If Alice Cooper can become a Christ-follower, anyone can.
I realize referencing the original shock rocker might date myself, but Alice Cooper helped birth modern heavy metal with an incendiary stage show filled with such treats as his personal execution – beheading by guillotine, frying by electric chair, etc. – just good wholesome fun. (Cough.) Nobody seemed further from saving faith than the godfather of Goth.
But Alice has been devoted to the Savior for over two decades now. And he’s not ashamed to tell others. If you hit the links with the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, you’ll get eighteen holes of golf and Gospel. From Prince of Darkness to adopted son of the King of Life. Crazy.
The disciples probably placed Saul in the Alice Cooper category too. You might know Saul better as Paul. The Pharisees’ #1 hit man until Jesus unleashed a holy smackdown on the Damascus Road. The man least likely to proclaim Christ transformed into his primary instrument for communicating the Good News of the Savior’s redemption to Gentiles.
I guarantee the people of Cebu City, Philippines never thought Tomasa – the Queen of Lorega – would walk in Jesus’ footsteps. She made her living dealing methamphetamine.
“This was as scary place with scary people,” Tomasa says. “Thugs from other squatter communities were afraid to enter. They were afraid of my son too – Emilio Jr.” He was a thief and drug addict known as the Bully of Lorega.
But the crime in Lorega didn’t intimidate the Rev. Roel F. Tabasa, senior pastor of the nearby 1,600-member Cebu City Alliance Church. He was determined to help the community’s children before more were forced into prostitution and drug dealing. He partnered with Compassion International to open the Loving My Neighbor child development center – a safe, clean environment where children can learn and play, receive medical checkups, tutoring and food assistance. More importantly, they learn biblical principles and attend Bible studies.
That is where Rev. Tabasa’s witness intersects with Tomasa’s amazing journey. Her grandson Diether was enrolled in Compassion’s program. Soon after, two more of her grandchildren, Stephani and John, were registered. Reluctantly, the Queen of Lorega attended Bible studies at the church to show her support of her grandchildren. She also began volunteering in the center’s kitchen as a cook and dishwasher.
God worked in her life through the center activities and her new friends – and Tomasa gave her life to Christ. She broke down the gambling tables
in her home and built up a center for Bible study. She also joined the center-sponsored Prayer Warrior Ministry. Her first prayer was that her son, Emilio Jr., would come to know the Lord. In 2005 he received Christ as his Savior. The following year, mother and son – The Queen and Bully of Lorega – were baptized together.
Rev. Tobasa’s witness to the children transformed Tomasa’s entire family. Today, she is the child development center’s area leader in Lorega, encouraging Compassion-sponsored children’s family members to attend Bible study. (Over 560 children are currently registered in Compassion’s Child Sponsorship program there.) Emilio Jr., now a pastor, leads the Bible studies in his mother’s home. Tomasa confesses, “Some doubted that I really changed, but I was determined to show God’s transforming power. I did a lot of bad things in my life. I’m amazed that the Lord still loved me and made a way for me to change. How can I not serve Him now? I will still serve Him as long as He allows me to live.”
Alice Cooper. The Apostle Paul. The Queen and Bully of Lorega. All of them – appearing by human wisdom to be far from God’s saving grace – finishing strong as servants of God. These four people, along with others you certainly know personally, remind us to never give up on someone’s salvation. No matter how lost a person might look, how adamantly they oppose the cause of Christ, Our Savior refuses to ever stop His relentless pursuit. He stands at the door knocking and knocking and knocking…
We must mimic Jesus and never tire of witnessing.
It might be clearly articulating the Gospel message, serving someone in their time of need, or simply living like Christ so all who see can’t deny – offering the kind word, friendship or a cool cup of water. Influence comes in word and deed, planting seeds of faith that the Spirit grows into a miraculous harvest of rock stars converting to servants, bloodthirsty zealots morphing into redeemed evangelists, or the meth Queen of Lorega becoming an adopted daughter of Almighty God.
To find out more about how your church can impact the world with Compassion, please visit studentlife.com/compassion.