I was in a hallway outside of the main auditorium having a conversation with my friend Eric Wiezorek. A woman came uncomfortably close to my “personal space,” and stared at my name badge. I acknowledged her but she stared off into space and walked away. Eric and I both commented on how strange her behavior was and went back to talking.
Moments later she returned and asked if I on was staff at IHOPKC. She pulled me aside and in hushed tones told how a family of Muslims had wandered into the arena by mistake. Some Arabic speaking Christians offered them seats in the main auditorium.
Kirk Bennett was taking the offering. At one point during the offering he mentioned the growth of Islam in America. Although it was not a derogatory or hateful statement it made these visitors feel uncomfortable and they immediately left. The lady retelling this story was named Judy; she had sat next to this family and was personally devastated. In fact she was close to anger over the issue. If not dealt with promptly offense and bitterness would easily set in. She was hoping that I would take her complaint directly to the speaker…because in her words “this was another example of Christians being insensitive to non-believers.” I was suggesting that we pray for them and that she could email IHOPKC when I looked up and there 15 feet in front of us was Kirk.
She was reluctant to approach him, but I didn’t let her miss this chance. We walked up together and I introduced her to Kirk, she proceeded to tell him what happened. He responded with empathy and compassion, reminding her that God was capable of using our mistakes and that the main thing was for these Muslims to encounter Jesus. Immediately we prayed for these four people.
Judy’s whole demeanor changed, I reminded her that this was not a coincidence but a divinely orchestrated moment. What my friend Joe Ford calls a “coinciGod.” There were 12,000 people at this conference. She went back to her seat in the main auditorium. I had just witnessed the mercy of God in action. God gave her a chance to let go of “offense,” and she responded with a YES. She was allowed direct access to the person whom she believed had caused offense. Kirk responded with the Sermon on the Mount attitudes. Three of us agreed in prayer for four Islamic strangers to encounter the living Jesus Christ who is more than a prophet but is actually God. Jesus said if we had offense against our brother we should go immediately and set it right. Is there any offense in my heart?
*Originally Written January 2007 As A Newsletter Update. Reposting here to Celebrate Our Family's 9th Year In Ministry Here at IHOPKC