Saturday, September 19, 2009

Red Mile

Last night a friend (Andrew) from church, and I, went down to the Red Mile in Calgary to share the Gospel. The ‘Red Mile’ is the nickname for the 17th Avenue bar district. This area is not exactly a family-friendly area; with a mix of street-people, rough-n-ready and affluent party-goers.

Andrew came with brave-face, but not at all comfortable with the idea of going out to share the Gospel in such an environment. He did great!

Very soon after arriving, we met a man from Ethiopia. We talked of death and the Day of Judgment; explaining the Sin of man … including his personal sin. It seemed, after talking for a while, that this man had never really considered death and what comes next – and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Finally, incredulous, Andrew asked the man how old he was; forty years old. Andrew asked him, in forty years, he’d never considered these things … never considered what comes after death? I think THAT did make the man think. We talked a little more and encouraged the man to seriously consider his pending death; and what comes next.

Handing tracts to two folks, sitting on a park bench, I asked questions about what they thought happened to someone when they died. Pretty quickly, we began to focus on judgment and justice of God. One man didn’t want to talk, but the other did … figuring he was good enough for God. After showing him the Law and what God says about it’s requirements, he finally blurted out that maybe he was going to Hell after all. We talked more of that & explained the Good news; that if one will Repent and trust only in the Blood of Jesus Christ alone to be Justified, God can make him born again and remit his sin. He was thinking … but once again, this might’ve been another example of the person you are talking to is NOT the one you are preaching the Gospel to. I’ve observed this many times, where I perceive the one I am actually preaching the Gospel to is the bystander and not the one I am directly speaking with.

After walking up and down 17th Avenue for a while handing out tracts and talking to people, I handed tracts to a couple, who stopped to talk. The young-man seemed proud and unconcerned at first, but began to show concern and some emotion as we began to show his sin before God, answering a LOT of questions and explaining things he didn’t understand. He girlfriend suddenly said, ‘wait, five minutes after meeting this guy, you are concerned but after I’ve been talking to you five years, you weren’t?’ He said she’d just not put things in the terms I had. I personally think it might have had something to do with her testimony, as she was standing there in a shirt that read “XX Porn Star” … how is it people think they can live a vile, sinful lifestyle and still legitimately call themselves Christians? Finally I turned to the young man and asked, "Do you judge yourself worthy of eternal life?" (referencing Acts 13:46). He hung his head and replied, "No". He was saying that before God he is unworthy (not the focus of the verse, but conviction was setting in). He was struggling and beginning to argue (i.e. when people feel the heat, the look for things to divert from the heat) and ask lots of questions. I finally told him that the scriptures say that some are vessels of honor made to show God's mercy, while others are vessels of wrath made unto the day of wrath (see Romans 9). This got to the young man & briefly, he forgot the argumentation and began to see that he wished to be a vessel of honor ... a vessel of mercy. He eventually left, very emotional and somewhat agitated ... pray for him.

Later, we went on got my stool & setup in front of a store and after prayer, began to proclaim the Gospel. Many people laughed or scorned while I was proclaiming the truth, but some listened and a few even came asking for tracts. A couple policemen walked by while I was preaching and only asked how we were doing & kept walking. I used them as an example, ‘if you break the law here in Canada, these two fine men will come arrest you, so with God …’. I am always amazed, that while many scorn few stop, more people than you’d imagine listen from a bit of a distance.

While I was speaking a young man approached Andrew and began to talk.  After I was finished preaching and climbed down off my school I was privileged to meet this fine young man. He told us that when he came around the corner and saw us, Andrew handing out tracts and me preaching, he was praying that we were doctrinally sound. I trust he judged that we are. It was very encouraging to meet another with a passion for evangelism on his own out sharing the Gospel; he and a backpack full of John Piper literature out talking to people. Pray for Mark; he seems to be a real man of God.

There were numerous others that I've forgotten about now, but these are some of the highlights. If you are in the Calgary area, come join us ... if not, I encourage you to take your Bible and go tell somebody of the coming judgment, what the Bible says Sin is, the Amazing Work of Christ on the Cross, Jesus rising from the dead and God's call to Repentance and Faith.


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