Abel, Lenny, David, teens
5/1/09 As they sat at a table at Burger King, I gave them Million Dollar Bill tracts and began a conversation about their beliefs. They were cynical and unwilling to take it seriously for quite some time, mocking God and those who believe, but after a while they seemed to take the idea of judgment and our accountability to God a little more seriously, but not enough to care about the good news of Jesus, so lest I “throw my pearls to the swine” I told them they weren’t ready to hear the good news I wanted to tell them. I think they were a little shocked when I walked away, but God isn’t through with them yet – pray for them!
Joshua and Robin, early 20’s
5/2/09 They sat and heard Nick preaching at Millenium Park. I asked the afterward what they thought of it and they claimed that they weren’t really listening. Joshua seemed to think that none of it applied to him because he is Jewish. He believes people should just live a good life, not for a reward or fear of punishment but just because it’s the right thing to do, and after death we cease to exist. I explained how many people take pride in “being good” just because they are good, and thinking that they are above or better than people who do it for a reward or fear of punishment. We went over the commandments and they agreed they hadn’t kept them. They agreed to hear me out as I explained Christianity just for the sake of better understanding it, and I explained how we can’t earn our way to heaven but that good works and obedience to Christ are a natural response of gratitude to what Christ did on the cross. They appreciated the conversation. Pray that what they heard would move from their intellect to convicting their conscience in the way only the Holy Spirit can.
Jim, about 40
5/2/09 Jim was sitting at a bench at Millenium Park. He goes to a Catholic church, loves the priest there and really doesn’t believe he is guilty of breaking any of the ten commandments. He thinks it is wrong to be self-righteous and arrogant, but in his own way he clearly is. As much as I tried, he couldn’t see the need for a savior personally. He understands Jesus died for our sins, but I think he believes it was someone else’s sins that put Jesus on the cross, not his own. Pray for the conviction of sin that only the Holy Spirit can bring!
Josh and David, mid 20’s
5/2/09 I talked primarily to Josh at a table at Millenium Park. During the whole conversation he never indicated any belief in the Bible or attempts to follow it, but smugly asserted his own ability to decide upon truth based on his intellect or reasoning skills. He didn’t think anyone could know if they will be saved or not. As he walked away he made sure that I knew he has read the Bible through many times as part of his studies for his doctoral dissertation. Pray for these men who consider themselves intellectually superior to anyone who, with child-like faith, puts their trust in Jesus, the One who created and sustains their intellect in the first place!
5/3/09 After our first softball game, while waiting for the second game, I began a conversation on the sidewalk by asking a young man walking by if he would answer an interesting question. He stopped walking and seemed very curious, so I asked what do you think will happen after we die? We began a long conversation. Dave admitted to being a partier who really just lives from day to day without any thought about the future, but he has attended New Life Midway a few times with his cousin. He was clearly convicted by the law and gladly heard the good news of Christ. He said he had never heard it clearly explained before. I prayed for him right there in the park and encouraged him to put his faith in Christ that very day. I thank God for showing me through WOTM that people need to be convicted by the law before they are ready to receive grace – this is a correction to the “modern gospel” which only wants to give people the good news of Jesus without telling them the bad news of God’s wrath and the punishment we deserve because of our sins.
Will you pray for these people this week?
(keep in Bible for your prayer time)
Omar, about 45 and 4 younger guys.
5/5/09 I walked up to the only group hanging out on the campus lawn at Concordia College and began to ask them about the school and students there. Turns out they were custodian workers on a break. I asked them what they thought happens after we die and the leader, Omar, said he grew up Muslim but no longer believes in religion. He agreed that judgment day is a possibility and they all seemed to think they would do okay before God. I took them through several commandments and they were clearly getting convicted. Omar, their foreman, said they had to get back to work, so I gave them a few “Why Christianity” booklets.
Willie, about 40
5/6/09 I first talked with Willie while handing out MDB’s at Lowe’s a few weeks ago and we were both amazed when I went up to hand him a MDB tract in Hyde Park and we realized we had talked a few weeks earlier. He claims Jesus as his Savior and said he would be glad to hand a few MDB tracts along to others. Pray that God will bring to pass whatever purpose he had for us talking a second time….
“Train” about 50
5/6/09 On the sidewalk in Hyde Park I met “Train”, an older Buddhist man, whe said he did not believe in eternal life. I told him of the Biblical teaching of the law and judgment day. He did not want to hear any more of it and walked away.
Leon, about 60
5/6/09 On the sidewalk in Hyde Park, I gave him a MDB tract and asked him the million dollar question, will he go to heaven. He said he really didn’t think much about religion, and I reminded him of the law and his accountability on judgment day. He said he would think read the MDB and think about it.
5/11/09 After passing out Million Dollar tracts in the cafeteria at Chicago State, I went back to a young lady who had read the tract and asked her what she thought. She was very agreeable to the fact that she had broken God’s commandments, though not many, and still believed God would see her as a good person. I explained that though God is loving, He also loves justice and will punish sin wherever it may be found, not just the ‘really bad” sins. I helped her to see she breaks God’s commandments more often than she thinks by going through a few. She seemed concerned and thoughtful so I told her about what Jesus had done, which she already knew, and I explained that she needed to put her trust completely in Him to the point of repenting of her sins, not just passively believing in him like someone who believes a parachute can save them though they do nothing to put it on before jumping out of a plane. Pray that she will “put on” Jesus as the Lord and Savior of her life!
Scott, about 45
5/12/09 On my way from work to a class I am taking I stopped at Armour Square park to find someone to witness to. I walked up to Scott who was sitting on a bench, greeted him and asked if I could ask an interesting question. I said, it’s not something people get asked every day. This really seemed to get him curious, so I asked what he thought happens after this life. He thought for a while and said, I don’t know, what do YOU think? I told him that I believed what the Bible said is true about judgment day and heaven and hell. He believed himself to be a good person in God’s sight, so I took him through the “good person” questions. He seemed convicted, but suddenly told me he had to get going. I was able to quickly share the good news of Jesus and give him some literature, but he was clearly not comfortable being confronted by his sin.
Mike and Karen, about 30
5/12/09 While at Armour Park I also gave million dollar tracts to Mike and Karen, who from outward appearances are living a very outwardly sinful lifestyle. They gladly took the MDB’s and when I pointed out the question about heaven and good person questions on the back, they read through them and quickly admitted to breaking all of them often. We talked about how they will be accountable to God on judgment day and they had a lot of questions. Karen is less willing to trust the authority of the Bible. Both grew up Catholic. While Karen left for a phone call, I explained the bad news of sin and punishment and the good news of salvation to Mike, who had some good questions and was willing to admit he still loved his sins and wasn’t ready to give them up. Pray they’ll understand the need for repentance, to hate their sin and love God rather than love their sin and to be apathetic toward God. I gave them the “Why Christianity?” booklets.
I stopped at Fairplay on my way home from work, looking for a chance to strike up a conversation with someone. As I wheeled a shopping cart around the store I ran into Gail, who as a kid was involved in our youth group. I haven’t seen her in half a year or so, so I caught up with her life. She has two young kids and takes care of her mother who has MS. I told her that even though she had been at our youth group I didn’t feel we had really explained the Bible very clearly, and asked her if she thought she would go to heaven and why. She thought she would go because she is very sorry for her sins. She sees herself as someone who is becoming a better person and believes God sees her as a good person because of that. She didn’t realize that God’s justice demands punishment for ALL our sins, even those in the past that we have confessed and are sorry for. Simply being sorry doesn’t satisfy the demands of justice. I explained how Jesus paid the penalty for her sins, and that her trust must be in what He has done for her, not in the sincerity of her own repentance. She agreed, and I gave her a booklet explaining Christianity more clearly and encouraging Christian growth.
Joseph, about 20
5/14/09 As I went grocery shopping I hoped to give this everyday chore eternal value, so I handed out million dollar tracts as I pushed my cart up and down the isles. I told most of the people I gave them to about the “million dollar question” on the back asking whether they would go to heaven, not really challenging them to answer right there because I really had to get my shopping done but I still wanted to hand out some MDB’s to get people to think about eternity. So I would tell them about the good person test, saying that I failed it myself. They would laugh at this but I believe it got most of them curious enough to read about it later. Out in the parking lot I saw a young man sitting in his car and gave him one, asking him about heaven and whether he was a good person. Joseph told me he followed Christ but was getting discouraged because of his sin, mentioning losing his temper while working in the grocery store. I tried to encourage him by letting him know that the fact that he is struggling against his sin is a sign that he repents of it, and repentance is a good indication of genuine faith in Christ. I told him to keep struggling with God’s help, not just his own effort, and I asked him if he would like me to pray for him. He did, and was probably surprised that I prayed for him right there in the parking lot, but I believe it meant lot and he was encouraged.
Brit Lit Class, about 15 high school juniors
5/14/09 As a substitute teacher I am allowed to talk about my religious faith when students ask, but the problem is they rarely ask. So I decided to conduct a somewhat generic ‘Spiritual Survey” that the kids could voluntarily participate in. Well in this British Literature class the students were all very willing to respond, so I asked questions about their belief in God, life after death, morality, sin, justice, and punishment. When I asked how they thought they would do on judgment day, they were asking me all the specific questions about repentance and faith in Christ that I love to answer. Many thought “praying the prayer” was their ticket to heaven but didn’t think much about repentance. Pray for them, they face a lot of temptation every day.
Chris (18) Diane (about 20)
5/16/09 After sitting and hearing the sermon on the Mount read in public at Millennium Park, and some closing preaching by Nick, I asked this African American couple what they thought about it and if they had a religious background. Diane was quick to say that she did, and when asked if she knew she would go to heaven, she said she would, that she was actively involved in her church, growing in her faith in Jesus Christ. Chris on the other hand said that he knew he would go to hell. He knows he is living in sin and is not willing to give it up. “I’m only 18, maybe next year” he said. He basically feels he is young and would miss out if he repented of his sin right now. I appreciated his honesty, and reminded him that tomorrow is not promised; that the Bible says today is the day of salvation. Diane began trying to convince him of the need to turn to the Lord, but focused more on faith in Jesus than on the need for repentance. I didn’t try to soft pedal the repentance that Jesus requires and deserves; I said can you imagine a man on his wedding day vowing faithfulness to his bride 364 days a year, leaving one day for himself. The bride would be crazy to accept that, and Jesus obviously deserves no less. I left them with Diane still trying to convince Chris not to wait with repentance.
Cindy, about 30, Sylvia, about 12
On my way home from dropping off a friend at the hospital, I stopped at McGuane Park to try to start a conversation with someone, and as we met on the sidewalk I offered Sylvia’s mother, Cindy, a million dollar tract, but she said “no thanks”. I said, “Well let me explain what these are for. On the back is the million dollar question ‘Will you go to heaven’” She said “oh yes” but didn’t really know why. This led to a good conversation about the fact of her sin and God’s justice resulting in judgment and God’s love resulting in giving his Son Jesus. Cindy just recently started going to Central Assembly, another church in the neighborhood and I encouraged her to continue and said I’ve heard some very good things about the pastor there. I think she left the conversation with a much better understanding of the faith. I would conclude that the MDB tracts or any tracts can be a great conversation starter regardless of whether people initially take them.
Joseph, about 17
5/19/09 A day earlier I had been very busy after work, and I kept thinking “The night is young, I’ll have a chance to witness to someone later” and I kept putting it off. Well no one crossed my path and I ended the day talking to no one but just being reminded that if I don’t intentionally reach out to someone, it most likely won’t happen. So the next day was a nice day but I had a class until late in the evening, so I knew if I didn’t find someone to talk to it probably wouldn’t happen again just like the day before I arrived at my class 45 minutes early and went for a walk to the 7 Eleven. For some reason, I felt very intimidated to talk to anyone, so I decided to just hand out tracks and see what would happen. I usually can’t hand out the million dollar bill tracts without laughing along with the people and talking about them, so eventually I asked Joseph, a high school kid with his girlfriend, what he thought happens after people die. He said, “Well I went to a Catholic school”, like he had it all together. After some questions about the Commandments and his sin, he changed his mind and said, “Well I really don’t believe in life after death anyway”. I asked him what happens if it really is true that he will stand before God on judgment day, and he knew he was in trouble, but didn’t really want to talk more, probably because he was with his girlfriend who said nothing. So I asked him to really take some time to consider eternity, told him I would pray for him, and let them go on their way.
Frank, 18 and his two friends.
5/20/09 I let Frank and his two buddies hang out in my classroom during a free period, and as I did my Spanish lessons I overheard them talking about all the gang drama going on. I asked them if they knew anyone their age who had been killed, which they had very recently, and what happens after death. They were very open to talking about eternal life, God, and judgment day, and were very shocked to see how they compared to God’s standard, the Ten Commandments, and to realize that they had basically broken them all and would indeed be held accountable. I spent some time talking about God’s infinite holiness and justice, and how God has every right to demand that the punishment fit the crime. They saw that hell really is a reasonable punishment when we rebel against God by breaking his laws, and they were truly convicted of many of their sins, even being amazed at how many times they caught themselves using God’s name disrespectfully in that very conversation. The bell rang, so I stressed John 3:16 to them, gave them some literature, and let them go to their next class.
5/21/09 Lisa, about 30 and Warren, about 40
On my way home from work I stopped at the park to pass out million-dollar bill tracts and try to have a witnessing conversation with someone, which is a daily goal for me. People were out enjoying the nice weather and a dozen or so laughed when I gave them the MDB’s. I encouraged them to read the question on the back which asks if they would go to heaven and to see if they could pass the “good person test” which I failed. This always seems to make people curious as to whether they could pass it themselves, so they often start reading it. I didn’t have much time to work with, but I did talk with Lisa who was exercising her dog. She is a Christian who just took a class and became a “minister” in her church. I told her about biblical evangelism, which shares the truth about our sin, accountabilty to keep God’s commandments, and judgment day which helps prepare people to receive the good news of Jesus with repentence and faith. I encouraged her to be more intentional about evangelism and pray that she will. I also spoke with Warren, who also puts his faith in Christ, though when first asked his trust seemed to be in being a good person. Further questions really showed that he knows his good deeds can’t save him or make up for his sins, but his trust in is Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. I find that many Christians aren’t ready with an answer for the hope that is within them, but when we regularly share our faith it is a benefit not only to others but a constant reminder to ourselves of what we believe. I pray that Warren and Lisa will share their faith on a regular basis.
Joni, 41 my sister
5/25/09 One of the reasons I began witnessing to strangers was to become more prepared to witness to those I know and love. I’ve had some long conversations with Joni, my sister, that eventually ended up going in circles because she doesn’t accept the authority of the Bible. After leaving it alone for over a year I began the conversation again, and found she was glad to talk about it but unfortunately still stuck in the same place due to her lack of trust in God’s Word. This time I was better able to direct the conversation and avoid going in circles. I was able to bypass a lot of her intellectual excuses and get to the heart of the matter – her opinion that she is a good person worthy of heaven. She asked what she could possibly be doing wrong and I explained that she has created her own image of God that she is comfortable with, but she is unwilling to accept God on His terms, which He clearly reveals in the Bible. We plan to talk more. Please pray for her to believe that God reveals himself in His Word.
Al, about 40 5/26.09 I missed a few days of witnessing because I didn’t intentionally go out of my way to look for someone to talk to, but just waited for God to provide an opportunity without my help. Well that may sound pious or spiritual, and its true that opportunities are sometimes given to us in unexpected ways, but the truth is that we are called to be fishers of men, and the fish don’t usually jump in the boat on their own. We have to put our hook in the water. So after my Tuesday evening class it was dark and still raining hard, so on my way home I stopped at Dominicks and began to push a grocery cart around. I decided to give out Million Dollar tracts and hopefully start a conversation. The first person I gave one to was Al, who said “Oh, I already have one. It’s on my refrigerator” “Where did you get it?” “I found it on the ground at the Taste of Chicago last year.” “Did you read the back?” Al said he hadn’t paid much attention to the message on it, and that though he was Catholic he hadn’t really been going to church. I asked him how he felt he’d been doing based on the Ten Commandments, and he easily agreed he has broken them and deserves God’s wrath. He was clearly humble and just hoping God would be merciful to him. I explained that God’s justice demands punishment for sin, but that God’s mercy has made salvation possible through faith in Jesus. Al brightened up and sincerely talked about his love for Jesus. He was glad to have things explained so clearly, and thanked me for spreading God’s word to people like himself. We talked for awhile and I gave him a booklet that explains how we can begin and grow faith in Christ.
Grocery Shoppers 5/27 and 5/28 Sometimes I find that I just lose my boldness in starting witnessing conversations. This time I think it was because I have drifted away from the Lord and allowed my own busy-ness to take priority. My goal is one conversation per day, but if I can’t do that I try to hand out at least 10 “million dollar” tracts. I handed them out as I did various errands, like at the grocery store. Usually, I lighten up because its fun to surprise people with the “million”, and often a conversation is easy to start because of it, but on these days I just had short conversations asking people the million dollar question – “will you go to heaven?” I would then usually say “Are you a good person?” “Oh yes” they all said. I’d say “You look like a good person” and I then asked them to “take the “good person test – its harder than you think - I failed it myself!” They usually get this curious look on their face and I really feel they are then interested enough to read the back of the tract on their own. Please pray for the 20 or so people I gave the tracts to.
Jan, about 30
After a two day drought of witnessing it was more difficult than usually to “break the ice” and start a conversation, so I just decided to start by walking around the Dominick’s parking lot and handing out million dollar tracts. First person I talked to was Jan, sitting in her car. She didn’t want the tract so I just said “I’d like to explain what this is about – it asks the million dollar question – will you go to heaven?” I guess I feel that whether or not a person takes the tract, at they know that I’m trying to share my faith. Jan knew full well, and told me sadly that she didn’t think she would go. I asked her why and she told me she had recently slipped up after being sober for many years. She seemed very hopelesss, so I tried to reassure her that God isn’t through wtith her yet. I was thinking that God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble, so I tried to emphasize his forgiveness. I didn’t know if she had a true godly sorrow, but I asked if I could pray for her, which I did before leaving. Pray for a godly sorrow leading her to repentance and faith in Jesus.
Raul, 25 5/31/09
I gave Raul a MDB tract as he walked to Dominicks and asked him some of the opening questions. He continued to walk as he answered, but instead of trying to continue the conversation by walking with him I stood my ground and he stopped and came back to talk. He turned out to be a Catholic who hasn’t really read the Bible, but has a very religious Grandmother and mother which seemed to be part of the reason why he thought he should go to heaven. I explained that “God doesn’t have any grandchildren, that he personally needed to put his faith in Jesus Christ for salvation. He was thankful for a clear explanation of the Gospel, and said he would read the literature I gave him.
Durdana, about 50, is a woman from India working as a substitute teacher. I struck up a conversation in the teachers lounge, asking about her background and customs. She is a Muslim, and was quick to assert that Muslim’s believe that Jesus was a great prophet, not the son of God. I focused the conversation on God’s justice – would He let sin go unpunished? She eventually agreed that He wouldn’t, and I pointed out that Jesus had never sinned, but Muhammed had, which she agreed to. I asked if Muhammed had to be punished for his sins. At this point, she said that these were things only her cleric could answer. I gave her a “Why Christianity” booklet which compares major religions. She said she would read it, I pray that she will.