November 1, 2023 –
A friend told me about a young Army Captain who had been a POW during the Vietnam War. Captain Burns had spoken to his Kiwanis Club. And he said the captain’s speech was an excellent and moving personal testimony about God’s grace.
I was the Church Training Director for the Riverside Baptist Church in Tampa, Florida. The evening attendance was declining, so I created a promotional program called “Evening of Encounter.” Our goal was 200 people in attendance. Our average attendance was around 75.
Friends helped promote the program.
We invited Captain Burns and set a date and attendance goal for 200 people. On May 5, 1974, our church met to hear Captain Burns. After his excellent presentation, we counted the audience’s size: 199 people. We asked for 200 people and were one short of the goal.
Hadn’t Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks ﬁnds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8, NIV)
Looking in the second row was a tiny baby we overlooked. We received what we had asked for, an attendance of 200 people. But only after we followed the second part of Jesus’ promise, “Seek, and you will find.”