The Starting Line

By   •   October 31, 2008

Jim, a Wheaton College graduate, turned to see three Navy cadets he had met earlier in the day. Jim had traveled with a group of Wheaton students to Charleston to hand out fliers for the Lowcountry Franklin Graham Festival. While walking through Northwoods Mall, he had spotted three Navy cadets.

Seeing Jim approaching, Kristopher Brooks, the tallest of the three, thought, “Dude, this is the mall. I’ve already made a purchase. What do I have to buy now?”

Jim Botts had just prayed with someone to receive Christ at the Lowcountry Franklin Graham Festival Saturday night when a friend pointed out three men standing in the audience wearing white uniforms.

Jim handed each cadet a flier and the four men began talking. The cadets said they expect to be deployed during the next year.

“Does the prospect of being put in harm’s way bother you?” Jim asked.

“Well … yes,” they said.

Jim began to share the Gospel. Kristopher and one of the other cadets listened intently. The third said he was already a Christian.

Jim explained that sin separates us from God and that we all will be judged for our sin, unless we accept that Jesus took the judgment on the cross for us. The two men prayed to receive Christ right there in the mall, then Jim invited them to the Festival. At the coliseum, Jim, another student and two ushers formed a circle with the cadets and prayed.

“We wanted to be sure they understood that this is not the finish line that they have crossed,” Jim said. “This is the starting line.”

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