be in jail. He should be out there teaching and preaching with the disciples of Jesus. And he's confused, and I feel sorry for him because the New Testament hasn't been written yet and he cannot read the things that you can read. He can't see Jesus explaining to the disciples they're gonna be persecuted.

He can't read the prediction Jesus made that even the, the temple would be sacked a second time. He can't read about the crucifixion of Christ himself or Gethsemane. He cannot read the book of Revelation or Bible prophecy and see the long, long road that lay ahead for the Christian Church. He couldn't see any of that stuff.

He couldn't see the heroes listed in the book of Hebrews. He couldn't see. Hebrews chapter 12 where the Bible says, let. Us run with patience. Why did they record John's story that way? It's confusing. 1921. Hard to believe already. 103 years ago. 102. I do Canadian math. It's all metric. 1921, a Swedish couple David sitting in their kitchen and suddenly they both at the same time come under the overwhelming conviction that they were too comfortable.

I mean, they weren't wealthy, they didn't have much. They had a nice little home and a two year old boy. And they came under the conviction that there were people going to Christless graves and how could they sit still? Well, that was happening. How can we just sit here? And so they prayed about it and exercising the height of courage.

They sent a letter to the mission board. And wouldn't you know it, the mission board took their letter. They said, we think the Lord is telling us to go somewhere. So they called them and they said, why don't you go? To the Belgian Congo. So they packed up all their stuff, sold what they couldn't take with them, and off they went to the Belgian Congo.

And when they got to the mission station, there was another young couple there, the Ericksons. So now there's five of them, David and Vea, and their little boy, two years old, and the Ericksons. And from there, the mission station sent them out into the wilderness of the Belgian Congo and they made contact with a village.

I don't know how to pronounce it. I pronounce it indel. That's the village that they went to indel. Five minutes after they got there, they realized this is not gonna be easy. This isn't gonna work the way that we thought it would. When we took missionary classes, the village chief wouldn't let them into town because he was terrified that their local gods would terrorize them if they listened to the missionaries.

And I know sometimes we smile and say, oh, they're, they're animists. It's, they're so simple. These aren't simple people at all. If you've ever been out there, you know full well that fallen angels stir up an awful lot of grief. If you come to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. The chief was right about what might happen.

So he banned them. Don't you dare come into town. So they had to build a couple of huts up on a hill, half a mile out of town, and every day they would pray to God saying, please give us an opportunity to go into town and preach the gospel. We don't want to come here for nothing. Give us an oppor. It was really discouraging, the only contact they had with the village.

Yeah, the chief let a little boy go out to those huts one day a week. He was under strict orders. Don't you talk to anybody, don't you listen to what they have to say. You go there with chickens and eggs and barter for whatever you can get, and then you come straight back home. That's the only contact they've got.

And it was really discouraging because here they were. Thousands of miles from home. Strange place, strange custom, strange language, strange food. They're doing it sacrificially. They've given everything up for the cause of the kingdom of God and it isn't working. In fact, they got malaria. That was enough to convince the Ericksons, that's it.

We're sick now we're going back home. That's too much. So they went back to the mission station, they left David and vea all alone with their little boy, and it was at that point that VEA suddenly said, da David, there's something I need to talk to you about. Well, what is it, honey? I'm, I'm pregnant. Now, I don't know about you, but if I was on the mission board, I'd be the first to make the motion.

You know what? I move that we let Dave and Vea come home because after all they've got malaria. I mean, if it was really working, then by all means, maybe they should stay, but it's not working anyway. They've got a little boy and she's now expecting, and so maybe we should bring them home. There was no bringing them home.

The fire in their bones was like Jeremiah experienced. They knew they were supposed to be there, something told them to stay. So their little daughter, Aina was born in a mud hot half a mile out of the village of Delara. Beautiful. And 17 days later, da uh, VEA flood was dead from complications. Gone. I, I don't know what some of you have gone through in your life.

But maybe you can imagine David, and there he is in the middle of nowhere, he is, got a little toddler and a brand new baby and the body of his wife. And when the baby starts crying, what's he gonna do? How do you deal with that kind of disappointment? I mean, how do you have a funeral all by yourself? He didn't have all the stuff that we usually lean on when we hit those hard moments in life.

There was no funeral home, no flowers, no silk line casket, no cards from the church members, no casserole showing up on the doorstep, none of that stuff. All he had was a dead wife, a sh shovel, a little plot of ground out behind his hu and a couple of scraps of lumber that he nailed together in a little cross and wrote her name on there.

David's, uh, vea flood. How do you handle that? Truth is he couldn't packed up. He started to doubt everything. Maybe I made a giant mistake. I mean, maybe it was just my pride. Maybe I thought God was calling us. I mean, who do I think I am? And so he packed everything up, went back to the mission station, handed off the baby to the Erickson, saying, I don't know what to do with the newborn.

And he went back to Sweden. Gone. Why is the story of John the Baptist recorded the way it is? Maybe for people like that, maybe it's there for two guys. I know. I'll call them Bill and Steve. We're gonna protect their identities a little bit. Bill and Steve wanted to lead people to Christ. They wanted to hold evangelistic meetings more than anything in the world, and so they pulled out a map and they found a tiny little town.

If I were to name the town, you would never be able to find it. You wouldn't know where it was. It was tiny in the middle of nowhere, and they. That's where we're gonna go. And they prayed hard and they went exercising the height of Christian courage, and they did everything exactly right. They studied the methods of evangelists over the centuries.

They studied the teachings and methods of Jesus Christ. They read that book Evangelism, and they took all that advice to heart, and they worked hard. They knocked. On doors, they met people in the community. They held a healthy lifestyle cooking class. Either known, neither Bill nor Steve could cook their way out of a wet paper bag if their lives depended on it.

They couldn't cook, but hey, it's a way to mute the community. They held a breathe free class. You could stop smoking in five days. They did everything right, and finally they said, you know, we've made a lot of friends in this little town. Maybe we should hold an evangelistic meeting. So they rented a little room in a hotel.

I've traveled to this spot and I've seen the room, and on opening night. Wouldn't you know it? The place is packed to the rafters. Now it's a little town packed to the rafters, means something different than it does here this morning, but it was packed to the rafters. 40, 50 people in a room that held 30 maybe, and they were excited.

In fact, they're in the back in the janitor's closet. It's their green room and they're begging, God, Lord, please help now. Now the people are there and we're gonna have to preach. And as they're praying, bill looks at Steve and says, you know what, Steve? The Lord just told me something. Well, what did he tell you?

He said, The Lord told me You're gonna go out there and preach tonight and I'm gonna stay in the closet and pray.

And they went out there and they did it. They didn't know what they were doing. They did everything you're supposed to do. They showed the soon coming of Christ and Bible prophecy, they, they showed everybody world events. They preached the cross of Christ. And most importantly, they put the cross of Christ in the middle of absolutely every presentation.

And they did everything exactly right and then they thought, we ought to have an appeal. Let's have an altar Cole. And so they stood at the front, and it was one of those, is there just one person here, please? Just one person please. Went on for 20, 25 minutes. Nobody, nothing awkward. They packed up the next day, went back home.

And when they got back to church, the critics sneered. The skeptics said, ma'am, we told you. So that might have worked preaching the Bible a hundred years ago, but in this day and age, what in the world were you thinking? We knew that wasn't going to work. I think they might be the reason that John's story is recorded the way it is in Matthew chapter 11, because every one of us is gonna need it.

And if you haven't needed it yet, you're going to. You're going to, this is why Hebrews 12 talks about the Christian life requires patience. It's because patience is the first thing we forget when the going gets tough. I can't tell you how many people have become angry with God when the evidence of their senses begins to suggest that maybe they're wrong.

They get angry. I know it firsthand. I lost everything about 13 years ago, thought I was gonna die laying in a hospital. Flatlining and I, I, I failed. I got mad at God. I've heard it many times, pastor. What was the good of giving my heart to Christ? I can't find a job. I thought I was gonna ride on the high places of the earth.

I'm not gonna be able to make my mortgage payments this month. Where is God? Where is he? Can't fix my marriage. Pastor, my wife packed up and laughed last night. What good has it been to be a Christian? What good is it? I can't fix that. Where is he? Pastor, I'm losing my eyesight. I'm not even 40 years old.

The doctor says I'll be blind within the year and, and you gotta tell me where is God right now. I will never watch my kids graduate from high school. I will never walk my daughter down the aisle because she's gonna have to walk me. Where is he? I think that's why the story of John the Baptist is recorded that way because you're going to need it at some point.

Amen. You know, right now it's an awful lot of fun to be an Adventist evangelist. I can gather a crowd anywhere in the world and I can just open the curtains and say, have a look at the world, turn on cnn, see if it matches what I've been preaching, and it, boom, it matches. I mean, right now it's a lot of fun.

Everything we've always said was going to happen, is happening exactly the way we said it was going to happen. Bible prophecy hasn't let us down, but, but what about the moment that's coming? When it won't look like we're right. That's not gonna happen, Sean. Yeah, it is. In Elijah's day, God brought fire down on the altar, defeated the prophets of ba.

It was clear God was in the mix, but have a look at who brings fire down from heaven in the last days. The miracles happen in the wrong places. They do. Hm. On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit fell on the disciples, and suddenly they're able to tell the story of Christ in the languages of everybody present.

And they all understand and God is there. But in the last moments, it's the image of the beast speaks to the world and unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth. The dragon and the the miracles are going to happen in the wrong place. That's why our faith is built on the word of God and not on the miraculous.

The miraculous gonna let you down. What are you gonna do when you turn on CNN one night and there's Jesus, he's come back. It's like, that's not gonna happen. Yeah, it is. Read Second Thessalonians too carefully. It talks about the coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, you know that word coming?

It's. In the Bible, what's Pat? CIA is like the grand entrance that a king makes into the room, you know, comes 10 minutes late after everybody's assembled and the trumpets blow and he steps into the room. In the Bible, that word is only ever used for the second coming of Jesus Christ, except in this one case, the coming of the lawless one.

What's the evidence of your sense is gonna tell you in the last gasp. The only thing you will have at some point is the promise of the word of God. That's it. I sometimes wonder what was going through Abraham's mind five minutes after he buried Sarah, five minutes after. What's he thinking about because she followed him years on the trail.

All those problems. Problems with the kings of Egypt, problems with the kings in the valley of Sdo, all this stuff. He has to go and rescue lot and it's a tough, tough life. And now she's gone. What's he thinking about? Because all he's got at that moment is the promise of God. That's it. The evidence of his senses suggests something else.

What's he thinking about? Is he thinking about the day he broke the news to Sarah? They were gonna pack up, comes into the house. Hey Sarah. Yeah. Sarah, there's something I need to talk to you about. Well, I knew there was something bothering you, Abraham. I just know you and Oh no, it's not because we don't have children.

You're not gonna go and get another wife, are you? No, no, no, no, no, no. It's nothing like that, Sarah. It's like, listen, I've been talking to God. You've been talking to God. I, I take it not all the gods that your dad has, all the little idols and no, no, you know, which God it is the one who made the heavens of the earth, the sea in the fountains of waters.

That one, what's he been telling you, Abraham? He says, well, we gotta move. Well move. That's not so bad. They've got this new gated community on the other side of her and there's a clubhouse and a swimming pool and, and you know, my knees are starting to bother me a little bit. Going up and down the stairs and moving.

Sounds like it. No, no. I don't exactly mean move. I mean, leave. Leave. Where do you propose we leave to Abraham? I get those time life books in the mail that describe the outside world and there's nothing out there but barbarians that eat people. Where do you suppose we're going to go? He can remember it like yesterday, but you know, we have to go, oh, I know Abraham.

If God says so, we will go Now. He's standing outside her grave, she's gone. She never saw the promise. She gave up a home in her. ER was not a backwater. They found four bedroom houses with hot and cold running water there. This was the epicenter of civilization and they gave it up for a tent in the wilderness.

And now ER has, is the cave. And Abraham had to buy that. They tried to give him the cave. He said, no, no, no, unless God gives it to me. I don't want it. I'll buy it. I'll buy it. And she's gone now. And the only thing Abraham has, Is the promise of God. That's it. What's that promise? It's in Genesis 13, Abraham.

Go for a walk. Anywhere you set your foot, that's gonna belong to you. Go for a walk. In the ancient world, the foot was a symbol of ownership. It's powerful. It's why in the ancient world, the soldier would put his foot on your throat right before he cut off your head. I own you. I'm in charge here. It's why in Job chapter one, when everybody gets together for the meeting and God says to Satan, where have you been?

I've been walking to and fro on the earth. He's not saying he went for a stroll somewhere in the universe. He's saying that human race made in your image. They gave everything to me. I own that planet now. Cuz if you can walk on it, you probably own it. That's why Jesus, when he comes for the church, catches us up to heaven first.

And we go and look at the books and we pronounce, yes, you're king of kings, Lord of Lords. Like there was ever any doubt. Anyway, and only then does he come back and his foot touches the ground in Zechariah chapter 14, because now is the son of man. He owns this place fully and outright. Amen. God says, go for a walk, Abraham.

I am so sure about the victory at the cross. I am so sure about the plan of salvation. I am so sure about the outcome of the judgment. It is in favor of my son. You can go for a walk now and lay claim to the property. That's why I believers believe what they do. We walk by faith, not by sight. Amen. Walking is an act of faith.

You might own nothing in this world, but with every step you take outside today, you are walking on territory that belongs to the son of man. It's his. That means, and he's gonna share it with us. It means it's mine too. I own nothing in this world, but with every step I take, I'm walking on ground that I will live on for all eternity one day because it belongs to Christ.

You know what that means? When the wall dancings are running into the caves, I've gone and seen the caves they hit in was they're running through the woods for their lives with every step they're running on ground, that they will revisit when it belongs to Christ. John Hus tied to his stake, flames licking at his feet.

He's not just standing on a pile of wood. He's standing on a planet that belongs to Jesus, and he knows that he's going to be back. William Carey gets off a ship in India, and he goes into a life of unbearable hardship, but with every step he takes on the shore, he's walking on territory, claiming it back for Jesus.

Shadrach, Meha and Abednego. Pacing around, pacing around in the oven. And with every step they know it belongs to Christ. In fact, he shows up at that moment. Jesus walking the Via LaRosa, struggling to carry his cross with every footstep. He knows it's his. The world is his and the devil will be gone and we will spend eternity with him here.

That's all we've got. Go for a walk. It belongs to you through Jesus. Why is the story of John the Baptist there?

Little Ina was handed to the Ericksons at the mission station, David Flood, and he's broken, what am I gonna do with a newborn? Baby? Packs up and he goes home and the Ericksons take care of that baby for a little while, but then they succumb to malaria and they both die. So now what are we gonna do with ina.

Another couple, an American couple was there and they adopted her, and they moved her back here to the United States. They renamed her, they called her Aggie. Pretty cute little Aggie. Instead of growing up in the Belgian Congo, was raised in South Dakota, not too far from here. Went to Bible college in Minneapolis.

Still not too far from here. Met her husband, Dewey going to college. I mean, isn't that why we go to college anyway? We're gonna find somebody to, so they always, I don't know if they say the same thing about Union. I had one daughter that sh went to Southern, and I'd always called it Southern Matrimonial College.

Sure enough, I got, I married her off the day she graduated,

they moved to Seattle, Dewey became the president of a Christian college, a bible college. They had a nice life. Went on really smoothly. Year after year after year, quarter century. A quarter century goes by and one day Aggie's checking the mailbox and there's something weird in there. There's a magazine now.

I didn't order any magazine. What in the world is this? Said, she opens it up. It's not even English, it's Swedish. A Swedish magazine in my mailbox that seems a little bit strange. She almost threw it out, but something said, read the thing. I can't read Swedish. What's the point of reading this thing? So she went inside the house and she's flipping through the magazine and again, almost threw it out when she turned one more page.

And there's this old black and white photo of a little humble wooden cross with a name written on. It says VEA Flood. I don't know how she knew it. But she knew it was important, so she jumped in her car, went down to the college because they had some faculty there that could read Swedish. One man in particular could read the Swedish language, and she was breathless.

She said, tell me, what does this article say? And, and he started to read it and he hemmed and hawed a little bit, and she said, no, no, come on, tell me what it says. Well, it's, it's, it's this story about a couple of missionaries a long time ago who went to the Belgian Congo and. And it was kind of sad. They, they didn't have much in the way of results and they got malaria and the mom died and there was a baby born out there.

She said, does it say anything else? Come on, man. What does it say? She says, well, it seems there was this one little boy who used to deliver eggs and chickens to this family, and every time he showed up, the mom would lean down and just say a few words about how much Jesus loved him. Just a few words. And that little boy grew up and he got the privilege of going away to school, and he became a Christian.

When he was away, he accepted Christ and then he moved back to his little village and he convinced the chief to let him build a school so all the kids could go to school. And when those kids went to school, he told them about Jesus and they all accepted Christ and they all went back home to their homes and told their parents about Jesus.

And all the, the parents accepted Christ too. It says. And even just before he died, that miserable, stubborn old chief gave his heart to Christ. And today, their 600 Christians, there was a church with 600 members in that little village. Imagine that. Instinctively Aggie knew that. I don't know how she knew it.

Those missionaries were my parents, so she knew what she had to do. Had to find out if her dad was still alive. Her friends at the college got together and they pooled their money. There wasn't enough for two tickets, but there was enough for one for her. 25th wedding anniversary, she got a ticket to go to Sweden.

And when she got there, she discovered she had a bunch of half brothers and sisters because dad had gotten remarried and what a reunion that was. Imagine all those siblings you didn't know you had. It's happening a lot now with

and eventually she asked them, is. As a matter of fact, I don't even know if I, I don't wanna throw my, my, I bought my wife for her 50th birthday. She just found a sister we didn't know existed. She's amazing. Is dad still alive? Yeah. They seemed hesitant. I'd like to see him. Why? Well, he's my dad, number one and number two.

I want to tell him what God did after he left the mission field. Whatever you do, don't you mention God to dad. He hates God. Don't you do that? She said, I don't care. I need to find him. Went over to his squalid little apartment. There were some stairs, I believe that went upstairs to it, and she got upstairs and the door was hanging open, which was weird, and it was dark inside.

She pushed it open a little bit further and the smell coming outta that place. Wow. And as her eyes adjusted to the gloom, she saw liquor bottles all over the floor and her dad, a rumpled thin frame of a man on a dirty bed with his back to the door as she called out. Papa. Papa, it's me. I don't know how he knew, but he rolled over and he began to cry aina.

He said, I'm so sorry I, it's been bothering me all this time. I didn't know what to do and I gave you away. And I, she said, it's okay. Papa sat on that filthy bed and held him, so, Kay dad, God took care of me. She, she felt him stiffen up in her arms. Don't you ever mention God to me again. I gave him everything I had and then some, and he took more than I was willing to give.

I lost everything. Don't talk to me about God, but you don't understand. Dad, it, it, it worked. There's a church of 600 in that village. They all came to Christ because you were faithful. Weeks before he died, through the little baby he left behind in Africa, he came back to Christ.

A few years later, Aggie went to a big conference, missions conference in England and there was a speech there, speech being made by the superintendent of the National Church of Zaire, and Zaire used to be, The Belgian Congo and she said, well, that'll, he'll find it interesting. I want to tell him that I have a tie to the Belgian Congo.

So she waited till the whole thing was over and was waiting out in the hall. And there came the speaker, the superintendent of the national church, and he comes down the hallway and she stops him. She says, listen, I know this isn't gonna mean anything to you, but I had missionary parents who went to the Belgian Congo a long time ago.

Their names were David and Vea Flood. He said, David and Vea Flood. When I was a little boy, I used to bring them chickens and eggs.

They led me to Christ,

bill and Steve. They left town broken church, told them, I told you it wasn't gonna work. What were you thinking? But it bothered Bill so much. He thought those people were so interested. Every day he wrote a letter to the conference president and he said, it just can't stop now. There's so many people, please, would you please, I don't know, send a Bible worker or a lay pastor or somebody there to just keep going.

Meanwhile, in a logging camp, hundreds of miles away, a man wakes up. He's had the same dream for the third time. In the dream, it's light outside his window and people yelling, it's Jesus coming, and we weren't ready and, and then a voice said to him. How much longer are you gonna resist the call I've put on your life?

When are you gonna go tell people about Christ? Okay. He'd had the dream too many times at that point, so he wrote a letter to the conference president. I don't know what I'm supposed to do, but I think the Lord's telling me to be a a Bible worker or a lay pastor somewhere, and sent the letter off. Both letters, arrived on the conference, president's desk the same week.

We need a lay pastor or a Bible worker, and I wanna be a lay pastor or marriage made in heaven. We'll send this guy there. He had a 10 year old boy when he got there, who became my best friend. In my very first contact with the Seventh Day Adventist church,

bill and Steve found me at a camp meeting. They said, we think you're connected to this somehow. I said, oh, I am. Yes, and they started to cry. We thought it failed. I said, how long ago was that? Like 15, 20 years? I said, yeah. I said, so far you've baptized just about a hundred thousand. Amen. Just about a hundred thousand.

Where are you with the promises of God? You feel like God let you down? Don't quit too soon. Amen. Don't quit too soon. Hang in there Abraham. Wake up. Somebody's breaking into our tent. Abraham opens his eyes, draws the first breath. He's drawn in 4,000 years.

No. Sarah? No. No. You don't understand. It's not a tent. What do you mean it's not a tent? It's a cave. You died. I had to bury you in a cave. I bought this and apparently they stuck me in here too. We're not in a tent, we're in a cave. It's like, really? Well, who's breaking in? I don't know. Let's look. It's not a thief.

It's not a thief at all. It's an angel. And the angel's smiling. Come on, time to go. Let's go. And Abraham gets there up to the courts of heaven. And you know, they got a library in heaven. They have to. Because if I'm gonna be happy there, they have to have a librarian.

So Abraham goes to Heaven's Library, cuz think about it. He's got 65, half of 65 and a half books of the Bible. He's never read everything after the middle of Genesis is a surprise to him. He hasn't read any of it. So he's in the library catching up. He's in the book of Daniel and the he's. Wouldn't, you know that until 2,300 days?

It's like, no, zero year, 1844. It's like, haha. Of course. And as he's charting things out on the table of Heaven's library bumps into somebody by accident. Oh, I'm so sorry. I was so engrossed in what I was reading. I I I didn't see you there. Oh, it's okay. It's fascinating, isn't it? That's fascinating. I, I can't believe the stuff that happened, you know, it's like, by the way, I'm Abraham.

Oh, I know. What do you mean? You know,

everybody knows you Abraham. Well, who are you? I'm, I'm John the Baptist. I'm trying to find out what happened after they cut off my head

and they laugh because at that moment the pain goes away. It's over then. Abraham feels a hand on his shoulder and he doesn't have to look. He knows who it is. Abraham, it's good to see you. It's good to see you too. Lord, it's been a long time. All it's been longer for me, said Jesus, you slept and I waited.

Welcome home. This is so fascinating, Lord. I know it's fascinating, but I need you to drop everything for a moment and come with me where just, just come with me and they step out on the grand Terrace of heaven and there's a crowd there so big you can't count it, and they see them and the crowd cheers.

Oh, says Abraham, they sure love you, Lord. Oh, they do love me. But that cheers not for me. It's for you. Because when I was on Earth, I made a little promise that. They could come from the east and the west and sit down and have dinner with you, and today's the day.

There's an important thing here.

Sometimes we think God hasn't rewarded us for our faith, but if you think about it, nobody gets their paycheck. Until Jesus does.