When you think of a “cuppa” in London, is tea the first thing that comes to mind? Then it may surprise you to hear that Simon Lissak’s ministry is percolating over cups of coffee. Pray that those to whom he’s reaching out will soon have their cups overflowing—with the joy of knowing Jesus! Simon says …
I recently met David, who is in his 50s and was dressed in clothing more suited to the Woodstock hippie scene of the 1970s than Golders Green in 2012! Originally from an Orthodox Jewish background, David no longer believes in God or the Bible. He trusts that science has all the answers and says that religion is evil. I explained that Jesus was known for upsetting the religious status quo, and invited David to have coffee with me and a few others in Starbucks. He replied that he would come if he could.
Later I spoke Leo, an atheist Jew recently engaged to a non-Jewish atheist. His fiance’s parents are evangelical Christians. Leo suggested we meet up at Costa Coffee, and I found myself there before I remembered I had told David we’d be at Starbucks! When I got to the café, I put my Jews for Jesus jacket on the back of the chair facing out into the café and sat opposite, as is my custom, so I can see how people respond. As it happened, Leo sat in the chair on which I’d placed my jacket!
Before long, a man named Stanley came over and began to challenge Leo about the Jews for Jesus jacket! I quickly explained that I was the owner of the jacket and Stanley told me in no uncertain terms that what I was doing was wrong. When I asked him why he thought so, he had difficulty finding a reason and eventually sat down with us.
Stanley said that he believed in God and the Torah, so I read him Genesis 32:22-32 and asked him with whom he thought Jacob had wrestled. He refused to believe it was God and challenged my translation and interpretation. I asked Leo, “According to the plain meaning of the text, does it sound like God was wrestling with Jacob?” Leo said it did sound like God was wrestling with Jacob, even though Leo thinks it’s all nonsense! So I challenged Stanley that if the Torah said this, then why was the idea of Jesus being God so difficult? He couldn’t answer.
At one point in the conversation, Stanley asked me, “Is it possible to forgive someone who has hurt you even though you have tried without success to forgive them for years?” He then told me that something had happened to hurt him in his teenage years, and he had not been able to forgive the person. Stanley has never married, though he was engaged twice, and somehow this fact seems connected with what happened to him in his younger years.
I shared about how my past failure to forgive had generated bitterness and broken relationships in my family. I read from Hosea 6 and explained to Stanley that I believe that only God can heal his wounds.
As Leo, Stanley and I were talking, David arrived. He had found us despite the change of venue! David’s religious views are similar to Leo’s. I asked David what he thought about the Bible, and he dismissed it as a collection of myths. I kept returning to Genesis 1:1 and said that if that verse is true, then all else is possible.
Then Alan joined us. He is Jewish and enjoys our coffee evenings. He does not believe in Jesus but thinks it is good to wrestle over the things of God. It turned out that David and Alan had gone to the same school and have been friends ever since!
Stanley gave me his contact details and said he might come again. David gave me his mobile number and agreed to meet with me again to examine the Scriptures. Please pray for this disparate group of men, that they might accept Jesus as their Messiah.”
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