Gospel Preaching Leads To Gospel Conversations
Ministry Update January 28, 2018
Gospel preaching leads to Gospel conversations. An evangelist friend from Georgia says this and it is true. Open-air preaching leads to spiritual conversations, even if people come over to tell you that what you are doing is wrong or that you are witnessing the wrong way. But sometimes it is the spark that causes conversations to get started that otherwise may never happen. Open-air preaching is biblical, it is necessary in our secular society and it causes people to stop and talk to you.
Friday night Conner and I witnessed downtown and we had a great time. The parking lots were full and many people were walking around. I started us off and two guys stopped by early on. The one guy was named John and I didn’t catch his friends name. The friend said that God loves everyone and forgives everyone. So I asked him if God forgives the doctor that recently was sentenced to 175 years in prison for raping 156 girls. The man said yes. I said please show me where it says that in the Bible and held my Bible out to him. God would not be God if He just forgave without repentance.
John appeared to be a universalist like his friend, but every now and then John would agree with me when I said people have to repent and trust Jesus. Neither of them believes in an eternal Hell and everlasting punishment. John was worried that Conner and I are like Westboro Baptist. I assured him that we are not. We share the Gospel and plead with people to repent and surrender their lives to Jesus. Shortly after this encounter, I had a walk by mocker and then a guy on a bicycle rode by, shining a red laser at me. I just ignored him and kept bringing the message.
Mormon And An Atheist
Also, while I was open-air preaching, a Mormon stopped to talk to Conner and Conner kept trying to point him to the Deity of Christ. But the Mormon didn’t receive this truth. After I finished up, Conner brought a message. He had a couple of hecklers. One guy even appeared to stand up through the sunroof of the car to yell something. I didn’t really catch what he said because I was talking to an atheist that has a biblical name. I’ll call him BN (short for biblical name). BN and I had a cordial conversation for probably around 45 minutes. We talked so long that Conner even joined in on the conversation after he preached.
BN has a biblical name and grew up in a Christian home. In fact, he mentioned a couple of times that he used to do mission work like we do. I asked him what made him walk away and he said that he studied philosophy in college and just came to believe that evolution and science are true. I told him that I believe in science too, that I believe in observable and repeatable science. He discussed several things that were over my head, but I pointed him back to the Bible when I had the chance.
I asked him if he thought the apostles would have died for Jesus if they really didn’t see him for 40 days after He rose from the dead. I told him that I wouldn’t die for a lie. Then I reminded him that Paul told the Corinthians that over 500 people saw Jesus after His resurrection and that Paul said the majority were still alive. In other words, Paul was telling them, if you don’t believe me, go to Jerusalem and talk to the eye witnesses yourself.
Evolution And Age Of The Earth
The majority of the time, our conversation centered on evolution and the age of the earth. But Conner and I would point him back to the Bible as much as we could. I had to look up the verse, but 2 Peter 2:21 says that it will be better for those who never knew the truth than for those who knew it and walked away from it. I asked him if that concerns him at all, if it turns out he is wrong. He admitted that it would be a little concerning. We basically ended the conversation saying that maybe BN had a false conversion when he was younger, just like Conner and I experienced.
I asked him if he had a Bible and he said no. He reluctantly took a New Testament and I challenged him to read it, asking God to reveal the truth to Him. He didn’t sound too encouraging that he would do so. But BN ended the conversation saying that he can’t say that he’s glad we are out witnessing because he doesn’t believe what we believe. But he did appreciate our sincerity and that he can tell that we genuinely believe the Gospel. I forgot to mention that BN took a tract when we first met. He received the What Is The Meaning Of Life tract. We pray that he reads it and may the Lord convict him. It was an enjoyable night of gospel conversations that took place because of the Gospel preaching. May God be glorified.
I Would Like To Invite You To My Church
On Wednesday I witnessed at Missouri State University. As I was walking to Trottier Plaza to open-air preach and hand out tracts, a young man yelled my name from a parking lot. I looked over and to my surprise it was my nephew. After we briefly chatted, I handed him an invite card to Crossway Baptist Church and told him that my wife and I really want him to come to church with us. He really didn’t respond to the invite, but it was a very genuine and sincere invite. We hope and pray that he will join us one of these Sunday mornings.
As I continued on to the witnessing spot on campus, I kept thinking about how great it was that God put my nephew and I together at the exact same time to encounter each other and how I really hope and pray that he will come to church with us some day. Then I passed other students, so I handed them an invite card and said, “I would like to invite you to my church.” I was pleasantly surprised because most students that I offered an invite card to, took one. Several students seemed really appreciative that I asked them to come to church. On the back side of our church invite cards is our service times and other information, but it also has the website Truelife.org also listed on there. This is a website with video answers to many questions concerning life’s biggest questions.
Animal Rights Activists
When I got to the witnessing spot, a couple of animal rights activists were handing out pamphlets. I took one from one gentleman and gave him an invite card. I told him that I was going to open-air preach in a couple of minutes; that I had a permit to be there, but they were welcome to stick around. To my surprise, they lasted about 15 or 20 minutes. Generally, people that are handing information out at the same spot, move rather quickly when the preaching starts. But these guys didn’t move until I started talking about specific sins, drinking, drugs and sexual immorality. It seems that it was about at that point when they packed up and left. May God convict them if they aren’t serving our Lord Jesus.
While I was bringing the message, my favorite atheist – Emily walked by. She looked over and waved. I said hi to her and continued on. One student stopped and was very encouraging. She said that it was great to see someone preaching truth instead of the messages a lot of the other guys preach. But unfortunately, she noticed my body camera and really became upset about it. I told her that I typically have it on when I’m open-air preaching. You never know what people will accuse you of nowadays, so it is prudent to record when open-air preaching.
She said it wasn’t right and I shouldn’t do so. I just explained that Missouri is a one consent state at this time which means only one party has to consent to it (obviously, I consent, so I have at least one-party consenting). Then I thanked her for her earlier encouragement and went back to preaching. I do appreciate her comments and realize that I probably should be more discerning when I post pictures from the recordings. I think I will start blurring out the faces of people I talk to.
Do You Ever Draw A Crowd?
A couple of students stopped and listened to part of the message. Then another student sat down on a bench right before the end of the message. When I finished, he walked up and asked me if I ever draw a crowd. I said typically not. Most students keep walking on by. He questioned the effectiveness of what I was doing and if I should preach at a different time, basically now when I was ending. There were only a handful of students walking by us then. Maybe this is wrong, but I don’t focus on effectiveness. Jesus commands us to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15) and He didn’t qualify His statement in anyway. He didn’t say only preach if you draw a crowd. He set no quotas. Jesus simply said go and preach.
We share God’s truth and He is the one that convicts and converts sinners. That’s the main reason I don’t get hung up on effectiveness. God calls us to obedience. Yes, I handed the young man a tract and said, “I would like to invite you to my church.” I also repeated this several more times walking back to my car. Oh, I hope and pray that some of the students that received the invites will come to my church and I also hope and pray that they will go to truelife.org and type in their questions and watch the videos. May the Lord be gracious and save some of these students.
(These updates are provided to encourage Christians to share the Gospel)