Jesus’ scars saved my life
There is so much to say about this last Friday! It was probably one of the most encouraging and emboldening nights we’ve had as a team. It was our first time joining the group at the Graham’s house, which is where the Metro Life Church group meets for Bible study and prayer and worship before they come down and join us on the streets. Our topic was mainly about the fear of the Lord, which is one of our favorite topics, because it is such an essential truth for having a relationship with our heavenly Father, and yet the churches seem to have mostly replaced this truth for a more comfortable and relaxed approach to fellowship with God. We had a great discussion that I’m sure caused all of us to be more aware of how much our Holy God is angry toward sin and rebellion, and I believe it challenged some of us to be more bold in rescuing lost souls from all of the lies they are told about God.
I personally tend to be a little reluctant sometimes to inform people of God’s wrath on them because of their rebellion. But during that Bible study I realized that sinners are aware of God’s anger toward sin in the back of their mind; so when we dodge the subject, they know that something is missing. Sinners know that they are only pretending when they assume that they must be getting away with their sin. We preach constantly that if God is a holy God, He must judge and punish sin. But does God not feel any emotion toward sin and judgement. Of course He does! He loves us so much and yet we turn our back on Him and make ourselves a god, along with many other things that He created! Would that not make our Creator angry! He designed us to have fellowship with Him, and instead we ignore Him as if He doesn’t exist! Would that not grieve Him! He gave us the ability to make decisions and to be creative and do things, and we use our creativity to sin and hurt our fellow human beings and also teach others to do the same! Will God not show His wrath on such rebellion! Someone feels guilty and is afraid of the idea of facing a Holy God, so instead they proclaim that God doesn’t exist and try to support Evolution to explain away the true God who created us! Would that not cause God to be angry! Of course, He is angry; and these people know that they are making Him angry, but they’re trying not to think about it!
But even God’s anger is a proof that God loves us, otherwise He would have to not care what happens to us. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise [to return], as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” - 2 Peter 3:9 And we ought to challenge some sinners with this thought - “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart, you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgement of God, who ‘will render to each one according to his deeds’: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good, seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness - indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil... but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good... For there is no partiality with God.” - Romans 2:4-11
All right, now I have to share one story with you all. I teamed up with Brittany and Daniel and Caleb. There was a different feeling downtown that night, because there were a lot of young people like high-school and young college age, which is not typical. So my three friends told me that they were relying on me to start up conversations, so I immediately started working on ideas. There were a couple of bands playing down there somewhere, which is apparently what attracted the young crowd. One of the main ideas I used for starting conversation was to ask if there was a concert going on somewhere. That started a couple of brief and very strange conversations. At one point, after we had a few strange conversations, the four of us were left standing there trying to figure out where to go next. So Daniel suggested that we go find Rich, since he would be able to help us get conversations going. So I paused right there, and we asked ourselves why we would we need Rich, since we have the same Holy Spirit with us. So we agreed that God can help us to do the same thing and that God wants to build our faith so that He can use us in great ways too!
Shortly after that, we had the best conversation of the night when I walked up to a group of six to eight people and handed a few of them some ‘101 Funniest One-liners’. Their first comments were about skydiving because of the picture on the front, and then they started wondering if it was something religious. And then the conversation totally changed when one of the ladies noticed my shirt. The shirt I was wearing says, ‘body piercing saved my life’ and it has two hands on the back with nail holes in them. So she asked me what that meant and off we went into a conversation about God and sin and how to get to heaven. Then her friend, Diane comes over and interrupts me, wanting to know what I’m pushing on her friend. So I talked with Diane while Daniel and Brittany talked to the first woman. Diane so appreciated our conversation that she kept hugging me. I challenged her views with God’s Word and encouraged her to keep going toward God. At the end another young friend of theirs came over and said he really respected what we were doing and really appreciated that we cared so much, but he had some objection. I forget what it was, but he really appreciated my response to his objection and he thanked me for talking with them and he gave me a hug and shook my hand as they left. It was interesting, that was for sure. Oh, by the way, all of that took place directly in front of an entrance to one of the clubs with several workers from that club standing right there watching the whole thing. I could tell afterward that they found it to be very interesting!
I wish I had time to explain more, we also had a really good conversation with John who is a hotel owner down there that we’ve talked to before! We had a great night!