Wow! 40,000 people all in one place to see fireworks. They were starting to come in at 8 in the morning when I rode my bike by the church. And, the gates opened at 4p.m. By the time I got there, the parking lot was full, Walmart parking lot was full, and even the dirt lot for the next housing development was full, too. People were camped in the backs of their pickups, on the roofs of their RVs and in lawn chairs up and down the street, filling the street to capacity.
I saw many of our church members sitting in the parking lot of the church. I saw the rest of the community sitting outside on the sidewalk and in the shopping center parking lot. What I didn't see was our church members going over to talk with the community about why we were doing this. The music was so loud in our lot, that it was actually easier to start a conversation in the other lot. David, Joey and I dug deep in our backpacks, glove boxes and trunks and pulled out every last one of our tracts. We probably had 500 or more. But, that was hardly a drop in the bucket when 40,000 people are sitting there with nothing better to do for hours but read something. Every one of them was given away to people that were happy to read them. After the night was through, I found only one thrown on the ground.
David had a good conversation with a guy who had never been to church, and didn't expect to be approached. I prayed with a lady from Grace Community Church nearby while David witnessed. The man gave his life to Jesus right there. He had never had the gospel explained to him and tonight was his night. God is good.
I approached a family and the teens were interested in the Jesus stuff we were handing out, but the mom was adamant that they didn't take anything from us, nor read, nor listen, because, "Hey, we're Jewish!" I said, "Great, so was Jesus. Do you think you've kept the Law of Moses?" I left her with something to read. Please pray for her.
I guess Judaism was the theme for the night, as the next couple I spent some time with was Jewish as well. His brother moved to Jerusalem and has been encouraging him to get more 'religious'. I explained that religion wouldn't save him, and showed him that there is no way for him to keep the Law. The only thing that would save him was the spotless Lamb of God, who laid down His life, first for the Jews, then for the Gentiles. I was not asking him to convert religions, but encouraging him to, like myself, give my life to the Jewish Messiah.
I ran out of time. I ran out of tracts. I ran out of breath. But, there were still more fish to be brought into the boat. Where were the 6000 members of my church? Did the fireworks and music lull them into a slumber and keep them from the real work of the church? How embarrassing that there were more people from other churches witnessing at our event than members of our own church. What will it take to awaken them from their slumber? What will it take to shake people out of comfortable Christianity.
35Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." Matthew 9:35-38