Son Leads 85-Year-Old Father to Christ Through Online Bible Study • Bible Recorder

Photo by David Clanton
During the pandemic, Barry Calhoun has used Microsoft Teams to connect with his father and extended family who live more than 600 miles away, leading them into Lifeway’s Explore the Bible study on Luke’s book.

Barry Calhoun opened the Bible study book on his desk and thought of Jesus’ parable of a man who refused to stop knocking on his neighbor’s door for help. It reminded Calhoun to once again say the prayer he had been bringing to God for almost 40 years: “Lord, please save my father.”

Calhoun opened his eyes and logged into Microsoft Teams where his extended family who live over 600 miles away were waiting to lead them into a Explore the Bible study on the book of Luke. He scanned the room – Mom was there; as well as several siblings. But where was dad?

“He has to be here,” Calhoun said. “He’s the main reason we’re doing this.”

A long road of evangelization

Calhoun, a church mobilization strategist with the International Mission Board, became a Christian when he was 9 years old. But her father, Charles, had always kept his distance from Christianity.

“When we were growing up, he would send us to church with our mother and give us a quarter to put in the offering, but that was it,” Calhoun said. “He left on the weekend to go hunting and came back on Sunday evening.”

Calhoun described his father as a tough man who didn’t like to show his feelings. A steelworker and shade tree mechanic, his father would rather solve his own problems than acknowledge that his heart needed fixing. He had been inside a church twice, as far as Barry remembers – once for a funeral and once to attend his son’s first preaching mission, which he walked out of in the middle of this one.

Despite his father’s callousness toward Christ and the Church, Calhoun never gave up hope that the Lord could save his father. He had preached the gospel to her on several occasions – once in the early 1980s, when Calhoun left his hometown to pursue a job at Texas Instruments. Her father “prayed the sinner’s prayer,” but it turned out to be mere words, Calhoun said, because “nothing really changed in her life.”

Over the years, Calhoun and others continued to encourage his father to repent and believe in Christ. However, these efforts do not seem to have borne fruit. At a surprise party for his father’s 80th birthday, Calhoun told him, “There’s one more thing missing in your life that you need to fix before it’s too late.”

It was five years ago. Five long years, Calhoun said, as it seemed like nothing was happening.

Then a pandemic hit.

As many churches began experimenting with ways to take online discipleship courses, Calhoun came up with the idea of ​​starting an online Bible study with his family. His mother – a lifelong Christian – wanted to study the book of Revelation, but Calhoun insisted they start with Luke so his father could hear the gospel message more clearly. His father was, after all, his motivation for leading the study.

Nothing less than a miracle

“Where is dad?” Calhoun asked his family members through his laptop screen. Elder Calhoun was downstairs but came back up at his family’s request to join their study of the Book of Luke. It was the first of many Sundays that he made Bible study a regular part of his weekend – if nothing else, to appease his son.

Then, over the course of several months, Calhoun finally got a yes to the request he had been asking God for four decades. As Calhoun guided his father through Luke’s tale of God becoming man, living a perfect life, dying a sacrificial death in place of sinners, and being resurrected to eternal life, the heart of the elder Calhoun s is softened. He repented from a life of unbelief, turned to Christ for salvation, and declared Jesus the Lord of his life.

His son called it nothing short of a miracle.

“Salvation is a miracle, but I think the older you get the more of a miracle it becomes because usually the person has become more numb,” Calhoun said. “I’m pumped. I am delighted. I don’t think I’ve prayed for anything for so long. It was not only a work that God did in him, but a work that he did in me as well.

Calhoun says that unlike a past profession of faith from his father, this one came with observable fruit. Taking a short break from studying Luke, Calhoun plans to guide his father through a four-week series he is teaching as a pre-membership class at his own church, North Garland Baptist Fellowship in Garland, Texas. where he was a member for 31 years. The study will cover salvation, prayer, church discipline and stewardship.

Still, the study on Luke — part of the same curriculum the Calhoun church uses on a weekly basis — will always be special to him.

“Walking through Lifeway’s Explore the Bible the show crystallized it for my dad,” he said. “You cannot miss the Christ in Luke. The writers have done a great job putting the show together and guiding us through it. I just want to take my hat off to them and say thank you.

When asked to sum up what the past year has meant to him, Calhoun said it’s about staying the course and not giving up, believing God is faithful.

“At the end of the book of Job he says: ‘I had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen yousaid Calhoun, quoting Job 42:5. “I haven’t seen God, but his work in my father’s life has given me a new vision of what it means to persevere. Sometimes you want to stop knocking on the door, but you can’t.

“I always teach that it’s never too late. If there’s still breath in someone, there’s still time for them to work things out with God. When we get to the other side of heaven, I will see exactly what God was doing in my father to get him to this point.

(EDITOR’S NOTE – Aaron Wilson is a writer for Lifeway Christian Resources.)


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