6/08/09 Charles, about 60
After work yesterday I went grocery shopping with a list of items I needed and a handful of million dollar tracts, figuring I would hand some out and strike up a conversation as I shopped. However, because of my inability to multitask, I get somewhat confused when trying to do two things at once, and both shopping and evangelism require a certain level of concentration. So its in this state of mind that it becomes easy to fall for silly excuses when it comes to witnessing. I hear this voice in my head say “There’s so many people, how can you ever know where to start” “If you don’t talk to everyone the person you DO talk to will feel picked on” “This person won’t want to talk, he/she is too old, too young, has kids with them, will feel threatened, probably doesn’t speak English, looks like they’re in a hurry, looks mean, looks too easy/obvious to approach (where did THAT come from?)” or “You have lots of time, wait till you get done shopping” and later, “You’ve waited too long, you need to get home”. I did pass out about a dozen million dollar tracks, and everyone took them but one woman who refused. I told her about the question on the back about heaven and the “good person” test. She said ‘I know I’m a good person and I don’t need any test to tell me so”. This kind of took the wind out of my sails, and after that I only made half-hearted attempts at conversations with other people, and so I didn’t start any except with Charles, a homeless man asking for change in the parking lot. He claims to be a Christian, and used all the “church lingo”, yet gave the impression he’d say anything I wanted to hear to get some change. Please pray for boldness for me and salvation for Charles and the people I gave tracts to and for the self-righteous woman.
6/09/09 Charles, about 25
On my way home from an evening class I stopped at Burger King to pass out tracts and hopefully strike up a conversation, only to be limited by non-English speakers at all three occupied tables. I headed out to the parking lot and found Charles, an African American who had grown up Catholic, standing by his car. Through the steps of exposure to the law and God’s judgment and the hope of forgiveness in Christ, Charles knew he needs to change his relationship with his sinful habits from loving sin to hating it, and his relationship with Christ from apathy to loving obedience, and we had a long conversation of what that would look like in his life. Pray for Charles as he counts the cost of following Jesus as his Lord the Savior, especially now that he is much more aware of the cost of NOT following him.
6/10/09 Eddie, about 30
Who should take the initiative to start a conversation about spiritual things? If it is intimidating for believers, imagine the fear unbelievers usually feel about bringing up a topic they know little about. I went riding bike around my neighborhood and handed Eddie, an army reserve soldier, a million dollar tract. When he heard the question about heaven, he seemed to light up, like he was just waiting to talk to someone about spiritual things. His spiritual life consists of watching a preacher on TV, a former army chaplain, at 2 AM after work. I think he was starving for someone to talk to about some of his questions and we had a very good conversation started until he realized he’d be late for work if he didn’t catch his bus. He believed most religions to be basically the same, so I gave him a “Why Christianity?” booklet that explains how Christianity is the only religion that solves the dilemma of the fact that we know God’s law – we have the knowledge of good and evil, yet we can’t keep it, and there are consequences because God is just, and that Jesus satisfies God’s demand for justice. Pray for Eddie. From our conversation I am confident that he is seeking God and that God “will reward those who earnestly seek Him”.
6/12/09 Alexis, Taylor, Ken – 16
I’m on vacation, and there are huge crowds on the beach and around the souvenir shops on Topsail Island, N.C. – so where do I start witnessing? I began looking for the “perfect” person – someone who looks like they aren’t in a hurry and are just waiting for a deep conversation about eternity! Of course I’m reminded these perfect people don’t exist –everyone I see seems busy walking, fishing, hanging with friends, riding bike, shopping, reading, swimming, tanning – too busy to talk, I started thinking. My excuses and defeated attitude spiraled out of control. I’d like to think that after half a year of witnessing to strangers it would be easier than this. I prayed for boldness, and was reminded that passing out million dollar tracts helps me to lighten up and have fun starting a conversation. After handing out a few I began talking with Alexis, Taylor, and their friend Ken who was on the phone. They said they hadn’t thought about spiritual things and agreed with the points I made about eternity, their sin and accountability before God and Jesus’ bearing the punishment we deserve. However, I found myself answering questions they weren’t asking, and their lack of questions and polite agreement made me believe I needed to end the one-sided “conversation” before I wore out my welcome. After what I believe was a good wake up call from a caring Christian adult who said some things that made a lot of sense, I gave them some literature and I pray the seeds planted will grow to repentance and faith in Jesus.
6/13/09 Matt and Jake, both 18,
It was after dark, Saturday night at the beach in North Carolina. I was in the parking lot as Matt parked their customized monster truck. As they got out to join the party at the beach I offered them million dollar bill tracks and asked what they thought about eternity and where they would spend it. These two young men were somewhat distracted at first, but as I asked some of the key questions about how God would see them on judgment day, they grew very respectful and I had their full attention. After hearing the bad news about their guilt and its consequences, I asked if they were ready to hear some good news. “Yes, I hope there is some!” “The good news”, I said, “is that God doesn’t want you to be punished in Hell, so much so that He gave what was most precious to Him – do you know what that could be?” They honestly did not. “Do you know what Jesus did? “He died for our sins” They said it so easily, but I don’t think they ever really thought what it meant before. I went on to explain what real trust in Jesus looks like – that it will lead to repentance, turning from our sins. I gave them a lot to think about and to read about later. Please pray for Jake and Matt.
6/14/09 Bubba, about 40
In order to become better able to reach out to different types of people and in different situations, I approached Bubba on the beach without using the million dollar tract as a conversation starter. I just started a conversation about everyday things, and started talking about spiritual matters by asking “Can I ask you a very interesting question?” He responded with curiosity and interest. I asked, “What do you think happens after we leave this earth?” “What do you mean?”he replied. “If you died today, where would you be tomorrow?” Bubba, a “good ole boy” from North Carolina, told me he believes he will be reincarnated as an animal. After some discussion, he admitted that he didn’t believe reincarnation would go on forever, and he would eventually be judged as to whether he deserved heaven or hell. He had a lot of far out beliefs and fantasies about the next life, but it was easy to bypass these by just asking “Let’s suppose that what the Bible says about judgment day IS true. How would you be judged?” He was able to see and accept that he will be found guilty of breaking God’s commandments, and that hell is an appropriate punishment, and he seemed to understand that Jesus had taken the punishment he deserves; yet he had to swing so far from what he believed at the start of our conversation that it will take time to take it all in. I gave him the “Why Christianity” booklet, which he seemed genuinely thankful for. Please pray that Bubba may know the truth!
6/14/09 Jojo, 17
I ran into Jojo on his way back to the beach from a hot dog stand. After some friendly conversation I asked “What do you believe happens after you leave this earth?” He really didn’t know what he believed. “Heaven, I hope.” I asked if he had a church background. “Oh I’m saved and all that”. “What does that mean to you?” He didn’t know. He remembered “praying a prayer” as a child at church and people telling him he was going to heaven, but really couldn’t remember what he had said in that prayer. He had a sense that God would forgive him because he was sorry and asked for forgiveness, but he had never taken it any further and hasn’t attended church for years. He seemed like a decent and hard-working young man, but he basically lived from day to day with little thought about his future, and the thoughts he did have reminded me of my life insurance policy – I’m vaguely aware that its there but I’ve long since forgotten its terms or details. Jojo’s trust is not in Jesus but in a prayer he had repeated long ago, like some magical formula one must simply repeat. We went on to a long talk about the need for repentance and faith in Christ, and what that would look like in his life. I left Jojo with a booklet about beginning a new life in Christ and the challenge to get things right with God that very day. Pray that he does!