Saturday, February 23, 2008a few words from the scum of the Earth...
I have no idea what to write. There are nights like this for me. Nights where I am so frazzled by the words and actions of those I have tried to bring the Gospel to, that I'm left speechless. Actually, it's more than speechless, because it's not that I don't want to talk about our evangelistic effort, it's that I really have no interest in recollecting over 99% of what I have experienced. It's quite a thing being looked upon and treated as the literal scum of the Earth by so many, for simply preaching the Bible in a public place.
That being said, I continue with the notes. Why? Because I know now that the clumsy words that form my Friday Night Notes have become an encouragement to many of my brothers and sister-in-the Lord. So this one if for all of you, dear readers, and I apologize in advance if the post sounds whiny.
Only an hour had past in our customary night of street preaching, and pastor Tim and I both came to the same conclusion: "What an ungodly zoo!" From the street beggar who declared that we were the enemies of God (because God doesn't want us preaching anything about Hell, of course...), to the sodomites who, in their usual effeminate tone, told us all about what was their favorite sexual practice, and everything in between, it was all pretty bad. All pretty miserable.
The second hour wasn't much better. If anything, it was worse. While we were preaching, a group of young people (about ten of them) came near to our preaching spot and began to yell obscenities and blasphemies, laughing scornfully with every insult. This was a tense hour. It was difficult to tell if these souls would up their persecution with violence, so pastor Tim and I remained side-by-side for a good 20 minutes. Praise God though, it didn't come to violence, though a couple of men from that group got in pastor Tim's face with their camera-phones, yelling and mocking him. In response to this, I took my camera phone and took a picture of this upstanding citizen in all his glory. Having their picture taken, I suspect, made the group nervous (perhaps fearing I would use these pictures in a complaint to the police), and they quickly walked away.
After two solid hours of mockery, reviling, and threats, the Lord gave each pastor Tim and I a courteous, civilized conversation with unconverted souls. It was quite the breath of fresh air. I don't know much about the conversation pastor Tim had with the young man he dealt with. I know that pastor Tim encouraged the young man to get some personal issues settled in his life, and the young man agreed with pastor Tim's counsel. I had a great exchange with a man named Mike. He also had some personal issues he needed to deal with and I tried, as best I could to point him in the right direction. After this, I asked him where he think he would go if he died right then and there...
"Heaven, for sure," he replied.
"Okay," I continued, "what makes you so sure?"
"'Cause all my life I've done good for others, even when I did bad things, I always found a way to do good afterwards," the man said.
I couldn't keep from smiling at this point. I told him that his answer was a common one. Then I gave him my prognosis:
"Hades, Mike... if you died right now, you'd be going to Hades."
"Why?" he replied.
"Well, first off, you've been drinking tonight," I began. "You drank enough for me to smell it powerfully on your breath. Now, I'm not saying that that makes you a terribly wicked, Hell-bent creature, but it does tell me that, at best, somewhere along the way, you stopped following Jesus. At worst, you've never followed him at all. Secondly, and this is critically important, when I asked you where you got your assurance of salvation, who answered with "works", and the Bible is clear that no flesh would be justified by works."
Mike took all this pretty well. He agreed with my evaluation and admitted that he felt a large measure of guilt concerning the sin that was in his life. I was able to give a bit of the Gospel message to him, and encouraged him to read the Bible. When he told me that he didn't own a Bible, I gave him my pocket Bible (note to all the evangelists reading this post: ALWAYS KEEP A POCKET BIBLE ON YOU). He promised me he would read the Scriptures, and asked me where we met for church. It was then that Mike shook his head and said:
"Oh man! I can't possibly become one of you 'born-agains'!"
"Mike," I said laughing out loud, "if God will save you, no force on Earth could stop you from being born-again, and if God doesn't save you, no force on Earth could give you spiritual life."
All this was really encouraging, but make no mistake dear readers, that was a whole lot of oysters and very, very few pearls. Perhaps it's all in my attitude... perhaps I'm a glass-half-empty kind of guy tonight, but really, you should have been there. I mean, what an ungodly mess. Even when I made my way back to my van after our time of evangelism was done, the devil set out a snare for me that could have developed into a very big problem, but the Holy Spirit quickly guided me out of my predicament. Praise the Lord for His blessing on me.
With that, dear readers, I close the notes. I'm preaching the evening service on the Lord's Day, so I would appreciate your prayers, dear saints of God. Have a safe weekend, and a glorious, restful Lord's Day.
God bless you all.
Labels: Friday evangelism