What I am about to tell you has never been told publicly.
It’s the kind of thing people have a hard time believing. I know. I had a hard time believing it – and it happened to me!
It was the summer of 1984. I had just moved back to the Vancouver, B.C. area from Toronto. I was looking for a church to attend, as my life was in need of much repair. (Can you relate?)
I pulled into the back parking lot of a church where I knew no one. The lot was full and the service was underway. After parking my car, I made my way to the back entrance of the church.
Just before the entrance, I had to walk between two other parked cars and… well, this is strange but… my eyes were drawn to the keyhole on the driver’s side of an older Datsun (now Nissan).
There was nothing special or unusual about that car, yet it felt like God was drawing my attention to the lock on the car door. It was such a strong impression that I stopped and stared at the car and in a somewhat frustrated tone, said to the Lord, “What?!?!?!”
Why would He point out the door lock on a stranger’s car? It made no sense, so I brushed off the experience and went into the service. When church was over, I made my way through the parking lot, passing by the very same car on the way to mine, some 30 yards away.
As I was opening the door to my late model Chevy station wagon, a stranger called out to me… “Sir, sir. Excuse me sir.” I assumed he was speaking to someone else but turned to look, only to discover that he wanted my attention.
As it turned out, he was the owner of the Datsun station wagon with the keyhole I was drawn to. He explained that he had accidentally locked his keys in the car before the service and he thought that because I also had a station wagon of the same make, maybe my key would unlock his door.
I quickly enlightened him that my car was American made and his was made in Japan. They were not the same make, not the same model and not the same year. They weren’t even made on the same continent. My key would not unlock his door.
Nevertheless, he persisted.
So to humor him, I walked back to his car, stuck my key in that keyhole and to my utter shock, it unlocked his door as easily as it did mine.
He thanked me, not knowing the experience I had on the way into church, and I walked back to my car in absolute bewilderment. Why would God use me to unlock a stranger’s car with a key that should never have worked, but did? What did it portend?
I have had a number of equally unusual experiences along these lines where something strange has happened, only to become aware that God was divinely orchestrating the events.
Fast forward to last week. I’m in the kitchen cleaning up the dishes after a lovely meal that Judy had prepared. Our Labradoodle, Judah, was laying on the kitchen floor watching me clean up. (He loves our company… but he would rather be outside making new friends!)
In the sanctity of our home and in the quiet delight of everyday life, suddenly the garage door went up – by itself! The remote control was on the side table, untouched. I immediately went outside to look, but there was no one there.
There may be some perfectly understandable reason why my door would open on its own, but in over 19 years of living in this house, this was a first.
So I pondered it.
Was God using another unusual circumstance to draw my attention to something? Was there a message? The “open door” was speaking to me and I couldn’t shake it.
At first I thought that if I hadn’t noticed the open door and had simply gone to bed, it would have been left open overnight, and that would have left us potentially vulnerable to criminal activity. We live in a gated neighborhood, but I like to keep my doors shut (and locked) when I go to bed. I’m quirky that way.
In fact this is a true illustration of our country. The door has been left open and we are not only vulnerable, but those vulnerabilities are currently being exploited. These tests our nation is going through, which are not from God, are low level tests to discover our response in order to release much worse, should our nation fail to shore up the gap.
However, enough about the plans of the wicked… I think I just heard God laughing. 😊 (Psalm 2:4). God holds them in derision and He has a different plan. The question is… Will we execute His plan or fall prey to the plans of darkness?
What I saw is something very encouraging. It was indeed the open door. Think of it as the doors to the castle or the gates in the wall of an ancient city.
Imagine the men and women of valor inside that walled city, instead of cowering in fear with their masks on or simply going about their business as if there were no threat… Imagine them throwing open the doors and storming outside the gates and going on the offensive!
What would that look like? And what would it cost you if you chose to be one of them?
Will you leave what is familiar and take territory for the King? Will you step into the marketplace and bring God’s ways into play? (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you owe it to yourself to check out my free training session for entrepreneurs and salespeople. It’s appropriately called, “Selling Among Wolves”.)
There are big risks when you openly bring God and His ways into the marketplace. That’s what makes if fun!
Our world isn’t safe… In the purported words of William Wallace… “Every man dies, but not every man truly lives.” I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to die of old age behind the city walls and gates, with a quiver full of unused arrows in my closet. How about you?
Wouldn’t you rather be out in the fray, shooting those arrows of God’s Word and love to a world that desperately needs the Truth? And wouldn’t it be much better to die with an empty quiver but a full life? Wouldn’t it be more rewarding, even exhilarating to release all of the arrows God gives you and see them hit their mark? Wouldn’t that be hitting the bullseye for your life? (You should ask my wife Judy about that. What happened to her with a bullseye was also a divine moment.)
Oh, and yes, God does release arrows, most often in the form of messages that you and I are to deliver.
Back around 1997, I was doing my usual consulting work for a client in Ohio. It was a three day project and it included doing some sales training. On Day 3, I stopped in the parking lot on the way in and prayed for the employees. I would often ask God to show me the kingdom men and women who are looking for the King, but don’t know it.
As I was praying and not feeling particularly spiritual, something amazing happened. (In all honesty, that prayer felt more like a duty than an inspired moment.) But that’s when God played what I call, “a video clip” for me. Some might call it a vision, but it doesn’t matter.
What I saw was Heaven opened up and someone (I believe it was an angel) with a bow and arrow in hand. And they released that arrow with great resolve, striking a man in my client’s office in the heart. The man it struck was a charming fellow, but one of the most fluent in the use of four letter words I had ever seen. He was very funny, but he was lost as a goose in a Canadian snowstorm.
And I knew the arrow was a message.
And I knew what the message was. And I knew I was the one who was supposed to give him the message. Remember, we weren’t at church. This was an industrial service company. I wasn’t contracted to bring God messages to their employees. I was there to help them multiply their sales. That’s what I’m gifted at.
But it was an arrow, and it had fire, and I was given the privilege of delivering it. Would I leave that arrow in my quiver because it was not politically correct to release an arrow of the gospel or would I draw back my bow and shoot him at point blank range?
Of course I shot him!
I don’t want to die with the beautiful arrows God has given me, still in their quiver. (Oh God, please give me more arrows to shoot!)
It was the end of the day before I had the chance to speak to Shane (not his real name). I was preparing to leave and catch my flight back home and I was running late, when I ran into Shane in the hallway and realized I still had the arrow in my quiver.
So I released it. At point blank range.
I told Shane about the “video clip” I had seen in the parking lot and that he was in that video. I told him that God was releasing an arrow straight into his heart and the arrow was a message from the Father and the message was… “The Father is calling you back to Himself.”
He literally grabbed me by the lapel of my suit jacket and pulled me into his office, and with ashen face said, “Tell me more!”
So I did.
And he wept.
And he was born again.
The arrow had hit its mark! The old man was dead and a new creation stood before me, wiping away his tears.
How many messages, words or inspirations has God given you that are still tucked neatly away in your quiver? It’s time to release the arrows!
Yes! God is throwing open the doors to the harvest. Will you be among the laborers? Or will you be among the timid, the fearful, or the complacent?
Will you rush out the open door with a quiver full of arrows ready to release into the harvest or will you hide behind the door and wait for the government to give you an “all clear”. (It may never come.)
In my next blog, I hope to finish what God has shown me about the “open door” before us and what we must do. It is important. It is necessary. And it is urgent.
Be watching for it in my next email. BTW… if you want to receive my blog messages in your inbox, go to my homepage and sign up for anything that interests you. I have several free books you can download. When you do, I will have your email address and you will receive future emails.
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Until next time, pull back your bow and let the arrows fly!