Thursday, December 27, 2007

An Encounter with John MacArthur

Over the last few weeks I had the pleasure of spending copious amounts of time with both my family, as well as my wife's family. Much like every other married couple in America, we had to split up our time between both families. Fortunately, our families both live within two hours of us, so it really isn't as bad as it could be. No plane tickets.

My parents live the furthest away so we planned to spend four days with them first, and then spend four days with Erin's family. Thus our journey began.

Spending time with my family is always enjoyable. They have most every creature comfort that you could imagine, which my flesh reviled in. I am sad to say that I gave in to the temptation of laziness for most of my time with my family. The last few weeks I had been struggling with being committed to my time in the Word as well as prayer(to my shame), so this was just the icing on my cake of spiritual deluinquincy. Fortunately, God knows when one of his children needs an intervention.

In Colorado Springs we have a few malls that are comparative to most average malls in America. They are nothing spectatcular, but they serve their purpose. As my family and I walked around the mall we basically window shopped. I was content, and completely ignorant to what was about to happen. My parents were ready to go, but I was starving. Erin and my sister, Aimee, were off trying to figure out where Aimee could get her ears pierced so I was basically all alone, on a mission to Chick-Fil-A.

After ordering the largest serving of nuggets that I could along with a large lemonade, I made my way back to my parents so that we could leave the chaos of Christmas shopping behind us. While walking, I chomped down on a delicious nugget and turned my head towards one of the many shoe stores in the mall. At first, all I saw was a bunch of shoes, a clerk, and a white haired older gentleman looking at a pair of shoes. All of sudden my brain fired, and I did a double-take. Here is what occured from my mind's point of view.

Brain: "Is that John MacArthur?"

Me: "Not possible. He lives in California."

Brain: "I really think that it was him."

Me: "It's Christmas. He would not be in this mall. He would be with his family."

Brain: "Well, you could just go ask. If it's him, great! If not, no big deal."

Me: "Fine...Stupid brain."

So I walked up to the gemtleman who was now bending over, which by the way was incredibly awkward, and the following conversation ensued...

Me: "Pastor MacArthur?"

JMac: "Yes?"

(At this point I started shaking thinking that my greeting was probably theologically incorrect.)

Me: "My name is Paul Pavlik, and I am a HUGE FAN! (I didn't really say that).

Me: "I saw you preach at the Desiring God conference and I wanted to thank you for your ministry and all that God has done through you. It has been a true blessing."

JMac: "Well, thank you Paul. It is always encouraging to hear that."

Me: "What are you doing in Colorado?"

JMac: "My wife's mother lives here so we are here to spend some time with her."

Me: "Oh, well that's great. I didn't mean to scare you, I just really wanted to thank you again for your ministry.

JMac: "Thanks Paul. It was nice to meet you."

Me: "Thank you again (shakes hand) and God bless you sir."

There it was. God's intervention was John MacArthur. In person. What was most encouraging to me was that he was very gentle in his speech, quiet, and very friendly. He really did have the demeanor of any run of the mill pastor, and that gave me great peace and confidence that he really lived what he preached. He was just a man. Looking at shoes and buying shampoo for his wife. Needless to say I have had more time in the Word and in prayer as a result.

I must conclude by saying that this really did make my day. However, it was not because of the man, John MacArthur. While it was a joy to meet someone I greatly admire, it was more wonderful to see that God cares for me enough to bring one of his frontline warriors to our tiny mall, which in turn brought joy and encouragment to a down-trodden saint. Thank you Lord that you care about me so. And thank you again for Dr. MacArthur's ministry and how you have used it in my life and the countless lives of others.

Oh, and maybe next time you could use John Piper...

Just kidding.