Monday, July 7, 2008

4th of July Evangelism Explosion!

It was another amazing experience at Shepherd of the Hills Church in Porter Ranch, California. God has given Pastor Dudley a beautiful church with an amazing amount of resources to draw the biggest crowds I have ever seen for any 4th of July event. God blessed us with a great day of evangelism as Shepherd hosted it's 10th year of Fireworks, Rides, Shows and Food.

Dru, Tony and his family showed up around 1pm to set up the canopy so we could distribute 8,000 gospel tracts and 500 bottles of water. We were all very anxious to hand out tracts and so I took it upon myself to put America, America tracts on car windshields as I walked up and down Corbin just North of Rinaldi and then proceeded to tract every car on Rinaldi between Corbin and Tampa. I think I tracted Tony & Dru's cars as well but I guess it didn't hurt.

The water bottles were soon flowing and the gospel tracts were going like hotcakes. My hands were frozen after every 3rd water bottle I pulled out of the ice chest. It was very painful so I would sometimes let people grab their own water so I could keep my hands dry as well as the gospel tracts. I really liked the America, America tracts for 4th of July. I wonder if people thought they were program guides for the Shepherd of the Hills fireworks show because people made sure to stop and get one. Unfortunately, the America, America tract is being discontinued. I hope there are still some left so I can stock up for next year.

After about 5 hours in the hot sun, all of us handed out more than 500 bottles of water. Using my Ralphs card I was getting water fairly cheap and the ice was even on sale. We went through 120 pounds of ice and had 5 ice chests of various sizes. We even had some Starbucks iced coffees that Dru used as a prize to people that would try and prove to him that that they were good people. Of course, no one is good, God says so in the bible in Romans 3:10-12. It's amazing that so many people believe that that are good and God's word tells us that most of us will proclaim our own goodness but the 10 cannons of God's law quickly disolves any hope that anyone is remotely good according to God's holy & perfect standard.

As night began to fall I began to break open the 2,000 glowsticks and throw them into my ice chest that I had taken the top off and I sat there as masses of people walked up and asked, how much? I told them if they got a gospel tract from my friends that I would give them a glowstick for free and I begged them to read it. Some came back for more and acted as if they had never gotten a glowstick from me as I noticed 4-5 glowsticks wrapped around a kids neck. Some kids grabbed handfuls I yelled out that if they took more than I told them that it was stealing and that God hates thieves. So one kid that heard me say that threw them back in the ice chest and wasn't sure what to do. I reached in and gave him one and told him bye, please move along. Some were very thankful while others were out to corner the market on glowsticks. And special thanks to Tony's daughters and Nicole for opening the glowstick containers and putting the connectors on the ends.

At the end of the night as the fireworks began to go up into the air, we all tore down the tent and cleaned up and began to leave because it had been a long day, but me and Joey had other plans. We stocked up on tracts and walked to the intersection just before the fireworks ended and as masses of people waited at the light, we passed out hundreds of gospel tracts within 15 minutes along with the rest of the glowsticks. People didn't want to stop until I yelled out "FREE GLOWSTICKS" and then people swarmed around the ice chest in search of their favorite color. One father came back with a handful and tossed it back into the ice chest appologizing that his son had been greedy. Thanks Joey for getting me a really good deal on the glowsticks, i'll be calling you next year if you don't call me first!

Then, all of a sudden I got an amazing idea as I saw the huge crowds of people all around me. I raised my voice and began stoplight preaching to hundreds of people standing around me wondering what in the world I was doing. Some heckled while others seemed pleased at what i was doing. I yelled at the crowd to stop crossing the street because it was a red light and cars were desparately trying to make a left turn so I managed to control the crowd long enough for them to realize that the guy in the left lane had forgot how to drive and so people started walking through the red light hundreds at a time.

I'm glad there was more evangelist out there this year. Thanks to Tony, Dru, Mike, Mariah, Michelle, Marissa, Amanda, Nicole, Dede, Jackie and Joey. I hope I didn't miss any one. Imagine that there was an estimated 60,000 people there. We could have utilized a lot more people but hopefully next year that will change for the better. Pray for God's will to be done with every one that received a gospel tract and/or heard the gospel through one-2-one conversations or stoplight preaching. Faith comes by hearing and by hearing the Word of God. Amen!