10/9/19 – Pastor Brian’s Blog –
Did you ever had a superhero growing up? I did…
On Monday I was sitting in a castle in Tóalmás, Hungary trying to prepare my heart and mind to teach 10 class hours on the book of Nehemiah, plus be prepared for anything else I might be asked to do. It was not unlike many of the other Monday’s when I have been in Hungary, with one exception… my “helper” Judy is not with me. This is only the 2nd time in our 46 years of marriage that I have gone on a missions’ trip without Judy. The only other time was when we went in two different directions, Judy went to Guatemala with my sister Susan, and I went to Mexico with some men from my church.
So, without my helper and encourager, I felt like anything but a superhero! Not only will the students miss out because Judy is not with me, but I will too! Then God reminded me that He doesn’t use superheroes to get His work done. Remember Peter? He was not trained to be a superhero, but a fisherman! David was a teenage shepherd; Jonah ran away when God wanted to use him. Thomas refused to believe until he saw Jesus with his own eyes. And Nehemiah, the man I am teaching about this week, the man that God wrote a whole book of the Bible about, had no superpowers: he was a cup bearer (the guy that ate the Kings food before the king did to make sure it was not poisoned)!
A name that many may not recognize is Edward Kimball. If you saw Kimball in a crowd there was nothing in particular that would attract you to him. He did not have an outgoing personality, he was not the life of the party, he wasn’t the guy with all the jokes, nor was there anything about him that would indicate that he had any “superpowers” at all. Edward Kimball, in almost every way was just a simple, everyday person.
Edward Kimball was a Sunday School teacher in Boston who had a passion for his students. The story is told that one day Edward Kimball decided to visit one of the young men from his Sunday school class where the student worked – in a shoe store. He wanted to talk with this young student about what Christ had done for him and about his need to receive God’s free gift of salvation. But as he approached the store, he got cold feet and almost chickened out. Mustering up just enough courage, he went into the shoe store, explained the gospel message to his young Sunday school student, and then promptly walked out of the store. This young student was so impressed by Edward Kimball’s courage, conviction, and care that he gave his life to Christ right then and there. The young student’s name was… D.L. Moody.
I probably do not have to tell you that Dwight L. Moody eventually left the shoe store to become one of the greatest preachers and evangelists of all time. But did you know that Moody never went beyond the equivalent of a fifth-grade education? Yet with his 5th grade education, Moody founded three schools of higher education; the Northfield School for Girls founded in 1879, the Mount Hermon School for Boys founded in 1881, and the more famous Moody Bible Institute in Chicago founded in 1886. I have been to visit all 3 schools as well as the world-famous Moody Church in Chicago.
But the story of Edward Kimball does not end with the conversion of Moody, it is only the beginning! As an “average” Sunday School teacher, Edward Kimball lead Dwight L. Moody to Christ. Then, the well known evangelist J. Wilbur Chapman was converted at a Dwight L. Moody evangelistic meeting. Later, the former major league baseball player and soon to be a powerful and fiery preacher Billy Sunday was converted at a J. Wilbur Chapman meeting. Soon, Mordecai Ham was converted at a Billy Sunday meeting, and Ham saw 300,000+ people come to Christ through his evangelistic outreach; and the most famous of Ham’s converts was a 16-year-old boy by the name of Billy Graham. Billy Graham who has communicated the gospel to more people than any other person in history.
From Moody to Graham, it all started with a faithful Sunday School teacher. There is no way that Edward Kimball could have ever imagined how his one decision would impact the world for Christ! Could something like this happen today? Of course, it can! That is why I am here in Hungary speaking to students from 18 different countries.
I have no superpowers, I don’t even have my God-given helper, but I do know that God wants to change the world. That is why Judy and I do what we do, to have a small part in God’s plan to change the world. You can too, unless of course you have superpowers and then you need not apply.