Prayer Disc Script
ASR William Wade
I can honestly say it has been a year of open doors in Gutersloh Garrison out in Germany. The year started off very, very well. Aside from the other opportunities that we have out there in Gutersloh, in January I was able to share the gospel at a field service with around 50 soldiers of all ranks and it was a fantastic time and led on to great opportunities afterwards for conversations. And that is how January started off.
And then as we went into February, I was able to lead a battery service with the same regiment, 26 Regiment Royal Artillery. And again that was a fantastic experience. We had around 100 soldiers that came in to the little church service and it was fantastic to see around 100 soldiers, pretty raucous, and start pretty loudly, begin to settle down. I spoke about the conversion of Saul, on the subject of being interrupted by Jesus. And to see them going from being quite lively and quite raucous, to the end of the service there was a holy hush over the meeting . And you could tangibly sense the presence of God.
And then in March what we had planned to be a great month anyway, turned out to be something that actually set course for the rest of 2011. Not just for myself but for ASR Lee McDade and I. In March we had Tough Talk over to speak to our soldiers at the Gutersloh Garrison. Tough Talk are a bunch of ex-gangsters, they would bill themselves. But they’re body builders, power lifters and they came across, and they did a power lifting demonstration. They, some of them compete at GB level and while they do this, they give their testimony. And so we had around, at the two meetings with them, about 200 came and see this demonstration. About 80% of those were soldiers in uniform and about 80% of the 200 were non-Christian. It was a fantastic day, that March day, something happened in the conversation with the Tough Talk team after their presentation. We were taking them out for something to eat, and they said this "all we have got is a testimony; it just so happens that we can lift weights as well as doing our testimony”. And it triggered something off in my mind and I had the bizarre idea. Lee McDade and I could do that! And I …it wasn’t going to be to lift weights, but Lee could do that, I couldn’t do it. A…but just as I was thinking that, another Chaplain came across. He said "you know what, William? You and Lee could do something like that.” So I thought perhaps God might be in this. And so I approached Lee and said "Lee, I’ve got this little idea. What do you think? If you were to give a testimony and if I was to think of something along the lines of boxing (which is of course my passion) and I could somehow convey the Gospel via boxing. Would you be up for it?” And of course Lee said straight away "Yes, I would!” And so from March until now we’ve been doing presentations of what is now billed "Justice and Mercy”.
I’m going to give you a 5 minute rundown on exactly what the soldiers hear. It normally takes this form: we come in dressed in sports gear. Lee is normally in uniform. And Lee gives a testimony for 10 minutes or longer, but normally it would be around 10 minutes.
For those of you who don’t know Lee, Lee has a very powerful testimony. It really resonates with soldiers. And so it starts off with gripping their attention and Lee’s conversion story. And then when I come up, I ask anyone who’s there ( normally we would do it in groups of about 20 or 30) and normally I ask any of the soldiers if anyone has boxed or done Martial Arts before. And you have quite a few hands that go up. And I ask one of them to come out. And I promise them it’s not going to be embarrassing. So normally they come out. It’s a big risk on my part because sometimes big boys come out and sometimes we have little bantam weights come out. So sometimes when they come out, they stand beside me and I give them a pair of boxing gloves. And what happens then is I invite them to hit me a punch in the stomach.
Now it sounds worse than it is. If you exhale at the top of your stomach muscles, it’s not that bad!
So of course, everyone gets involved in this, and they do normally, because I’m an old boy now. Normally they…they…they hit me about 50% and I say come on "hit me as hard as you want. It’s okay!” So everybody eggs them on a little bit and they do, they do. It’s at this point that I bring out another pair of boxing gloves from underneath the chair and inform them that for 20 years I was involved in boxing. And so there’s a great response again from the crowd. And so I simply say this: "We all believe in justice don’t we?” And they all nod – yes we do. "If someone breaks into your house you would like them to be caught and all your goods brought back, wouldn’t you? If someone hit you on the street what would you do?” And first they all say "hit them back”. And so I say, in order to balance up the scales of justice, what he has just done to me, I have to do exactly the same to him. Isn’t that right?” Now everybody very raucously says "YES, you do! Yes you do!” And so at this point whoever is standing here isn’t very enamoured with the presentation. So now I say "That is exactly right. In order to balance up the scales of justice, I’ve got to do to him exactly what he’s done to me. But there’s one thing that trumps justice and that’s mercy. " And so I turn to the poor volunteer and say "I would really love to forgive you. Would you like me to forgive you?” They say "Yes” and they go and sit down. And then as soon as they sit down, this is all I say (and I understand this is a Military context, so I’m not going to use flowery Christian language). This is exactly how it goes. I then say to everyone "He just hurt me now. No matter how it looked, he just hurt me! Now, in one way or another all of us have hurt God. We haven’t hit Him a body shot or anything like that but when we live less than His expectation, it hurts Him. How many of us have told a lie?” Every hand goes up. "How many of us has stolen?” Every hand goes up. How many of us have hurt someone physically or emotionally?” Every hand goes up. And so we all agree that we’re imperfect. And then I go on to say: "Now think about all the bad things you and I have done. But if you multiply that throughout the whole of history, and every bad thing that everyone has ever done, put it all in one pile. That’s a lot. You include World War, you include genocide, you include every unimaginable crime that we have done to each other. Now imagine one person stood up and said ‘I will be a sacrifice for all of that’ because God is a God of justice and He must punish in order to balance the scales of justice. If one person stood up and said ‘I’ll take the punishment’, what do you think that punishment would be?” Interestingly they all say the death penalty. And I say that we have all agreed that none of us are good enough to be a sacrifice for God because He’s perfect and we are not. And they all agree. And it’s at that point that I say "God seeing our inadequacy, said, ‘I will be the sacrifice’. And that’s why He sent Jesus. That’s why any time you see a cross, or someone on a cross…that’s what the Gospel message and the Bible is all about. It’s about us not being able to be a sacrifice for what we have done wrong. And it’s for God to say ‘I will be the sacrifice’. Jesus went to the cross to forgive every single one of our sins. Isn’t that great news? " And they actually know it. And I say it’s great because in a sense we’re all free and yet we’re not. Jesus has died for the forgiveness of every ones sins, but we still have a choice to make. It’s at that point that I say: "Every one of us will meet God one day.” I don’t suggest it, I say it. We will meet God one day and we will either meet Him as a God of justice or a God of mercy. If we refuse everything Jesus has done for us, then we are effectively saying to God "God I don’t want to meet you based on Jesus, I want to meet you based on how good I have been.” But we’ve all agreed that we are not good enough and so we are asking for the justice of God. I tell them that that is a scary place to be. But I also say "if we meet God one day after having received and accepted everything Jesus has done for us, the forgiveness of our sins, and deciding to do an about turn, follow Him for the rest of our days, then we will meet Him as a God of mercy. And it makes sense in this world that if we don’t want to live with God in this world then why would we want to meet and live with God in the world to come. And yet if we do live with and for God in this life, then we would want to live with Him in a life to come.” And interestingly they nod in agreement.
I simply finish by doing this. It’s a very simple little presentation. I normally bring along a 5 Euro note. And there’s one there –five euros - foreign money. And I normally say "who wants it?” And there’s quite a few hands go up. They’re a little bit shy for about 30 seconds and then the shyness stops and a few hands go up. And I say "Okay, what if I take it and I scrunch it up? Get it all wrinkled. Who still wants it?” And the hands still go up. I normally have two cups beside me – one full of water, one full of dirt. I put it in the water, make sure they see all the drips, and I say "Who still wants it?” And the hands still go up. And then I put it in the dirt and you can see them screwing their face up. They don’t like it. I get it all dirty and filthy and I say "Who still wants it?” The first hand that goes up, they get the money. And it’s interesting because I say to everyone then "Why did they still want the money?” And one or two, sometimes maybe more say this, because "it has never lost its value”. And I simply end by saying this: "You will get wrinkled one day. You will get as wrinkled as me or maybe wrinkled as some older people in this life. And you’ll become perhaps soaked in the things this world has to offer you. And at times you may feel dirty and filthy, but you will never lose your value with God.
And with that final statement, I remind them again "even though you will never lose your value, you still need to decide. Will you meet the God of justice or the God of mercy? The choice is yours. "
Lee and I have done that from March until now. It’s a great honour for me to say we have presented that to hundreds of soldiers, most of whom right now are in Afghanistan.
And so, God has opened doors for us. Thank you so much for your prayers. And I would ask you as 2012 approaches, please pray that God will continue to open doors for us to give that presentation to many, many more soldiers, especially as they come back home as well.