Taking it to the streets

One of the youth in our church felt led by God to organize a group to go downtown street witnessing.  Yesterday about 20 of us paired up and walked the streets of downtown Baton Rouge to see what the Lord would do as we sought to share the gospel.  I was paired up with Shana, an absolutely delightful young lady with a real heart for sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The first man we encountered was on the levee, sitting on the concrete steps that descended into the Mississippi river.  We sat next to him, one on either side, handed him a gospel tract and began to share the gospel with him.  Tears began to flow down his face as he told us that he was recently homeless and had been feeling so much despair that at that moment he was contemplaing jumping into the river to drown.  He felt like God had sent us to him.  We spent a long time with him, encouraging him to trust Jesus and just being with him while he cried.  We prayed for him and could see a visible change in his countenance when we left.  We are continuing to pray for him – Paul – and believing that the Lord will water and give increase to the seeds that were sown into his heart that day.  Shana and I walked away from him feeling very joyful to have been able to share the gospel with him, yet sorrowful that we had not been prepared to help with any practical needs or direct him somewhere he could obtain food and shelter.

Later that day we came across 2 men who were leaning against a fence leading to an event center. They looked like they may have been security guards.  Shana and I both felt led to stop and talk to them.  As soon as I began to share the good news with one of them, his attention was immediately focused on what I was saying.  So much so that it was startling.  He had just lost his wife and child due to a divorce and seemed to be reaching out to God as best he knew how.  We encouraged him to continue all the way to salvation and a full surrender to Jesus.

At the appointed time we assembled with everyone else to prepare to leave. As we were waiting for the last few stragglers from our group to reappear I noticed a man walking towards us on the sidewalk.  As he passed I handed him a gospel tract and when I looked into his face I realized that I knew him.  Three years ago he was one of my clients, a business owner with a beautiful wife and he was on fire for the Lord.  He would come to my office to drop off information and we would have a wonderful time sharing about what the Lord was doing.  Now he had lost everything and was homeless.  And away from the Lord.  He stood and talked with me for about 15 minutes as I reminded him of what he had lost by walking away from Jesus.  As he walked away I broke down in tears over this fallen brother.

As we drove back to the church, Keith Green’s “Asleep in the Light” was playing.  I thought my heart would break.

Do you see, do you see, all the people sinking down,
Don’t you care, don’t you care, are you gonna let them drown,
How can you be so numb, not to care if they come,
You close your eyes and pretend the job’s done.
Oh Bless me Lord, bless me Lord, you know it’s all I ever hear,
No one aches, no one hurts, no one even sheds one tear,
But He cries, He weeps, He bleeds, and He cares for your needs,
And you just lay back and keep soaking it in, oh, can’t you see it’s such sin?
Cause He brings people to your door,
And you turn them away, as you smile and say,
God bless you, be at peace, and all Heaven just weeps,
Cause Jesus came to your door, you’ve left Him out on the streets.
Open up, open up, and give yourself away,
You’ve seen the need, you hear the cry, so how can you delay,
God’s calling and you’re the one, but like Jonah you run,
He’s told you to speak, but you keep holding it in,
Oh, can’t you see it’s such sin?
The world is sleeping in the dark,
That the church can’t fight, cause it’s asleep in the light,
How can you be so dead, when you’ve been so well fed,
Jesus rose from the grave, and you, you can’t even get out of bed,
Oh, Jesus rose from the dead, come on, get out of your bed.
How can you be so numb, not to care if they come,
You close your eyes and pretend the job’s done,
You close your eyes and pretend the job’s done,
Don’t close your eyes, don’t pretend the job’s done.
Come away, come away, come away with Me, My love,
Come away, from this mess, come away with Me, My love.