Monday, May 23, 2011
So, Norm, Tom, Catherine, Ronnie, Barbara, Brandt, Haleh and I met Alan and Joe out there. It was a busy night of evangelism. As we were setting up, a street preacher named Duane stopped by with a sign and a mic. He said he was familiar with WOTM teaching, but wasn't connected with it in any way. He said that he did use a balance of Law and Grace in his preaching, and seemed to have a pretty Biblical message from my conversation with him. He left and I didn't see him the rest of the night. Maybe we'll see him out there again, I'd like to hear him preach.
Since this was the day the rapture was supposed to happen according to Harold Camping, someone had nailed a shirt and a pair of shorts to a tree nearby, obviously making a joke of this unbiblical date setting.
No one knows the day or the hour (Matt 24:26, Matt 25:13, but we can know the season (Matt 24:32-33), and it sure seems that the season is upon us. Don't let false prophets (Jer 14:14, Jer 23:16) confuse the issue or stop you from going out and proclaiming the true Gospel.
I don't know when the end will be, but I will say that it's closer now than it's ever been before. And tomorrow, it will be closer still. But keep in mind, any individual's end may come at any time. 150,000 people die every day, that's two people every second - off into eternity.
Brandt got up on the box and quickly gathered a crowd of obnoxious drunks. They started out mocking and angry, but he was able to talk with them for a while and they seemed to settle into a good discussion, listening to each others points of view.
I did some Open Air Trivia and a man named Anthony stopped and went through the Good Person Test. He seemed to understand the message and even had a little conviction. He said that I was just trying to lure people in with the $5 prize, and was surprised when I gave it to him anyway, even though he didn't deserve it and couldn't earn it. We do this as a demonstration of God's grace in which He freely gives us salvation that we don't deserve and cannot earn.
Tom called me over to a man he had been talking with for a while. His name was Okechukwu (we had him spell that one for us), it's pronounced Okaychookoo and is a Nigerian name that means "gift of God."
We prayed with him and I asked him if he had a Bible. He said he only had a New World Translation, which is the Jehovah Witness version. I explained that particular version had some changes in it that no other Bibles included in order to implement the Watchtower Society teachings into it. I gave him a regular ESV Bible and we talked for a little bit. It seemed that he had recently been going to a JW Bible study, and some things weren't making sense. I told him that they believe that Jesus is not God, but Michael the Archangel, but there is nothing in the Bible to make a case for this. We talked about the Trinity, the deity of Christ and how He accepted worship, as well as some of the other JW doctrines that don't make sense. He seemed receptive and had been wondering about a lot of this stuff on his own. Please keep him in prayer that the Lord would keep him on a Biblical path and not let him be deceived by the Watchtower Society or any other cults.
I saw a guy nearby on his cell phone and when he finished his call, he came over asking to go through the Good Person Test. I told him I would base it on the Ten Commandments, and he mentioned the tables of Talmud or something, but he agreed to go through the test. (I looked into that later and found that the Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism, in the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history.) He said he thought that we were in hell already, so I explained that there is some pleasure here, but there will be none in hell.
He said his name was Manuel, and I explained what God has done for us to keep us out of the hell that we deserve, that He came down in Jesus Christ, fully man yet fully God at the same time, lived a perfect, sinless life, and then suffered and died, crucified on a cross, to take on the punishment that we deserve. All that we must do is repent of our sins, turn away from them and trust in Jesus Christ alone for our salvation.
He understood the Gospel message and said that he appreciated what we were doing out here. He said he knows it's hard to see a lot of people walking by ignoring the message. He gave us some encouragement and said to keep it up. It seemed a little odd, but looking back on this with what I've found the Talmud is, I would guess that he was a Messianic Jew who was just checking to see if we were preaching a Biblical message or not.
One of the atheists that hangs around with the Skeptic Tank (my name for our local group of atheists that comes out to oppose us) was looking at the Celebrity Board and asked me about it. This was a little odd, because I have seen him out there off and on for the past 4 years and had never heard him speak. I still don't even know what his name is, but he was giving me some advice on what I should be using to gather people's attention instead of the Celebrity Board. Maybe I should bring my "transitional species" out again.
A drunk guy stopped to look at the Celebrity Board but didn't believe in God because of bad things that have happened in his life. I tried to explain that we live under a curse and that bad things happen due to man's sinfulness. He got a bit loud and angry at times, but he calmed down and we talked for a while, before he shook my hand and left. He wasn't open to spiritual things, but hopefully he will consider these things again on another day.
Soli Deo Gloria