9/18/12 Luis, about 65
"You already gave me one of these", a man sitting on a park bench told me as I gave him a million-dollar gospel tract to help start a conversation. "When did I give it to you?" I asked. "About two years ago." I found out that he - Luis - still has it, and still remembers my name, but I was disappointed to find out that he didn't really remember what it said. However, I know that the story isn't complete - God isn't through with Luis or any of us yet, and in fact our conversation of two years ago gave me a huge boost in credibility with Luis when talking to him a second time today. Luis said that he doesn't believe in any sort of afterlife and just focuses on enjoying life now, especially his family.. "No one ever came back from the dead to let us know what happened to them" was the reasoning he gave. Yet Luis said he "has faith" and that his faith is what keeps him going from day to day. "When you say you have faith, what do you have faith in?" Luis has a general belief that God will watch over and protect him and his family, but his focus is on health and general prosperity in this life with little thought about another life to come. He is Catholic but complained that he could never understand the Bible as explained in church. Instead, he had praise for Joel Olsteen's ministry which he often watches on TV. "I have a friend who came to faith in Christ through his ministry" I told him. "But I have to warn you - their focus is on just the good news about God's love, which doesn't make sense without the hard news that God also loves justice. God will punish sin as He has promised, but He gave His own Son to take the punishment we deserve." I have to wonder if Luis' lack of concern about his eternal fate and a focus on prosperity in this life is a result of the focus of Osteen's ministry or is what attracted him to it in the first place. Probably both. The best I could do was to reason this through with Luis, explaining the Gospel and encouraging him to read the Bible himself.