That Glorious Gospel Train image

That Glorious Gospel Train

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Normally when exercising I go unplugged. Even when marathon training and doing long two or three hour runs I don’t listen to music, preferring to hear what is going on around me rather than have a layer of distraction between my senses and the place I’m running through. The one exception to this general rule is when I do circuit training; then I like a driving beat: The Prodigy, Muse, Propellerheads, Led Zeppelin.

I like it when Bruce Springsteen’s Land of Hope & Dreams comes round on the playlist – not only for the beat, but for the lyrics. It’s a gospel song, and I like the gospel. A lot.

Well, this train carries saints and sinners
This train carries losers and winners
This train carries whores and gamblers
This train carries lost souls

Come on this train
People get ready
You don’t need no ticket
All you gotta do is
Just get onboard
Onboard this train (this train, now)
People get ready
You don’t need no ticket (oh now, no you don’t)
You don’t need no ticket
You just get onboard (people get ready)
You just thank the Lord (people get ready)
You just thank the Lord (people get ready)
You just thank the Lord (people get ready)

In my experience getting people onto that train can often feel like trying to carve through granite. And once someone makes a response to the gospel the work of discipleship can be equally brutal. Truly, the seed often falls on ground rocky, weedy and scorched. So when someone turns in faith to Jesus and carries faithfully on that train it is a beautiful thing.

Recently I was at a celebration meeting of several local churches at which a woman shared her beautiful story. Hers was the archetypal broken life: a tough, abusive childhood, the inevitable searching for love in the wrong places, with the tragic fall into drug addiction and prostitution. The persistent love and witness of Christians who cared about her led to a wonderful conversion and a life that is now clean and stable. “I love Jesus to death” was the crescendo of her testimony. Not a dry eye in the house.

Last Sunday we had the joy of baptizing a young woman from Guadeloupe, currently living and working in Bournemouth. She emailed me a few days later:

Sunday was a wonderful day for me too. I know where I come from and I am very happy and thankful that God lead me all the way to UK and this church. Every single person at Gateway has made this possible. I have never seen so much love anywhere else before. I am very thankful because nobody knew me before I came through the door at the church. And everybody accepted me. I know it would not be possible without the love of Jesus in their heart. I am really looking forward for this new start with God. I want to know him more and more and be surrounded by his love. I want to learn how to discern His voice so I can go where he sends me and do what he wants me do. All for His big Purpose.

Not a dry eye in the house. You just thank the Lord.

There’s nothing like the gospel: no matter how hard the ground may at times seem, keep urging people to get on board, saints and sinners, losers and winners, whores and gamblers. This train carries lost souls.

 

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