Sunday, April 25, 2010

Bus-timonies, Part I

Every weekday morning I go to work. Every weekday morning I take the bus. Every morning I pray to be used by God to be encouraging. And some special mornings, he uses me or blesses me. Usually both. Here are the chronicles of the people on the bus.

These segment will be interspersed with my other posts as a way to recount the amazing things God has done on the 675 to and downtown Minneapolis.

It's a Friday afternoon and I'm on the bus home. Patty, the receptionist at MSP, counts down the days of the week. She says on Monday, "Five more days to go."

And I respond, "To what?"

"To the weekend, Joy."

Lately, serving the Lord has made me feel like everyday is the best day of my life. Each opportunity is a ministry opportunity. Each person I meet is yet another soul that longs to be loved, longs to be truly alive, longs to know what I already know but am working out.

So I say to Patty, "But today is still young, and its a beautiful day."

I get in the elevator make my way down the 3 floors to 2 and exit. I walk with a bounce in my step toward the bus stop in Nicollet. After waiting in the chilly air for a few minutes the 675 pulls up. I get on the bus and typically file to the back, not to near the door because the winter air seeps through the cracks and causes me to shiver for the 20 minute ride. This day, however, I sit up front.

I pull out my book, "Man: The Dwelling Place of God." It's a really heavy title, but it's a really great book compiled of articles by AW Tozer. He's not famous to many people, except in Christian circles.

I read the book with the cover facing my legs. A title that proclaims such things can be intrusive to some, and at this point on a Friday, I don't know if anyone wants to mess with this. I on the other hand, revel in the pages that follow. I end the chapter shy of the inner city limits. The bus makes a final stop and a few people board.

I sense that one will sit with me. A 30-something man with blue eyes and balding blond hair. He looks tired, but seems happy. He sits down decidedly on the seat next to me. I hold my book facing up for a while and notice he is eying it. I either start another chapter or I ask for God to lead me in a conversation. I flip it over nervously. It's not that I don't want him to know that I'm reading a book about God, it's that I don't know how to feel.

Its like last week when I was listening to worship music on my computer. Not KTIS worship music. It was more like the deep saturated with glory, fill your spirit with joy and your eyes with tears, "let me feel you, Lord, in my presence," kind of worship music. Not the, "Kumbaya, let's be friends and have some peace," but the, "Jesus is the only way. I'm serving him with everything. And Satan is under my feet," kind of worship. And deep in a set, what happens? My headphones are ripped out of the jack. The whole area is filled with glory, and my face is filled with red. Not that I'm an undercover Christian or anything. It's just a bit intense for MSP. I shut it off to my co-worker's confused look on his face. As if I'm doing a seance or something. He probably thinks I'm nuts, but I really don't care.

Anyhow, back to the bus. Finally, I feel I need to say something. And out comes, "You made it to Friday, congratulations."

He responds, "Thanks."

I ask him about his plans for the weekend. He talks about his brother-in-law needing some help after his home flooded in Plymouth. I respond that that's a very kind thing to do for family.

Then he turns to me and says, "So I see you're reading Tozer."

I'm shocked. This is really underground reading. I mean, he's a published author, but he isn't a Rick Warren or John Piper. He's old school and I can't get enough of him.

Anyhow, I respond with great stifled excitement, "Yes, yes I am."

He says, "I read 'The Knowledge of the Holy' when I was in discipleship training in Kansas City years ago."

He goes on to tell me about how he was discipled by Mike Bickel's crew years ago before it turned into iHop. He said he really learned a lot about who God is through that book in particular.

I'm thinking, "Praise God for this. I thought it was a regular Friday. Today is anointed."

And we continue to talk about the great work of God throughout the Twin Cities. After a while he says, "I've just picked up a book. Maybe you've heard of it. It's called 'The Cost of Discipleship' by, what's that guy's name..."

Anyone who knows me, knows this has been my pet book for the past few months. It's steeped with knowledge of what discipleship requires. I'm floored.

I finish his searching, "Dietrich Bonhoeffer. It's possibly my favorite book right now." He's impressed that I've even heard of it.

Our interaction ends with me blessing him and his family. I shake his hand. His name is Grant.

Now, months later as I process this, I know it was a divine appointment. I was elated to meet someone seeking the Lord in the West Metro. He seemed like he was trying to get back to that place again, that place where God is really near all the time. A wife and two kids had gotten in the way. Add a mortgage and a few cars and even more added up. But one thing remained, this guy longed for God and was willing to talk to a complete stranger to know more about this Jesus we serve.

Maybe I blessed him. Maybe he blessed me. I don't know. But what I do know is this, God is working whether we acknowledge it or not. I trust that he is working in Grant. I know he is working in me. And he is sweeping over the people of the Twin Cities.

Praise God for the 675.

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