Here is an email from our archives. We received this back in 2010 and it has not ceased to be a source of encouragement for us. Here is the story of one young person leading another to faith in Christ through the use of By This Name and frozen custard! We pray it might encourage you to do the same with someone in your life (well, except for the frozen custard). Here is Timothy’s* story.
I was putting away chairs and clearing up the hall after our youth group meeting. I’d been teaching the group and it had been a very good time of learning and fellowship. One of the new members of the group approached me. His name was Jake,* and without any preamble, he started talking. Though this was our first conversation, he wasn’t bashful or reserved. He spoke to me as if we were old friends.
As Jake shared bits and pieces about himself, I was able to piece together his life. Jake had started attending our youth group because he had fathered a child with one of the girls in the group. At age 16 and still in junior high, he was already a father. But it didn’t seem to trouble him at all.
From the first conversation onwards, he would approach me after every youth group. Although I wanted to develop our friendship, his conversation topics were not my cup of tea, so to speak. I decided that we needed to try something different in order to avoid hours of empty conversation. So, I invited him out for coffee on a night that I wasn’t so busy. He agreed. As I wondered how to best use that time, the Lord impressed on me the idea of taking Jake through By This Name. I asked him if he would like to study the book with me. He said yes immediately and I suspected he didn’t know what he had signed up for.
The next Monday after school, I picked him up and we drove to a local burger place. There, over a pint of frozen custard, we spent the next two hours in study. I would read the commentary from By This Name, and Jake would read the Bible verses. This became our routine three times a week. Each time we met for frozen custard, we would go through about 25 pages of the book. Jake really loved highlighting the key points. Throughout all the sessions, he was very attentive. Jake was like a blank book and I was filling in the pages. Aware of this, I was especially conscious that it was important for me to teach God’s word accurately. This was one of the reasons why I enjoy By This Name so much—it moves a reader straight through the Bible with the sole purpose of opening the reader’s eyes to the person and work of Jesus Christ.
At our last meeting, we read through chapters 14 and 15. It was a four-hour marathon! Jake wouldn’t let me stop. We then arrived at the point in the book where it said, “If you believe keep reading… If you don’t, skip to page…” I looked Jake in the eye and asked, “What’s it going to be?”
Jake replied, “Everything we’ve read so far, has led me to say yes… let’s keep reading.” For me, this wasn’t a clear declaration of faith so I paused to summarize the book once more, explaining the gospel message one more time. I explained the decision that was before him—to put his trust in Jesus for salvation or to reject the Bible’s message. He said he believed the Bible to be true and he affirmed that he believed in Jesus. So there it was! He was now a believer.
Jake now hopes to go through the book with someone else, in the same way I did with him. He’s praying that the Lord will lead him to someone who wants to learn the message of the gospel. He’s come a long way, starting as someone who was biblically illiterate to become a believer who wants to share the precious gospel message. I’m thankful to God and to all the people who put in so much work into By This Name.
By This Name was designed to be used in two ways: to enable someone read the central theme of the Bible for himself or so that a friend can guide another in the same manner that Timothy did with Jake. Are there any Jakes in your life?
Let us know how you’ve used the book in the comments section below.
(*Name changed as per GoodSeed policy.)
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