Shiela Walsh spoke at a conference in CA in 2002, and this is the story she told. I have shortened the entire story because of time and space. Shiela said: “David sat at the bedside of a man whose breath was labored and shallow. The man stirred and opened his eyes. A nurse held a cup of water with a straw to the man’s lips and then he turned his gaze to David, who introduced himself. “My name is David Paswon. I am Chaplain here. Is there anything that I can do for you?” The man stared at him and then laughed with energy he didn’t have to spare. He coughed for a few minutes. “Shall I get the nurse?”, David asked. “No,” the man replied. He looked at David intently. “Do you know who I am?” Now David stared at him and said, “No, I am sorry. I don’t recognize you. Have we met before?” “Hardly!” The man replied. “I am the PRESIDENT OF THE BRITISH ATHEISTS ASSOCIATION.” “Do you want me to leave?” David asked. “No. Stay awhile. I want to tell you WHY I don’t believe in God.” David pulled his chair closer to the bed to make it easier for the man to speak. “I don’t believe in God because of you.” He said bluntly. “I don’t understand.” David responded. “Because of something I have done personally?” “No.” The man replied, “Because of ALL of you. NONE of you believe what you say you believe.” “I still don’t understand.” David said. The man pulled himself up in bed and, with all the energy and passion that was left to him, he looked directly into David’s eyes and said, “IF I believed what you all SAY you believe, I would CRAWL ALL OVER ENGLAND ON BROKEN GLASS TO TELL PEOPLE” (about Jesus) He sank back into his bed. The conversation was over, but those words of indictment were forever burned into the Pastor’s heart and soul. Think about it. We live in a desperate, decaying world, full of violence and hatred and fear. Every day teenagers take their lives because they see nothing to live for; Prostitutes give a little piece of their souls in seedy hotel rooms; people drink and abuse drugs in an attempt to anesthetize their emotional pain and to try, for a moment, to stop thinking. We use and abuse each other in ways as old as our Father Abraham. In the middle of all this chaos, there is a group of people, of whom I am one, who believe that there IS hope, written in letters as large as the Empire State Building – JESUS. We know there is more to this life than just getting through one more day. We actually believe that God loves us; that God sent His own Son to live among us to show us the Father; and to die a brutal death in our place. We believe that whatever one’s life, whatever mistakes one has made (sins one has committed), there is forgiveness and a fresh start available; that death is only the beginning of our real lives. So – Why do we remain largely quiet about the Good News?” (Caps and Underlining mine for emphasis) Shiela ended with a prayer which we have adapted below and added some Scripture references for your reminder and confirmation. Marsh Road Baptist Church would like to urge each of you today to pray for forgiveness for the apathy; for keeping His Words to ourselves like a life preserver, instead of throwing them out as a rope of hope and rescue to the world. May you LIVE and SPEAK the words you believe and reach out beyond your comfort zone to risk for HIM who risked ALL for US by TELLING OTHERS of His great love and sacrifice – as He tells us to do in MATTHEW 28:19-20 – “GO YE THEREFORE AND TEACH ALL NATIONS, BAPTIZING THEM IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, AND OF THE SON, AND OF THE HOLY GHOST; TEACHING THEM TO OBSERVE ALL THINGS WHATSOEVER I HAVE COMMANDED YOU; AND LO, I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS, EVEN TO THE END OF THE WORLD.” Also, 2 PETER 3:9 – “THE LORD IS NOT SLACK CONCERNING HIS PROMISE, AS SOME MEN COUNT SLACKNESS, BUT IS LONGSUFFERING TO USWARD, NOT WILLING THAT ANY SHOULD PERISH, BUT THAT ALL SHOULD COME TO REPENTANCE.” Are you, are we REALLY believing enough to tell it?