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Fiesta Hermosa Pt. 5: Can’t Please Everyone!

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(Click here to begin the series with links to the other parts.)

You’d think that other Christians would see the value of a church in a pagan festival like Fiesta Hermosa sharing their faith. The unfortunate fact is, when people step out in obedience to God and witness for Christ, other Christian brothers and sisters will sometimes try to tear you down. Because so few churches emphasize evangelism, a concregation that actually does it seems strange, too radical, or downright weird.
null They will say things like: “Gospel tracts? What’s the value in handing those out?” Or, “I don’t do it like you; I like to let my life reflect Christ.” Or, “I am not called to share like you; I have my own way of doing it.”

Or… you might get a stinky phone call—anonymous, first name only, no phone number—like I did when I checked my office voicemail on the Tuesday after the fair, and was greatly discouraged to hear this:

“Hello my name is C—– and I am a resident of Hermosa Beach… and I have been to your church a couple of times and was considering joining. But I have to say I am, as a Christian, embarrassed… embarrassed of your church’s behavior at the Fiesta Hermosa this weekend!

“I think that [it] is just outrageous the way your people behaved… handing out all that trash dollar bills—or whatever they were. Your representation of God–how embarrassing for a Christian! You should be ashamed!”

I can take solace though, in the words of George Whitefield, that great open-air evangelist of the 18th century who preached over 18,000 sermons in his lifetime. He said:

“I was honored today with having a few stones, dirt, rotten eggs and pieces of dead cats thrown at me.”

(Read about how to deal with confused, antagonistic brethren by clicking here!)

6 Comments

  1. Pastor Steve,

    You Rock Brother and so does your team! Love Ya and keep up the good fight!

    Blessings,
    Pastor Steve
    Waco, TX

  2. Steve, Alright! you are being insulted for the sake of Christ! Yeah! Good for you buddy. Wow, that means that people in Hermosa know of you and your cause. That’s awesome. You are guilty as charged my brother. But not because of worldly behavior but of one making path to the message of law and its fulfillment. GOD and his righteousness. You are good embassador. I don’t think a little message like that would discourage you at all. In fact it solidifies your statements that most objections come from people calling themselves christians. get use to getting friendly fire from time to time.

    Regards,
    Walter aka YBIC

  3. This is from “Righteous Richard” Chavarria:

    Thanks Steve for the chronological retelling of the
    events at the Fiesta
    Hermosa. It is so easy for me to forget that I once
    was in need of a
    savior. I have to confess that I too tried to let my
    little light shine
    for Jesus. And each week, for more than 15 years
    Pastor Zac would
    encourage me saying “tell somebody about Jesus”
    and each week (for the
    most part) I’d say to myself that I would and make
    plans for doing so and
    then not. It wasn’t until I heard “Hell’s Best
    Kept Secret” and then
    while taking your seed sowing class that I realized
    how the devil had me
    tied up into serving a God of my own understanding. I
    thought I had my
    ticket punched and was headed to heaven. It was then
    that I came to
    realize that I needed to check myself to see if I was
    of the faith. Was I
    a true convert? I realized that I was in complete
    disobedience to my Lord
    and Savior. So, what keeps me going out with the team?
    It’s knowing that
    Jesus’drive toward the cross was to save me from
    everlasting hell!! And
    for this reason I make it a point to go out with the
    team as often as
    possible. Praise God for his grace and mercy. God
    Bless you Brother.

  4. Steve, you are an encouragement to me. I thank God for you.

  5. I, too have attended Hope Chapel with my family — and am INCREDIBLY embarrassed by how Hope conducted itself at this year’s 2007 Fiesta Hermosa. Standing on a hill SHOUTING at visitors who have no other place to go while they’re waiting for a bus, SCREECHING that they are going to hell if they don’t accept Jesus as their personal savior, doing nothing but SCREECHING some more as children are crying because other people are shouting back and forth at the preacher, is simply sad. I really, really hoped that Hope Chapel would conduct itself in a more professional, God-worthy way. I am so disappointed in what is otherwise a really lovely church and I simply cannot understand why anyone would pointedly drive potential members away like this. If you have some deluded ideal that people get on those buses after you screech at them and their hearts are suddenly called to attend Hope Chapel, you should know that every person within my earshot who got on the bus talked openly about how embarrassing, unprofessional and downright creepy the man’s “actions” were (and I say “actions” and not “spreading of the gospel,” because spreading of the gospel does not involve screeching at people and children until they question the mental stability of the person screeching). You can calm yourselves into thinking that I’m just some disgruntled heathen Who Just Doesn’t Understand You, but please remember that up until today I have always been very happy with every person I’ve met at Hope since moving here 4 years ago… And that there were at least two other families from Hope on the bus with me who mentioned out loud how embarrassed they were by what they saw. I hope that by posting here you seriously reconsider the damage you are causing to Hope Chapel and find some other Godly way to conduct yourself in a manner that helps instead of harms its mission. Because making a spectacle of yourself in order to provoke people into interacting with you is the utter definition of selfishness and egotism.

  6. Why are you embarrassed? What these men are doing is no different than what Jesus did, or Moses, or Noah. Those three men all stood on hills, walls, or whatever else they had and they “SCREECHED” at their congregations about what God had told them to preach about. In Mark, God tells us to go into the world and spread the gospel to all creatures. The good evangelists of Hope Chapel didn’t care if people came to their church because they wanted people to come to Christ. In Galatians 1:10 Paul talks about how if he wanted to please men he would not be a servant of Christ. The people might have talked about him, but I know that at least one of them seriously considered his words, and there is rejoicing in Heaven when even one sinner is saved. Hope Chapel doesn’t matter, my church doesn’t matter, and neither does yours. Christ matters. All Christians are His church. Sure, churches are great and wonderful, but they are not necessary to Christianity. What God is doing through these men brings more sinners to Christ than any number of sermons in the church. And they are not making a spectacle of themselves so that people interact with them, but so that they interact with God. This is true Biblical witnessing and it is the truth, no matter how inconvinient and embarrassing.

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