After hearing Mark Cahill speak at an East Bay meeting, I wrote to thank him for equipping the saints. He wrote back, challenging me to have my boldest year yet in planting seeds with the lost. To be honest, that exhortation scared me! I’m quite comfortable here in my comfort zone, and the thought of getting out of it is, well, uncomfortable.
I suppose my comfort zone is witnessing alone one to one, or being a part of a group outreach with others. Just before Resurrection day, Tony Miano issued a global challenge: “mission Good Friday”, in which Matthew 26-28 was read aloud in the open air to “bring Good Friday to the masses”. Here’s my witnessing story- I hope it is edifying for you.
I was praying about this challenge in my car after paying a bill downtown late Good Friday afternoon, and suddenly I knew God wanted me to go and do it. But I was alone! I texted Jessi, asking her to pray for me, and walked from my car to the corner of “Broadway and Theater way” in Redwood City. I then sat on the steps for 35 minutes praying, as more and more people filled the area. I walked around and around. The Lord assured me that He was with me, that Jessi was praying for me, and that Tony and his team mates were praying for all of us. God gave me courage I for sure did not have on my own. The hardest part was stepping up on the cement bench, but the Lord was faithful and He took it from there after I stepped up. Opening I greeted the crowds: mostly teenagers hanging out and going to the theater. I said, “So this is Good Friday, the day Jesus Christ died for sinners like us. He didn’t have to do it, He could have just let us remain in our sins, under judgment and condemnation to face a Holy and Just God. But He didn’t- because of His love and mercy on us, He came down here to rescue sinners, and so to commemorate what Jesus did I’m going to read the story from the Bible.”
Then I read Matt. 26-28, trying to project my voice (no amplification!) above wind and an ‘organ grinder music man’ half a block down. The wind blew my hair in my face and I tried to keep my bible pages held down and speak loudly enough. I noticed several groups of teens were standing and watching, some with arms folded. I noticed the security and police were all nearby observing. I heard mocking shouts here and there. My voice was going hoarse trying to speak loud enough. When I finished I said “If you have any questions, I’m right here.” A group of boys approached, one saying, “I have questions.” I sat down on the bench, and was suddenly faced with about 10 teen boys (ages 16 or 17) and one girl standing up in a straight line on the sidewalk facing me (as I was sitting), asking questions. We talked for 45 minutes. They all listened while one boy questioned in order to argue. He wanted to argue evolution, the existence of God, philosophy etc. I brought it to the conscience with the Law.
He declared his goodness and independence from God. He had no need of God; he was self-righteous. I spoke of creation, his conscience, the Law, morality and sin, the prophets, and the incarnation of Christ, and he kept on suppressing the truth (Rom.1:18-19). While this was going on, another boy was questioning with an entirely different attitude. He was humble, nodded his head when hearing about sin, sinfulness, breaking God’s Law, accountability, and God’s righteous judgment. I lobbed between the two conversations. All the while, all these other boys were standing there listening. By the way, they were all from the Catholic boys high school in my city. Most declared themselves Atheists and Humanists, but this one boy was not saying these things. He was asking me what Jesus did- he wanted to hear how Jesus fulfilled the OT, all the prophets, the Law, and the whole Redemption plan as the atoning sacrifice: the Lamb of God. He wanted to hear about how it is not by good works that we are saved, or by religious ritual, but by Jesus Christ alone. The arguing boy shook my hand said “thanks but no thanks”, and left, and all the other kids left with him.
The humble boy sat down next to me and we continued to talk for quite a while about Jesus; Who He is, His sinlessness, His sacrifice, the tearing of the curtain in the Temple (and what that meant) and repentance and faith in Christ. He wanted to know not just about Jesus’ divinity but also His humanity: how He relates to us and represents us to God. He was glad to hear that Jesus also was sad, had emotions, felt pain, sorrow, hurt. This boy, taking “Theology” in the Catholic high school, was so glad to hear the gospel and how the OT and the NT fit together for the redemption of all those who trust in Jesus by faith alone. He left very happy having heard these things. He shook my hand with sincerity and took a gospel tract. I think he will go home to read the Bible. I am so thankful and amazed to actually meet a humble hearted teen who is glad to hear the Gospel. And I’m thankful for challenges from evangelists to be bold and, for the sake of others, get out of your comfort zone.