Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Grill 'n Chill at the Park

On Friday, July 17th, our church went to a park for a cookout. We have these get-togethers that are affectionately known as "Grill 'n Chill." We also hoped to share the Gospel with people in the park. Some guys were playing basketball earlier and when they walked by we offered them some food and something to drink. They were such sweet young men. We handed them an Obama Million and they loved them! In fact, they each asked for more until I'd given all I had in my hands to them. Like Spurgeon said, "...get good, striking tracts or none at all..."

I don't know if it gets any easier when you share the Gospel. I still get a lump in my throat, my mouth goes dry, and I have weird thought or two run through my head like, "They're going to think you're an idiot" every time I open my mouth. I truly get nervous every time. Don't let that stop you. (To my friend Shannon: You can do it girl! You're hubby brought home an Obama Million. Now be like Nike and "Just do it!") My son was standing next to me and began sharing with one half of the group while they loaded up on some rather tasty food. I talked with the other half of the group and we had a really engaging conversation.

Here's a shout out (from left to right) to LaQuan, Alex, Marcus, Cory, and Adrian!

I spent most of my time talking with Marcus and LaQuan. I asked them the million dollar question and then asked them if they thought Michael Jackson thought that his last day would have been just a few weeks ago? They said probably not. I told them, likewise they didn't know when their last day was going to be and there isn't a 2nd chance once you die.

Marcus (front row with black shorts and white t-shirt) admitted that he lies- a lot. He says he just can't stop. I shared with him that I knew of a man who used to visit his grandfather when he was younger. One time, his grandpa let him have all the black licorice he could eat. That night, his stomach revolted. He got so sick he was throwing up black licorice for hours- out his nose, his mouth- it was disgusting. He said to this day if he even hears of black licorice a shiver runs up his spine. He can't see a package of it, smell it, let alone taste it because it is so revolting to him. I told Marcus THAT is how you need to be with your sin, especially lying. You need to be revolted by it so much that the thought of it repulses you. Furthermore, I explained that until you have a new relationship with sin all you've done is just gotten a little exercise (if you walked the aisle) and gotten wet (if you were baptized) but have no new attitude or relationship with your sin. There has to be a change that is not sustained by your own self-will. It flows from a grateful heart enabled by the Holy Spirit that realizes that you were guilty, couldn't pay the fine, and were freed! You respond out of gratitude not obligation.

I asked them how they would feel if they were standing before a judge and it had been established they were guilty of breaking the law and at the last second before they were sentenced someone they didn't know paid their fine. They agreed they would be grateful if they were freed by someone they didn't know who paid their fine. I asked Marcus again how he can hold on to lying or any other sin if he was so grateful for his fine being paid.

I asked if they were given the opportunity to see the president, would they take a brown lunch bag filled with hot, steamy dog poo as a gift for the president? They said, "No way!" I said, "Of course not! that would be offensive! If you believe that you are going to do good things to earn your way into heaven, you might as well have brought the same hypothetical dog-poo-in-a-bag present to God. Your good works, if used to get in to heaven are an offense. When they are a response out of gratitude for what God has done for us and you do them to glorify God, then that is a whole different matter.

They said they appreciated us talking with them and that it gave them a lot to think about. We met their physical needs and their spiritual needs that night. I pray that they would take seriously the conversation we had with them.

Here's the crazy shot. I had a blast talking with them! Guys, if you're reading this, think seriously about what we talked about. You never know when you're last day on earth will be. Don't "play" church. Get serious. Repent, believe, read your Bible and do what it says.

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