Extended influence

Date: Saturday, August 3

ScriptureActs 18:18-28

Verse: He began to speak boldly in the synagogue; but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained the Way of God to him more accurately. (Acts 18:26)

Today’s text reminded me of a story. 

Edward Kimball was concerned about one of his young Sunday school students who worked at a shoe store in town. One day Kimball visited him at the store, found the student in the back stocking shoes, and led him to Christ then and there. Dwight L. Moody eventually left the shoe store to become one of the greatest preachers and evangelists of all time. 

Moody…preached in a little chapel pastored by a young man with the imposing name of Frederic Brotherton Meyer… In his sermon Moody told an emotionally charged story about a Sunday School teacher he had known in Chicago who personally went to every student in his class and led every one of them to Christ. 

That message changed Pastor Meyer’s entire ministry, inspiring him to become an evangelist like Moody… Once in Northfield, Massachusetts, a confused young preacher sitting in the back row heard Meyer say, “If you are not willing to give up everything for Christ, are you willing to be made willing?” That remark led J. Wilbur Chapman to respond to the call of God in his life. 

Chapman went on to become one of the most effective evangelists of his time. A volunteer by the name of Billy Sunday helped set up his crusades and learned how to preach watching Chapman. Sunday eventually took over Chapman’s ministry, becoming one of the most dynamic evangelists of the 20th century… 

Inspired by a 1924 Billy Sunday crusade in Charlotte, North Carolina, a committee of Christians there dedicated themselves to reaching that city for Christ. The committee invited the evangelist Mordecai Ham to hold a series of evangelistic meetings in 1932. A lanky 16-year-old sat in the huge crowd one evening… Night after night the teenager attended and finally went forward to give his life to Christ. 

The teenagers name? Billy Graham.

(Rice, Wayne. “A Nobody Named Kimball.” Still More Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks: 100 More Attention-getting Stories, Parables & Anecdotes. Grand Rapids, MI: Youth Specialties/Zondervan, 1999. 37-38. Print.)

After Paul leaves Ephesus, his work there continues through those with whom he had made tents, Priscilla and Aquila. In the hands of God, we have no idea how influential one little act, like taking the time to visit a friend at a shoe store, can be.  

Prayer: Holy Spirit, use me for your glory. Amen. 

Action: Trace your spiritual genealogy. Who influenced you most in your spiritual journey? Who influenced them? 

Respond: Do you have a story where you can look back and see a whole chain of events that led you to where you are? Share it by clicking “Leave a Comment” below. If you are receiving this via email, click the title at the top of the email to take you to the devotion webpage where you can leave a comment.


About Joe Iovino

Christian, husband & father, Associate Pastor in Monument CO, guitar player, motorcyclist, Mets fan.
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One Response to Extended influence

  1. Wally says:

    Carley was “willing to be willing” and we are all blessed by he!!

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