12/04/09 Jimmy, about 60
I stopped at McDonalds and started a conversation with Jimmy, an older black gentleman who was enjoying his lunch break from his job as a truck driver. He told me he believes in God and grew up in a Baptist family of 11 kids, though he alone is Pentecostal. He said that "the Baptist teachings didn't change me, but once I joined the Pentecostal church I changed a lot" He described experiences of "catching the Holy Ghost and speaking in tongues", but is now "backslidden" and doesn't attend church much anymore. He believes God would say he is a good person and told me several stories of how bad the rest of his family has treated him in comparison, then went on to describe the corrupt pastor of his sister's church. I told him that "If you stand in a garage that doesn't make you a car" and that there are many people in church who really aren't Christians. He also described an experience on the street in which 3 young white ladies shared the gospel with him, and when he told them he had been saved they reassured him that he wouldn't lose his salvation. I agreed, but told him that true believers will persevere in their faith, and those who don't should question whether they had been saved to begin with (1 John 2:3-4) Jimmy seemed typical of people who have strayed from God's word; once reminded of his sin and need of Christ alone for salvation he readily agreed. He seemed clearly energized to get back involved with church, and I hope he will.