He was a rich, young gold trader in his city’s bazaar. By the age of 20 he had achieved more success than most would see in a lifetime. Ali could afford all of life’s ‘pleasures’. He did whatever he pleased, and soon he was a chain-smoking alcoholic who was addicted to opium and marijuana.
High on whatever drug was humming in his head, he was charming and popular. Making deals was easy. Every day there were profits.
But privately he was very angry. There was venom in his heart. The mornings were especially bad. Often his mother faced his foul fury; once he even threw cups and saucers at her. She had no answers. He had no answers.
Then Ali had a strange day. Three times from three different people he was told that Jesus could change him. And he wanted to change. First a friend in the bazaar came and told him about Jesus. Then that night on the internet two other friends without any connection, shared the Gospel.
When the third friend started to share Jesus, Ali became excited. This was not a coincidence: one day, three different friends, one message. God was clearly pursuing him.
Ali bowed his knee and asked Jesus into his life. He immediately knew the drugs had to stop. After one day of withdrawal pains, he was free. The anger stopped too. He became peaceful.
A few weeks later a friend in the bazaar came to him needing a fix. He knew Ali was always well supplied. Ali told him he had none. The friend thought he was joking. Everyone knew that Ali always had drugs. But Ali had no drugs for his friend. He had Someone much better. And Ali talked to his friend about Jesus Christ, the friend of sinners.
Ali is typical of the thousands who are coming to faith in Jesus these days. Church growth has very little to do with complicated theological arguments, and everything to do with Jesus coming into a messy life, cleaning it up, and living in an Ali or a Fatimeh, giving purpose and joy.
• Ali to continue to grow as a disciple and soul winner
• More people like Ali to encounter the living Christ
• Evangelists sharing the Gospel