As part of our Honor & Respect Christmas Catalog, this week we are highlighting the work of many Fishers of Men we are truly honored to work and partner with! The following is the story of one such Fisher of Men that continues to inspire us. May it inspire and encourage you as well.
At Somebody Cares, we equip and empower people to be an expression of Christ in their communities, whether it is through compassionate outreach, prayer, disaster response, or unifying and equipping leaders– leaders like Pastor Phillip Hall*!
In the wake of destructive forest fires in the Hill Country of Texas, we partnered with Pastor Hall to bring relief to the victims of the fires. In addition to practical aid, we also provided him spiritual resources to reach out to his community, including our Born to Die evangelism and discipleship material. This small act has had an amazing rippling effect. Here is what happened!
Afraid that he might burst into tears telling us his story, Dr. Wright pulled over to the side of road to share with us how God had moved powerfully in his life. He became a new believer in May of 2011, saying, “I was the worst of all sinners. I’m a physician, I have a lot of diplomas on my wall and yet I’m guilty of it all. I was walking away from my family, I was leading a life according to the world you know, and in complete disregard to the impact I was having on those around me. As I was walking away from those things, God intervened and He turned my life around 180 degrees.”
After making a decision to follow Christ, Dr. Wright enthusiastically set himself to the task of reading the entire Bible. But once he hit the book of Leviticus, he was put off by all the “technical details” that didn’t seem to pertain to him at all, and put the Bible aside. In the meantime, he had started praying to find a men’s group to join. Shortly after, Dr. Wright “was blessed by a man that brought me a book and suggested that I start a men’s group with it. When I started going through this book, Born to Die, and then read Leviticus again it just hit hard and convicted me so incredibly strongly about how everything in the Bible, and especially in the Old Testament, really pointed towards Jesus Christ, His death and especially, His resurrection.
This [revelation] was important to me because one of the hardest things I remember about becoming a Christian was letting go of my past. Although I was surrounded by a lot of people like my family, I still carried around a dead body, and that was what the Born to Die book really, really helped me get through. It helped me realize that the work was already done – it was done over 2000 years ago – and I really was free.”
As you have probably guessed, the man who gave him the book was none other than Pastor Hall.
Dr. Wright describes, “He (Pastor Hall) was actually a patient of mine, and he changed my life: I began to life freely in Christ. Every time he’d come in for a follow-up visit we’d chat about how he was doing physically and then he’d always ask me how I was doing spiritually.”
The book so impacted Dr. Wright, that he took up the challenge to use it to start a men’s group. Soon a group of doctors, a lawyer, a sales manager and army recruiter gathered regularly to study the book together. “As we got deeper and deeper [into the study], it caused all of us together, to really let go of a lot of the things we really kept ourselves chained to, realizing that we truly were born not to die, but we were born to live, and so we changed our men’s group from Born to Die to Born to Live. We have accepted symbolically and internally that [the work] was done for us 2000 years ago when God sent his Son into the world to do what none of us could ever, ever have accomplished, no matter who we were, doctors or lawyers or whomever, it didn’t matter.”
“From wherever they were in their walk, everybody took one huge leap forward in their faith and in their knowledge. We know that this is true because when you talk to them, and hear the responses from their families, they are different men.”
But the story goes on! Dr. Wright has now challenged each of the men in the Born to Live group, to “create their own bible study groups using Born to Die! Because 1+1+1 = a million”. And so, the message of the Gospel will continue its rippling effect!
Often, we do not see the fruit of our faithfulness when we reach out to others. But this story allows us to glimpse ‘the bigger picture’ of God’s divine plan! He used ordinary men and women who were willing to be “Fishers of Men”: individuals who reflected a passion to reach others for Christ in word and deed!
But this story all began when friends like you partnered with us, providing funds to produce the Born to Die materials, getting involved in relief efforts after the fires, prayer with us, and so much more! You are unseen the heroes . Were it not for your faithfulness to this ministry, the story above would never have happened. You are making a wonderful impact for God’s Kingdom; YOU are “Fishers of Men”.Show your appreciation for the godly people in your life this holiday season. Find out how you can take part in honoring those you love and respect, while also helping other in need, here!