Charlie Robarge was a single adult who faithfully attended Cornerstone Church in Knoxville for several years. Because of his love for the Lord and for the lost, Charlie was involved in campus ministry even into his 30s.
With no fanfare, on a regular basis, Charlie would knock on dorm rooms doors to invite students to meetings.
In 1995, I did not know Charlie… but more importantly, I did not know Jesus.
I was a young, arrogant, hypocritical 18-year-old freshman. I had attended church three times a week,my whole life, at the direction of my parents, but I was not right with the Lord.
The dangerous thing is that because of my church attendance and involvement since my youth, I considered myself a Christian. If anyone had asked me, “Are you a Christian?”, my immediate answer
would have been, “Yes.” But, my sins had separated me from God, and I was too proud to understand my need for a Savior.
My freshman year, my brother Craig and I were roommates in our dorm. During Fall Break that year, most of the dorm was gone, including Craig, and I was in my room, alone with my thoughts. I was listening to music, and one of the lines in a song said, “No one is listening to me, not even the trees.” Feeling hopeless, I looked out the window and prayed, “God, I don’t know if you even exist, but if you do, please do something right now. I need help.”
Right after I prayed that, a flyer slid toward my feet. It was an invitation to an evangelistic outreach meeting. Charlie had knocked on my door earlier that day, but with the music up so loud, I had not answered the door. So, he decided to slide a flyer underneath the door. I looked down and saw the words, “Victory in Life through Jesus Christ”, did a double take out the window, and thought, “I should go to this meeting.”
The night I attended that meeting, I heard the gospel communicated in a way that clearly convinced me of my need for a Savior, and I was drawn to Christ through the Holy Spirit in such a way that I could not help but respond.
The speaker was a man named Rice Broocks. There were multiple times as he preached where I felt the Holy Spirit specifically speaking to me. On at least three different occasions I would have a thought, and the speaker would answer my thought. Rice was saying that you can have all the outward appearances of a Christian and still not be one. I would think something like, “Well, I know that I’m a Christian, because I’m a leader in the youth group.” And then Rice would say, “Don’t think, ‘I know I’m a Christian, because I’m a leader in the youth group’. You can be a youth group leader and still not be a Christian.” This happened around three times.
At that meeting, I was convinced, for the first time, that I was not a Christian. And I was also convinced that the only way to become a Christian was to put all my trust in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, not my works. Believing the good news, I was born again.
Often, on the anniversary of that night, I think of Charlie, and at times when people point out grace in my life, that would not be there had I not become a Christian, I send a note to Charlie to thank him for being faithful to participate in the Great Commission.
I’m grateful to God for the powerful way He used the simple act of Charlie sliding a flyer under my door, and I pray He will use my simple acts that others may come to know Jesus, as well.