Last night, Joey and I, went to a couple of malls. We decided to try somewhere new. He lives in Thousand Oaks, so we started out there. We got such a late start that the mall was closing and we only got to talk with a few people. A lady from Godiva chocalates gave us a bag of white chocolate, so the first contest we did was "Name Ten, Get Chocolate"
Two very nice girls who had a Catholic school background, well actually are still in Catholic school, named five or six commandments. They were genuinely interested in why what we were telling them went smack in the face of what their teachers had been telling them. Twelve years of Catholic schooling is leaving them with the impression that you just "have faith" and you'll be fine. They couldn't define what that meant exactly. Faith in what? in whom? Do you just believe in your heart that you're going to heaven and it happens? We left them with hopefully a clearer explanation of what the Bible teaches you must do, and implored them not to just trust teachers, but test everything in light of scripture. I am astonished that people so quickly turn to a different gospel, which is no gospel at all. Galatians 1:6-8 (Oh, and we gave them the chocolate)
We headed over to Westlake Village where things were still hopping. It was a beautiful Summer night and everyone was enjoying the tables outside next to the fountains. It surprises me how many kids are allowed to stay out without supervision to after 11 at night. We talked with quite a few and the theme continued of people who had "faith". The first two I talked to, the guy said, "I am 100% sure that I am going to heaven." Wow, I said, tell me how to get there. "You just have to believe. I mean, really believe. You just have to know it." Nothing about Jesus, nothing about sin, repentence, justification, atonement, just a sort of Jedi mind trick. Sounds to me more like a good way to make that extra free throw in the big game. Surely, not a strategy for getting right with God.
Like most people, he had no idea that his sin had made him an enemy in the eyes of a holy God. As we explained about the mirror of the Ten Commandments, comparing ourselves to God's standard, we all fall short, we lie, we steal, we blaspheme, commit adultery in our hearts, he started to see the picture. But, he said that he was young and he had plenty of time to make it up to God. Three sins a day is a thousand a year. Ten thousand sins for each decade of your life sitting in God's book waiting to crush you when you show up and get judged. Everyone says, "Well, lying once is not like murdering anyone or anything." We need to get honest with ourselves and our God. We don't go our whole life and just lie once. At the core, we are deceitful lustful, jealous, idolaters who put ourselves at the top of the list, way above the One who deserves that position. There are no amount of "good works" that could even come close to making up for our sins. The good news is that we don't have to make up for them. Jesus did. The spotless lamb, made to be sin for us, punished for our iniquities, covering up, and removing our sin, past present and future.
Joey decided to approach a group of girls in front of the ice cream store and quite a crowd gathered. I saw at least fifteen people come and go throughout his whole discussion.
At one point, one of the girl's mother came up and listened for a minute. Joey said he gets nervous that someone's parent will come up and scold him for talking with their kids about Jesus. But, in two thousand witness encounters, it has never happened. As I walked up, one girl was saying, "Wait, so you're telling me that for all the bad things that I have done, God is going to send me to Hell?" Wow, she got it. The law had done it's work and had plowed up the soil of her heart and made it ready to hear the gospel. He spent a good twenty to thirty minutes with this group and they stood transfixed to his every word. Their mouths were stopped and they were not justifying themselves. At this point, when someone truly sees themselves in light of God's standard, they are desperate for the Good News. That is what drives me to get out and share my faith, just the mere chance that someone's heart will be reached. When God moves His Spirit and touches someone, it humbles me that he would let me be a witness to His majesty.
Please pray for all the people that we spoke with last night. Now, get out there and share your faith, while you still have time.