Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Drive-in evangelism and the agony of defeat

After a storm that could be categorized as a "Chicken-Drowner," the sky cleared, a rainbow appeared and we decided to enjoy our Friday evening. We shared the Gospel on Friday night where I'd never shared it before: the Drive-in Movie Theatre. There are still two drive-in movie theatres in the next county. So after the storm we headed out. We brought our tracts and after we got a place to park my son and I took off. We tracted all the bathroom stalls and dropped some wallets and then we went to have some one-on-one conversations.

We saw two young men standing near the concession stand who worked at the drive-in. The first guy we handed a million to wasn't too thrilled with the Obama Million. My son quickly said, "If you don't care for him, then you'll love this." Great come back, buddy. He reluctantly took it and so we asked if he'd ever given much thought to what happens when you die. He mumbled something, handed it to the man standing next to him and walked away.

I thought, "OK, he just didn't want to talk. We'll just talk with the next guy." We handed him a Celebrity Million and asked the same question. His name was Gerald. He said he didn't really know if he was going to heaven and wasn't too concerned. I said, "None of us know the day we're going to die. I mean, I'm sure that Michael Jackson didn't think the day he died would be his last day, you know?" He agreed. My son asked, "So do you think you're a pretty good person?" He said, "Oh yeah. I'm not that bad." I told him I used to think the same thing because I'd never been to prison so I couldn't be all that bad. He laughed. Then we started taking him through the law so he could see that his standard of goodness didn't matter and that we could get to grace.

He said he agreed and as I was talking a woman walked up and joined the conversation. It turns out it was his wife named Becky. Well, as she came up he fuzzed out and walked away. I thought, "Fine, maybe we can talk to her and we'll have a good conversation with her." I asked Becky if she thought she was going to heaven when she died. She said she hoped so. We went through the same scenario with her. I asked if she read her Bible every day and she said, "Not really, it's been awhile." So, I asked her, "Becky, if Gerald were to write you love letters to you would you just let them sit on the table unopened or would you want to find out what they said?"

The moment was pregnant with silence. Then she said, "I don't really know, maybe not." In my mind I started screaming, "Mayday! Mayday! " I said, "Are you serious?! You mean if your husband sent you letters professing his love for you you're not sure if you'd open them?" She kind of laughed and then said, "I guess." I'm thinking, "OK, either there are serious marital problems or she is dingy." We got past that and got to worldly sorrow versus true repentance. She seemed to have a true understanding of godly sorrow versus doing the same thing over and over again, but then it happened: a girl popped her head out the door of the concession stand and said, "Becky, could I see you in here for just a minute?" She said it with a smirk on her face and kind of laughed. Then we saw the first guy around the building and Gerald was next to the lady that called to Becky. Becky did not work for the theatre. She'd just been taken away as we were finishing but I know it was because they were trying to pull her away. It was abrupt and stopped. Just like that.

As we walked away the image of the skier going down the ski jump at the beginning of ABC's Wide World of Sports ran through my head as the famous words, "...and the agony of defeat." echoed through my mind. I shared the image with my son who had no clue what I was talking about since he wasn't alive when that image was played every Saturday in the '70's. Mental note: look up this video on Youtube and show him.

I have noticed that my witnessing encounters over the past few months have become more difficult. I still haven't shared my encounter with a teen at the Expo who was steeped in postmodern Darwinistic indoctrination who kept throwing out so many red herrings that I almost blew a neuron trying to keep up with what trail he was hopping down. I suppose that is what happens as you share the Gospel. I am assuming that God is gracious to let you start on the bunny slope and then after you get a little experience and have only fallen a few times He then takes you to the next slope. I know that you can't improve your witnessing abilities without experiencing a wide range of situations, but lately I've had some real corkers. I'm not concerned about if they think I'm a religious fanatic, but I just want to make sure that they really got the whole Gospel and that I wasn't a bonehead and said something incorrect or wasn't able to get the whole truth out.

I just prayed in my thoughts, "Well, Lord, at least the bathrooms have tracts all over them and they will all be gone by the time the evening is over."
We went back to where our car was parked and my son walked up to the carload which looked like a mom and 5-6 kids. It looked like she had hers and maybe some of her children's friends. At first I thought he was just standing there waiting for a response. What I couldn't see is that he was sharing the Gospel with one of the teen guys sitting on the tailgate. This was the BEST thing that happened the whole night. He went completely through the Gospel and then some of the kids asked for more millions. I was so thrilled for him. This was maybe the 3rd or 4th time that he has actually shared the Gospel start to finish with someone without help from another adult. I was so thankful that God allowed him to share with these kids. What an awesome night!

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