Vol. 36, No. 6 -- June 2016
CHRIST LUTHERAN CHURCH OF THE DEAF
9545 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910
The Pastor Didn't Believe in God!
Dr. Ray Jarmin was the pastor of a large church in California. In his youth, he enrolled in college and seminary as a Bible-believing Christian, but his unbelieving professors successfully destroyed his faith.
When he recited the Apostle's Creed, he lied. Dr Jarmin didn't believe that God the Father was the almighty creator of heaven and earth. He didn't believe that Mary was a virgin before Jesus was born. He didn't believe that Jesus rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, or that He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
As he looked over his congregation on Sunday morning, Dr. Jarmin was puzzled why they came, and why they gave their offerings. He felt like he was the pilot of a jetliner, who didn't have any idea where he was going, and all his passengers were as lost as he was. ...all except one.
Shannon was a member of Dr. Jarmin's church. Shannon went to a weekend conference, where he heard the Good News about what Jesus did for him on the cross. Shannon learned that God forgave all his sins, and he enthusiastically received God's gift in faith.
Back home, it didn't take long for Shannon to realize that his own pastor did not believe in Christ. Dr. Jarmin could preach philosophy, history, and New Age theology, but it was clear that he didn't know Jesus.
Naturally, Shannon wanted to find a church that believed and taught God's Word. But he felt that God wanted him to stay and pray for his pastor. To help him, Shannon recruited an army of prayer warriors to lift up Ray Jarmin daily in prayer, while he took advantage of every opportunity to tell Pastor Jarmin about Jesus.
Shannon invited his pastor to lunch. He invited him to prayer meetings and social events at his home. Jarmin always answered Shannon's invitation to trust Christ, "That's fine for you, but it's not for me."
After four years of this, Shannon, almost ready to give up, asked his pastor for a private meeting, in Pastor Jarmin's home.
This time Shannon's approach was different than before. He said, "Pastor, you have tried to find God through psychology and philosophy and your PhD degrees, and it hasn't worked. The Bible says that all who come to Him must come as a little child in simple faith."
Those words hit Dr. Jarmin hard. He realized that he had been a proud man. In his mind he saw a scene that was not very pretty. It was his own life -- places he had been, things he had done and said. For the first time he saw himself in the mirror of God's holiness, and he broke down and cried. "God can't love me! I am too great of a sinner!"
Shannon put his arms around Dr. Jarmin and said, "Jesus says, 'I stand at the door and knock. If anyone will open the door, I will come in to him.' " ...and He did.
That next Sunday Dr. Ray Jarmin finally had Good News to preach to his congregation. But the church leaders were upset. A few weeks later, the chairman of the congregation told Dr. Jarmin that the council had decided it was time for him to "retire." He didn't need to worry about next Sunday's service. They already had another pastor scheduled.
Pastor Jarmin confessed that in his 52 years of ministry in the church, he had not led one soul to Christ -- you can't give what you don't have. But now that he had been kicked out of the church, with a story to tell, God has used that story to lead many to Christ.