By Joe Seay

       It was embarrassing just to drive by. Many decent citizens, including myself, were complaining about it. A topless bar located on main street. Just a few blocks from downtown. It was a disgrace to our city.

       Every time I drove by, I found myself wishing it would go out of business, burn down or just disappear. I could picture in my mind the kind of people who owned that place, but somehow, it never occurred to me to pray for them.

       I wasn't alone in my opinion of the topless bar and the people who ran it. Many of our good citizens and decent folks talked to our mayor and the police about the problem. They shared our opinion, but the bar met all the legal requirements so there was nothing they could do about it.

       Some civic groups tried to use their influence to close the bar, but to no avail.

       We were discussing the topless bar issue with some Christian friends when Norman, an outspoken man of great faith, suggested that since we call ourselves Christians we really should act more like Christians by showing love and concern for the owners of the topless bar.

       We knew he was correct, we first prayed for ourselves and then we prayed for the owners of the topless bar.

       A few days later Norman drove to the bar, stopped, went inside and introduced himself. He invited the owner, whose name was Bill, out for lunch. Bill surprised him by accepting his invitation.

       Over lunch, they visited for awhile, then Norman told Bill that some of his Christian friends and he would like to get acquainted with him and his family. Norman also told him that his friends were praying that God would provide them a better way to make a living so they could close the bar. As they were leaving the restaurant, Norman also mentioned that the bar was a disgrace and an embarrassment to our city.

       Bill did not respond immediately, he just looked at Norman. Then, looking very thoughtful, he asked, "If I close my bar, how am I going to feed my wife and four kids?"

       Norman quickly responded with, "God will provide you with a way to take care of your family."

       Their meeting really didn't seem to accomplish much.

       Then, a few weeks later, Bill came home in the early hours of the morning and for lack of anything better to do, he turned on his television set. As he flipped through the TV channels, he stopped when he heard something that caught his attention. He listened for awhile, what the speaker said made sense to him. The speaker was a popular television preacher and when he said he was going to pray for someone listening who had never accepted Christ, Bill felt impressed to respond, and that morning, he committed his life to God.

       Bill shared the good news with his wife Dale, who had been praying for him for many years, and they wept and rejoiced together.

       Norman brought Bill as his guest to our weekly Christian Men's Club meeting. It was hard to tell who was the most surprised when Norman introduced him as the owner of Bill's topless bar. As the meeting progressed, Bill found himself surrounded by men who were sharing Christian testimonies, praying for each other and singing Christian songs.

       After the luncheon meeting was over, the men greeted him warmly and invited him back.

       Bill began to attend the weekly luncheon meetings and as we slowly got better acquainted, we got to know him on a more personal basis. He appeared to be just an average guy trying to make a living for his family.

       Now Bill struggled with a tough decision, he knew he should close the bar. But the question remained, how would he provide for his wife and kids?

       It was a tough decision, but aided by the prayers of his new Christian friends, Bill closed his bar and opened a new family oriented business. In the next few months, his faith was tested, but he kept his commitment and he kept studying Gods word.

       As he grew in his Christian faith and knowledge of God's word, Bill's new business prospered. He and Dale now own a successful Christ centered business and have been blessed with an outreach ministry to others.

       I agree with my friend Norman. He says. "It's exciting to see what happens when Christians begin to think and act like Christians are supposed to."