Is there hope?

Joe (his name has been changed) has been part of our community for the last three-and-a-half years.  He comes almost every Sunday, probably four out five.  He has brought more guests than anyone else has, too.  He also has a perfect record of showing up drunk.  Vodka is his poison of choice.

We have had lots of conversations and as far as I can tell he believes he is the way he is because it is God’s will.  He usually asks me for prayer and a cross necklace.  He believes that as long as he has a cross on he will be saved.  As of late I’ve been a little discouraged by Joe’s lack of growth.  I recall the words of William Willimon who said to a young pastor, “Find yourself a group of drunks and minister to them; they will remind you that no amount of self-help psychology will get them out of the darkness they’re in – they need Jesus Christ and real conversion.”

Well, last Sunday was different.  Someone took a picture of Joe and he asked why.  I told him that we were going to take pictures all throughout the year so we can have a year-end slide show.  Then I told him that my hope for him was that he would look back at the end of the year and ask, “Who is that guy?”  I think something happened.

About 15 minutes later he came over to me with tears in his eyes (something I haven’t seen before) and asked in a shaky voice, “So what do I need to do?”  I lovingly told him that drunkards don’t enter the kingdom of heaven and that Jesus wanted him to enter.  He agreed to talk with Jesus this week and ask, “What do want to take from my life?”  I agreed to pray for him.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if Joe were a new creation at the end of 2010?


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