Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Evangecamp #1--Buffalo/Niagara (Part 5--Sunday)

So I arose at 4:37 AM to the sound of the telephone continually bugging me out of bed. Mike had picked up the phone and hung it right back up. But the person on the other end was persistent, a fact for which I later became very grateful: it was Ken, making sure I didn't miss our ride together. Boy, God is so good.

We got to the airport, and Ken made sure I had enough cash to cover myself for a meal or two (may God bless him). I got some orange juice, because I wasn't sure what else to eat, and sat down at the gate to wait and to chat.

I tried to strike up a conversation with Mike, but he wasn't too interested in talking. He did say that he had a Christian background, but he wasn't sure what he believed anymore. I asked why that was, but didn't get much of an answer.

So then Sophie and her friend came by. Now, either they were both liberals or lesbians or both, but I didn't get to talk to the other lady nor to learn her name. I focused on the Good Person Test, trying to get Sophie to see that God is reasonable to see hatred as murder, when His air is being used to mistreat our fellowman, but she wasn't having it. She kept attacking the Bible and religion in general (the latter I didn't mind, but the former holds the Words of Eternal Life, both for her and for everyone else, too). I used the most gentle tone of voice I could in everything I had to say, but it was clear that I would get nowhere with her and that was the way she wanted it. So pray for Sophie. And her friend.

Then I boarded the plane and (as I found out later) sat in the wrong seat and found myself next to Monica (pronounced "Moe-NEE-ka," because she is from Venezuela), who was waiting to see if the passenger who was assigned the seat next to her son would trade with her. While we waited, I tried to give her the Good Person Test, but there was a language barrier as well as a pride barrier (she didn't want to admit that lying makes her a liar, which is a rather common trait among arrogant people of all ethnic backgrounds). So I just let that be, and that other passenger did trade.

But Paul didn't want to talk about spiritual things, either. I tried a couple more times, and then sat back and went to sleep. You can't make them listen.

Well, I guess you can. But Jesus didn't command us to do that. Still, it pains me to just sit there, knowing that the guy could have everlasting life if he would just be willing to find out what happens after death. But he doesn't care because he doesn't want "some Book" telling him how to live his life. Sophie was the same way. And talking didn't get anywhere with her either.

I think it was at this time that it really hit me that I really do need the Good Person Test as the intro. I know how Ray Comfort does most of his conversations, but I think that God has given me a different tactic for a reason, and I am going to use it. I know it sounds canned sometimes, but at least it's my can, not someone else's. As David said to King Saul, I haven't proved these weapons, but I know what I can do.

I tried the Good Person Test tactic one more time with Paul, but he wouldn't admit that lying made him a liar, either, like Monica before him (maybe there is something wrong with seat 28D on that plane =]). So I just told him that my only concern was that I didn't want him to go to Hell, which is the truth, and left it at that.

Then, after disembarking in Atlanta, my first stop on this three leg journey (two legs by air, one by car), I saw this kid who had flown with us carrying his guitar (which I didn't know you could carry on, but I think it was electric, because I am certain that an acoustic would be too big). So I asked him what kind of music he played. He said, "Um, everything. Except country." Understandable, I guess. I like country, but, then, I don't know the difference most of the time.

So I asked him if he had taken the Good Person Test. He hadn't. I gave it to him, and, after telling him that hatred makes someone a murderer, I said, "That's pretty steep, isn't it?" He agreed, and I said, "That's why God sent Jesus to die for our sins, because God can't allow any sin into Heaven. So Jesus died and rose again so that those of us who turn from our sins can be forgiven." I didn't go through all the questions about if he thought he would go to Hell, or if that concerned him, because the restroom was fast approaching and my bladder had reached its limit. So I bid him farewell, having not followed the text book, but assured that he was somewhat concerned for his salvation after watching his facial reaction to being in the same boat as a murderer on Judgment Day.

After relieving myself (and washing my hands--very important: don't want anyone prematurely croaking because I was careless, especially since most people are not saved), I saw a woman who had come to Atlanta on my flight standing at her gate. I paused and passed her the Niagara Falls tract we had used (there were still some left in my hotel room--they were under some things when I had decided to leave last night, which is why they weren't dispensed on Clifton Hill). And then I found my gate and sat down.

For some reason, I guess we just like our space, we Americans don't sit together in an airport. I honor that unwritten code, but I don't like it, because it makes people harder to talk to. But, of course, with limited spacing, the more people are around, the closer people sit. And this was the case today, too. Omar and his mom and Ruth and Lorayna sat down.

Ruth was wearing a provocative top, which was really annoying, so I passed her sister two Niagara tracts while trying not to look at her. Omar and his mom came by after they did, and I got permission to give the Niagara tract to him. And, in between befriending him and coaxing him to behave, I decided to end my frustration with Ruth (whose name I had not gotten yet) by talking to her about the Good Person Test.

I have found that being able to talk about righteousness to a sinner relieves any anxiety I have about whatever sin they are engaged in at the time, in this case, tempation to lust. Turns out, Ruth and Lorayna are adopted--Ruth is Asian Indian, and Lorayna is Black, both so obviously so that I thought (and commented) that they were friends--which was awesome, because I got to talk about James 1:27, which talks about how God is pleased when we visit the fatherless and the widows in their afflictions. As I witnessed to Ruth, primarily (Lorayna was listening intently, and apparently others were listening, too), she told me that she not only grew up in church, she knew how to evangelize, too. So I asked her about Matthew 7:21-23.

Interesting answer: "They thought that their good works would get them in, and [salvation is] not by works." Which is a good answer. Just missed the other half: "Jesus called them workers of iniquity, which means that they were trying to hold on to their sins, as well as Jesus, and it doesn't work that way." Which explanation made since to her (it should: "Let everyone who names the Name of the Lord depart from iniquity," 2 Timothy 2:19b).

So then I asked her when was the last time she had read her Bible. "Oh, about a month." I looked at her almost sideways. "Yeah, it's been a while."

"Here's why I'm concerned: Jesus said, 'If you continue in My Word, Then you are my disciples indeed...' [John 8:31] So, if you are not continuing in His Word, if you are not getting your instructions from Him for how to live your life, then you really have to ask yourself if you are really following Him. I say this with all the love I can muster: please examine yourself to see if you are truly in the faith. I am not your judge, but I am very concerned, lest you hear those fateful words from Matthew 7.

"This is the way I keep myself in the Word everyday: 'No Bible, no breakfast--no read, no feed.'"

"Yeah, I can see how that would definitely work."

One lady who was listening asked me what denomination I represented. I resisted the temptation to bring glory to the fellowship of churches known as Calvary Chapels, which I love in truth, to point out that Christ is not divided, and all I am is a Christian who doesn't want anyone to go to Hell. You don't have to go to Calvary Chapel to go to Heaven, or to get good teaching. In fact, I hear that some Calvary Chapels are not sound in their doctrine, which only reinforces Acts 17:11 and the lesson we can all learn from the Bereans. I love my church, but even my pastor can't stand it when people listen to him without checking the Scriptures to see if he is telling the truth.

Once aboard the plane, I sat next to David, and I only hesitated long enough to pray: "So what takes you to Sarasota? Oh, okay. That's really cool, man. [he was going to see his wife and daughter on Father's Day]... So, have you ever taken the Good Person Test?"

Again, there were several people listening as we went through the test, the man sitting across from me answering "thief" on the second question as David delayed. The flight crew had some things to say, which I allowed to interrupt at first, but I talked right through them the second time, explaining the Gospel in detail to David, and, by the time they had finished their announcements, I was giving him the summary, which everyone in earshot was able to hear. The lady sitting across from me and one row up wanted to see my Evidence Bible, and, apparently, the guy sitting next to her didn't appreciate that too much. I don't think she cared, though!

I was in a somewhat queasy fog and still exhausted, and I didn't take advantage of as many opportunities as I could have had to pass out the rest of my tracts. I did make sure that the toll collectors received one each as Jason drove me back up to St. Pete.

So that was Sunday. Boot Camp over. Wow. God has been so good.

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