Senator Bill Armstrong
A couple of years ago we got an invitation in the mail to the Anchorage Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast. I have no idea how we got on the mailing list, but it sounded interesting and it’s the kind of thing we rarely do, so we bought tickets. We didn’t have any idea what to expect. I admit that I grumbled on the way down. I wished I was sleeping late or reading the paper instead of wandering around in the cold looking for a parking place. I’m a lot more comfortable out in the wilderness than at social events.
We were pleasantly surprised. Besides seeing a lot of people we knew, we had a good breakfast and listened to an inspirational speaker, Cal Thomas. He’s a syndicated columnist whose opinions are published twice a week all over the country. Since hearing his personal testimony two years ago, I read his columns with special interest.
I’ve always been impressed at how many successful, intelligent, and talented people are Christians. Many people with intellects far sharper than mine have investigated the Bible carefully and concluded it is true, even when they didn’t want it to be true, in some cases.
This year we again received an invitation to the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast. We enjoyed it so much the first time that we went again. This time, the speaker was Bill Armstrong, a former senator from Colorado. By the age of 21, he owned a radio station. Not many years later, he owned several radio and TV stations. Before his 30th birthday he was elected to the Colorado legislature. He went on to become a U.S. Representative and then U.S. Senator. He had every success the world offered, including a wonderful wife and family. He’s obviously a successful, intelligent, and talented person.
He told us that one day a man from Alabama showed up at his office and asked about his relationship to Jesus Christ. For some reason, he didn’t send the man away, even though he had a great excuse when he was called to the floor of the Senate to vote. After the vote, he had coffee with the man, who shared a little tract with him that said the following:
- God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.
- You can’t have a right relationship with God because of something inside of you. That something is sin.
- There is nothing you can do by your own effort that will change the situation.
- The only way to get a right relationship with God is to let Jesus Christ take care of the problem of sin in your life.
Then the man asked, "Is there any reason you can’t ask Jesus right now to come into your heart?" And Bill Armstrong, U.S. Senator, said, "No, I don’t think there is." They prayed together and the man left, never to be seen again.
It sounded too simple, but here was Bill Armstrong, years and years later, speaking at the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast in Anchorage about how his life was totally transformed by Jesus after this event. He now uses his considerable money, intelligence and talent in the service of God.
Jesus’ last words to his disciples are in Matthew 28:19 and 20:
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
This is the "Great Commission", the charge to go out and share the gospel with others. It amazed me that someone as powerful and important as a U.S. Senator would respond to such a simple approach from a complete stranger, but the point is that it wasn’t the man from Alabama who did the work. It was the Holy Spirit. Our job is not to save souls. Our job is to hold up Jesus. He will draw people to himself. It says in John 12:32:
But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.
I pray that I will have the courage to humbly and clearly share Christ with others. It can be as simple as it was in the case of Bill Armstrong.
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