A week ago Saturday there was a man on the corner holding up a ‘Yes on 8’ sign. It said something about ‘Yes on 8 = religious freedom’. Well I thought, there was a guy who may be open to talking about spiritual things! So we had a long conversation. After asking him to explain to me what the connection is between prop.8 and religious freedom, I started getting into the gospel with him. He happened to be a Mormon, but I did not get into it about the deity of Christ; rather I spoke to him about man’s accountability to God. After going over the gospel with him and talking about sin, righteousness and judgment, and after hearing clearly what are God’s terms (faith in Christ’s alone) and what He does not accept (self righteousness, religious works) he still insisted that it is up to each of us to earn our own salvation through religion, good works, being a good person and keeping God’s Law (by trying hard). I left him happy in his self-righteousness. A seed sower can sow the seed, but it is God alone who makes it sprout unto life and yield a good harvest.
On Friday the kids and I had lunch with relatives in my hometown. Then the we went to a local park. I always thought that I would never witness to anyone in my hometown, mainly because of issues relating to Mark 6:4, “A prophet is not without honor except in his home town and among his own relatives and in his own household.” So I was sitting on a bench, and this 88 year old woman comes and sits next to me and starts talking. She brought up the terrible fate our country seems to be heading towards, and I used that to bring up what is much more important: our relationship to the Holy Creator God. At first she kept referring to sinners as “those people”. After going through the Law and what Jesus said about the spiritual meaning of it, she began to realize that she was in that category, too. She was so happy to hear the gospel. She told me at the end of our conversation that she had been wondering all her life, waiting for someone to explain to her how to be in right relationship with God. She previously thought she must light candles, pray to the saints and hope that works out. Just because we are without honor in our hometown does not mean that God will never have us witness there. And whether we are honored or not, God will be glorified in the end.
Saturday I went to the memorial service for a sweet, adorable little 9 year old boy who died a month ago in a horrible car accident. We knew the boy from cub scouts. The mother, just out of surgery and weeks of intensive care, was in a wheelchair, pushed by her husband. I cannot even fathom the agony they are going through. The United Methodist minister’s message was that “we are all born children of God”. He said “God is able to give us hope”, but he did not say how. His message for the family was that “we (the community) are there as courage, hope and redemption”. After an hour I watched as hundreds of crying people exited the building, still without eternal hope. Many people who enter a church building will never hear the gospel there. That is why God is sending you out into all the world to tell them.