2017 Mountain State Forest Festival

Raising up young evangelists

Raising up young evangelists

ELKINS, WV – One of the arguably largest festivals in West Virginia is the Mountain State Forest Festival.  The week-long event draws folks in from all over the country.  Typically, we open-air preach Thursday-Saturday of the latter part of the weekend.  However, due to the AppalachiaCry Fall College Tour, we were only able to make it the last evening of the festival.

Missionaries in Training

One of the great joys is to share such times of laboring in the fields with your children.  A couple of mine were in attendance and were Gospel tract machines! I estimate they gave away approximately 500-800 tracts by the end of the evening.  Not only is it a joy to see their obedience to the Great Commission, it is equally joyous to see the Lord giving them boldness to walk up to the most scruffy looking man and offer him a tract.  If more adults had such courage, how different might the current state of laborers for the Gospel look?  I believe it to be crucial to sow these seeds of the Great Commission in our youth as soon as possible.  Their faces light up as each Gospel tract goes out.

Young one handing out tracts

Young one handing out tracts

Additionally, they are exposed to the reality of the world including what we as adult Christians face often – rejection.  Yes, despite how high they register on the cuteness meter (I know I’m biased) there are still folks that flat out tell them no.  Most are at least polite.  However, there is depravity that rears its ugly head even with children.  My oldest offered a tract to one lady and the lady rejected it replying, “No it’s ok, I’m going to hell…”  But it is good for them to see this and understand that we live in a broken world.  That encounter has been discussed several times since the festival and I’m glad God provided that experience for her to learn from.

Drunk or Delusional?

Shortly after Andy finished his first sermon, it was my turn on the box.  As I was preaching a large guy meandered over mockingly pretending to worship (see video here) as he made his way closer.  He immediately began to scoff at the preaching.  Strangely, he then asked me to quote a couple Scriptures to which I returned the request to allow him.  He did give them (Matthew 7:7 and John 1:1).  And he continued to ramble on.

By this time, he had the attention of the local Police who were passing by and stopped to make sure things didn’t get crazy.  He then proceed to shout that he doesn’t go by the Scriptures and asked about my conversion.  After I obliged, he continued to rant and somehow came to the conclusion that I was blind.  By the end of the conversation when I tried to continue to reason with him, he left by cursing me and flipping me off.  The lady that was with him begrudgingly went with him as she was embarrassed and had to be forcibly led away by the arm.  Pray for him.

Man’s Standards vs. God’s Standards

Young one handing out tracts

Young one handing out tracts

Shortly after that encounter another man (see video here) came back by. When I asked if he knew Christ as Savior he began making his case that he was going to Heaven. Though he admitted to not being born again, he insisted he would be in Heaven with Jesus.  As the conversation went on, I continued to plead with him, walking him through the law.  At one point I thought he was getting it as he said of the law, “Well then no one is going to heaven because none of us can keep it…” To which I replied, “Exactly! Now you’re getting it…” But to no avail he returned to his reasoning that he was going to Heaven because he was a good person based on his standard.

I see this quite often, that people believe because they do good things and consider themselves a good person they feel they are going to be ok when they swing out into eternity.  Sadly, they have created a “Jesus” in their mind which is idolatry.  The very thing they are trusting in (a false Jesus) is the very thing that will condemn them on the day they stand before God Almighty.  Their pride blinds them to the truth.  Pray for him.

Soli Deo Gloria!