The other day, I intended to stop by the church bookstore and grab some of the free tracts that they have available. But I never did (I forgot to). But the Lord had a plan.
Instead, I wore my green "Not Just Jews for Jesus" T-shirt that I got when I was a part of the JFJ New York City Operation: Behold Your God campaign in 2006. Hard to believe that an oft-worn shirt two-and-a-half-year-old shirt can be used to preach the Word, but it gets the job done.
When I got on the bus that morning, a man immediately wanted to discuss it, saying that he supported the state of Israel and good Christian-Jewish relations. I made sure to point out that Jesus is still the only way to Heaven, especially for the Jews, because He became one when he descended from Heaven--He was not a Gentile.
I love bus conversations because you never know who could be listening, and you have to talk loud just to be heard over the noise of the engine. =) Means everyone gets to hear you.
So that night, I got to talk to Paul because I sat in his seat when the bus restarted. (When a bus has a layover, the passengers are allowed to disembark and then reseat with no penalty.) He made a point to notify me of the infraction and then to blow it off by insisting that I remain there. It didn't matter to me if we switched seats or not--I had a fish! And he wasn't going to get off the hook.
I had tried to insert myself into (and take over) another public conversation, but it didn't work. But when I was talking to Paul and insisting that good works won't get you to Heaven, nor will growing up in church, nor will saying a prayer every night before you go to bed, the other people started listening. And, as I left the bus, I could see that they were all talking about what I had just told him. That was a good feeling, but it still burdens me that Paul was so resistant. Maybe I got the resistant guy so that the Gospel would have more preaching, but I still long for Paul to be saved.
In times like this, I think of the prophet Jeremiah, whom God told from the start that he would not have a successful ministry, in terms of converts in his day. But, because they would not repent, the story went on and on, and we have it recorded today in Jeremiah and Lamentations for our good, and it has blessed untold millions. Surely, my conversations have a smaller effect, but it is good to know that there is a biblical principle behind it.
So I looked for that kind of person last night. I didn't get him the first try, because, as I gave this guy the good person test, his phone rang right as we began to board the bus. Not wanting to be rude, I went to another seat. The second guy got off the bus a little too soon, but I did get through the test and the Gospel with him. The third guy was the charm.
He tried to tell me about some guy who calls himself a Christian but teaches "spirituality" and recognizes some value in other religions. Sorry, bud, but all the world's religions were invented by Satan to keep people in bondage and on their way to hell. I didn't say it quite that way, but I made sure to make the point.
I told him that Christianity and Islam are definitely incompatible, because Jesus said even calling someone a mean name is murder, but Islam says to execute those who don't acknowledge Allah (Jesus said to preach to them, not kill them; which, of course, means that the Crusades were unbiblical). Then I pointed out that Jesus is the only Person who was raised from the dead. Mohammed, Buddha, and all the others still have bones in their graves.
Of course, he went to the proof argument for everything I said after that. I told him about 120 witnesses to Christ's resurrection (Acts 1 and 2), and he asked for proof that they weren't lying. I asked him if he would die for a lie he and his buddies concocted. He said that he would. Really? Let's be reasonable.
"But how do you know that that Bible is actually written the way it is supposed to be? And how do you know that anything in the Bible is actually true?"
Textual criticism, real life. Real life is what convinced me that the Bible is true in the first place. My parents said that it was true, but reading the Word for myself proved it to me. Proverbs was the clincher. (Yes, you atheists reading this blog: Proverbs. Attack that one if you can!)
He tried to go on, but I had to get off the bus. I think the driver was tired of me anyway. Oh well. At least everyone got to hear. Now praying for them all to be reasonable enough to forsake their sins and embrace the Savior that God has approved by raising Him from the dead (Acts 17:31).