I felt as though I already knew Charles pretty well, even though I’d spent only two hours of my life with him. That’s because a year ago I interviewed him in Phoenix and heard his powerful story of coming to faith in Christ.
I recorded that interview, then transcribed it word-for-word onto my computer, a tedious process consisting of Start. Stop. Rewind. Repeat.
Then I wrote up his story for my new book: Faith Unexpected: Real Stories of People Who Found What They Never Imagined.
Charles never imagined that Jesus Christ would be the solution to his many problems. He never saw membership in the family of God in his future. As so often happens, God took him by surprise.
Two lessons from Charles Ramirez
1. Incarnation: The gospel is embedded or “incarnated” in the lives of real persons like Charles who are being transformed from darkness to light, blindness to sight, old self to new.
In our churches, we should hear these stories regularly. If we don’t, something’s not right.
2. Clear preaching: Charles had a stunning conversion experience in the privacy of a very lonely Arizona apartment a few years ago. But it was the clear biblical teaching of Pastor Keith Bethel at Passages Christian Fellowship of Laveen, AZ where he responded to the call to faith and solidified his commitment to Christ.
This is a reminder to me that in my own role as a public communicator, I need to stick to the basics. Gospel preaching should never be considered out of style.
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Primary audiences for the book:
- Our friends who are “on the way” toward God, or just need their dormant faith awakened.
- First-time church visitors, Alpha participants, and outreach Bible study members.
- Christians who need the encouragement that comes from soaking in the life-changing stories of others, through God’s power.