6/25/11 Mike, about 40
At a park on a Friday evening I was trying to explain to Marcos.- a church brother - how I try to talk to people who look like they have some time on their hands and and how, for example, the guy sitting on the picnic table watching the Little League game was probably a parent who would be too distracted by the game to talk. Marcos wasn't so sure which made me rethink my initial impression and we went over to talk to the guy - Mike. Turned out Mike was totally willing to talk about his beliefs. Every conversation is different but this one went about as close to a classic "law and grace" gospel presentation as I've seen in a long time. Mike started out believing he is good enough to go to heaven, the law helped him see he is not and needs to be saved from God's just punishment, and God in His grace made the ultimate sacrifice of His own Son on the cross for all who repent and believe. Mike received all this gratefully, obviously for the first time. As we walked away Marcos asked why I didn't ask Mike if he was ready to receive Jesus. I felt that Mike had received the Gospel on an intellectual level - without the conviction one needs to truly repent - but Marcos' question was an important one that led to a good discussion on our way home. Proverbs 27:17 says that "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another" and I was glad for Marcos' questions that led me to talk to Mike in the first place and to wrestle with my presuppostions about what true repentence and faith looks like. I am reminded why Jesus sent out his disciples in pairs - it didn't start with the Jehovah's Witnesses or Mormons - and we shouldn't let them rob the Church of this important part of what it means to be disciples of Jesus.