PARKERSBURG, WV – Street evangelism has many different facets. No matter where you go or where you preach there are always the staples: pseudo “Christians” who believe that we should accept people’s sin and love them into Heaven, outright blasphemous and hate filled hecklers, proud atheists, those who hear the Gospel and ignore the call, and those who hear and respond. But for every single “staple” we run into, there are those who fit any, all or none of those categories. The 2018 Mid-Ohio Valley Multi-Cultural Festival (MOVMCF) provided two such encounters.
Proud in their sin – “Pride Month” on display
The month of June has been set apart for some as “Pride Month.” This is the month that homosexuals revel in their sin…they are PROUD of it! We figured to see quite a bit of this at a “multi-cultural” festival but – in truth – there was not as much “pride” as imagined. There was, however, a group of very young women who came to our preaching area as brother Jaycen was on the box. They listened intently to the Gospel message. They were all waving the quintessential “rainbow” flag and one was wearing a rainbow flag as a cape. I noticed that each of them was also carrying a “Gideon’s” New Testament Bible. Each of these ladies was thumbing through their newly acquired Bible. I felt the tug of the Holy Spirit guiding me to engage these women in a gospel conversation. I was walking over to them when I heard Jaycen proclaiming the truth that the rainbow was actually a promise from God to mankind. I thought to myself “Well, that will really help my conversation.”
I approached this group of four young women and realized that not only were they young…they were VERY young. I asked them their names and ages. All of them were 14 years old! How sad it is to see our youth so deceived, confused and proud of their sin. I asked them what they were looking up in their bibles. One of the girls said, “I was just reading that Jesus said to ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ and I was wondering if you and your friend think that if by telling people they are sinners, you are loving them?” I have been down this path in conversation with homosexuals before. I simply answered “Yes. You see, we are here proclaiming the truth and warning everyone that their sin will kill them eternally.” I gave them a simple, yet effective scenario to mull over. “If your neighbor’s house was on fire in the middle of the night, would you go bang on his door and warn him to get out of bed?” One of the girls said “Of course. I wouldn’t want him to die!” I told her that even though waking someone out of a peaceful sleep may seem rude, it is – in effect – an act of love. Love warns us of danger, it corrects us, and it tells us the truth. All four girls admitted that what I had said made sense. I then asked them for the second Great commandment. None of them knew it. I quoted Luke 10:27 and asked “Now are any of you doing what that commandment says?” Each of them responded with a resounding “No.” I then explained the Gospel to them and gave them a tract. Right at this point an adult who was with them came and told them it was time to leave. Keep them in your prayers.
I’m an atheist…maybe.
The next encounter I had was with yet another very young lady. Again, brother Jaycen was preaching and I was holding our “Stop and Talk” Cross. We had the blessing of having brother Cam Cunningham with us today handing out Gospel tracts. Jaycen and I have nicknamed him “The Tract Machine.” Cam will hand out hundreds and hundreds of tracts. He is fearless and bold. God has indeed blessed him in this area of ministry. I have had some Christians question the effectiveness of handing out tracts. The retort usually given is “A tract will go where we cannot.” This is true, but a tract does so much more! It causes some to seek out the truth. The Divine encounter I had with “Kaylee” happened as a direct result of a tract that Cam had given her earlier.
She approached me with a directness of one who desperately needs an answer. I smiled and asked her what I could do for her. She opened with “I am an atheist.” Of course, I was unfazed having heard this statement many times. I was, however, taken aback by one detail: her age. She was just as young as the homosexual females I had encountered earlier. What has happening to our youth?
I was about to get an unsettling answer to that question. She said “I have a problem with this paper.” She gestured to the gospel tract she was holding. I asked her for her name and age. She told me her name was Kaylee and that she was 14. “Ok.” I said. “What is your issue?” She then pointed out the portion of our tract that says “God is not a blasphemer, a liar, a thief, or a murderer.” She said “I think God is a murderer because He let all those people drown outside of the ark!” Think about that statement. She announced that she was an atheist and then announced that God is a murderer! I pointed this out to her and then gave her the example of a just judge who pronounces a death sentence on an obvious murderer. I said “If the judge sentences a murderer to death is that judge himself a murderer?” She was adamant in her answer of “No.” I asked her why not and she said “Because that murderer deserved the death penalty.” Bingo. I explained to her that the people in Noah’s day had been given 120 years to repent and get ready for the flood but they rejected God. As we were speaking, another young lady walked up to us and introduced herself as Kaylee’s older sister, Kaylee. You see, Kaylee number one is adopted. The older sister (19) is not. Kaylee the elder is a believer of sorts.
Kaylee the younger and I began to talk some more and she restated for me that she was an atheist. I began questioning her on the origin of morality and absolute truth. At first she claimed that all morality was decided on by human consensus until I pointed out that human consensus could change at any moment. She thought about this for a few moments. Even at 14 years of age she understood this principle and said, “So then where do we get morality?” I explained to her that the God she claimed does not exist DOES exist and that He created all mankind in His image. “This means that every human being is born in the image of God and that is where we get our sense of morality. Without God you cannot make sense of anything.” I laughed and said, “Does that make sense?” Each girl laughed in turn and Kaylee the younger said “Actually it does.” I have often found in dealing with young adults a speckle of humor goes a long way to ease certain tensions. Kaylee the younger said, “Ok so there is a god, but I don’t agree with how he acts.” You see? Kaylee was never an atheist. Truth be told, no one is an atheist. People all know God exists but because they love their sin, they suppress the truth (Romans 1:18).
Once Kaylee admitted that there was a God I explained to her His standard: Perfection through the Law. She said “What if I don’t like His standards?” To which I replied “That makes no difference to the Almighty. You are still going to be judged by His standard!” I went into a Gospel presentation with her:
The Law, our deserving the wrath of God, the perfect sacrifice of Jesus, and the appointment that each of us have in judgement. As I was speaking the tears began welling up in her eyes. There were a few moments of awkward silence as both girls wrestled with Scripture. The elder sister spoke up “Do you mean that those who die unsaved go to hell?” I was shocked, though I shouldn’t have been. These two young ladies have been attending “youth group” at their church for years yet they did not know of the ultimate wrath of God! This is a very sad state of affairs that the church finds itself in today. For without understanding that we deserve hell because of our sins, how can we understand our NEED of a Savior?
I went back over how we deserve the wrath of God and how Jesus bore that wrath on the Cross. As Kaylee the younger was on the verge of tears she said “Maybe I just find it easier to not believe in God.” I went back to Romans 1:18 again and told her that she knows the truth of the Gospel and now she must wrestle with it. She would not take a Bible but she did keep the tract and her older sister went to the AppalachiaCry Facebook page and “liked” it. Please pray for both Kaylees (I was calling them Kaylee squared).
Soli Deo Gloria!