Friday, December 14, 2007

My Mate Bob

This week I had to have my car serviced. I have a friend called Bob who has his own car repair business who has been 'doing my cars' for years. So off I went to drop off my Ford estate for a few hours in exchange for his 'courtesy car', an old Maestro van.

If you want quality surroundings and coffee while you wait RJ Bartle Motors is not the place for you. If you want a quality mechanic who is as honest as they come and an hours chat when you drop your car off and when you pick it up then Bob is your man.

As I drove back home in the courtesy van I reminded myself of how we met and how instrumental this ordinary man of God was in bringing me back into the fold.

I had been out of the 'ministry' for a couple of years and Mrs P and I were not attending church. We had many issues and felt hurt and rejected so we didn't go. We were okay with that but in reality if we had stayed in that routine we would have missed much.

I was out of work and we had no money. Ben, our eldest, was a baby and I had an old Ford Cortina that we could just about afford. One day the engine kept cutting out. My father-in-law advised me that he knew a mechanic who happened to be a Christian and who we could trust to do an honest job. That was Bob. He had a garage not far from home and so I managed to get there and within a couple of minutes he diagnosed and fixed the problem. Can't even remember if he charged us.

Not long after I got a job and changed my car for a VW Camper. I had always wanted one. It turned out to be the biggest drain on my finances. Always in for repair. Bob was the one who benefited from this. We began to develop a friendship, Bob is a talker.

One January through a Christian friend at work we were invited to a concert held in a school hall. We drove freezing cold in our camper quite a distance out of Birmingham where we live. The concert began and who should be one of the lead singers but Bob. His seven month pregnant wife was one of the other singers. We got talking at the end and found out that they attending a little Baptist Church not far from where we lived.

Over the next months my camper spent more time with Bob than me and so my visits to see him increased. Eventually he found me another car when I finally gave in and sacrificed the dream for reality (and solvency). Then one day he asked me bluntly why I didn't attend church and why didn't I go to his that Sunday. I did and my wife and I spent three years there before moving to another Baptist Church which we attended for thirteen years.

That little church brought great healing to us. God used it to restore us and we gained great friendships that will never end. There is lots more to the story but time limits what I can write.

Thank God for His ordinary people who take faith seriously and live the gospel not just preach it. Thank God for the Bob's of this world who are naturally supernatural.

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