An Amazing Story

I saw my Muslim Arab friend sweating as he talked to my other friend, a fine conservative-minded evangelical Christian. It looked like the two had locked horns and were in a battle to the death.

It was here in Colorado this summer. We hosted a gathering of some of our long time friends from the Middle East and brought in a bunch of American Christian friends to talk about God, the Middle East and how to bring hope.  There were about 45 of us together for 3 days.  We were having a great time – until I looked over and saw these two all tangled up.

The next thing I knew, my Muslim friend (not yet a follower of Jesus) had gone out on the deck and was smoking a cigarette like his life depended on how fast he could suck it down. I walked out and nonchalantly said, “What’s up bro?”

His response: “Why the $%&^@ do these people want to convert me? Why can’t they just leave me alone. I know that YOU don’t want to convert me. Right?”

Well, talk about a loaded question full of semantic nuance. Here’s my answer and what happened!

I asked him what he thought my other friend back inside the house wanted to convert him to. He said, “He wants me to be a Christian, but I’m a Muslim.” I asked him what he thought this friend meant by that.

“He wants me to stop living in the Middle East and loving my family.” I told him I was pretty sure that’s not what this friend meant, but if that’s what “conversion to Christianity” is, then I agree – he shouldn’t convert.

“SEE,” he said to me, “I knew you weren’t into conversion.”

“No I’m not,” I said. “Not like that. Not at all. I think you should stay in your country, love your family and be who God has made you to be.”

Then I asked him this: “What do you think God thinks when he looks down at all 6.5 billion people on earth?”

“He thinks they’re all screwed up,” he said.

“Yep, that’s what I think God’s thinking too. So what do you think God would like to do with all these messed up people? Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, nothings, everyone?”

He had never thought of that before, so he wasn’t sure. But he did say God would probably want to “help them not be so screwed up.” I agreed.

“So you might say that God would like to convert all 6.5 billion people on earth. Not to a religion, but to himself. He would like everyone to be like him. To be converted into him. But how would he do that. He’d need a converter.”

I went on to say that if he was going to buy an appliance here in the states and take it back to the Middle East, he’d need something to change the current from 110 to 220. “What’s that called?” I asked him.

“A transformer or converter” he said.

“That’s right. So what is God’s transformer to get us all back the way God wants us to be? To change us? To convert us?”

He gasped (literally) and said “It’s Jesus. I never thought of that – but it’s Jesus. He’s the converter.”

He got so excited he called his wife out and told her the whole conversation. She started to cry.

We sat on the deck and prayed that God’s “converter” or “transformer” would change us into the current that can be connected into God. And that he would do this with all of our friends.

It was a profound moment. Amazing that just a half hour earlier he was about to bite this other guy’s head off for “trying to convert” him and now he sat with me in tears praying.

The power of words. Of the right message. Of the Holy Spirit illuminating the role of Jesus Christ in the world.

Comments

  1. Benjie Danquah says:

    Wow!! Carl what a story. Man you got me all captured and wrapped in it. For a moment I wanted that to be my story. But then I thought to myself could really do that? Talking about “JESUS” the “transformer” “converter”.

  2. Krissy says:

    As always, your ability to focus a discussion in on the one thing that really matters is so inspiring. I pray that I’ll be able to do this even just once in my life.

  3. Jonathan Earsley says:

    Amazing story! Love how He weaves the events of our lives into beautiful moments/oppurtunities like that. wow. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Grandma Karin says:

    Hearing how God is working in the lives of people is the encouragement I need. Thanks for sharing your stories with us!

  5. Jason says:

    Fascinating Story – Isn’t amazing how, when we stop looking at ourselves, and we look at things from His perspective, how clear everything becomes?

  6. This is such a great example of how we need to search for the middle ground – things in common – before we can earn the right to speak into someone’s life. A ‘master class’ in compassion. Thank you, Carl.

  7. John Dekker says:

    Great example of how to lead the right way – THE WAY

  8. Joe Watkins says:

    I heard you speak at Anderson University last year and ever since I’ve been blessed by your example. Your love for Jesus and your desire to see people of all kinds know him has inspired me to take this attitude into my ministry and my relationships. This story illuminates the hope that Jesus brings, not only to individuals but to the whole “screwed up world.” Thank you.

  9. Jeux says:

    Thank you so much for sharing such a nice story, liked it very much. It is very heart touching. I will never forget it.

  10. Calvin says:

    Awesome story! I just finished your book Muslims, Christians, and Jesus and loved it. I have a new more truthful view of Muslims. Thanks so much for your insight and advice! I’m headed to Malmo in December with a new outlook.

  11. Josh Hill says:

    Wow! that is an amazing concept, that Jesus is the tool to transform our lives not to convert us. For all those here that haven’t read Muslim, Christians, and Jesus you should….Especially the story about the Saudi Princess, that story literally made me cry, reminds me of countless friends from across the middle east.
    Thank you Carl!

  12. […] The best thing I’ve personally witnessed that defines this issue well, is in a blog a wrote a couple of months ago. Check it out at:  http://www.carlmedearis.com/blog/2009/09/an-amazing-story/ […]

  13. Heidi Naman says:

    Carl, I would really like you to email me and tell me who the Druze are. Are they a Muslim sect? I read your book “Muslims, Christians and Jesus” and I noticed you mentioned Druze.

    Thanks,

    Heidi.

  14. Steve Munson says:

    Thanks, Carl, for this moving story– a great illustration of centered v. bounded set evangelism. How simple it is when we just love people and keep Him at the center. My wife and I are leading a group that’s reading your book. Great stuff!

    Blessings,

    Steve & Joye Munson
    The Vineyard Church
    Rockville Centre, NY

  15. pauliwog says:

    Thanks, Carl for that marvelous story- it gave me goosebumps.What a wonderful example of how to communicate Jesus to another culture in a respectful, but Holy Spirit powered way.My church is now situated in the middle of Toronto’s “Little Persia” the area is becoming more muslim every day.I have been praying for a way to serve and connect with this community. So it was no accident that I picked up your book last week ,it gives me hope And it confirms ,that most muslims are great and spiritual people who have a real hunger to know the real Jesus .Godspeed!

  16. Pishon says:

    Carl: Your approach to the situation was spot on. I will definitely share with friends as we often discuss how to witness to those around us. If we avail ourselves as vessels, the Holy Spirit gives us the words to speak, and Jesus changes the heart and mind. God Bless
    http://bit.ly/cNifDm

  17. mgreiner99 says:

    Wow, this story truly is amazing and inspiring! For me, it reinforces what Jesus mentioned in Luke 12:12 “for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”

  18. Mike B. says:

    Conflict Resolution at it’s finest haha :)Great story, thanks for sharing!