3/27/10 Eli, Deanna, Derrick late teens
On the first day of our family vacation to Nana's house in North Carolina, I went for a walk on the beach with my family. The beach was empty except for 3 teenagers out having a few beers and walking their dog. Just before leaving the beach I told my wife I would try to engage them in conversation; if I did then I would call her by cell phone when I was done to join up with the family again, so they went on their way and I went to talk to the teenagers. I gave them MDB tracts which brought some laughs, and asked if they knew the million dollar question, "Will you go to heaven?" They all said they would. "How can you be sure?" They didn't know. Deanna, who is Catholic, said "it all depends on what kind of person you are in this life" Derrick, who had simply said he was a Christian, had no idea. Eli, a Baptist, said "You have to accept Jesus as your personal savior". I asked, "Why is it so important to accept Jesus?" Eli said he really didn't know. I went on to explain our condemnation before God by personalizing the Ten Commandments. (This is so important because of the way people trivialize their sin) and the punishment of hell we deserve and the mercy we hope for. At the mention of the word "hell" Derrick said "I just try not to think about it. I'll deal with it when my day comes" I told him, "You know, I hate that word too. Hell is a horrible thing to imagine, and I'd rather not even say the word, but it wasn't meant to make us feel good" I asked if he had seen a recent movie about drinking beer in hell. Derrick, who had a beer in hand, said he had and I told him "Hell is no joke. It's not a place for bad people to party, but it was made as a place of punishment for Satan and all who turn away from God." We can't avoid it by forgetting about it or calling it anything less than it is. I went on to share God's love and mercy in Christ. These kids knew I cared enough to tell them some hard truths, and sincerely thanked me for stopping to talk as I left to catch up with my family.