Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Preaching vs One to One

I like to preach. But I prefer to talk to someone one on one. However, the reason that I got away from that is twofold: 1)People don't like to talk to me about spiritual things. 2)There are a lot more people than just the one person I'm talking to who might be going to Hell. However, as I have been praying over the weekend, God has been reminding me that I can only reach so many people anytime. I need to make sure that I am communicating His love to all the people that I talk to--kinda hard to do when you're preaching. I've tried, but I don't know if it is working.

So I've been talking more one on one. Part of the reason is my feet won't take the abuse of standing the whole train ride. Which is why I did not preach this morning. I didn't even try. Even when the train stopped because of some incident ahead for about three minutes, I didn't get up and preach to a quiet crowd, even though I dearly wanted to. My feet were just hurting. Period.

So tonight when I got off, I started talking to a lady on the platform while we waited for our trains (opposite directions, mind you). But her train came first. Not wanting to lose the conversation, I got on with her. She didn't like the Law's condemnation of sin, wanted to talk about God's mercy. I reminded her that God only extends mercy to those who repent. She didn't like that either. Of course, she didn't like being guilty, either!

So, I let her go after she got off (I got off, too, I just didn't follow her--I was going the other way!), but something very funny happened while we were talking about the Law of God on the train. Across the aisle, some lady got very annoyed and moved all the way to the front of the car! And I wasn't even being loud! (It's a train car, you don't have to be for many other people to hear you, but the point is) How convicting the Law can be even when someone is not accusing you!! Wow.

While I waited for my train, I stopped a young man on the platform and gave him the good person test. After I had explained everything to him (was talking about making sin your enemy, instead of letting it remain your back-stabbing friend), he said that that was his bus, and I said, "Go catch it," thinking that it was leaving right away. It wasn't. He was still gooofing around with his friends when my train did come about three minutes later. Sin is so hard to let go of. Please pray for him, I did not get his name.

At Union Station, there was a lady who had to run full speed to catch the train. I kept wrestling with whether or not to speak to her, but I did. And wish that I had not wasted so much time. She got off at the next stop, and I did explain everything as best I could. But I know that all that time that I spent wondering if I should or should not, wanting and praying for wisdom, instead of simply obeying my Lord, could have cost her dearly if the Lord wasn't so good. I'm so glad He is faithful beyond our faithlessness and sin.

At the Grand station, the train stopped for an extended length of time. There were two young people standing on the platform playing. Once again, I hesistated. It cost me the encounter. I started to give them the Good Person Test, but the train started. I could have given it to them if I had been alert, but I wasn't. I told them to check out needgod.com. The girl made sure she had it right. I just pray that they didn't die before they got to look at it.

At the Central West End station, a doctor got on the train. This is where I actually learned something and obeyed it. I had preached in the presence of most of the people who were on that train. It was now time for me to focus on this newcomer. And I did. We talked about his practice (pediatric neurology) and his patients and the disease that conquers all. I mentioned the fact that science has not overcome death (inside a question). And eventually, I swung it to the spiritual by asking him what he thought happened after death.

Let me tell you, I thank God for Judah Marx. He reproved me for an error I made in handling someone we were trying to minister to. And it reminded me of several things that Mark Cahill had said about talking to people one on one. If you want to learn how to do it, learn from a guy who has done it God's way for year. Go to Mark's website and get his book, The One Thing You Can't Do in Heaven, and let it teach you how to help people without unnecessarily offending them. Are we going to be hated for Christ's sake? Yes, we are. Let's just make sure that's the only reason people hate us.

I do pray for that doctor, but I don't know how well that conversation went. No, he was not offended, yes, he was very pleased to meet me, but I think I may have focused on the wrong thing. He said before I got to the Law that he didn't believe the Bible literally, and I jumped on that. Not harshly, but I kept coming back to it. I don't know if that was the right track. The Gospel is the most important thing. But also, one could make the case that the Bible must be trusted if the Gospel is to be believed. So, I guess we'll see in Heaven if I did right. I think so, but I'm not sure. Comment if you think you have an answer (unfortunately, yes, you have to register with Google. I got sick of people who had nothing to say posting and running).

When we got to the end of the line, I missed the train that was leaving for my destination (I live three blocks away from two stops short of the end of the line; and, yes, that was deliberate, so that I could have more time to talk to him). So I asked the security guard about the Good Person Test. He had the correct answers, especially pertaining to the solution. I wish I had admonished him about reading his Bible, because he should have known some things that he didn't. I do believe that he was saved, I just know that reading your Bible is crucial to the Christian walk (John 8:30-32).

When I got back on the train, I waited one stop for a break in the conversation between two Blues' fans. Then I asked them who the Blues were playing. Then I asked them about the Good Person Test. After failing the test, they didn't want to go further. Well, neither did I, because we had reached my stop. I told them to check out needgod.com if they ever changed their minds. One guy said that he would.

Then I talked to the security guard. I told him he was having too much fun on the platform (he was laughing and talking on the phone; I used to be a security guard, so I know how boring it normally is). Then I got this crazy idea in my head to go witness to the guy. Well, that would mean interrupting his phone conversation. Which I almost never do. As a rule. And I did it anyway, because God told me to.

Boy, am I glad I did not make any excuses. Beary and I had a great conversation. I explained the Gospel to him very thoroughly, and he even asked for my church name, our location, and my number. Be praying for Beary (pronounced like Barry or Berry).

Then I got on the bus, and I interrupted (politely) the fun loving banter of a driver and a passenger to tell them about the Good Person Test. By the time we got to my stop--three blocks away, mind you--I had two new friends, and hope for their souls.

All that, and no preaching. Wow. Now that is a good day!

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