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My Great Evangelism Adventure, Part 6: “The Comfort Zone”

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The kid was yelling and swearing at a security guard when we pulled into our parking spot at the Los Cerritos Mall. From the safety of her truck cab the guard demanded that the rebellious youth leave the premises immediately, but he refused. I jumped out of my car and told the kid to apologize to the guard for being so rude. Amazingly he did. I assured the security lady that he would leave—after we had a little chat… (Click here to start at Part 1 of “My Great Evangelism Adventure”)

A group of us went out to Bellflower to evangelize with Ray Comfort, the man who changed my entire perspective when sharing the Gospel  after hearing his teaching of “Hell’s Best Kept Secret.” We received two signs from God as we left the parking lot of our meeting place. The first was on our church billboard: “The wages of sin is death; repent before payday.” The second sign was a double rainbow.

The enemy was afoot as well. We hit every red light on the way and encountered a Noah’s flood of traffic the entire length of the 91 freeway. Despite all this horrendous, demonic opposition we resisted the temptation to exceed the speed limit or curse Caltrans.

Every Friday night, Ray Comfort and his team invite all would-be and actual evangelists for P.I.E. (Pizza, Intercession and Evangelism), at the headquarters of Living Waters, his evangelistic ministry. After some food, prayer, brief instructions (“Be discreet.”), and a photo-op with Ray, we drove to the mall in separate cars and planned to use different points of entry so as not to draw attention to ourselves.

That’s when we encountered James, the sassy nineteen-year-old cussing out Security. As he stood in a hedge—almost off the mall’s property—I spoke to him about breaking God’s law, the final judgment and his certain condemnation in hell if he didn’t repent and trust Jesus.

He repented!

“Man,” he said, “I really need to get back to church.” I agreed and told him that his first test of obedience as a Christian would be to leave the premises. He did. We all waved b-bye.

The Security lady told me that the cursing kid was trying to solicit magazine subscriptions from shoppers inside the mall “and that just isn’t tolerated here.” She was a “Christian” who thought she was good enough to get to heaven by being, well, good. I bought her a latte at Starbucks and didn’t give her a tract—just in case that wasn’t tolerated either.

We split up and wondered where Ray went. How was the “master” on his own turf? What kind of lesson could we learn from a guy who’s been evangelizing for thirty years, written nearly forty books, and has a popular program on T.V. that teaches the biblical way of sharing the Good News? How would God use him to teach us? We were anxious to see him use the Ten Commandments in bringing the lost and hell-bound to weeping contrition before a Righteous Judge.

“Hey, there’s Ray!” someone shouted.

“I just got kicked out,” he said, shaking his head in disbelief. Security was in high alert for “other solicitors” who might be in the area and Ray got caught up in the Gestapo sweep. He beat a hasty retreat for the exit.

The group from West Covina got kicked out next.

There was an air of panic. Paranoia. Nothing is scarier than twenty-year-old mall-cops with badges of authority… and walkie-talkies connected to the Sheriff’s department.

My friend Travis was outed. Greg and Tim were goners too. Would I be next?

The salesgirl at the kiosk in the middle of the floor had no customers. This was a good time to break the ice with one of my Gospel tracts, so I asked her discreetly, “Did you get a million dollar bill?”

“Yes,” she answered with disgust, “and I can’t believe you’re doing this. People are shopping and you can’t just do that. It’s wrong! I can’t believe it; you’re telling people about God!”

I wanted to protest that I didn’t interrupt anybody’s shopping experience; I simply talked to people as they walked along, looking at the shops.

“If you don’t step away right now, I’m calling Security,” she said firmly.

My mind swirled. Here was my chance to join that great cloud of witnesses who throughout the centuries took their stand for God and paid the price. Persecuted for Christ sake—what an honor… thrown out on my ear like Ray Comfort. Could I handle the utter humiliation?

I stepped away.

Looking over my shoulder I read the name of her little trinket booth:

“B Charming.”

*****

Click here for Part 7, and read about how I preached in the open air for the first time with Ray. (Up to this point, I had preached in the open air less than 10 times.)

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