March 14, 2005

'The Gospel Made Me Do It'

Okay this story half cracked me up, and half made me smile when I heard it this morning ...

Authorities say courthouse shooting suspect Brian Nichols held Ashley Smith hostage for hours in her suburban apartment northeast of Atlanta before she was able to get away and call 911.

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But I could kind of feel that he started to -- to know who I was. He said maybe. Maybe I'll let you go -- just maybe. We'll see how things go.


We went to my room. And I asked him if I could read.


He said, "What do you want to read?"
"Well, I have a book in my room." So I went and got it. I got my Bible. And I got a book called "The Purpose-Driven Life." I turned it to the chapter that I was on that day. It was Chapter 33. And I started to read the first paragraph of it.


After I read it, he said, "Stop, will you read it again?"


I said, "Yeah. I'll read it again." So I read it again to him. It mentioned something about what you thought your purpose in life was. What were you -- what talents were you given? What gifts were you given to use? And I asked him what he thought.


And he said, "I think it was to talk to people and tell them about you."

It kinda made me chuckle since I work for Rick Warren's (The Author of The Purpose Driven Life) Church ... but made me smile because here you have an increadibly crazy situation, and this woman shared the Gospel. Sure she hoped it would help her stay alive, but the Gospel has that effect, a taming effect. Sometimes people have to be really broken to see how much they need to be saved. This guy sure did a lot that was wrong, and evil, but God was there, and worked through this woman, and he ended up giving himself up tamed and humbled.

I'm not sure what will become of him, but as for Ashley, hazzah for you! No doubtly she made an impact on his life, as well as countless others --- that she can't even imagine now. You can read a bit more about it here.





Update:

Rick's in Africa right now, helping get the PEACE Plan going... but here is Rick Warren's 'official' response ...


While traveling in Africa this week, my wife, Kay, and I have been following the heartbreaking developments through news and email reports of the tragedy unfolding in Atlanta in recent days.

We have grieved with the rest of the country over the senseless loss of life, and our hearts and our prayers go out to the victims and their families.

We have been grateful to see God use The Purpose Driven Life to provide comfort and direction to people from all walks of life and were humbled to learn that hostage Ashley Smith found strength and encouragement in its pages during her seven-hour ordeal.

I understand Ms. Smith shared a portion from the chapter on “servanthood” with Mr. Nichols, which seemed to have a positive impact on his life. Jesus sometimes calls us in some of the most difficult situations to be an advocate for him and the message he represented while on this earth.

We are thankful that Ms. Smith was able to draw from the Scriptures and her reading from The Purpose Driven Life to bring some hope to her captor’s life that was unraveling so tragically and dramatically.

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