Some people struggle all their lives, desperately hoping to figure out who they are and what they were born to do. I know who I am and what I was born to do.
I am amazed at how God puts things together. God has given me the privilege of sharing a ministry with a Godly man who compliments me perfectly. Today, we were so blessed in so many ways.
We've adopted a neighborhood in Lafayette, and we simply knock on doors in the neighborhood and offer to pray with people about any needs they have.
Today, though, was different. First, we returned to a house we'd been to in the past. Had a great conversation with mom, dad, and son. Turns out that the dad is my 7th grade Social Studies teacher! Leaving the conversation, though, I was kind of bummed. We spent a lot of time talking to them about flowers, school, parenting....but not the Gospel. They really weren't open to it, it seemed. But we spent a lot of time there.
Charlie and I were talking on the way to the next house. The subject of Wretched Radio came up. I told Charlie how Todd Friel goes to Georgia Tech every Wednesday - "Witness Wednesday," he calls it - and witnesses to people for 2 hours on the radio.
I told Charlie about how, when he sees a conversation going nowhere fast, he says something like, "I'm gonna tip my hand. I'm a Christian. I'm gonna take 3 minutes, and I'm gonna try to convert you. Is that ok?" Sure enough, almost everyone says, "Sure, why not?"
So we get to the next house, and its a young guy. Very polite. Wants us to pray for him because he just got a big job. We asked if he could pray for him then, but he he wasn't comfortable. He clearly wanted the conversation to end as fast as possible, even though he was polite.
So Charlie dives in head first. "Got 3 more minutes for me to try to convert you?"
Surprisingly, the guy said, "Sure, why not?"
Even more surprisingly, Charlie fell silent, like, "What have I gotten myself into?" That's pretty much what I was thinking, too.
So this dude has 14 years of Catholic school education. He knows about the commandments, and Jesus. So I said, "You know about the commandments, right?"
Me: "How you doin' on those?"
Him: "i'm doin' all right. I keep 'em. I try hard."
Me: "Let's see if that's true. Ever lied?"
Me: "What does that make you?"
Him: "um...a person who makes mistakes."
Me: "Yeah, but more specifically...rhymes with pants on fire...4 letter word...I'm guilty too."
Me: "Yes. Ever stolen anything?"
Me: "Never...in your whole life...even something small?"
Me: "Good. Ever taken the Lord's name in vain?"
Him: Shaking head: "Oh yeah."
Me: "You know that God takes blaspemy seriously."
Him: "Yeah. But God knows my thoughts and that I'm a good person."
Me: "Well here's the one that got me. Jesus said, 'you've had that it was said by them of olf, you shall not commit adultery. But I say to you that whoever looks upon a woman to lust after her has already comitted adultery with her in his heart. Ever looked at a woman with lust?"
Him: "Oh yeah."
Me: "So, (name withheld), by your own admission, you're a liar, not a theif, but a blasphemer, and an adulterer at heart, and you have to face God on judgment Day. Will He send you to Heaven or Hell?"
Him: "Because that's not all He looks at."
Me: "Let's try that in civil court. You're guilty of murder (God considers hatred murder, so you're guilty of that too, right?" (Shakes head yes.) But you tell the judge, 'I don't murder any more. I do good. I help old ladies across the street. I obey the law. And on the way in here, I washed your car! And I saw that your tire was low, so I put some air in it for you.
Question: Is that judge going to let you go?"
Me: "If he's a good judge, he will punish you for the crimes you've comitted, DESPITE that other stuff, right?"
Him: "Is that how you see it? Is that how you think it works?"
Me: "That's EXACTLY how it works. God is just, and Holy, and perfect. And He will punish every sin. But God is also merciful and forgiving, right?"
Him: (relieved) "Yeah!"
Me: "So how can he do both - punish lawbreakers and forgive them? That's the point of the cross! Back to the courtroom: the Judge sets bail at $25,000. You don't have 2 pennies to rub together. You're going to jail for a long time. But someone you don't even know comes in, slaps a $25,000 check in front of the judge, and says, 'He is my friend. I am paying his fine.' Because of what this man has done, you're free to go. The judge didn't ignore your crimes. The punishment was paid in full. That's what Jesus declared on the cross when He said, "It is finished." If you repent (quit trying to make yourself right with God by your own effort), and trust in Jesus' death on the cross as your only basis for forgiveness before God, He'll forgive every sin you've ever comitted and give you the free gift of everlasting life. I've given you something to think about today, haven't I?"
Pray for him.
Talked with another fellow who's fallen away from God. Really open to discussion. Have a feeling we're going to see him at our church tomorrow. Real nice guy.
Talked with an older, recently widowed woman who's been on our hearts. We talked to her last time and wanted to see if we could get a group of guys together from our church to help her with anything if she needed. Found out that she's plugged into a church that's helping her out. A big relief to see that God's people are taking care of her, since she's by herself.
Talked with a sweet lady who just bought a business. She goes to a local church. After talking for a while, I asked her, "OK, I'm gonna put you on the spot. Ready?"
Her: (Not too sure) "Um, OK."
Me: "I've got a knife in my back. I've got 3 minutes to live. What must I do to go to Heaven?"
Her: "Pray and um..."
Me: "Can I tell you what I would say?"
Her: (Relieved) "Sure."
Me: God is Holy, and just, and He'll punish sin wherever it's found. That means He'll punish murderers, rapists, thieves, and liars. Have you ever told a lie? Who hasn't, right? Ever stolen or used God's name in vain? Jesus said lust is adultery of the heart. We're all guilty and deserve Hell. But that's not God's will. Jesus died on the cross to take our penalty upon Himself. He said, "It is finished." The debt has been paid. If you embrace Jesus as the only basis for your forgiveness before Him, He'll forgive every sin you've ever committed and grant you the gift of everlasting life."
Talked with her for a while about resting in what Jesus was done instead of trying hard and feeling guilty for falling short. We encouraged her to read her bible and get plugged into a small group at her church, where others can encourage her to grow and rest in what Christ has done for her.
Finally, she couldn't resist asking the question that was burning her insides: "Why are y'all doing this?" We do carry around church bulletins and welcome people who may be in need of a church home. Calvary Chapel of Lafayette teaches verse by verse through the Scriptures, and I know of no church I can recommend more highly.
But we're not out there representing our church. We're not trying to take people from their church home and bring them into our church home. We're trying to share the Gospel and the love of Jesus.
We're not asking for money like many televangelists. So why we doing this? I mean, we could be with our families, enjoying the perfect spring weather...why?
Here's what I told her: "Because someone shared with me what I've talked to you about today, and because for five years as a Christian I haven't met anyone who's been willing to share that message with me. And apart from Jesus' death on the cross, each one of us is going straight to Hell forever. And if Hell is anything like Jesus says it is, I don't want you and the people of your neighborhood to go there. But that's not all. Jesus offers something else, too. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience...and on and on. When Jesus forgives you, He also comes to live inside of you. He gives you new desires, a relationship with Him, and all these things: love, joy, peace...What could be better than that? I want the people of your neighborhood to experience that, and the rest that only comes from Jesus. That's why I'm out here."
Please pray for these people. Nothing else I will do this week can top that. What could be better?
The other 2 times we went out, we never got to the Gospel one time. But we prayed with people, got to know people, and were happy with that. Today, neither one of us felt up to the task. But God working through us can do amazing things. And I have to keep reminding myself: "How will they hear without a preacher?"