The Great Exchange

For he (God) hath made him (Jesus) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

II Corinthians 5:21

My wife received a call one Saturday morning from a friend who shares the same birthday as me. She had been talking with a neighbor friend and wanted to invite him to church and asked if we would be available to meet and sit with him. Rebekah agreed to do so, not remembering we would be out of town the next day and unable to sit with him. She asked our pastor friend if he would meet him, and he was more than happy to oblige. I heard he attended the church service and that he even agreed to meet up for lunch the following week. I was excited to meet him as I heard he was interested in attending our Friday night class, Freedom That Lasts. We planned to meet up for some local fare by my work, and I was curios and eager to hear his story. He was not able to meet the first week, so we made plans for the following week.

Our lunch consisted of me, him, and our Outreach Pastor. We were making small talk when our pastor laid on him the Question of all questions, “Where would you go if you were die today?” The man paused and thought about it for a second and responded, “I don’t know.” I knew at that moment he was lost and that this was the perfect time for the pastor to step in and give him the gospel. I could tell the man wanted to know how to get to heaven, and what perfect timing with our pastor right there to scoop up the fish that swam up to the boat. The pastor’s next words surprised me when he asked if the man if he would be interested in a Bible study led by ME! What was I to say at that point? I felt like I was “voluntold” at that moment, but I was excited for the opportunity. I made plans to meet with the man again and we put the date out for a couple of weeks due to some scheduling conflicts.

We met up for dinner and we began our lesson in The Exchange Bible study starting with the first chapter that God is holy, and he did the homework and really had no questions and seemed to understand this concept. We agreed to meet up the next week and that next chapter was a bit tough as it dealt with the just nature of God. We met up at one of my favorite wing spots and after some small talk, we got into the second chapter of the book. We started discussing the concept when he informed me he could answer the question Pastor George asked when we first met. I said, “okay, how would you answer the question?” He looked at me with a stern face and said, “I would go to hell.” What ran through my mind was “WOW!” and “let’s get into the salvation plan and change your answer to the question.” But before I could really say anything, he got up to go to the bathroom and I immediately asked God for wisdom. I felt that God was leading me to not rush things and take it slow.

He returned shortly, and thanked me for not pushing him to a decision as he wanted to make sure he was doing the right thing. I paused and silently thanked God for the wisdom He gave me, and we talked for a bit more before exiting the restaurant. We made plans to meet the following week but we discussed it a little more Friday night at Freedom That Lasts. He asked some questions of a new believer who had joined our group for the night. I knew he was really thinking this over and that he was close to making the biggest decision of his life. The afternoon before I was to meet him again, I met with our Outreach Pastor and the author of The Exchange study book. I told them about this young man and the author said if someone can get to lesson 2 and still be willing to meet for week 3, then they were pretty much on their way to salvation. I was encouraged by this and excited to meet for Chapter 3, God is Love.

I met with this man again and as we started to eat dinner, he told me that after the past Friday’s Freedom That Lasts, he began to think about chapter 2 and what we discussed in group. He said he could answer the question Pastor George had asked him a month earlier. I said okay, “Where would you go if you were to die tonight?” He answered me, “I would go to heaven.” When I asked him how he knew that, he answered, “because I believe in the finished work of Jesus Christ.” I was elated to say the least, and I was happy for him as I tried to hide the tears of joy. We discussed Chapter 3 and what it meant to be born again. I still try to meet with this man every week as we continue the journey of sanctification. I am excited to see God work in his life, and I am excited to see how God will use him.

Luke 15:7 states, “ I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.” I cannot think of anything more exciting than to see someone come to Christ, and I rejoice with this man who has now become my friend and brother in Christ. There are fish swimming next to your boat, so will you cast the line and allow God to draw them to Himself? Who can you make an eternal impact on? Who is out there waiting for you to ask about their eternal destination? May God help us and may we remember the verse found in Jude 23, “Save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.”

Stay in the Fight!

2 Comments

  1. Francisco Moreno on 06/14/2024 at 10:53 am

    Amen and to God be the Glory!

    • Rosendo Mendez on 06/14/2024 at 6:53 pm

      Amen and amen!

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