Posted by: Rex Boyles | October 8, 2007

“It’s about time …”

November 1980, I moved my family to Lubbock. Just a week or so after we moved in – the “Welcome Wagon” people came by the house. They left a basket of goodies – candy, pens, and coupons. Among the coupons was one for a free haircut at “The HideAway”. Just before Christmas I took my coupon and went to get my haircut. Duane met me at the door – took my coupon – introduced himself to me – and cut my hair. Of course, while he styled we talked.

 I was a new youth minister in town at a church that had a recognizable name. Of course, it occurred to me to invite Duane to church … so I did. I don’t remember what he said, but I am sure that he was polite and respectful – he always was (is).

I liked my haircut – I liked Duane … so I came back. For the next 15 years I came back. (That averages out to be about 130 haircuts.) During those 15 years, we became friends – real friends. We talked church, politics, family, money, and life. When I was scheduled to preach, I would invite him to church. He never said, “No” – but he never showed either.

When I say that we were friends – that we respected each other – I am not exaggerating. If I showed up without a check, he knew that he could trust me to take care of it before the next time. If I had a question about just about anything – plumbing, barbeque sauce, home repair, karate, or little leage baseball … I could and would ask Duane.

 When he was traveling back and forth to Houston for cancer treatments, I prayed. When he was forced by the Enemy to say, “goodbye” to his precious granddaughter, I preached the funeral. When his daughter needed a preacher to “marry” her, I got to do the honors.

That is the way it was for years, but then I left town – moved too far away to come back just for a haircut. (I am not like a couple of ladies I know – CS & HD.) We didn’t stay in touch.

I came back to Lubbock, 5 years later, July 2000 – in shame  … no longer a preacher … no longer married … no longer believing that God would ever be able to use me again. So many things had changed – but when I when I needed that first haircut, I called Duane.

He met me at the door … made me feel “at home” … never asked, “What happened?” or “Why did you do that?” He just treated me like a friend … and it was like I had never been gone.

Now – here is why I wanted to tell you this long story. On October 18, 2006 … Duane, my barber – my friend … became my brother. He listened to Jesus. I asked him, “When do you want your sins forgiven?” He said, “Let’s get it done – right now.” So, I baptized him, just like it says in the Bible … “the same hour of the night”.

For over 25 years God was working to open his heart and to save his soul. And God was just getting started. On December 17th, Duane’s granddaughter, Riley (student at Texas Tech), followed her grandfather as he followed Christ … confessing her faith in Jesus and being buried with Jesus in baptism. But this amazing story of the mighty work of God does not end there … for just days ago – October 3rd – Riley’s father, Tim, answered my question, “As soon as possible.” Several of us got to witness the grace of God, as Duane baptized his (ex)son-in-law “in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins”. Riley gave her dad his first “welcome home” hug. Duane gave him the second. Both lasted long enough to remind all of us, who were waiting our turn, that “nothing is impossible with God”.

This is but a glimpse into the glory of God that I am privileged to see week in and week out at our “Open” church. God’s work in Duane’s life and family is often the subject of our praise and thankgiving. But it is also the topic of our discussion: “What can you learn about God – from God – in this example of His amazing grace?”

I know what our folks would say – but what about you?

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