I was meeting Alex and Bobby at the bus stop in front of gate 2 at Sanford stadium for ministry. I had 1400 “After the Game” Gospel tracts and Bobby and Alex were going to read scripture and preach. As God would have it I ran into them in Athens about a block from campus so we were able to walk to the stadium together and have some fellowship time.
I stood at the top of the stairs that lead from the student center to the stadium giving Gospel tracts to passing fans. I make a point of welcoming the visiting fans to Athens and try to make them feel welcome. I guess you could say I try to exercise my “southern hospitality”. I never thought we would be able to give away 1400 tracts but God was good. We were completely out well before kick-off.
After we had been there about an hour a ticket scalper came close to where we were trying to sell some tickets. He began to say things like “JESUS SAYS YOU SHOULD BUY THESE TICKETS”, “GET AWAY FROM THESE JESUS FREAKS” and other things that I will not mention here. As he was doing this Bobby was preaching and openly told the man that he should be ashamed about what he was doing. If you would have heard him I think you would agree. Eventually Bobby was able to have a conversation, of sorts, with the scalper. As they were talking I was continuing to give Gospel tracts to fans when I heard the man yell “I HOPE YOU $#@!*&% burn in Hell forever!” at Bobby. Eventually the man went on his way and we continued with the task at hand.
Later Bobby told me that the ticket scalper had claimed to be an Episcopalian Chaplain.
Just another day in “Bizarro World”!
…Until All Hear!
This is a blog I posted on the Ambassadors’ Alliance site Monday, October 6th 2008
The event actually happened several years ago.
I just wanted to remember this time with my little girl. She’s not so little anymore but seems like it was just last week we played Barbie together.
We were all sitting around the dinner table this past weekend kind of reminiscing about our children’s younger years. My wife Kim reminded us of an incident that I had forgotten about. When our daughter was about 8 or 9 she and I were in her room playing with Barbie dolls. I know, but for some reason she always wanted daddy to play Barbie dolls with her. So being a good daddy (who was secure in his manhood, by the way J) I humbled myself and did it. My only requirement was that I got to be Ken. J
We got the doll house out. She also had a car (a corvette I think). We got the dolls out dressed them all up and so the fun began. Now you may not know this but Ken is a Street Evangelists. Therefore when he came over to Barbie’s house he immediately noticed the nice house, the Corvette, and all of the fine stuff she had. He was then obligated to share the gospel with her because it was apparent that she was very worldly and there was no way she could be a Christian. Ok, I said Ken was a Street Evangelist, I didn’t say his theology was perfect. J
Ken began to preach the gospel open air in front of Barbie’s house. She was not very receptive. Barbie (played by my daughter) got a little hostile because she just wanted to have fun. She didn’t want to get preached to because it was making her feel bad about herself. You can understand that can’t you? After all she is the perfect woman. She’s beautiful, smart, and has all sorts of nice stuff. She has the perfect life. Why would she need to listen to preaching?
She was a perfectly good person. God had to be pleased with her or she would not have been so blessed. Right? You see Barbie is so much like the typical American today. They think they are good and if they do go to church they only go to be entertained or to have their self esteem messaged, so that they leave there feeling good about self.
Anyway, Barbie was greatly offended at the law and the gospel. Was Ken wrong for “forcing” religion on her? When he noticed her being offended did he think maybe he should have shut up, because he might be pushing her away from Jesus. Maybe Barbie had some friends that were Christians and they would just live their lives before her and she would want what they had. Or maybe she would hear about the church down the street that has the motorcycles jumping over the pastor and she would go there because she really loves motorcycles.
It would appear that Ken was being rude and unkind (to the naked eye).
But was he really being unkind?
I saw a couple of drunk, cussing “Christians” heckling an open air preacher friend of mine Saturday night. They called him a hypocrite and a jerk and then told him he shouldn’t be judging these people. I think I learned something. I learned that calling people hypocrites, jerks and accusing them of judging people isn’t being judgmental. On the other hand showing someone their need of the Savior by telling them about the law (because you do not want them to go to hell) is judgmental, hypocritical and makes one a jerk.
The only reason I am not more amazed at the extent to which people will go to justify their sin is because I too once did that very thing.
It’s an honor to serve such a patient, loving, kind, holy, and righteous God!
“It not only matters what you say but how you say it.” One of my heroes of the faith made this comment at a dinner that I attended. This really stuck with me due to my tendency to be sarcastic. I need to constantly check my methods, because I do not want to make the gospel more abrasive than it naturally is to a lost person.
2 Corinthians 6 1 Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2For he says, “In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 3We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, 4but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, 5beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; 6 by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; 7by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; 8through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 9as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.(emphasis added)
The Apostle Paul went out of his way to keep from being an obstacle to the Corinthian’s salvation. Therefore it is reasonable for me to do the same. The first and foremost thing is to make sure that I am speaking truth. Is what I am saying my opinion, or is it what God’s word says? The next and very important thing is: Am I speaking in love? I believe there are times when it is ok to speak sharply to people, but it should not be the norm. For instance, if I am trying to converse with someone who repeatedly slings out obscene statements about God I may sling a sharp rebuke or remark to that person. I do this for a couple of reasons. First I am trying to get their attention and they may not expect the street preacher to lash out at them so my hope is that it will shock them out of their bantering. Secondly if they are so flippant about their sin I fear for their soul and want to do everything I can to get them to realize that they will stand before God in judgment and have to give an account for their lives. I will give an example. Once a young man walked by as we were passing out gospel tracts. After he passed by he turned and yelled “I Hate Jesus!”. I yelled back, “I know!, It’s obvious!”. He stopped, turned around and said “What?!” So I repeated what I said. Some would say that I should not have said that, and maybe I was in error, but at least it made him stop for a second and think about it. On the other hand if I stand out on the street and yell “It’s obvious you hate Jesus!” to everyone that walks by, I think I would be going out of my way to be offensive. Therefore I must always speak in love. It is possible to speak the truth in the wrong way and be in error.
Another danger is that I may put myself on a pedestal because I am on the front lines while others do little or nothing to get the gospel to the lost. At one point in life I struggled with Christians that didn’t share their faith. I even got to the point where I started thinking that they weren’t even truly Born Again because they never witnessed to anyone. After all C.H. Spurgeon did say that if you do not desire to see others saved then you are not saved yourself. (Loose paraphrase). We must remember that even though C.H. Spurgeon was a great man of God and a wonderful preacher, he is not God and this is not scripture. While you would think that a true Christian would desire to see others saved, we cannot pass judgment and declare them all heathens. Many want to share but struggle with fear. Others do not have a clue how to do it due to lack of training in the church as a whole. I prayed about this for a long time and God changed my heart. While I still get frustrated with Christians that do not share their faith, my attitude has changed from one of self-righteousness to one of “What can I do to encourage them and help them be equipped to share”.
While doing evangelism on the street is a very humbling experience there are still dangers of becoming self righteous and arrogant. After continuous abuse and heckling one may tend to get hardened and lose compassion for the lost. We may start to think that all of these people are going to hell and they deserve it. This attitude can change our preaching attitude from one of love and compassion to an attitude of Judgment and condemnation. We must remember that Jesus is the Judge and Jesus does the condemning and the saving.
…until all hear!
First post and nothing to say…
This blog will contain evangelism stories, videos, and some random thoughts.’
Please be patient while this takes shape.