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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN


Joe Needs Our Help

Joe is a hard worker. He is honest and dependable. At the warehouse where he works, they call him "Mo-Joe" because he is stronger and can move more freight in less time than anyone on his shift.

Joe lives for Wednesday nights. That's when he bowls with his friends from the warehouse. They are a closeknit, beer-drinking, back-slapping group of guys who enjoy a special camaraderie when they are together at the lanes.

But, beyond Wednesday night bowling, Joe's life is empty and lonely. His wife, Susan, is a nominal Christian who persuades him to attend church services with heron special occasions like Christmas and Easter.  But he only does it for her. He lives for Wednesday night and bowling.

In the course of time a new man was assigned to Joe's shift at the warehouse. Frank was different from his other co-workers. He possessed a spirit of kindness and genuine happiness that really caught Joe's attention. Frank was a Christian. And he was enjoying life fully without being a part of the Wednesday night bowling group. He seemed to have the kind of life Joe had always dreamed about.

Yes, Frank eventually shared his faith in such a way that Joe became a Christian. He gave up the Wednesday night outings with the boys and started attending church services with Susan.

The preaching was good. The preacher always had positive things to say that were stimulating. But when the "amen" was uttered, Joe and Susan were strangers in a sea of smiling faces. Polite folks said "Hello" and "How are you?" But there was no depth, no feeling. They could see others really enjoying themselves in their friendship circles, but those circles seemed closed to strangers.

Determination had always been one of Joe's strengths. He and Susan started attending a Bible class so they could get to know more people and build some friendships. Again the group was friendly enough on the surface, but they were never made to feel like a part of the group - only like regular visitors.

Susan still attends preaching services with some regularity. Joe still goes with her on special occasions. But Joe lives again for Wednesday nights at the bowling alley where people really care for him. He's still empty and lonely except when he's with his back-slapping, beer-drinking, bowling buddies. They love him and accept him.

For His Cause,
Tim Woodward