Jeremy and Shawn, about 17, were hanging out in front of a convenience store on 31st. Luke and I had gone out to witness and gave them the million dollar tracts which started a good conversation. Their basic belief was that God would judge them by seeing if they had done more good than bad, and if they did need to be punished He would send them to purgatory for a while. We pointed out that we can’t bribe God into forgetting about our sins with good behavior, and that the idea of purgatory is nowhere in the Bible. We explained how Jesus paid for our sins on the cross, and that saving faith and trust in Jesus will lead us to repentance. They seemed to agree but were unwilling to follow Jesus in all areas of their life. We urged them to count the cost, that tomorrow is not promised, and gave them some more info. 6/2/09
Ethell, about 45. 6/3/09 On my way home from a meeting, I knew I probably wouldn’t be leaving the house the rest of the evening, so I parked my car and went for a walk around several residential blocks. I wasn’t quite ready to witness at first, but the nice thing about going for a walk is I can collect my thoughts and pray, and no one really knows what I’m doing. At a street corner I saw a group of four obviously gay men; three went into the corner store and I gave the fourth a million dollar tract. We began what could have been a very good conversation about how God judges what is “good” – based on the Ten Commandments; I had no need to refer to other lifestyle issues that people often get defensive about. However, when his friends came out, I gave them each the million dollar tracts. Upon finding out they were religious tracts, one man started proclaiming he is going straight to hell, which got everyone laughing and provided an excuse for them to walk away. Pray for them. Immediately I ran into a police officer named Ethell who very confidently stated he would go to heaven. He is a pastor’s son and grew up going to church. I told him that many people who I’ve talked to also believe they are Christians, and because I want to see him in Heaven, I asked him what he bases his salvation on. After a lot of “church talk”, he finally admitted he doesn’t believe there is a hell but that people are reincarnated until they “get it right”. When asked why Jesus died on the cross he stated that he believed it was Jesus’ ultimate miracle to get people’s attention and get them to take him seriously. I told him that I have just recently read through the four gospels just for the purpose of comparing Jesus’ teaching on Heaven and Hell, and that Jesus warned people about Hell more than he talked about Heaven. Ethell admitted he hasn’t been reading his Bible or going to church, and that he has been forming his opinion of God based on his own terms, not God’s. He said he would read the booklet on Christianity I gave him. Please pray for Ethell.
Andrea, about 25 6/4/09 After a meeting was over late at night, I still hadn’t met my goal of at least one witnessing conversation that day, so I asked Marty to drop me off several blocks away from my house and I would walk the rest of the way, hoping I could run into someone on the sidewalk. It turned out to be a young lady named Andrea, walking her huge pit bull. I gave her a million dollar tract and asked her about heaven. She happily proclaimed she would be going to heaven, having grown up going to a Lutheran Church and being a good person. We talked about judgment day and that God’s standard for goodness is His commandments. She said, “at least I haven’t murdered anyone”, so I talked about Jesus’ teaching that hatred is like murdering someone in your heart. She unapologetically mentioned living with her boyfriend, but I chose not to make that an issue, because the commandments about lying, stealing murder (hatred) were convicting enough. While we talked she seemed to transfer her hope from being a Lutheran to being a good person to being truly sorry for her sins to hoping God wouldn’t care about her “small” sins. I explained that her hope needs to be in Christ alone. All this time, her dog was making the conversation difficult, so I was just happy to ask her some good questions to get her thinking about eternal things, and I gave her a booklet explaining faith in Christ more clearly. Pray that she will repent of her sins and transfer her hope and faith for salvation to Jesus!
Mike, 50 6/5/09 I’ve known Mike from many years of seeing him around the weight room, but could never have more than a superficial conversation with him because of his frequent profanity, opinionated and exaggerated claims and self-centered attitude. In a conversation a few days ago he told me how much he and his wife have been struggling with infertility and how they now have a miracle baby, and I asked him about how his faith in God had been affected (he is Catholic). Today he told me he had thought he would die a few weeks earlier due to a false diagnosis of cancer. I asked him if he had done any serious thinking about eternity and he definitely agreed that he had. He said he tried to be good but due to his very aggressive temperament he just believes that “God made me this way” and basically put the blame on God for his bad behavior. The only thing that kept him from really doing something wrong was his “Catholic guilt”. I explained that people who think that they must earn their way to heaven are never really sure if they are “good enough”, and that this paranoid type of guilt comes from that uncertainty. I told him about the hope we can and should have in Jesus, and I could see the lights coming on in his head as he listened. Please pray that we can talk further and that God will give him a new heart that he may repent and believe the good news of Jesus!
Amelia, about 40, and Dillon, her teenage son, 6/6/09
More often than not, opportunities for evangelism are right under our nose! For our all-church day of service, Nick and I were disappointed that no one wanted to do direct evangelism. We decided to go out on our own regardless, but at the last minute Amelia and Dillon, from another church location, joined us. As we walked to the park where we were going to witness we talked with Amelia and Dillon. We found that Dillon has been very caught up in the gang drama in his neighborhood. I asked him if he had friends who have been killed, which he had, and what he thought happens next to them. He seemed fixated on how they would be remembered – with no thought as to what happens to their soul. So I asked him directly, what would happen to his soul if he died. He didn’t seem to have thought about it, so we told him about judgment day and our accountability before God. All the while his mother listened, and it was tempting to just assume she was a Christian, but a few questions revealed that she believes that she isn’t saved yet but needs to work on it by being a better person. This led to a good conversation about the basis of our salvation. Being very new to church, Amelia seems to have been obedient to the small steps of faith God has placed in front of her, and she stated that she believed God had arranged for our conversation. Amelia is beginning the First Steps book with a mentor. Pray for Amelia & Dillon!
Galilo, about 30 6/7/09 I tried to arrive early for our church softball double-header in order to find someone to begin a conversation before the game. As I parked my truck and got out, Galilo, who was doing yardwork outside his house, said a friendly hello so I decided to give him a million dollar tract, and he was very interested in my questions about whether he was a good person and how God judges us. Does God compare us to other people or some other standard? Even before I went through the Commandments he very obviously knew he was guilty. He got a far-away look in his eyes and said he had done some very bad things when he was younger, and I could see from his scarred face that he had led a rough life. He said his girlfriend (also out doing yardwork) was religious and they had gone to church, but when I explained the Gospel he was very glad to hear it so clearly. He agreed that he wasn’t right with God and needed to repent and put his faith in Jesus. I didn’t want to give him a false assurance of salvation by leading him in a “sinners prayer” because this tradition, found nowhere in the Bible, leads many people to trust in a prayer they prayed at one time rather than in the Lord they pray to, so I warned him that tomorrow isn’t promised and encouraged him to get right with God before going to bed that night. Please pray for Galilo!