In my last devotion, “With God on the Road to Emmaus”, there were two other points that I wanted to mention but ran out of time. Remember that the risen Christ is walking alongside these two disciples on the road to Emmaus and Jesus begins to quote scripture to them. In Luke 24: 32, these two disciples asked each other: “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
This took me back to April of 1976 when I publicly accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I was sitting in the pew with my mother at Harmony Baptist Church in Banks County and my heart had been “burning” for several weeks as the Holy Spirit was convicting me of my need to accept Christ as my Savior. I had decided that this would be the Sunday that I would go up at the end of the service and make my public profession of faith in Christ. I had not discussed with my mother what was happening inside me and she was very surprised when I got up and made my way up front.I remember her tears of joy afterwards and she told me how proud she was of the decision that I had made to follow Christ.This was a moment with my mom that I will always remember and cherish.
I remember walking up to the pastor as the invitation was given and telling him that I believed in Jesus and that I had accepted him as my Lord and Savior and I wanted to be baptized. What I remember very clearly was the immediate feeling of calm and peace that came over me at that very moment. It was a feeling that I have experienced only two other times since. That burning in my heart now gave way to peace and a certain knowledge that I now belonged to Christ and would spend eternity with Him in heaven.
Last Sunday as I preached a sermon on, The Road to Emmaus, I also received an unexpected surprise later that afternoon. During the sermon, I was trying to get across the point that as believers, we need to remind each other of the good news of Christ’s resurrection again, and again, and again. Each time that I said, “again, and again, and again,” I looked to the three different sections of the church as if I was speaking directly to them. I recall looking at my family and my youngest daughter had her head down and it did not appear that she was looking at me or listening to me.
Later that afternoon as I got home and was putting away my Bible, I noticed a bulletin insert that was sticking out of my Bible. I took it out and saw that my youngest daughter had been drawing and writing on the insert. She had drawn a pulpit and a stick figure of a person standing behind the pulpit. Above the person was an arrow pointing to the person standing behind the pulpit and the following words were printed above the arrow: “Daddy preaching. Again and again and again.” She had been listening after all!
This drawing is something that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I am so thankful that my mother made it a priority that we were in church almost every Sunday. And I also take very seriously the responsibility to make sure that my children are in church, almost every Sunday as well.
Church is where we connect with our fellow believers in Christ. Church is where we comfort each other when we lose a spouse, a child, a parent, or a close friend. Church is where we grow and learn to work with each other in order to carry out God’s will for our lives. Church is where we remind each other, again and again and again, that Christ is risen and that we are saved and assured of eternal life because of what Christ did for each one of us on the cross.