Taste of North Park Community Fesitval
It was Saturday afternoon so once again I jumped in my car ready to share the love of Jesus on the streets of North Park.
Upon my arrival I noticed that their were more people than usual walking the streets. It soon became obvious that Taste of North Park was in full swing. It goes without saying but the people tasting the local fare weren’t as interested in the hor dourves as much as another local fare.
Yeah, you guessed it – alcohol. And as such I was hesitant to share the gospel with those not in their right mind. So I kept walking and after much prayer the Lord led me to Dave.
Sign of The Times
Dave was sitting outside the San Diego Eagle Bar smoking a cigarette. I kindly said hello and asked him his name. We quickly struck up a conversation about the larger than normal crowds. In the middle of our conversation I slipped in that I was in North Park to share the love of Jesus and then asked permission to share with him.
Boy was I in for a shock as the next words from Dave’s mouth were that he attends a gay church in Pacific Beach. Caught off guard and wanting to make light of his comment I quickly said, “Oh, you mean a happy church?”
Loving My Neighbor
To be honest it was not obvious that Dave practiced homosexuality and I didn’t care that he affirmed that he did. I was there to speak with a fellow human being who like me was born into sin and therefore needed to hear the gospel.
Still I have to admit I was speechless (Insert awkward silence). Dave stood up, flicked his cigarette butt and went back into the bar. In times past I would have been disappointed in not going further with Dave. But at this point in ministry I realize that just mentioning the name of Jesus Christ and showing another human being kindness, even in the most simple of ways, is enough to leave a lasting impression.
After my encounter with Dave I continued seeking people with whom to share. Some people took a tract, some didn’t. Some listened, some didn’t. Some looked at me like I was a fellow human being, some didn’t. 🙂
A Direct Message From Jesus
However, in my short sightedness I was so busy sharing God’s message with others that I forgot that God also wanted to share His message with me. He reminded me of this as I crossed University avenue when a gentleman with his family spotted the Bible in my hand and began to speak words of encouragement.
He said, “You are here because you have been called by God to share the message of the book in your hand and that if you weren’t here you would be disobeying God’s call.”
Wow! I took that as a direct message from the Lord encouraging me to continue humbly seeking souls with whom to share His good news.
It was then that the Lord impressed upon me that the people I meet and share with are not just people but eternal souls with an eternal destiny. When we are first born into this world our eternal destiny is hell but upon receiving the forgiveness of our sin by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ our destiny becomes heaven! Thank you Lord as I was blind but now I see, I was lost but now I am found!
The Weak Voice On The Street
As I continued walking I heard a weak voice ask me if I could spare some change. When I looked down I saw Mike, a 23 year old young man sitting against a convenience store wall. I asked him if I could buy him lunch and he said yes.
It turns out that Mike and I shared a common interest. Mike was a standout baseball player in his hometown in Oregon. He had a scholarship offer to play at USC but because of his problem with alcohol he settled for playing at Palomar College Junior College in San Marcos.
However, he soon found himself in trouble with the law after getting drunk and knocking down a fence in a upscale residential neighborhood. He spent a few months in jail, completed rehab and now he’s living on the streets of San Diego.
After talking with Mike for a few minutes I asked him if he knew the message of the Bible. He said he knew that it taught us how to live a good life. I said, “Yes you’re right Mike, it does tell us how to live a good life but more importantly it tells us how to get a new life.” Mike looked at me and said, “I like that.” I prayed with Mike that the Lord would transform him through the power of His Holy Spirit.
Showing Love To Those Who Don’t Want It
I left Mike and was returning to my car when I came upon a shocking site. Two men wearing only underwear with heavily tattooed bodies on racing bikes. As soon as I saw them my heart warmed with compassion. My sincere prayer and hope was that they would receive the message that I had to share.
Unfortunately, they didn’t want anything to do with me or the gospel. One man said you don’t want to share with me because I have five tattoos of the devil. I told him that it isn’t what’s on the outside that matters but what’s on the inside. My heart breaks for people such as these who are so caught up in rebellion that they can’t see that God is reaching out to them because of His great love for them.
And though I desire to see the Lord’s return I am thankful that He tarries so that men and women everywhere have the opportunity to turn away from their sin and turn toward the loving arms of their Savior.
Peter writes, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”