Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
“Pastor is it OK to sell a Bible to a prostitute?” the story is told of a young girl called Laura from a small church in a small town in central Brazil. She sold Avon products for years in the town to supplement the family income. One of her weekly routes took her through the red light district. With those business contacts she often shared her faith in Jesus Christ.
God opened a door to present Bibles and Christian books in a house of prostitutes. Oddly enough, the house was located directly across the road from a large evangelical church. Ten of these women gathered around a table one afternoon as Laura shared with them the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ. A few Bibles and some books containing testimonies of transformed lives were sold that afternoon.
Several months later there were terrible rains and floods in that part of Brazil, causing several deaths. With the floods came mudslides in communities that had been inundated by the rising rivers. Two prostitutes who had attended the book demonstration earlier that year talked about the danger and decided to read the Bible they had purchased. Perhaps thinking the book to be like an Agatha Christie mystery novel, they started with Revelation in order to find the conclusion of the story. What they read terrified them. They read with dismay Revelation 21:7, 8: “He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, and the sexually immoral, the idolaters and all liars––their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
The girl who owned the Bible became alarmed and exclaimed, “We’re lost! We’re lost!” Her housemate replied, “No, you’re lost. I’m not lost because I do penance every day.” Still alarmed and concerned, they continued to read.
A few days later Laura visited her Avon customers. These two women literally pulled her off the street and shoved the Bible into her hands. “Read this part right there! Tell us what it means!” they ordered. Laura read the verses and responded, “It means that when you practice and live in one of these sins, you will not be permitted to enter heaven.” Again, the owner of the Bible cried, “We’re lost! We’re lost! I told you we were lost!” Her friend again assured her, “No, you’re lost. I’m not lost because I repent every day.”
“Repentance,” Laura explained, “is when you confess your wrong and completely turn around. You do not repent. Repenting is turning from your sin. You only feel guilty for your sins.” Laura shared the gospel with the prostitutes. One week Laura received a note. It read:
Laura, Enclosed is the money I owe. Thank you so much for help. After your visit last week, I returned to my hometown and am living with my parents. On Sunday I attended an evangelical church and gave my heart to the Lord Jesus. If ever I visit your city again, it will only be to attend your church. Jesus has made me a different person. -Maria Isabel
Its been a long while since Richard Jacobsen penned this story in his book “A Miracle in Ipatinga”. One prostitute had heard the voice of the God who regenerates and changes hearts say, “Go in peace, and sin no more.” This week a local pastor who hardly regards the word of God with any respect or reverence dropped a bomb onto his unsuspecting parishioners.
The Norman church, has stood for hundreds of years in the tranquil village of Burghill, in countryside surrounded by apple and pear orchards. However, its vicar, who used to work in the East End of London, is urging parishoners to move aggresively into the modern age – by swearing more.
Reverend Michael Land, 67, said Christians needed to adopt swearing in their everyday language because it is how Jesus would have spoken. He said too many people put Jesus “on a pedestal” and failed to realise that he was poor, relatively uneducated and preferred not to mix with the elite of his day.
He added that the Church risked becoming out of touch with ordinary people if its clergy did not become “streetwise” and failed to use earthy language. –The Telegraph
Yeah, you are probably right in saying that when Reverend Michael Land dismissed his congregation last Sunday he must have pronounced the benediction with a snide smile:
Go in peace and swear!