11/24/10 Junior. about 45
It was cold and raining out after work so I stopped by a grocery store to look for someone with whom I could have a gospel conversation. I met Junior, a truck driver based in Canada but originally from Jamaica. He grew up in a Christian home and at first seemed to have a sound faith in Jesus, but he responded to my questions about his beliefs by telling several stories of times his prayers were answered when he prayed for specific signs of God's existence, or confirmation of other requests. These tests of God seem to have degenerated into the idea that his own positive thought will eventually make positive things happen and vice versa. I believe this in turn will result in reducing his idea of "God" to a non-personal force that can be predicted and manipulated. Later in our conversation, Junior confessed he is a compulsive gambler who has been losing his paycheck at the casino for years. About three months ago he gave it up after gambling away his children's birthday money, but already has a scheme to win the lottery that he said came to him through prayer. Though he is well aware he can't earn his way to heaven through good works, he needed to know that true faith and repentance will lead to good works. (Eph. 2:10) I challenged him to "Examine yourself to see if you are in the faith" (2 Cor.13:5) and told him that regular Bible reading and church attendance will help him stay focused on God. I prayed for him and gave him the booklet "Save Yourself Some Pain" on how to live the Christian life, which might help him to keep from making the same mistakes over again and having to learn all his lessons the hard way.