"James Bond ... for Jesus".
 

If only "she" could have seen what happened that day ...

Father's day, 2001. An old friend of ours, a British fellow by the name of  Dave, came to spend the weekend with us and, as usual when David and/or his family visit, we end up having quite a party out on the deck of our "Chalet Rose" ... but I digress. 

It's 6pm, and we are having Sunday evening dinner, overlooking the lake, forest and mountains, all quite perfect really - except that I glance over at Jen, busily serving up a scrumptious feast for us all, and I really feel for her not being able to see or speak to her dad and to wish him a "Happy father's day", and so I say to her: "Jen, why don't you at least try and give your dad a call and wish him happy father's day?" "What, do you really think mother would let me speak to him without somehow trying to spoil it all? Nice thought Ian, but ...", replies Jen. At which point Dave, with true British bravado pipes up "Here, let me phone ... I'll get by that mom of yours and when your dad gets on to speak to me, I'll hand you the phone". Wow ... what an idea! It may even work ...

Ok, so a few precautions (you will one-day come to understand why I needed to do this) ... I figure out what to dial first to make our call "untraceable", and then I dial her parents home number and hand the phone to Dave and, as predicted, the phone is immediately answered by the mother. So, Dave, with a classic British nonchalance, beer in one hand and phone in  the other, proceeds to speak to her and tells her that a "mutual friend" of the dad and him suggested giving him a call sometime, so "could he please speak to her husband". Well, she is highly suspicious and gives old Dave the "10th degree" and is just not about to let him speak with Jen's Dad. Anyhow, eventually, somewhat exasperated, Dave says "Look, I'll call back in an hour, and I'd like to speak to him, so please tell him to expect my call". And we go back to eating our meal and raising a few toasts to, well the "usual and the unusual" and at 7pm, we call again, and I hand Dave the phone. This time, immediately, Jen's Dad answers the phone ...

Now Dave quickly verifies that he has the appropriate party: "Is this (Jen's Dad's name)?", "Yes? OK, I have someone who would like to say a few words to you... " and with which he hands Jen the phone. "Dad, this is Jenny ... HAPPY Father's day!" On the other side, Jen's Dad is quietly cagey, not letting on too much and Jen continues "I hope you are remembering to pray and to read your bible Dad" (Note: Jen, years before, led her own dad in the sinners prayer, and on to salvation) "I love you dad" ... "I love you too" stumbles Jen's dad, and then the conversation is abruptly ended. I reckon by now our "cover is blown", and the mom is furious that we were able to get through her "security" and directly to Jen's dad - and on Father's day at that! Well, the combination of Dave's heavy British accent, his Oscar-winning performance, it being so late on Father's day and, of course, our prayers, all had made it possible for Jen and her Dad to chat, for a precious few seconds (and really, that's about all it was) and exchange a few caring words. I can only  guess as to what transpired at the "other site", but as for us, we were relieved and happy ... our attempts had ultimately been successful. I expect that there was a fair amount of indignation on the mother's part - at the realization that her best attempts to screen all of the calls, on Father's day, had failed, and that right under her nose Jennifer had been able to deliver a message of encouragement, her well wishes and also to send her love (directly and unhindered) to her dad. Jen's speech was controlled, efficient - brilliant in fact! she did not waste even 1 second of the precious time that she was given. Her words were fast, clear and to the point. All of what she had been wanting to say to her dad was successfully said - and all before his wife could figure out what was happening.

later Jen says to me: "If only mother could transform somehow and learn to genuinely care and to love ... but I doubt that will happen without her getting to feel the forgiveness and the love of God, and I know of no other way but to accept Jesus, God's Son, as her guide and savior, to help her in that regard." Now, suddenly, I got a "Flash", and trust me, for someone so average, these truly are "super-natural" moments. "You know Jen, there is only 1 Godly man that your mother listens to regularly and I know that she trusts no other man but him ... but as I recall from many years ago, when I used to listen to his telecasts, he does not often mention much about Jesus directly, preferring to rather preach a generalized positive-thinking message, so I'm not sure how she is ever going to hear the powerful transforming message of Jesus Christ, the savior of mankind". I am talking about well known evangelist, Dr. Robert Schuller (Senior) of the Crystal Cathedral Ministries in Garden Grove, CA, a popular contemporary television preacher and author of many inspired books.

However, just before this father's day, my own dad had suffered a stroke and was in hospital, where we and Dave had spoken to him and wished him a "Happy father's day" earlier in the day. Now, with everyone retiring for the night, I went upstairs to search the web for some answers to his condition. My dad, a retired physician, is a believer in regular Aspirin usage. Pretty soon I discover an article on Aspirin, strokes and Dr. Schuller, who, as it turns out, had to deal with similar problems fairly recently.  "Hmmm ..." I thought, "this is probably no coincidence", so I looked a little further and there it was - A truly inspired sermon collection, still fresh (from Easter 2001) titled: "What's so special about Jesus Christ". Well, It just goes to show, sometimes we have outdated opinions and and incorrect recollections, and in this case I'd have to honestly say: "I stand corrected!" Dr. Robert Schuller had indeed very candidly and quite openly preached "the Christian message" to all who would care to listen, and straight from the heart! Wow, for us all, this particular sermon loomed as powerful as a bundle of "sweating DYNAMITE" ... but how best to construct a "Bomb" with it - one that could server to dislodge a certain stubborn old woman's firmly held beliefs - to blow apart her misplaced feeling of perfection, to have her question the real value of "her pride" and to blast open a little pathway through which love can enter into her hate-hardened heart? And even after all of that, how best to deliver it? So I prayed ...

A while later I was busily constructing, on my computer, a very professional-looking pamphlet built around Dr. Robert Schuller's words - unedited, just as he had delivered them from the pulpit of the Crystal Cathedral, one Sunday around Easter, in 2001. Done! But now, just how do we deliver it? If we were to write a letter to them, she would go to the police, as she had done before, and we could be charged with "harassment", and anyhow, at the very least, the power of that awesome message would be lost, as she would instantly dismiss (and possibly not even read) ANYTHING coming from us. At this point Jonathan, our youngest son, then barely 14, pipes up: "I'll deliver it dad, she will recognize you and mom, and probably even Daniel, but I was a little boy when she last saw me and I doubt that she would recognize me". And so, with this pamphlet firmly in his hands, the next day Jonathan and I traveled to that city where the mother lives. Once there, we picked up some real-estate flyers and Jonathan put these ... and that one special pamphlet, into his canvas bag. A little while later, we got to our ultimate destination and I stopped the car at the end of the cul-de-sac in which the old woman lives ... Jonathan got out, put the canvas bag over his shoulder, adjusted his cap - a little above his eyes, and casually, whistling as he walked, went from door to door delivering the real-estate flyers (the decoys). Soon enough he is standing at the front door of his granny's house ... and there he reaches into the canvas bag and takes that neatly folded message of salvation - that wondrous message of hope and love, and places it gently on their front door in such a manner that her eyes will definitely alight on the words: "THE MOST IMPORTANT MESSAGE EVER DELIVERED BY DR. ROBERT SCHULLER Senior" - words I had strategically placed on the front cover ... words designed to catch her attention.

Then he walks on to the next house, again delivering the real-estate flyers and a lady, busy watering her garden, stops him and chats to him and asks him what he is doing. "Oh, just delivering some important flyers", he quips in his usual chatty manner. "OK, I'll have one of those" she replies, holding out her hand while still watering the garden. Jonathan hands her one. "If only I had printed not one, but 2 of that SPECIAL custom-made flyer ... who knows, just perhaps another lady's life could have been transformed?" Oh well, try as we may, we never seem to get it perfectly right. 

Now Jonathan reaches the end of the cul-de-sac, where I am sitting in my car suitably disguised with my dark glasses on, opens the door and hops into the passenger seat next to me, and with some relief and a great degree of satisfaction he says: "There Dad ... mission accomplished!" To which I reply, "Yes our little JAMES BOND for Jesus, MISSION ACCOMPLISHED, so now what be your pleasure?" "An Ice-cream dad, somewhere where we can sit, relax and enjoy eating it before we start the journey home". "Done Jon, let's go, it's Ice-cream time!" So there we sat enjoying our ice-creams, chatting and feeling quite pleased with the success of our "Secret Mission".

Well now, it's almost exactly 2 years later, and still we have not picked-up on any signs of her hardened heart melting, even just a little, however, who really knows but God? We do know that people's lives and attitudes are totally transformed when they overcome their misplaced pride, acknowledge their flaws and finally accept God's plan for our salvation, and that they, their lives and their circumstances are changed in the most dramatic of ways - this much we can personally attest to. Sadly, not all people who hear the Christian message of salvation and of the need for "transformation" accept it, and this is as true for her as it is for anyone else. Why, even 2,000 years ago, when people heard the message first hand from Jesus and were witness to so many awesome signs and wonders, most rejected it and many felt so threatened by it that they plotted His death. But to a few, this simple message, promising a "new life", made sense ... and that little "seed" grew into the most powerful life-changing (in fact one would have to say "History changing") enduring Kingdoms that this world has ever seen ... for still today, many more people "pledge their allegiance" to this King than have pledged their allegiance to any other Kings or rulers in any civilization or culture throughout history - and that's a fact! All the same, God knows well the effort we all went to package and to deliver that 1 page message of hope directly to her door, and that we did so out of genuine Christian love and for the ultimate benefit of the worst enemy we have ever had - both as a family or as individuals. After all, this message was found and packaged by the person she hates the most, using the words of the one man of God she respects the most, prayed over by the family that she has for 30+ years so steadfastly tried to destroy, transported over some really dangerous mountain roads and delivered - by her teenage grandson (who's birthday she has not even bothered to acknowledge for the last 8 years and counting) right to her front door! I wonder what she will feel like when God, one day, shows her all of this as an "Instant replay"? I would hope that she will at least then feel some remorse ... but by then it will be too late.

You know, It is my humble opinion, and it has also been my very personal experience, that there will be at least once, but possibly several times, that God will deliver a very personal "love letter" to each and every one of us, probably anonymously ... but I wonder how many of us will even recognize that message for what it is? If you are to utter just ONE little prayer in the next while, might I suggest that you try this one: "God, if you are real, if your Son Jesus is real, please find a way to deliver a message of confirmation to me personally, and please let me be alert enough and smart enough to be able to recognize that message for what it is, when it is delivered to me".

Here, for the record, is that truly awesome message contained in the custom-made pamphlet, and taken to that stubbornly proud old lady by the willing feet of a 14 year old boy - her grandson.
 

" What's so special about Jesus Christ? " (part-1)

ďNow Iím wondering where you are. Many people listening to me here and over the Hour of Power telecast around the world have respect for Jesus. Theyíve heard about Him and would call themselves Christians. But their Christian belief is not at a level where it transforms them. Your relationship with Jesus Christ must be the most important thing in your life. I hope you receive my message loud and clear. Some of you are like a little toddler in your relationship with God. A little toddler learns to stand on his feet and tries to walk by grabbing hold of the finger of his father. Thatís where some of you are. You are just holding on to a finger of God. I want for you to grow in your faith and move to grasping the hand of Jesus Christ. He is the most hospitable person! His hospitality is a gift of abundant life. It is a gift that you canít earn. A gift that you canít work for. It is a gift, so say, ďthank you,Ē and take it. Thatís where some of you have to begin. All alone, wherever you are in your private life, get into the habit of talking privately to Jesus Christ. ďI am the door, come in.Ē He says. I know Jesus Christ lived, no doubt ! I know Jesus Christ died, no doubt ! I am positive that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is a great historical reality. NOT virtual reality Ė REAL reality. I believe Jesus Christ is still alive! I believe Jesus Christ can connect with anyone of the six billion people on planet earth. Iím connected with him. Believe that Jesus Christ can connect with you and He is saying to you, ďI am the door. By Me, if anyone enters in, he will be saved. (John 10:9) and also: ďI have come that you may have life abundantly.Ē (John 10:10) Donít worry about theology. Donít feel guilty about the sins that you may have committed. Donít stop and say, ďBut I donít know the Bible.Ē Just focus on the living Christ. Talk to Him. Give your heart to Him. Embrace Him. Thatís all the advice I have for you. No heavy theology Ö let Him be your Lord.ď 
This message by Robert H. Schuller (senior) was aired on the Hour of Power on March 04, 2001.

I am convinced that one day Jennifer's mother will get to see all of what I have described above and either feel very relieved that she relented and "saw the light", changing to become a loving caring person, or else she will hang her head in absolute shame after realizing how stupid and misguidedly  stubborn she was. You know, it's really up to each of us to ensure that we NOT make that ultimate mistake - the one from which there is no return.

If you too would like to explore this "Road less traveled" ...
then here is
a very good anonymous place to start.

 

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Update April 2005: Well, it's almost 4 years later now, and as you can read (or may have already read) in the update on the next page ... our entire family had another chance to do something rather similar again for our relentless, bitter old enemy, but this time Daniel and Jennifer were in on it too, on Easter-eve, 2005.