12:57pm EST (+10:00)
- Ok, I am half way through the day and I have not evangelised yet. I have washed the cars, sprayed the weeds in my lawn and even turned over some lawn for our new veggie patch. BUT I HAVE NOT WITNESSED. Believe it or not, I have had contact with non-Christians (but I was too busy doing all that stuff).
- I have not read the bible or prayed. Doing so will really help. Perhaps I can do that now and head of this afternoon to do try and reach my goal for today (which is really pretty easy).
- check back here in about 3-5hours an I may be able to give you some good news.
5:45pm EST (+10:00)
- Glory to God. He does answer prayer. Got back from a witness encounter with 2 people about an hour ago. God just set it right up. I will tell you more later when I get some time.
6:55pm EST (+10:00) – Time to give you a report on the encounter!
Well @ 3:55pm (after reading Galatians 4) I had some time up my sleeve to get out there. I was thinking all afternoon of going down to the boardwalk near the river and find some people to talk with (notice with, and not to). I told my wife where I was going and she suggested that I just pop over to the local shopping centre instead. I agreed with her practical idea – much better. So, off I drove. On the way I became really anxious about the whole thing but then I just got so sick of being nervous inside myself I just decided to not waste time dwelling on possibilities, just to go to enjoy conversations and meet people. This new mindset was really helpful. I really wanted to show respect to those that I was talking with (see discussion with John) and not have the whole agenda thing spinning in my mind. I just trusted that it would all be there when it was time to go for it.
As I got out of the car an elderly lady pulled up beside me and got out. I said hello and started a conversation. We talked about the lovely weather and working in the garden. We walked in together and she seemed really happy to chat with me. I hesitated as she was about to go into the supermarket, but I called her back and gave the lady her first million! She received it and kept it, even after I pointed out that it was a gospel tract and had a message on the back. I (accidentally/rudely) said”I hope the print is not too fine for you to read”, but she didn’t mind my remark.
I said goodbye to her and walked down the shopping centre looking for someone with time for a chat. A group of elderly men were engaged in heated discussions on some benches. The roller doors on all the shops were closing – it was 4pm. Did I leave it all to late??? Before I left to come here I had asked my wife if she wanted anything – she requested cream buns. I headed into the closing bakery to try and meet that request. I had a casual conversation with the two shop staff members and they hadn’t had any such treats all week. As I was leaving I offered the girls a million dollars each. One took it. When I mentioned it was a gospel tract she returned it with great vigour. I let them close the doors. Before I left they recommended the other bakery down the end of the centre.
On my way there I passed 2 boys with their skateboards under their arms coming out of the toilets. I overheard one of they say something like:
“…and then he asked me to go to Church.”
I thought for as second that I should double back and inquire what they were talking about, but I just kept on walking.
I arrived at the bakery and it looked like they were staying open longer to catch all the closing business. They had buns! I scanned around and everyone looked busy. There was a big group (5) outside talking, but I thought it would be pretty stupid to go and break in on that.
As I was leaving I somehow glanced and noticed a guy sitting with his wife and then to my surprise, on my way back to the center I saw a poster with a guy that looked exactly like the guy I had just caught a glimpse of. I stopped and looked backwards and forwards. It was him.
“Hey, is that you?” I asked?
“You bet.” he replied with a big smile.
We started up conversation and I took a set at their table. We talked for quite a while (5-10min). He was a magician/mime artist and he was sitting with his wife who helps in the show. They travel around Australia and the world as professional entertainers. I won’t reveal their names as I didn’t ask permission to put them in my blog (forgot to ask).
He was, loud and confidently gregarious (our conversation could be heard by lots of people all around the bakery), his wife was the complete opposite. I was really interested in asking him about mime as I had been doing study on it earlier this year and we shared a lot of common ground in our passion for performing arts – we swapped a lot of stories and information.
After a slight beat in our flamboyant exchange (mostly from his side), I jumped straight in to the spiritual:
“As well as getting cream buns, I came down here to talk with people about spiritual stuff. Do you have a Christian background?”
“Yes, I was an alter boy when I was young but I haven’t done anything much since then. I am now an agnostic.” he declared.
“No, not at all”, she replied.
I got them to take the good test and they admitted to lying, stealing and blaspheme – neither of them would admit to adultery of the heart (perhaps they were embarrassed in front of their spouse.)
He mentioned that its all OK if you repent. (in hindsight I should have checked what he meant by that). I corrected him; “We need to also have faith in Jesus. We need to trust in what he has done on the cross for our sins – we receive His righteousness. That’s what we need because there is no-one who is righteous. The Bible says that everyone has sinned and broken God’s law.”
He said that he would still get in to heaven because God forgives everyone. I responded with the analogy of the good judge and man who asked for forgiveness. Well after that he wanted to argue the toss an nit pick everything I said.
“Well not necessarily – judges need to take a lot of things into account…” He went to some lengths to explain how it is not so black and white as I was suggesting.
“Its just an analogy” I retorted, “but the bible does say that God will judge in righteousness. His judgements will be fair.”
Next in our conversation he brought up a red herring question that he claimed no one has been answer since he first asked it to his Sunday school teacher when he was an alter boy. His question was about Judas – He was essentially asking about free will / God’s fore-knowledge of all things, etc.
“What if Judas didn’t betray Jesus. If he stopped and didn’t go through with it. Then Jesus would not have been crucified. So it was all up to Judas – he had no choice. Do we therefore have no free will – because if God knows what’s going to happen then we don’t get to choose.
I did my best to answer him, even though he was evading my question about where he would go if he was found guilty on judgement day. I referred to God’s sovereignty and that if God was to crush us all today it would not affect his holiness and righteousness;
“…he made us, we are all guilty of rejecting him, but just an act of his wonderful love that keeps it going”.
He revealed that he had recently read a book called the Judas Gospel (or something like that) saying that it was found with the dead sea scrolls and pre-dates all the other gospels. He said that Jesus and his disciples were rebels and what we would refer to today as terrorists. I questioned him on the authenticity of the book he was reading and he was without a real answer.
Well our conversation/encounter finished not long after that. They were leaving from the bakery to travel back to their home interstate – they had just come in to Tassie to do shows today and they were leaving again. They took the million dollar notes and went on their way. We were all very nice to each other and very friendly, even after engaging in some weighty conversation.
So there you go. God answers prayer. I was able to witness to 2 people that had similar interests, across a comfortable table with people that were willing to listen and respond. I was able to achieve the goal which I set yesterday! When I had finished and got home I realised that it all took about 40 minutes – that meant that I had been speaking with the couple for over half and hour. Thank you Lord!!
Ultimately they were still very proud. He was quite intelligent and not really humble about his sin – he ducked and swerved to avoid conviction. Please pray for our unidentified couple. They were really lovely, welcoming and compassionate in the way the talked.