Monday, March 26, 2007

One to One

How much could you get done in a day if you tried to talk to everyone you walked near one to one about the Gospel? Answer: not much!

Heh. I left work around 5:45 PM to go to the ATM in a building one train stop and one block away. I didn't get there until some time after 7.

First, when I got on the platform, I asked a young man had he heard about the good person test, and our conversation was going so well, that I could not just let it end while he boarded the train in the opposite direction. So, I travelled two stops into Illinois, and deboarded, giving him my card before I left.

Then I stopped two very young kids on the platform and gave them the Gospel. Then there was a lone lady who got off another train to wait for a following train. I went to witness to her, too. It took longer than I thought, and, of course, I hopped on the train with her to finish it out. She did ask about where I lived, though, so I did tell her what was up. Just trying to make sure that people know the truth before I walk away from them.

Then when I got off that train, there were three young people, two guys, one girl, who ended up getting on my train. The girl was an atheist who asked every question she could to try to trip me up. I answered as best I could, but I don't think she was convinced in the least. She made it clear that she wasn't interested in repentance, even though her friends seemed to have been a bit convicted (but we all know that that means nothing if they never actually repent).

Then when I got off to go to the bank, I stopped and talked to the security guard. Gave him the test, the Gospel, and my card. Went to the top, shook hands with an airman and thanked him for his service. Didn't try to witness to him, I don't know why. At least, I can't think of a good reason. As we walked (he got in front of me by quite a few feet), there were two guys behind me having a conversation that I detected as being un-Christian. So I talked to them and walked four blocks instead of one.

Then, as I turned back, I stopped to talk to a young lady who was coming out of a building to her car. She failed the test, but wanted to run instead of finishing. I let her go quickly--and I fear, too quickly--and gave her a card. Then, as I was rueing that move, I stopped a man at the end of the next block and gave him the test and the Gospel. He kept looking at me like he thought I was weird, but he let me finish the whole spiel before he went on his merry way.

Then I stopped a lady in her forties or so and gave her the Good Person Test. Half way through it, I could tell she was a Christian, but I let her say so. She was glad to learn about the Good Person Test, using the Law to show people why they need Jesus.

Then I went on and tried to stop one guy who refused to stop. Then I asked the next guy. Turns out he was a Christian, too. Didn't mind being put to the test. Jesus was the first thing out of his mouth for why he would not go to Hell. Sweet deal. Told him about the souvenir shop in the building I work in, too, since he said his friend wanted to buy some Cardinals stuff.

Then, as I walked past the parking garage--only one half block away from the building housing the ATM--I saw the parking attendant. So I stopped and gave her the Good Person Test, the Gospel, and my card. She was very grateful. But please pray that she will truly repent.

So then I tried to talk to a guy who had a cigarrette in his mouth. He didn't want to talk, so I went on to the building.

The building shuts down at 6 PM, so the security guard had to let me in. When he did, I asked him if he had ever taken the good person test. That sparked a 20 minute discussion/argument about how to share the Gospel and what was truth. Very saddening to me, but I did give him my card, and told him to check out the website on the back (

After I transacted my business, I saw a kid who had clearly been running, but was taking a break, so I talked to him and walked with him. He was obviously not alarmed by what he heard, because he told me he had to get back to his running, leaving me standing there with an unsuspecting smoker right in front of me. One block further away from the train station.

So I talked to her about sin, righteousness, and Judgment Day, until her husband and children arrived, much to her relief, and took her away. So then I crossed the street to talk to the cabbies. One immediately fled to his car, not wanting anythng to do with the test. The other guy called himself a conservative--"a very conservative"--Christian, but he didn't believe that lying, stealing, or hating makes you evil in God's eyes. I left my card on his windshield because he would not take it by hand (something I learned from Mark Cahill--persistence) and walked toward the station.

And promptly found more people to talk to. Three on the whole. None of them were particularly receptive, but I did get the truth to all of them. I do remember being very discouraged by their responses.

On the platform below, I tried to talk to a young man, but he blew me off. I gave him my card anyway and moved on to the lady standing at the edge of the platform. We started in the natural, went to the spiritual, and she shut it all down because she didn't want to hear anything about the Bible.

So, a young man boarded the train afterward, and I went back to him and talked to him about his eternal future. He listened the whole way through, but i don't know what was going on in his heart (we never do). I saw him laughing about it later with the young man who blew me off on the platform.

Then I moved further back in the train to talk to a young lady. I had a hard time getting her to talk, but she eventually did open up. When we got to grace, she kept saying that God is a forgiving God--which He is, for those who obey the Gospel (repent and trust Jesus), but not for those who don't--but could not explain why. A 30 something year old man got on and tried to help her. Eventually, he mentioned Jesus. It was a great teaching moment. They really did appreciate someone telling them about why we need Jesus in a way that is sincere, loving, and reasonable.

Then they got off at the same station, and I had no one else to talk to. So I started preaching.One guy did come back and talk to me about it, but he was some kind of church guy who didn't think it was his job to share his faith, just to bring the churches together to remove demonizational--er, denominational--barriers. I couldn't get him to understand that the reason we have so many denominations is that people are sinful. Get people saved, the denominational problems disappear.

Now, I am not saying that every denomination is wrong for standing apart from other Christians. I am saying that sectarianism was something foreign to the first century church. If you read the Book of Acts, you will notice that the church was not split over doctrine--the first split was between Paul and Barnabas about John Mark (Acts 15:36-41; cf. 12:12,25; 13:1-13)--about a lack of evangelistic zeal, not about the deity of Christ. It was assumed that if you did not know that Jesus is God, then you just weren't a Christian (2 John v9). End of story.

People used to actually take heed to Jesus' words: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. " (John 10:1-5) People actually marked false teachers and left them alone and considered their followers heretics--pagans, who needed to be converted just like the rest.

There were plenty of cultural and other differences from church to church. But they proved their love for Jesus by actually doing what He commanded, not clinging to a promise that if they had said some prayer, they could live a wicked life and still get into Heaven. What is common soteriology today was considered lie of the devil back then (1 John 3:1-10).

I preached one more time after he got off the train. Then I got off at the next station. On my way up towards my apartment, I saw a couple that had been on the train, but I don't think they were paying me any attention. Because I approached the guy as we walked on, and he didn't respond with the usual hostility that I get from people who do hear me. I was able to give him the Law and the Gospel, as his wife walked in front of us. I left him with my card and my prayers. I think he was drunk.

As I neared my apartment, I was intending to run another errand, so I stayed across the street for a moment. Then I saw the young man sitting on the stone wall that marks the boundaries of my landlord's property (people sit there all the time, because it is the convenient height for someone who is waiting for the bus), so I crossed anyway just to talk to him. I left him wiser than when I met him, and tried to walk on.

When I got near the Jack in the Box at the end of my block, I noticed a car sitting inside the drive-thru exit, but not blocking the way. People normally wait there when the store makes an error with their order, so that the other people behind them can still be served while the restaurant is remaking the food, so I asked him was that the case for him. When he said that he was just sitting there, I noticed the logo on his shirt: he worked for a local courier company. Having been a courier, I knew that he could be there for some time. So I gave him the Good Person Test and the Gospel, and I think I gave him my card, but I don't remember.

Then as I went to walk up the next block (it was either almost or after 9 PM by this time), I saw one of my neighbors, stopped him, and asked him about spiritual things. We talked for about 10-15 minutes before he had to go. Then it was on up the hill with my very angry aching feet to try to get to this other ATM. Oh, and I let the bus pass me, too, long after my neighbor was gone. Yeah, I was on a roll.

I still tried to talk to people on the way there, but without success. Then when I got down there, I realized that I had not endorsed the check I was trying to deposit. So I had to walk back up the hill to the 7-11 about three blocks away to hopefully get a pen and endorse this thing and get back down there and make sure the money I needed was in that account.

Now I tell you, my feet were very angry with me. I am definitely going to be praying very hard about getting some insoles or arch supports or something. They are not going to continue to endure this kind of abuse.

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