Hey Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
I hope ya had a good day walking with the Lord. I had a good day on campus. A guy I’ll call Z and Thomas prayed with me today to receive Jesus. I also encouraged some Christians in faith who said they believed. Z was the first guy I came across today on the third floor of the BIC. I walked past him and he looked up and made eye-contact, so I turned around to ask him if he would do a student survey. He asked how long it would take and I said 6 minutes, which is true if you don’t begin to ask a lot of questions and we get sidetracked. But Z. did. He was wearing a kind of worn out looking, kelly-green workout jacket that zipped up the front had a shirt on under it and jeans. He had a mustache that stopped at the edge of his mouth and a beard on his jaw line, a conservative hair cut and strawberry blonde hair. He described himself as stressed and kind of lost. So I was hoping the Gospel would reach him from the beginning. When I asked him what he would say to God to get into Heaven he said, “I’d like to meet my family again.” I said I thought that was interesting, “I’d like to meet my distant family, like great-great grand parents.” I asked how likely it was he would get into Heaven. He said, “That depends on how strongly [He grades] on the sins.” I began to go through the Gospel with him and said God had to take away his sins to live inside him. He knew Jesus had died for his sins. We talked a bit then and he asked if God could forgive the 7 deadly sins, “If someone committed all of them.” I said I believed He could. Everyone had committed all of them, and that the Bible says if we break even one law we were guilty of them all, but I was not sure I could name them as I wasn’t Catholic. But I tried. I got sloth, envy, gluttony, wrath, and greed (turned out I was missing pride and lust). He asked if I ever watched “Sponge Bob Square Pants.” I said I hadn’t, but I knew who he was. He said that the show was an example of the 7 deadly sins and then told me three characters who were examples, He’d just found that out and thought it was strange. He then asked if one of sins was murder. “I don’t know, maybe,” I replied. “Do you think God can forgive murder?” he asked. I said the Bible says that David was “a man after God’s own heart” but that he went into Palestinian villages and killed everyone even women and children and animals and burned them to the ground, but God forgave him. I pointed out Paul held everyone’s coats while they stoned Steven. Paul was on his way to arrest others in the Holy land when God got to him. He was going to arrest Christians, even women. The Bible does not say he killed anyone but he set some up to be killed, “So it’s just as bad.” He agreed. “Because that is what I did, I killed someone,” he said. He said he went on trip to Tennessee and was in a bar and a guy was trying to pull a girl into a rest room to hurt her. Z. punched the guy a few times and then blacked out from adrenaline and he can’t remember much. The guy he hit hemorrhaged and died. He didn’t look anything like a bar fight guy, though he was a thicker dude than me. (I wondered later today of the story, as it sounded like when someone gets set up for something they did not actually do. They black out, maybe have a seizure, they are from out of town and others lay the crime on them. But I’m glad it did not come to me in the moment to complicate things. Maybe I’ll see him again to talk more.) He said the Judge was understanding and gave him 45 days and 3 years probation which had just ended. The sentence seemed light. Talking more about murder he was wondering again if he could be forgiven. I went on to say David had also had Uriah killed after sinning with Bathsheba and God forgave him. He remembered the story. I said I think that was why God put murderers in the Bible to show He could forgive anything. I said Jesus had died a terrible death to pay for terrible things. I finished going through the Gospel and I encouraged him saying he could be forgiven and he wanted to be. I walked him through the prayer for forgiveness and said God could live inside him and give him the strength to have self control, when he said he feared he could do it again. I said his probation was over and he had a new start. He should begin with God’s power in him to help him begin again. I asked if he would he like to pray, “Yeah,” he replied. “Just pretend I’m not here,” I said. “Can I have it?” he said, taking the booklet from me. I gave it to him and encouraging him I said, “Give it a shot.” He prayed to receive Jesus then and said something like, “I like that.” “Amen?” I said back and he nodded. I explained living “inside out” by the Spirit’s power transforming him and gave him 20 Things God Can’t Dowriting his name and the date and “forgiven” on the inside along with “By the Spirit’s Power.” I gave him a Bible study and he thought he’d like to come to ours. “Well I gotta study,” he said and was thankful. I said no worries and headed out. He went to a UCC church growing up so hopefully he’ll hang out with us at Bible Study. Please pray for Z.
Nearly an half-hour later I came across Thomas in the science building. He was from Africa, slight accent, good looking oval face, jet black, he wore a silver ski vest and twill knit sweats tight at the ankles and his long sleeve shirt was similar material. Big dude though probably not much taller than me. I asked him if he “wanted to do a student survey what he thought about God and stuff”. He wasn’t interested saying he was a Christian. “You wanna answer the big metaphysical question?” I asked. He kinda half said Ok. “You are walking down the road and you get hit by a bus, so you’re dead and you stand before God and He says, ‘Why should I let you into Heaven?’ What would you say?” He said something like, “Because I keep His keep his statutes.” “Do you keep them perfectly?” I asked. ” “No, but then I do good things [to make up for it]” he replied. I explained God was just and said, “He owns everything right?” He agreed. “So when we sin we damage His stuff. So we owe him for it. How does God get paid?” I also asked. He said he did good things and I said, “Yeah that’s not what the Bible says. You wanna know what it says or you don’t care so much?” “No, I mean OK?” (I think the “no” was responding as to if he did not care, since I’d asked 2 questions at once.) I began to tell him Christianity was like a blood transfusion where God has to make you His type to transfuse His life into you so He can live inside you with His Holy Spirit. So He has to take away your sin. “So what did Jesus do to take away your sin?” Thomas didn’t know. So I said “This is how it works” and began to show him the Gospel, using a page in the booklet and writing Bible verses in addition. I explained that His blood cleansed us and His righteousness was to our credit. I said, “You don’t go to Heaven because you are good, but because Jesus is good and you’re connected to Him.” “Oh I get it,” he said then realizing. Then I said He rose from the dead, reading 1Corinthians 15:3-6 and that we had to receive Him by faith (John 1:12 Eph. 2:8,9) and that your good stuff cannot fix your bad stuff, giving him an example. But that God could turn our bad stuff into good stuff, quoting and writing Romans 8:28. He leaned in to see the verse as I wrote it, very interested now. I asked if he wanted to be forgiven for his sins with God inside then or thought something else. “Be forgiven with God inside,” he replied. So I told him there was a prayer he could pray and walked him through it and he read the last of it with me out loud. I asked if he’d like to pray it silently and he took the booklet and silently prayed. I said he could keep it and showed him the verses in the beginning to help him remember some of what I had said. I explained living “inside out” first asking God to transform us soon the inside then we become good men and do good things on the outside. I gave him a copy of 20 Things God Can’t Do and showed him verses in the back and gave him examples of how we should ask God to give us the power to do everything. And I gave him an example of an Uncle who helped him, better then God was our Heavenly Father and lived inside us. Everything He was asking us to do He would give us the power to do by His Spirit. He gave me his email to send him some things and said he’d like to check out Bible study. He was grateful and I laughed and said, “Ha you said you were a Christian but I got you,” He gave me a big warm grin at that and we shook hands and I headed out. He was happy.
So thanks for your prayers for the ministry and for evangelism today if you had a chance. God truly blessed and had good work for me to do guided by your prayers.