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I once went hunting in Colorado with 12 of the biggest sinners you've ever seen. Some of you may say, "Why didn't you just go hunting with 12 Christians?"

But I didn't want to go hunting with Christians. I didn't want to go on a Christian hunting trip. I wanted to go hunting with sinners.

I told one of the men who helped gather the hunters together, "I want to go on this hunting trip with the biggest sinners you've got."

"Son," he said, "we've got a crew that goes every year. They're going to talk about women. They're going to drink booze. I mean, it's going to be bad. They'll be telling dirty jokes from the minute you get there."

"That's the crew I want," I said.

"Well, we're sure not going to tell them you're a preacher," he told me.

"No," I said, "go ahead and tell them." I wanted them to know they were going hunting with a preacher.

Sure enough, everyone was told that they were going hunting with a preacher. They all basically said, "Well, I'll tell you one blankety-blank thing. It ain't going to stop our blankety-blank having fun. We don't care if that blankety-blank preacher is coming. We're going to blank whatever we want to blank!"

That's what they really thought. They absolutely weren't going to change their actions because of me.

So the time came for us to go hunting. All of us got together, and when it came time to introduce me, I was introduced as "Reverend Jesse." As soon as I was introduced to those men, they told me, "Now, Reverend, let us just tell you one blankety-blank thing. We're going to blankety-blank talk the way we want to. Do you understand? We're going to talk about women. We're going to talk about drinking, and all of that stuff. We're going to cuss when we want to, and we're going to drink booze. In fact, we have two quarts of Jack Daniel's right here, and we're going up the mountain. If you want to drink some, we won't tell anybody."

I listened to those guys, and when they were done saying what they had to say, I spoke up. I said, "Guys, you all can talk about anything you want and cuss as much as you want. I couldn't care less." They just looked at me. They were shocked to hear this. They hadn't expected a preacher to say that.

I went on, "If you want to flat cuss, then cuss from the minute you start on the trip to the minute it's over. It doesn't make any difference to me. You can talk about all of your sexual exploits. Most of them are lies anyway, and you know it." They all laughed when I said that.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah," I said, "you're all lying anyway. But you can say whatever you want to say. It doesn't make any difference to me. As a matter of fact, don't let me disturb your lifestyle at all."

"But let me just say this. Since you can cuss when you want and talk about what you want, then if I want to praise God when I want, and if I want to shout praises when I want, then I guess that will be all right."

"That's blankety-blank all right with us," they agreed.

"Well, praise God," I said. "That's what we'll do."

Sure enough, we started hunting that first day, and son, I want to tell you something. They were cussing up a storm. And every time they did, I'd go, "Glory! Whew! Thank You, Jesus!"

They'd go, "Blankety-blank, really! Why did you do that? And why did you blankety-blank shout it so loudly?"

"Whew!" I said. "Because Jesus is in my life!"

God was with me on that hunting trip. I would wake up in the morning and start shouting, "Jesus, thank You, Lord!" I was praising God, and those guys heard it. I'd wake them all up by saying, "Whoa, Lord! Jesse's up! Hello, Jesus!"

By the third day into the hunt, none of those guys had shot anything, but I'd already bagged an elk and a deer. And when those guys saw that, they were surprised. They said, "Blankety-blank! Reverend got the biggest blankety-blank elk we ever saw in this place!"

About that time they were getting a little jealous. They wanted what I had, but they didn't know how to get it. They even asked me, "Hey, Rev, can you talk to the good Lord and help us out here on this hunt?"

"Well," I said, "He'd have been here the entire time, but every time He tries to come, you all just shut Him out by using that foul language all the time. Maybe if you changed your conversation a little bit, He might come down here and say something."

"Do you think so?" they asked.

"Well, I got my elk and deer, didn't I?" I said.

They smiled, and one of them opened up and said, "Help us, God."

You see, I knew I was going to get that elk and deer before the rest of them got anything. I also knew that once I got my kill, I was going to spend the rest of my time witnessing. I knew that by the Holy Ghost. That was why I wanted to go on that hunt.

And that's what I would do. After I shot the elk and deer, I walked all around those woods. I'm not the kind of man who likes to wait in a tree stand for the deer to come to me. I have too much energy to just sit there; I'm going to walk. So I walked up and down those mountains, even past the timberline - the point at which trees don't grow anymore. I went up as high as 11,000 feet chasing elk, and I always made sure I would walk past one of the other guy's stands.

When I walked past any of the others, I would usually hear one of them call me over. For example, when I walked past one guy, he said, "Hey, Rev. Hey, Rev, come here."

"Hey, what's up?" I said.

"Did you see anything?" He was talking about the hunt.

"I haven't seen anything yet," I said.

"Hey, listen. I like you, Reverend. Don't tell the other guys," he said, "but what about this Jesus?"

"Well, I like you too," I said.

"This is really real to you, isn't it?" he asked.

"Yeah," I said. "It's great just to know God."

"Well, you know," he said, "I was raised ..." And he named his denomination.

"Well, that's all right," I told him.

"I don't know if all this stuff is true."

All of them would say things like this sooner or later. I'd go by their stands, because I knew where everybody was hunting. So I'd walk by, and every one of them would call me over and say something like, "Hey, Rev, I want you to pray with me, but don't tell nobody."

I would say, "I'm not going to say a word to anyone else." And I would pray with each one. I was witnessing to them. The light that was in me was brighter than the darkness in them. They tried to spread their darkness around by cussing and telling dirty jokes, but the Light was stronger.

That hunting trip was years ago. Today, 11 of those 12 guys are deacons in a church. One of them is even a preacher! Those men are in church, serving the Lord.

What does that tell you? When you get around sin, don't let sin pull you in. You pull the person out of sin. Jesus called us to be lights in the world. There's no way we can keep ourselves away from the world. We're not supposed to! Jesus said that we are in the world but not of it. That means that we're not supposed to run from sinners.

Jesus didn't run from sinners. In fact, he had dinner with them. The Bible says that Jesus went over to a man's house and ate dinner with tax collectors and sinners. Why did He do that? Jesus told us why. He said, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance" (Mark 2:17 NKJV).

Remember that you are the light of the world because you have Jesus inside you. Light exposes darkness, so let your light shine wherever you go.

Source: Jambalaya for the Soul by Jesse Duplantis
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers

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