Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Night in Charlottesville

As the winter months draw to a close and the weather begins to climb, I start getting more and more excited for the "In Season" months. Now I know, that when Paul said to "preach the Word...be ready in season, and out of season" he wasn't necessarily referring to Va. winter months as "out of season" but it certainly is a slow time for our group. All glory to God, however, that He has given us another year to proclaim His Word. We are so thankful for the privilege to minister to people here in Va. especially when thousands of them gather at the downtown mall in Charlottesville on Friday nights.

We have been waiting for months for the "bumper crop" that we saw Friday night. Nine members of our team were in Charlottesville to preach the Gospel, pass out tracts, and witness to a great many residents of C-ville. It was only a few minutes into the evening before we had crowds of people gathered to listen to, yell at, heckle, and mock the preaching of the gospel. The hecklers were out in number although some of our more vile hecklers must have stayed home on Friday. There were crowds around the preachers all evening. Many listened and had very honest and real questions. Some, like a homosexual young man named Robert, wanted to scream and yell unreasonably at me because he said we had made his friends cry. I told him that it was the conscience of each of his friends that was making them cry. He acted as though he wanted to physically come after me at one moment but he was likely just posturing for the onlookers. I was later able to call Robert aside and have an intimate conversation with him that was much more cordial and respectful. I told Robert that I genuinely don't want him to go to hell but that if he dies in his sin and without the righteousness of Christ applied to his life through repentance and faith, that was where he is headed. I told him clearly that his lifestyle was a choice that he had made to rebel against God. He was not born a homosexual (see Romans 1). Please pray for him.

There were many faces from the evening but I only remember a few names. There was Timothy who was likely a false-convert Southern Baptist who knew just enough about church history and the Bible to be dangerous. He asked about the gospel of Judas. Much of his history was wrong and I worked on correcting some of his misunderstandings. His girlfriend, who took a very smug approach with me, simply loved her sin and wanted empirical evidence for God's existence. I told her that Jesus was not going to appear in person at her beck and call. He has given each of us the "light" of creation and conscience. She is without excuse. She just tried all the same tired arguments against Christianity like "What about all those hypocrites in the church" argument. I told her they would be in hell one day. "What about Gandhi? He was such a pious and good man??" I told her Gandhi was a sinner in need of a savior. If he trusted the God(s) of the Hindus, or his religious services/works to enter heaven, then he was in hell today. She didn't like my direct answers very much. She was in rebellion. I told Timothy I was very concerned about his profession of faith. I had serious doubts about him being a Christian. In love, I warned him about Jesus' words in Matthew 7 of that "not everyone who says to me on that day "Lord, Lord" will enter the kingdom of heaven...." he was very receptive and thankful to me for taking the time to plead with him. He genuinely thanked me about 10 times before he and his girlfriend left. Pray for Timothy.

One more person I want to mention. We have one girl living as a lesbian who Lee Craft has ministered to many times. She continues to approach Lee and allows Lee to pour into her the Words of Life. I pray that God will save her. She is precious to us and we pray that God will save her. I regrettably don't remember her name. There are a great many young people who are choosing homosexuality as a way of life for themselves. They have discovered an avenue in which they can rebel against society. They don't realize that it is God that they are rebelling against and they will be accountable. I pray they will, each one, repent before they have to give an account to the Holy Judge when they pass into eternity.

Perhaps I will recall more later. I felt like God graciously allowed us to minister to dozens and dozens of people through just our one to one conversations. Many more through our tracts and preaching efforts. I am so thankful we don't draw on our own strength. God calls us "laborers for the harvest" but sometimes I don't feel like it is labor when God allows it to be so "fun" for us. We rejoice in the midst of the battle and when we leave the mall every Friday night to the point that it certainly doesn't feel like "laboring”. Our loving God is so faithful, merciful, and good to us. I thank Him and glorify Him for His Word on which I can stand and know that when we speak for the gospel, our feet are on a firm foundation that cannot be moved. Praise be unto Jesus Christ.

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