Monday, February 17, 2014

HOW THE 10TH VICTIM OF HILLSIDE STRANGLER (LAUREN WAGNER) CHANGED MY SPIRITUAL LIFE!

In November of 1977 while I was a freshman in college and when my girl friend (now my wife) were at a friends apartment eating dinner and watching TV a special new report broke in and the reporter announced, "This just in Laurene Wagner's body was found making her the 10th victim of the Hillside strangler," and then they put a picture of her up on the television screen.

I don't remember anything that the reporter said because once I heard her name, Laurene Wagner, and saw her picture my mind was immediately transported back to 9 months earlier when I was a Senior in high school and working for Taco Bell.  One of my co-workers was Laurene!  She pretty, funny and full of life and "yes" I was attracted to her!  Once, after getting my courage up, I asked Laurene if she would like to go out on a date sometime.  After her asked her that she just look at me with a little grin on her face and said, "Sure, I'd like to go out with you. But on one condition!"  "One condition", I said.  "And what condition is that?" I asked her.  "On the condition that you never talk to me about that Jesus crap!" Laurene had heard that I was Christian, that I went to church and that my father was a pastor and she didn't want to have anything to do with religion.  It wasn't what she said that impacted me but it was my response back to her that God has seared into my memory and for which came haunting me 9 months later.  For when she said, "Don't ever talk to me about that Jesus crap" I responded back to her with, "I wasn't going to tell you about Him any how!"  And I meant those words.  Though I was a Christian, at that time in my life I was more concern about my image of being popular than I was about people's salvation.

Then 9 months later those words that I said, words I didn't even remember saying until I saw her picture on the TV, came rushing back to me over and over again and the Holy Spirit convicted my soul unlike I have every experience before or since.  After I realized that Lauren had been brutally raped and murdered question started flooding my mind.  Question like: Did anyone tell her about Jesus?  Did she ever give her heart to Christ?  I knew I hadn't and I knew I never intended to!  Now God was convicting me by rebuking me by saying, "How dare you withhold the greatest gift ever given when you had a chance to share it!", "How dare you be more concerned with your image of popularity and you are about the eternal soul of another person!"  How dare you be disobedient with the most important command I have given my people!"  How Dare You!

I became overwhelmed with emotion and just ran out of the apartment without an explanation.  My girl friend came after me asking me what was wrong.  I sat there with my head in arms and through the tear of shame that flooded my heart shared with her all that was going on with me.

But something good did come out of that night.  For it was that night that I made a personal declaration.  On that night I declared "Never again would anyone wonder if I was a fully devoted follower of Christ; never again would I withhold the great gift ever given to mankind; Never again would I refuse to shine the Light of Christ to those who were still lost in the darkness.  Never Again!

Since that time day I have committed myself to improve and become the best witness for Christ that I could possibly be.  Don't misunderstand me, I am not an evangelist but I am a witness for Jesus.  If a person is going to get to me, they will have to get to know Jesus. For you cannot know me without knowing about Jesus.

This is why I have started The Ordinary Christian. It is to empower, encourage and equip ordinary christians to live powerful missional lives that shine the Light of Christ brightly in their part of this dark world.  That is why I produce a free weekly video devotional called Missional Devotionals to encourage God's people to be intentional about sharing Jesus.  You can find out more information about these devotionals at:


So what keeps you from sharing Jesus to others who desperately need to hear of him?
Is it embarrassment? Fear? or Discouragement?  What then?  And what are you going to do about it?

 You are the delivery person of the great gift ever given!  A gift given by God himself and he want us to share with the world!

Let me encourage you to be intentional about sharing Jesus and making fully devoted followers of Christ.  Jesus said, "You Are The Light Of The World". Take that identity seriously and GO SHINE HIS LIGHT!


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