Tag Doug Webber

LA Story – Forgiven

Forgiven. The word is like magic. This account in Luke 7 describes an incident that transformed the reputation of “a woman who had lived a sinful life” into Mary, the sister of Lazarus and friend of Jesus (John 11:2). Modern-day accounts of this miracle story are still played out in God’s Kingdom today. I am reminded of Ken and Jessica (the names and exact details have been changed for obvious reasons). They were disciples, married for 15 years with three beautiful children. To the observer, they had a beautiful marriage, a beautiful family, and a beautiful life. But things were very different behind closed doors. He was harsh and demanding. She was rebellious and distant. There had been problems from the beginning, but they were not open with other disciples who could have helped. He increasingly drew his happiness from his work. She was emotionally starving, and Satan was quickly on the scene with just the person to fill her emotional needs. Soon she was in a full-blown affair. For months Jessica was able to keep it a secret, but the inevitable day came when Ken found out. Jessica did the unthinkable; she left Ken and her three children to be with her illicit lover. Gloria searched for Jessica, went after her, and was finally able to convince her to come home.

LA Story – Without Limit

The men of the Los Angeles International Church of Christ were increasingly filled “with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction” in the month of September. It began with the decision to host Men’s Forums in each of the 10 Regions of the church on the weekend of October 2-4. Inspired by our women hosting their Women’s Days and by the tremendously successful Men’s Day recently held in Mexico City, we decided to mobilize our men. Earlier this year, under the leadership of World Sector Leader Peter Garcia-Bengochea, the 1,037 men of the Mexico City Church had an attendance of 5,000 at a hard-hitting spiritually-oriented men’s event. Following their lead, we designed our Men’s Forum to be much more than an evangelistic service. We wanted it to be both a revival for our men and an opportunity to share our faith with our friends.

LA Story – Braveheart

Freedom fighters capture our attention and spark our imagination. Braveheart, the theme for this issue of LA Story, was the title of an Academy-Award-winning movie about a 13th century Scottish rebel warrior who fought to overthrow a tyrant English king. Jesus Christ is the ultimate freedom fighter. He issued his declaration of independence at the beginning of his ministry in Luke 4. Freedom fighters come and go, but Jesus, through his Holy Spirit, has been leading the fight for freedom against Satan for 2,000 years. Through the centuries many have fought valiantly and died under the spiritual banner of Lord Jesus. We, his modern-day disciples, have also answered his call to battle (Matthew 28:18-20). Because the present chapter of this fight is only a few years old, starting in Boston in June 1979, our honor role of men and women who have died in battle as heroes is still small. Today, I want to add a name to that distinctive list, the name of Bob Ricker.  Bob Ricker was a bravehearted, freedom fighter from the day I first met him in Boston in the early part of the 1980’s. He was a college student with a single-minded purpose: make disciples. He really believed that the whole world could be evangelized in just one generation. He wanted to do his part and he did. For instance, Bob met a young nurse, Carol Best, and invited her to church. She came and brought her boy friend, John McGuirk. Both Carol and John became disciples, married, and became missionaries in Paris and Brussels. John converted his sister, Sue. Sue married Steve Shoff, and they went into the full-time ministry. At UCLA, Sue met and converted Candice Figueras. Candice now leads the women of the church in Istanbul, Turkey.

Great Expectations

Starting over is refreshing. A new semester in school, a new job, a new home, a new Bible Talk, a new life in Christ after baptism – a clean start. Here we are in January, 1996. This L.A. Story is both a look back to 1995 and a look ahead at God’s great expectations.