Saturday, March 31, 2007I'm going to be thinking about this for awhile...
This was in my "notes" on August 13th, 2005:
Alot has happened tonight. The most significant was "old Rand taking one for the team". Yep, I got physically roughed up a bit tonight. One of the "regular drunks" in the market wasn't too impressed with my preaching so he decided to do something about it. He tried to destroy one of our Gospel signs and when I got in the way to stop him, well, my face got a taste of his fist.
I have, since then, mentioned this drunk on a number of occasions in my Friday Night Notes. His name was Matthew. He was a regular in the marketplace, panhandling for spare change to buy his next bottle. My pastor had, on various occasions, conversations with Matthew, about the Gospel and his need to get off the streets, before the bottle totally ruined him. In the beginning, Matthew listened and thanked him for his concern, but over time, he got more and more aggressive and angry. These last few years, Matthew's brain was completely wasted by the drugs and the constant drinking; it was totally impossible to share anything with him.
Now, I say "was" because Matthew is dead. He died of a mixture of prescription medication and alcohol. That's what a few of the other panhandlers told me tonight. The news affected me all night. I still feel awful. The thought that keeps coming back into my mind is: "What a waste! What a miserable, complete waste."
"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23)
Poor Matthew was collecting those wages his whole life, and he is collecting the full consequence of his sin as we speak. Week after week, eternal life was set before him, but he willfully chose sin every time. How terrible. How sad. My heart is broken.
A couple of hours into my night of street evangelism, another panhandler, a man by the name of Nathan came to speak to me. He told me he wanted to hear "about Jesus". So I spoke to him about Jesus. In our conversation, I found out that he was lost in a world of drunkenness and drugs (just like Matthew), and was now homeless because of it. He knew that his lifestyle was going to be the end of him. I told him he needed Jesus and that he would do well to get serious, and leave the booze and drugs and call out, sincerely, to God for help. He agreed that that was what he had to do. I prayed with him right there on the street corner, and I asked God to save him in this earthly life, and to grant him spiritual life.
The last thing I need to see is another Matthew (and I'm fully aware that the world abounds with Matthew stories).
Oddly enough, I saw another face tonight that I hadn't seen since August 13th, 2005:
After all this action, I had a conversation with a Fulun Dafa follower. Falun Dafa is a Buddhist type religion which involves meditations of the "Eastern religion" sort. It is heavily persecuted in China, so some of the followers of this religion spread news around to raise awareness. Anyway, I told him that while I hoped to see the day China accepted freedom of religion, I had no time for his religious nonsense. I gave him a Gospel of John and encouraged him to read it. He said he might "for educational purposes". Pray that the Lord save this man through His Word.
He tried to show me the merits of his faith by reading a paragraph from his religious booklet, but I stopped him in the middle of his first phrase. The phrase was something like: "The beneficial influence of kindhearted men..." Right there I said: "no such person".
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9)
"They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one." (Romans 3:12)
I could tell (by his countenance) that that had shocked him. He kept repeating: "no, it can't be that bad", to which I responded: "it can and it is!" Again, pray that the Lord deal with that young man; that he would be delivered from the bondage of his false religion."
What's hilarious is that, after trying to give me some of his Fulun Dafa material (which I promptly turned down), he complained that people were so uncaring and wicked. He cited how thousands of his Fulun Dafa counterparts were being imprisoned and tortured in China, and no one cared. At this point, I couldn't resist saying:
"You've changed, my friend."
"What do you mean?" we asked.
"The last time we spoke," I began, "you vehemently denied that mankind was evil. You spoke of the goodness of their hearts, and that this goodness could be increased through Fulun Dafa; and all these months later, you're no longer talking about the goodness of man, you're complaining about their evil. The kind of evil I was trying to show you last time we spoke. The evil that's in you, the evil that's in me, the evil that is in every fallen sinner on this planet."
I then called him right out for the hypocrite, foolish idolater that he was. I clearly demonstrated how nothing in his false religion had given him one iota of wisdom, and that the unbridled wickedness in the hearts of the drunks and fools in the marketplace was also in his heart. He rejected this assessment despite my best arguments, calling Christianity a "dead religion".
Poor soul, he doesn't realize that it is he who is dead.
A whole lot more down right quaky stuff happened tonight. In my three hours of open-air evangelism, I was cursed, mocked, and threatened... and all of this in the most bizarre, vulgar, and vile of ways. People still manage to surprise me in their ability to find new ways to express their absolute hatred of the Gospel, and by extension, me. I had a guy tonight walk up to me, put his thumb against one of his nostrils and then blowing out mucus out of the other nostril in my general direction. I had a kid who couldn't have been more than 11 or 12 years old come up to me just to blaspheme. Bad. Just, bad.
There were some good things that took place tonight (like the young man who referred to me to his friends as the "Jesus-guy"... I really liked that one... lol), but all and all, what an ungodly, warped mess. A part of me would like to just keep writing to try and give you a better sense of how dysfunctional and crazy the world of the wicked is in the marketplace of my city, but I'm way too tired, and I really don't think I have enough skills in letters to adequately describe to you all my experiences. All of you brothers and sisters-in-the-Lord who have done any kind of sustained biblical evangelism, you probably know what I'm writing about.
I'm going to bed now. I need the rest... I'm pretty weary. Take care, dear readers, and have a good weekend, and a most blessed Lord's Day.
"Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you." (Matthew 5:10-12)
Labels: Friday evangelism