Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Five and Three Ones

On the afternoon of Saturday, of August 31, 2008 around 3:20p I got on the box and broke the sound barrier as I open air preached for the first time. I was at Huntington Beach in California. I drew a crowd by asking trivia and giving people a dollar if they got the right answer. Money always draws a crowd.

This is the first guy that answered the trivia question correctly. It turns out he was a Christian who does not share his faith because he is too scared to. I pray that he will be convicted of the need for obedience and to be faithful in sharing his faith.

I had a second trivia winner. Now the crowd was starting to gather. So, it was time to ask if anyone wanted to prove they were a good person by taking a test. If they passed, I would give them a $5 bill.

I soon had a taker. His name is Will. He's the guy in the gray shirt on the right with his arms folded.

I asked him if he thought he was a good person. He said he thought he was. I then asked if he'd ever told a lie. He said he had and then I asked him what that made him. He said, "A liar." Then I asked if he'd ever stolen anything. He said he had and admitted that made him a thief. I then asked if he had ever misused God's name even saying, "Oh my G_d!" (explaining what blasphemy is) and he had. I then explained that the 7th commandment was "Do not commit adultery. But in Matthew, Jesus said tha tif we look at another person to lust after them then we have committed adultery in our hearts. He admitted he had. I told him by his own admission he was a lying, thieving, blasphemous, adulterer at heart and he had to face God on judgment day. If he used that standard (which I explained God woul duse since it was a few of the 10 commandments) would God judge you innocent or guilty. He said, "Guilty." I said, “Would you go to heaven or hell?” He said, "Hell."

I asked him if that concerned him. He said it did. By now his entire demeanor had changed and he was getting very serious looking.

I then gave him the good news and told him that Jesus died on the cross to take the death penalty that his sin deserved. I further said that if that didn't make sense to think about it like this: Pretend you drove 85 mph in a 10 mph zone where a children's blind school was located. The cops pulled you over because of how fast you were going and the judge said, "You clearly were breaking the law, signs were posted and the law clocked you going 85 m.p.h. I find you guilty! You need to pay a million dollar fine immediately or go to prison for the rest of your life." I asked if he could pay that kind of penalty immediately. He said he couldn't. I said, “Neither could I.”

But THEN, at the last minute, someone you don't know came in and paid the fine on your behalf. Instead of the judge pounding the gavel of justice to sentence you, he then turned and stamped your file "case dismissed due to lack of evidence." I asked, "Will, HOW would tha tmake you feel towards the person who just paid your fine?" He said he would be grateful. I told him that is exactly what Jesus Christ did when he died on the cross for your sins. “Does that make better sense now?,” I asked. He said it did. Remember, I'm not talking softly, I am belting it out ala Whitefield (I was hoarse when I got off the box) and reiterating once or twice more “Law/Grace” because new crowds and more people were coming and you needed to keep preaching law and graceto all who may hear. I then told him that he needed to repent from his sins and explained that repenting meant that you totally turned away from doing the same wrong things over and over again.

I explained that this was called worldly sorrow is when you say, "Ooops! My bad! You caught me. I'm sorry." And then, you do it again and again and say the same thing. Godly sorrow is when you are so disgusted by what you do and so grateful for what the Lord did for you that you do a 180 degree turn and stop habitually living the way you did. I asked if that made sense and he said it did.

Then I told him again he'd violated God's law but God provided a way through Jesus Christ and that if he would put his faith in Jesus, repent of his sins, he will not go to hell. I also told him that if he read his Bible and DID what it says, that would be obedience. I told him that God didn't care about denominations or his works but obedience.

I then told him that even though he didn't pass the Good Person test, I was giving him $5 anyway and told him this is what God does for us and THAT is called "grace." I thanked him very much and hopped off the box and the crowd very slowly started to disperse.

A team leader said that the man was obviously moved and that he sometimes goes and talks to people who are visibly moved and prays with them. He isn’t seeking a conversion but answering any questions and inviting the Holy Spirit to continue to stir the soul.

The corner that I was on was facing a mall. There was a restaurant on the 2nd and 3rd level and there were several stores having a huge sidewalk sale. There were people leaning over the railing while I was preaching and there was probably an immediate crowd in front of me of about 40 people and about 200 within earshot if you count the 4 stores that were open-door and the restaurant and the people in all of those as well as the people on the other side of the street behind me who could hear because my voice was bouncing off the building. There were people who stopped shopping and listened even though they did not join the crowd. Remember, I’m on a box and I can see these things that I wouldn’t normally see because I’m so short.

No one was angry. No one stoned me. No one egged me. No one screamed at me to shut up. I wasn't beaten. I wasn’t hauled off to jail. I wasn’t spat upon. They just listened. Many of them listened to the entire message and the Word of God was planted in a properly tilled heart soil! I will never look at a $5 bill and three $1 bills the same way ever again.

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