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The Gift for All People

(Hardback - Dec 2004)
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Overview

The Gift for All People is a celebration of God's gift of salvation wrapped in a collection of inspirational stories. These stories will help Christians comprehend and treasure the assurance of their salvation and will help non-Christians realize and embrace the gift of abundant, eternal life in Jesus Christ. The concluding story, written especially for this book, urges readers to give their lives to Jesus Christ and shows them how to do so. This book will provide Christians with a unique, warm, and attractive presentation of the gospel to give to non-Christian family or friends.
More than anything, God wants you to be with Him. The God who designed your world, the God who placed you on the planet, simply wants you home with Him. And to bring you home, He offers you a gift.the gift of eternal salvation.
My prayer is that through the pages of this book you'll see his gift like you've never seen it.
If you've already accepted it, you'll thank Him again. And if you've never accepted it, I pray that you will. For it's the gift of a lifetime. A gift for all people.

Details

  • SKU: 9781590524398
  • SKU10: 159052439X
  • Title: The Gift for All People
  • Qty Remaining Online: 41
  • Publisher: Multnomah Books
  • Date Published: Dec 2004
  • Pages: 142
  • Weight lbs: 0.48
  • Dimensions: 7.45" L x 5.24" W x 0.62" H
  • Features: Table of Contents, Price on Product, Dust Cover, Bibliography
  • Themes: Theometrics | Evangelical; Theometrics | Mainline; Theometrics | Catholic;
  • Category: CHRISTIAN LIVING
  • Subject: Christian Life - General
NOTE: Related content on this page may not be applicable to all formats of this product.

Chapter Excerpt


Prologue

Bright future" said it all. Single, good looking, recent college grad. His family loved him, girls noticed him, career opportunities invited him.

And yet, while Eric appeared confident without, he was tormented within. Tormented by inner voices he could not quiet. Tortured by mental images he could not avoid and by thoughts he could not understand. So, desperate to escape the torment, Eric decided to escape from life. On a gray, rainy February day, Eric walked out the back door of his home. He never returned.

When Eric walked away, someone was watching. His sister Debbie saw her brother leave, his tall frame ambling down the street. She assumed he would return. He didn't. She hoped he would call. He didn't. She thought she could find him. She couldn't. Hours became years. Years of wandering and wondering. As Eric wandered, Debbie wondered. Where could he be? What could have happened? Is he all right? Is he alive?

Where Eric journeyed, only God and Eric know. But we know that he ended up thousands of miles from his home. And somewhere along his path, somehow, Eric began to believe he had been given an assignment. Someone noticed Eric going through a dumpster, looking for food. And that someone suggested Eric sweep up in exchange for the garbage. Eric interpreted this comment as an assignment: He believed he had been given a permanent commission to clean up a roadside in San Antonio, Texas.

To the local residents, Eric's lanky form and bearded face became a familiar feature as he walked up and down his "assigned" section of Interstate 10, gathering trash. Through the years many tried to assist him, but Eric resisted. He was content to survive on what he collected. He created a home out of a hole in a vacant lot. He designed a wardrobe out of split trousers and a torn sweatshirt. Summer sun was deflected by an old hat, winter chill softened by a plastic bag covering his shoulders.

His weathered skin and stooped shoulders made him look twice his forty-four years. But then, sixteen years living on the side of the road would do that to you.

It had been sixteen years since Debbie had seen her brother. And she might never have seen him again, had it not been for two events. The first was the construction of a car lot on top of Eric's hovel. The second was a pain in Eric's abdomen. The car lot took Eric's shelter. The pain took Eric's health.

When EMS found Eric curled in a ball on the roadside, he was already dying of cancer. Another few months and Eric would be gone. And with no known family or relatives, he would die as he'd lived-alone.

Eric's court-appointed temporary guardian couldn't handle this thought. Surely someone is looking for this man, reasoned the attorney. So the attorney searched the Internet for anyone missing a brown-haired adult male with Eric's last name.

A reply came from a New Hampshire woman. Could this homeless man in Texas be the brother she'd been seeking for so long? The description seemed to match, but she had to know for sure. So Debbie, her husband, and two children headed for Texas.

By the time Debbie arrived, Eric had been released from the hospital. Debbie found him near his old home, resting against the side of a building. One look was all it took to convince her-the search was over. She saw beyond the sun-dried skin, beneath the unkempt hair and beard. She saw her brother.

Eric, however, didn't recognize his sister. The years had ravaged his mind. Debbie longed to embrace this long-lost sibling, but her instincts told her she must await his cue.

And then something small led the way. Eric noticed an angel pin Debbie was wearing. He was intrigued by it. When Debbie offered the pin to Eric, he said yes. He even allowed her to pin the angel on his shirt. And with that one gesture, she, at long last, touched her brother.

Debbie came to Texas planning to spend a week. But a week passed and she couldn't leave. She rented an apartment, began homeschooling her children and reaching out to her brother. It wasn't easy. He didn't always recognize her. He wouldn't call her by name. One day he cursed her. He refused to sleep in her apartment. He didn't want her food. He didn't want to talk. He just wanted his vacant lot. He wanted his "job."

But Debbie didn't give up on Eric. Weeks became months, and still the sister stayed. She understood that he didn't understand. So she stayed. I came to know her as she began to attend our church. After hearing her story, I asked what you would have asked. Why? Why didn't she give up? "Simple," she told me. "He's my brother."

Her pursuit reminds us of another, doesn't it? Another kind heart who left home in search of the confused. Another compassionate soul who couldn't bear the thought of a brother in pain. So, like Debbie, he left home. Like Debbie, he found his sibling.

And when God found us, we acted like Eric. We didn't recognize the one who came to help us. When he told us we were part of his family, we didn't believe him. When he offered a safe place to stay, we didn't follow him. We ignored him. Some even cursed him and told him to leave.

But he didn't leave. He lingered. And still he lingers. He understands that we don't understand. He knows that we are torn by many voices and infected by a cancerous sin. He knows we are near death. But he doesn't want us to die alone.

Like Debbie, he wants to give us something before it's too late. He wants to give us a place in his family. And he wants to hold our hand when we die.

So God follows us. He pursues us along every roadside; he follows us down every highway. He follows us all the days of our lives. "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever" (Psalm 23:6).

What a surprising way to describe God. A God who pursues us.

Dare we envision a mobile, active God who chases us, tracks us, following us with goodness and mercy all the days of our lives? He's not hard to find. He's there in Scripture, looking for Adam and Eve. They're hiding in the bushes, partly to cover their bodies, partly to cover their sin. Does God wait for them to come to him? No, the words ring in the garden. "Where are you?" God asks (Genesis 3:9), beginning his quest to redeem the heart of man. A quest to follow his children until his children follow him.

Moses can tell you about it. After forty years in the desert, he looked over his shoulder and saw a bush blazing. God had followed him into the wilderness.

Jonah can tell you about it. He was a fugitive on a boat when he looked over his shoulder and saw clouds brewing. God had followed him onto the ocean.

The disciples of Jesus knew the feeling of being followed by God. They were rain-soaked and shivering when they looked over their shoulders and saw Jesus walking. God had followed them into the storm.

An unnamed Samaritan woman knew the same feeling. Alone in life and alone at the well, she looked over her shoulder and saw a Messiah speaking. God had followed her through her pain.

The apostle John, banished on Patmos, looked over his shoulder and saw the skies begin to open. God had followed him into his exile.

Lazarus had been dead for three days in a sealed tomb when a voice awakened him. He lifted his head and looked over his shoulder to see Jesus. God had followed him into death.

Peter the Apostle had denied his Lord and gone back to fishing when he heard his name and looked over his shoulder and saw Jesus cooking breakfast. God had followed him in spite of his failure.

Sin, wilderness, ocean, storm, pain, exile, death-our God is the God who follows. Have you sensed him following you? He is the one who came to seek and save the lost. Have you sensed him seeking you?

Have you felt his presence through the kindness of a stranger? Through the majesty of a sunset or the mystery of romance? Through the question of a child or the commitment of a spouse? Through a word well spoken or a touch well timed, have you sensed him?

Like Eric, we have left home. But, like Debbie, God has followed us. Like Eric, we are quick to turn away. But, like Debbie, God is slow to anger and determined to stay. We don't accept God's gifts. Yet God still gives them.

God gives us himself. Even when we choose our hovel over his house and our trash over his grace, still he follows. Never forcing us. Never leaving us. Patiently persistent. Faithfully present. He uses all his power to convince us that he is who he is and he can be trusted to lead us home.

By the way, Debbie's faithful persistence moved Eric's heart. Before his life ended, he acknowledged her as his sister. In doing so, he found his way home.

And that's what God wants for you. He simply wants you home with him. And to bring you home, he offers you a gift.

My prayer is that through these pages you'll see his gift like you've never seen it.

If you've already accepted it, you'll thank him again.

And if you've never accepted it, you will. For it's the gift of a lifetime, a gift for all people.

The Gift of a Savior

The Word became a human and lived among us The Word was in the world and the world was made by him, but the world did not know him But to all who did accept him and believe in him he gave the right to become children of God Because he was full of grace and truth, from him we all received one gift after another. JOHN 1:14, 10, 12, 16

IT WAS ABOUT TO BEGIN-GOD'S PLAN FOR HUMANITY, CRAFTED IN THE HALLS OF HEAVEN AND CARRIED OUT ON THE PLAINS OF EARTH. ONLY HOLINESS COULD HAVE IMAGINED IT. ONLY DIVINITY COULD HAVE ENACTED IT. ONLY RIGHTEOUSNESS COULD HAVE ENDURED IT. AND ONCE THE PLAN BEGAN, THERE WOULD BE NO TURNING BACK. THE CREATOR KNEW IT. THE SON KNEW IT. AND SOON, EARTH ITSELF WOULD WITNESS HEAVEN'S MAJESTY ALIGHTING ON THE PLANET.

(Continues.)

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