So I went back to the Three Birds Tavern last night. But the adventure started before I got there.
I decided after picking up my paycheck at Cracker Barrel that, since I had nothing scheduled for the rest of the evening, I would catch a bus--any bus--to the end of the line and then go downtown--since I was going to pay for an all day pass anyway, I might as well get the most out of it--taking hundreds of Gospel tracts with me.
At the Park Place Mall bus terminal, I was giving tracts to all the passengers I could, but with my guitar on my back. One of the waiting passengers asked me to play a song, and I wasn't planning to (in fact, I think I rejected a similar request last week), but I did anyway, playing "All Bow Down," by Chris Tomlin. Then I continued to give out tracts.
Well, some lady took a tract and put a ten-dollar bill in my hand at the same time.
I was shocked. I am pinching my pennies, but not because of dire straits, just trying to be wise and trying to open new opportunities for ministry. Well, this certainly helped! I had dinner money!
I didn't pass out as many tracts as I brought (about 450-500), because the buses just weren't as full as I expected them to be. I ended up with a bunch to pass out to the patrons at the Tavern when I got there.
Once again, no one was there for the 8 PM start, but this time Joe, the coordinator, suggested that we start the night at 9PM instead, him first, then me. So I went outside, bought dinner, and passed out some more tracts (whoever thought of the million dollar bill is a genius!!) to the unsuspecting and delighted patrons and got to watch the Rays playing the Orioles (I still love baseball).
One of the patrons came to the bar, where I was sitting, and started talking about the tract, and he suggested that I put one on the car of the atheist parked beside him. Hmm... Well, I wasn't driving, but he said that it was the one with all the bumper stickers on the back. Nice. Snipers love spotters. Then he told the bartender that he was buying me a drink! Sweet! "Sierra Mist, please."
I started at 9:15, when a reasonable crowd had gathered. I played four songs, two that I played last week, and two more that I didn't ("Unchanging" and "All Bow Down," by Chris Tomlin; "Psalm 17" and "When I get to Heaven," by Dave Dodge, respectively; I'm going to try to mix some more in as I continue to play there). I started late enough that my coworker Jared, who had told me about the night, was able to hear part of the second song and both the last two songs. His girlfriend liked the tune (she was nodding her head to the beat), and I was able to tract both of them at the end of the night.
My food didn't arrive until I was in the middle of my set (I forgot that bars aren't fast food), but that gave me the opportunity to listen to others while I ate. Boy, the ungodly have nothing to play! Joe, the guy who played before me, was playing some fun but empty tunes. Leo, the guy who played after me, wasn't even playing tunes! He just had some downwrong awful lyrics that he used the guitar as an excuse to express. He strummed a little bit, but the music was more about getting back at women (and God) than anything else. Wow, what a difference receiving the forgiveness of Jesus Christ makes! I couldn't give him a million dollars while he was plucking away, but I did give one to his friends.
When I was tracting the rest of the patrons on my way out the door, I found a group of atheists meeting on the other side! They quickly stopped me from getting to the rest of the group (there were about 15, I handed out four tracts) and tried to get me to fold on my faith on the spot. Ha! They asked their usual bevy of "stump-the-Christian" questions, not realizing that this Christian got stumped early on--and that Jesus told him not to let it happen again! "Know My Word" was the order, and I've been studying ever since.
I told them I had to cut them short, because I have a bus to catch, but they told me that they meet there every month about this time. "So come on back!" Oh, I'll be there. Will they?
Thanks for your prayers!