Published April 14, 2015

Shelia Shares....

Ian Owens is the bass vocalist with Soul'd Out Quartet. He once shared a story about how God unexpectedly encouraged him with a "chance" encounter. And, as I share it here with his permission, I hope what he writes encourages you to think about how you can affect your world, as well as to look at people as if through God's eyes.

- Shelia

"What Kind Of Ambassador Are You?"

by Ian Owens

It never ceases to amaze me how God reveals himself in the midst of the most unexpected times and circumstances! Today has been an overwhelmingly amazing and powerful day and a reminder of a truth I've desperately needed recently.

We had a very powerful morning service in Perry, Florida, where a young lady came forward and received salvation. We left rather quickly knowing we had a four-hour drive to Pensacola for our evening concert. Shortly after leaving Perry, we passed a homeless man carrying a backpack and a banjo trying to hitch a ride. Matt, who was driving, strongly felt God urging him to stop and give the young man a ride. So, we turned around, welcomed him onto our bus and offered him whatever food and drink we had. After the token pleasantries were exchanged, we had learned his name was Connor and he lived an elective transient lifestyle.

In hopes that Matt and I could witness to him, I invited Connor into the cab of the bus. I asked, "Connor, what do you know about Jesus?" This is where God smacked me right in the mouth. Connor's response was, "Oh, Jesus and I have a very special relationship. I love Him very much. Just the other day I was with another transient and we were stuck in a storm. He said to me, ‘God is punishing us. He wants us to go home.' But I said to him, ‘No, this is just our test... Our blessing comes tomorrow!'" Wow! I was utterly and completely dumbstruck! I literally had no words — which is a miracle in and of itself.

Here is where it gets real for me. Recently, I have felt very "beat down" and very discouraged because of a number of trials and hardships over the last couple of years. For a while, I was doing a pretty good job of staying positive and praising God through it, but very recently, I started feeling sorry for myself and allowed my self-pity to take a front seat to more important things in my life — not the least of which is my testimony and the calling I have to be an ambassador for Christ. Shame on me!

God is all we need in any circumstance or trial. He is our joy and our salvation. Even in our hardest and most desperate circumstances we should rejoice and praise Him because of the hope and grace He gives.

Here is the lesson Connor is teaching to me and all the other spoiled, self-focused, and way-too-comfortable Christians out there just like me: What kind of ambassador are you for God? Are you the ambassador who only thinks about himself/herself and shows the world a selfish and beaten person with no hope? Or are you the ambassador who stands in the storm and says with a smile on your face, "No... This is just a test. Our blessing comes tomorrow!"

Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. (Psalms 30:5 KJV)

P.S. We ended up taking Connor to Pensacola with us. He stayed for our concert then we bought him dinner and dropped him off at a truck stop where he intended to head west along the coast making his way to New Orleans. Say a prayer for this unassuming beacon as he shines the light of Christ in a dark world and to people most of us will never meet.

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