Friday, July 6, 2007

Open Air vs. One to One

Well, I happen to like both of them. And I got to do both tonight.

When I got off work today, the train had some Cardinals baseball fanatics aboard (including one of my coworkers to whom I have witnessed before), so I got to run through my Good Person Test routine, and got called a Cubs' fan in the process (not a good thing if you live in St Louis, but not an insult worthy of the name persecution).

Then for the first one to one of the night: Greg is a photographer by hobby, graphic designer by trade, unbeliever by confession, but avid listener in experience. The one thing that infuriated me was that he has heard the Gospel before, but he heard it in a different tone, a condescending tone, one of, "I am holier than thou, therefore thou shouldest repent." I explained that he had been hearing from people who didn't see themselves in truth: The Bible says that there is none righteous, Jesus said that no one is good except God, and Jesus also said that He only came for sinners, not good people, and thus those people don't belong to Him.

I walked several extra blocks with Greg because I wanted to explain anything he had questions about. I think I explained enough, though. He said that he had some other questions and things that he had to sort through on his own, meaning that he didn't want me to set him straight. But he did give me his phone number and did take mine. I told him I would pray for him, and then I went to pick up my mail.

As I approached the mailbox, I saw the valet standing idle across the street. I thought to myself, I know just how to approach a waiter (obviously, I didn't know he was a valet). So, I went into the UPS Store, took care of business, and, seeing that he was still not yet busy, I went to talk to Seth.

He quickly corrected my mistaken impression (he wasn't offended). We talked for a bit about his job, but then, of course, I asked him about the Good Person Test. As we got to the end, Seth said that he thought that he had repented of most sins; in fact, he couldn't think of any "flagrant" sins that he had done recently. I said, "I can think of one sin that you have probably done at least ten times already today: Jesus said, 'Whoever looks at a woman with lust [Seth begins nodding] has committed adultery already with her in his heart.' ...So that's a serious sin before God...you've been storing up wrath for yourself."

Seth was very humbled. I concluded by saying, "Seth, I think you know what needs to happen. You and God need to have a talk. I'm going to walk around that corner, and I'm gonna be praying for you. God bless."

He thanked me, and I left. Saw a man (Joe) standing on the corner with a bag in his hand, asked him if it was for his family. He laughed and said, no. I said, "Well, maybe a better question would be do you even have a family!" He laughed again, and said no. He was taking some beer to his friends for a BBQ. We talked a bit more about him (he's a grad student at Wash U.), and then, of course, I hit him with the GPT. He was clearly uncomfortable with the subject once it moved to things of God. But he had something to think about and to tell his friends about, and he thanked me (I think he was just being "nice" about it).

Then I went and talked to Iris, the security guard on the platform. We talked about the week's and weekend's events, and a little bit about her work history. Then, of course, over to the GPT. She would only admit to being a murderer but was not concerned about facing God in her sins. Didn't really care about the Gospel. But I am confident that God will pierce that pride of hers in His time. I'm not there to convert but to preach.

Then I boarded the train, and four college students were talking about their tests. One of them mentioned taking a General Chemistry test on which he scored 33 out of 100 and was graded a C+ because the test was so hard that the average score was 42. (Glad I didn't take Chemistry in college! [I only went to a technical college anyway.])So, anyway, when I asked him and his buddies about the GPT, he said that he had heard me give it out before and especially wanted one of his buddies to take the test. So I gave it to him. Unlike the vast majority of the people I witness to, this young man would not concede that God can take serious offence to our insults that we give to one another. Then he argued that some people don't love themselves, so the commandment to love our neighbors as much as ourselves would allow for insulting. I let myself get down that rabbit trail only because I didn't realize that his stop was coming so quickly. He never did get the Gospel, but I know the other guy knew it.

So I sat down and waited for another opportunity. And two stops later, the Lord gave it to me. Six youths (four male, two female) boarded the train together and were rather undecided on where to sit, but wanted to sit together. Curious (and eager) I went to where they ended up, and asked them where they were going that was so fun, and how they knew each other (summer school, I'm guessing college, but these kids weren't all that old, so I don't know--and what college kids hang out that the Galleria?).

I paused a bit to get the courage to ask them about the GPT. I didn't want them to know that that was my only motive for speaking to them. But then the Lord reminded me that I have nothing to lose. So I asked, "Have you guys ever taken the Good Person Test?" The conversation went very well, and they all thanked me before they got off.

I have made a commitment to try to speak to at least ten people a day about the Gospel, and the Lord has been faithful to keep feeding my appetite. I am so grateful to be part of His saving arm.

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