I remember it quite clearly. I was asleep in bed and woke up feeling like I should go find my mom, so I left my room, walked through the living room, kitchen and into the family room. It was at night, but since I was so young don’t know what time it was. I would guess late, but before midnight.

I found my mom sitting on the couch crying. I knew something was seriously wrong because as a young child I can only remember my mom crying a couple of times, and once was when she heard her brother was killed in a motorcycle accident.

The T.V. was on and she seemed to be watching it. I felt that had something to do with her being upset, but I could not figure out what the problem was. After a long moment of standing there and wondering what to do, I asked her what was wrong. She was startled by my presence, but reaching for me, she told me the president had been shot.

Using a white tissue to wipe her eyes, she just held me. I don’t recall if I offered any words of comfort, words that only a child of a few years could offer, but I may have said everything will be alright. I was in her arms for a few minutes before she sent me off to bed.

I have never forgotten that night. It was November 22nd, 1963, when then President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.

Another one I recall was on June 11th, 1979. I was in a store in downtown Fresno when over the radio came the news that John Wayne had died. I remember standing there in a state of shock, since many of the characters he played were my childhood hero’s. What man of my generation did not want to have some of his character traits? Brave, strong, speaks his mind, bold, and tough. I remember one woman in the store began to cry, and it became obvious that I was not the only one in the store who was impacted by the news. I could tell everyone was thinking the same thing I was. Our book of life just closed the last page on the particular chapter we had been in. Things were going to be different. Someone we greatly admired had passed on and would not be returning. He was the last of a dying breed and no one could fill his shoes.

Clearly, everyone experiences impact events in their lives. Sometimes they are shared with others during the event itself, or it may be a solo experience, that can only be shared later with others in a story. Soldiers have opportunities for impact events more than most, but don’t make the mistake thinking most impact events are violent, stirring, or emotional. Some impact events can be tranquil, or even peaceful. It may be a simple action or just a few words spoken at a particular time in a person’s life that effects, and alters, the way someone views their own existence.

I just came back from a men’s retreat, and I can’t say it was an impact event for me, but it was for others. What was significant for me was the other impact events men shared, because impact events change lives. Impact events give us opportunities to share some of our life experiences with others so:
a. They can learn from our experience
b. They may be encouraged from our experience
c. We can point them to God

I just started reading a book titled, Teaching to Change Lives, by Dr. Howard Hendricks. Daniel Porter gave it to me this weekend and asked me to read it and share my thoughts on it with him later. 

Hendricks wrote, “I’ve had former students come to me and say, “You changed the whole course of my life.” “Man, that’s encouraging,” I tell them. “What did I say to change the course of your life?” Then they repeat some profound statement, and I have to say, “I can’t remember ever saying it, but that’s tremendous! Let me write it down.” 1

In a small way I can relate to that. I have had former students come to me and share something I said that impacted them, but I did not remember saying it. Nothing profound as Hendricks might experience, but nevertheless it influenced their life in a positive, life changing way.

Tass Saada was a PLO sniper, who, for a short time, was also was a driver for Yasser Arafat. He recalled one evening when he was waiting on tables, “The man looked up at me as I worked, smiled, and said, ‘Thank you, young man.’ Then he went back to talking to his dinner guest. I couldn’t believe it. This wealthy man had stopped what he was doing to thank me for clearing his table? That would never have happened in the Middle East. There the service personnel get ignored or even insulted. ‘You’re welcome, sir,’ I replied with a smile. I decided right then that this gentleman would get my best attention.” 2

This wealthy man’s name was Charlie Sharpe, and years later he brought Tass, a sniper who targeted Jews, to Christ, who in turn had time alone with Yasser Arafat, to present the Gospel.

At the men’s retreat, Jason Mockabee shared with the us about discipleship and the importance of each of us having a Paul, Barnabas, and Timothy in our lives. Paul being someone who would mentor you. Someone years older and more experienced in life and the Lord. Barnabas being someone who would be more of an equal, around the same age, a brother to share with, and bounce things off. Finally, Timothy, someone younger that you would mentor and share what wisdom you have.

All of us are in positions to minister to unbelievers. It may be someone you work with, who you see on a daily or weekly basis. It may be a neighbor, or the cashier at the local store, but if you put on your radar, opportunities to bring conversations around to something beyond the material, eventually you will spot something. I am only now learning to do this, and have a long way to go before I would consider myself proficient at swinging conversations. But, like base-ball, (for you sport fanatics), it only takes one swing to hit a home run and you have an impact event on your hand.

Holly Ordway wrote about her experience moving from being a devote atheist to becoming a Christian in her book, Not God’s Type. It was a process for her, but along the way she had a friend, a mentor, (her fencing coach Josh), help answer the endless questions she had about Christianity. In the process of answering her questions, doing her own research, she slowly realized that Christianity is true.

She recalled a memory from first grade. “The teacher giving us children words to spell on the chalkboard. I was a precocious reader and writer, so I wrote my word confidently: ‘g o d’ But the little boy next to me who wrote, ‘G o d’ was praised for his correct spelling, not me…I did not understand that God was a name, the name of the Lord.” 3

If you are a Christian, but have lots of doubts and questions about your faith, walk with me as I try to answer difficult questions. Some of these questions are often a stumbling block for Christians, and makes them hesitant to share their faith. I am sure most of us have been around a group of unbelievers when someone made a comment that put down or belittled your faith, and you were at a loss on how to respond.

If you are not a Christian, and have serious doubts about the Christian faith, other religions, or even if God exists, then I still encourage you to walk with me as I struggle to answer questions about my faith. It is possible some of the questions answered here are questions you have had. Feel free to e-mail me and ask questions. I promise I will answer them quickly, if not by me, then by someone else with more experience or wisdom than I have.

If you are seeking answers, feel lost as to what direction you need to go, you may not find one person with all the answers, but you might find enough answers to find your way.

Sources:

1. Hendricks, Howard. Teaching to Change Lives. Colorado Springs: Multnomah books, 1987. Print.
2. Saada, Tass. Once An Arafat Man. Clarksville: Tyndale House Publishers, 2002. Print.
3. Ordway, Holly. Not God’s Type. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2010. Print.

 

 

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Impact Events by James Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://www.dev.christianapologetics.blog/

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