Regardless of what had happened at school that day, nothing would match the weight of Anthony’s experience walking home that afternoon. After class was dismissed, Anthony, a middle school student, headed home through Rosemont Park, and there, according to God’s good will, he crossed paths with two evangelists from nearby Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Anthony listened as the two Southwestern students shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the hope of eternal life that this resurrected Savior provides. Convicted of his sin, alerted to his need for salvation, and sensing the call of the Holy Spirit upon his heart, Anthony responded by repenting of his sin, professing faith in Jesus Christ, and surrendering to Him as Lord.
Up to that point, Anthony probably thought it was a normal day, but following that encounter, he knew better—it was actually the day of his spiritual rebirth.
Though this event took place just over two years ago, it nevertheless typifies the kinds of stories that the Southwestern news writing team has been sharing since 2015. Specifically, we call these “Everyday Evangelism” stories, as they relate the efforts of Southwestern Seminary students, faculty, staff, and alumni to share the Gospel with the lost, and oftentimes in these stories, said efforts have resulted in the eternal salvation of lost souls. This article that you are reading now is the 200th Everyday Evangelism story.
While it may seem random to relate Anthony’s story more than two years after it occurred, I chose to do so for two reasons. First, as stated, it truly is “typical” of the evangelism stories that we often hear at Southwestern Seminary, and its conciseness of detail makes it an ideal illustration for this article. Second, we did not report on this event when it occurred, so for two years, this story has gone untold. Now, it has finally been shared as our 200th story.
I do not call attention to this 200-story milestone in order to give myself and my fellow news writers a pat on the back for how many articles we’ve written; I call attention to it because I sincerely rejoice in the fact that God has granted us the privilege of relating 200 testimonies of individuals hearing the Gospel, with many of them responding through repentance and faith, trading an eternity in hell for an eternity in heaven with the Savior who loved them enough to die in their place. Indeed, all 200 of these stories affirm this fundamental truth: our God is a God who saves.
Yes, our gracious and loving God is a God who goes to great lengths to see that individuals like Anthony have the opportunity to hear the Gospel so that, through hearing, He might save their souls. Don’t believe me? Allow me to direct you to 200 individual stories that confirm this very thing.
I believe this “Everyday Evangelism” series traces its roots to Scripture itself, for there are numerous passages in the Bible that relate the testimonies of individuals who turn from lives of sin in order to worship the one true God.
Consider Joshua 2, wherein Rahab the prostitute declares her fear of the Lord and, by faith, protects the Israelite spies and is later delivered from destruction as a result (see also Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25). Or how about when Ruth clings to her mother-in-law, Naomi, affirming her faith in the God of Israel and later becoming the great-grandmother of King David (Ruth 1:16-17; 4:13-17). Even the wicked king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, after suffering the divine consequences of his boastful pride, looks up to heaven, praises the Most High, and honors and glorifies “Him who lives forever” (Daniel 4:34).
And that’s just a sampling of what’s in the Old Testament. In the New, we see people like the man born blind not only receive sight, but believe in and worship Jesus as Lord (John 9:38). Lydia’s heart is opened by God to respond to the Gospel, and she and her whole household believe and are baptized (Acts 16:14-15). Later in that same chapter of Acts, the Philippian jailer returns from the brink of suicide, believes in the Lord Jesus, and is saved—he and his whole household (vv. 25-34).
All of these people—and numerous others who could also be named—have their lives permanently changed because they encounter the Lord in some way. And in preserving these stories in Scripture, I trust that the Lord intends for us to read them and rejoice in them because of how they point us to His saving grace.
Indeed, Acts 21 relates that when Paul arrived in Jerusalem after his missionary journeys, he “reported in detail” to the local church leaders “what God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry,” and when these leaders heard it, “they glorified God” (vv. 19-20). Paul was used by God to accomplish great things for the Kingdom, he reported these things to fellow believers, and, together, they rejoiced in what God had done. In short, he went, he shared, they rejoiced.
So it is with these 200 Everyday Evangelism stories. While I obviously do not place these stories at the same level as the biblical accounts, I nevertheless do maintain that they follow the precedent set by Scripture—namely, that when God has used His people (in this case, Southwesterners) to accomplish great things for the Kingdom, they (through the Southwestern news writing team) have reported these things to fellow believers (that is, you), and, together, we can all rejoice in what God has done. In short, Southwesterners go, they share, and now we all can rejoice together.
So, brothers and sisters in Christ, I invite you to reflect with me on these 200 stories of God reaching and saving souls, and to rejoice with me in His marvelous works. Join with me in praising Him for His grace, His mercy, His compassion, His faithfulness, His longsuffering, and His lovingkindness. For our God is a God who saves, and as these stories reveal, from biblical times to modern day, He just keeps on saving. Praise the Lord!