Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Fishing at the Kentucky Derby (pt.3)

Derby Drunks are Damned?

I was glad that the kids and I moved down the street away from the entrance to the infield. There are several entrances to Churchill Downs. There is the main entrance where all the celebrities, royalty from Arab countries, and people who have corporate sponsored box seats enter. However, there are two main entrances to the Infield. The infield is filled with every kind of drunken orgy-like behavior you could imagine. There is a huge brick wall around it so you can't see inside, but you could only imagine what it is like on the inside as you watch the streams of people entering.

Our message was well-received. We didn't water down the Gospel and tell them that God had a wonderful plan for their lives and that He is love without explaining that they were in danger because they were sinners. But, we also didn't start screaming at them through a bullhorn holding signs saying, "DERBY DRUNKS ARE DAMNED!" Folks, you don't get cuts in the line to hell because you are a Derby Drunk. It just isn't so.

If a person who regularly shares the Gospel by means of sandwich boards and large signs while using a bullhorn ever reads this blog, know that I consider you a brother or sister in Christ. However, there is a way to share the true Gospel, including using the words "judgment," "hell," and "sinner" without watering down the message. But, you also need to know that while God is a jealous God who has unbelievable wrath against sin, He also is filled with incomprehensible love. He is filled with so much love that He provided a way for us, the wayward, stiff-necked, disobedient children to spend eternity with Him. The church has, for several years, told only about His love and not His wrath and I believe that is a grave error. But, to share only about His wrath and never mention His love or to explain what "sin" really is or what "repentance" really means to people who really don't know is just as grievous.

In all the posts I have made about the Kentucky Derby outreach and the ones I am about to make, notice that people are not angry with us or screaming at us. Look at the faces in the photos- they are smiling! What the photo doesn't show are the quiet moments that these people had as we shared the Gospel and their conscience convicted them. Their mouths were stopped and they were left defenseless. We shared the good news and many said what we often hear, "I never understood it that way before." or "I'm going to go home and pray." As we were leaving, they weren't flipping the bird at us or screaming, they were waving good-bye, asking for more tracts or quietly contemplative. That's all I'm going to say about method.

Seeing so many people, brought the verse to mind, "Broad is the way that leads to destruction." Besides seeing such a mass of humanity living utterly depraved lives right in front of us, the "sign people" broke my heart. The crowd was absolutely hostile to the people who had signs stating that "Derby Drunks were Damned!" and "Mothers should be home with their children not drunk in the street." The signs were akin to approaching a sleeping person in a darkened room flipping open one of their eyelids and shining a flashlight in it and wondering why they got so offended! It was very hard to see and and hear. There was a lot of profanity thrown in the direction of these people, who while well-meaning, were unbelievably offensive.

We walked down the street and around the corner handing out our tracts all the way down the street until we found a location next to the brick wall where peddlers were. Along the wall were people selling beer and water, homeless people, people playing instruments for money. It was much more pleasant.

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