A few years ago we added a front door to our home. We did have one previously, but it is inset within a porch. So we now have two front doors. The new one was a great improvement in keeping us warm but I have never moved the doorbell to the new outside front door, though it does have a knocker. Most people who call either step inside the first door and use the bell or knock loudly. But recently I missed a parcel delivery because neither my wife nor I thought that the timid noise we heard was coming from the front door.
This frustrating experience came to mind recently when, in a Christian meeting, we were encouraged to pray for any for whom we were especially concerned. I began to pray for family members who, as yet, have not discovered the wonder of coming to know Jesus as a personal Saviour. You are probably familiar with the famous painting called, “Light of the World” by William Holman Hunt. It depicts Jesus, standing with a lit lantern outside a door which is rather overgrown, and which lacks an outside handle. It clearly draws on the words from Revelation 3:20. In the Authorised Version it reads
“Behold I stand at the door and knock. If any man hears my voice and opens the door I will come in and feast with him and he with me.”
Of course, it is not gender specific. Jesus knocks at the door of women and children as well as men. However, the context of this verse is a letter to a church which, somehow, had failed to keep Jesus in the heart of its life. But like countless others I have quoted this verse in an evangelistic context, urging people to open their hearts and lives to the wonder that is knowing Jesus.
As I prayed for those whom I so long to open the door of their lives to Jesus, I found myself praying, “Please knock louder. Please knock louder!”, as I remembered my missed parcel delivery. The problem is that many fail to open the door because there are other things going on that drown out the sound of his knocking and the call of his voice.
In the days that followed I have found myself wondering how God might answer my prayer. When and how does he knock, and call out? There is a brass knocker on my outside front door. It is far more effective than just using knuckles or tapping with fingers. I began to wonder whether it is the witness and testimony of faithful Christians that are the means by which God knocks at doors and calls out for admittance. In asking God to knock louder was I hearing God reply, “Be a faithful witness”?
I suspect that many find that the hardest place to share the gospel is within the closest circle of family and friends. We are afraid of a negative reaction. Perhaps we realise that they know us well and know our imperfection, and that this will count against us. Whatever the reason, we resort to simply praying that somehow they will hear God’s knocking and calling. But what if I am meant to act as God’s door knocker?
Asking God to “knock louder” has challenged me and in the next few days I hope to respond and will value your prayers. Does God want you to be a door knocker for someone you care about?
From the Diary
As I shared in my last communication, last week was exceptionally busy with a lot of travelling. I am glad to report that all journeys and meetings went well. Coming into this week I took the morning meeting for Elstow Bunyan Christian Fellowship, Bedford where we found a warm welcome and responsive congregation. This was a first visit to minister at this church and we are looking forward to a further visit next February.
In the activities of the previous week I managed to pick up a very nasty cold and cough, which has taken out a few days this week. Sadly, I have managed to pass it on to Doreen.
Meanwhile my friend and colleague, Capt Gordon Banks of the Church Army has been working on the online seminar this Saturday at 9.00. This webinar features suggestions and ideas for mission for small churches through the winter months. He has also been battling a cold. So please pray for us both as we labour to put the finishing touches to the presentation.
New registrations are coming in daily, but there is still some room for more. Please pray that all spaces will be filled and that this will prove helpful and encouraging to all. The webinar lasts about 45 minutes and is ideal for rural or smaller urban churches. It is free to attend but advanced registration is essential. All that is needed is an internet connection with sound. Why not register yourself in time for Saturday? To register please click here
Katrina, Rural Mission Solution’s Adviser for Children and Family Work will be leading a webinar soon. I have also met up with ideal people to lead webinars on working ecumenically and finding it fun, enabling lay ministry, and the ministry of Christianity.org.uk (a website for enquirers). We hope to publish the dates for 2017 ahead of time.
Activities this week include a service at HMP Gartree on 30th, School Assembly on Thursday and a Mission Support Group meeting on Saturday 5th November. I have a lot of administration to catch up and hope to do some writing during the week.
Please keep in touch. Thank you for your prayerful interest.