The date was August 16, 2013. The location was the Starbucks in Hayward, California off of Industrial Parkway.
theMOVEMENT Church was a month away from starting weekly Sunday services, but we had already held two "Preview Services" - one in June and one in July.
One of our first-time guests at our July service was a non-Christian, young professional who requested to meet with me.
Our conversation that day covered topics like football (He is a HUGE Seattle Seahawks fan), dinosaurs (He wanted to know the real deal behind them), Adam and Eve (Are they how this whole thing really got started?), and various other questions around Jesus and faith.
After sharing the gospel (the good news that Jesus saves sinners) with him, I asked him, "Do you believe this?" To which he responded:
At this point in the conversation, I had a critical decision to make. Would I "twist his arm" by asking him, "What if you get hit by a car, when you leave here tonight, and die? Do you know where you would spend eternity?"
Or, would I trust in the Holy Spirit of God to reveal Himself to this young man when the time was right.
By God's grace, I chose the latter.
Though he was not ready to put his faith in Christ, we continued our conversation at the Starbucks. I continued to answer his questions (the best I could) and explain the benefits of Christ's life, death, and resurrection on our behalf.
Then, less than an hour after letting me know that he wanted to text me his decision, he looked at me, with tears in his eyes, and emphatically said:
I was stunned, but it wasn't because he wanted to become a Christian. It was because though I had let go of trying to convince him to become a Christian, he was still desiring to place his faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of his sins!
We ended that night with much more conversation, a delicious burrito dinner, and the beginning of a friendship that lasts till this day. But, it is the lesson that God taught me that evening that I am most thankful for:
God saves. Well articulated sermons don't save. Engaging Sunday services don't save. Altar calls don't save. Manipulation and coercion doesn't save. Strong friendship doesn't save. God alone, through the power of the Holy Spirit, is the only One who can cause a hard heart to be softened towards Him. Our job is to BELIEVE He is powerful enough to do it!
"The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God." 1 Corinthians 1:18
"Every element of our own self-reliance must be put to death by the power of God." Oswald Chambers