This is from college student Andy Ross:
I had just walked down to the end of the pier with my sister Amy, Howard, and Ryan. After we had talked to everyone out there, we walked back. When we got to the base of the pier there was a group of 3 (slightly grubby-looking) people sitting on the wall. I walked up to them with Ryan and Howard and handed them the million-dollar bill Gospel tracts. As I talked with them, I began to get the impression that they were high on something.
The first guy and the girl took them and said thank you, but when I handed a bill to the second guy, he took it, looked at it, and asked, “Is this from Hope Chapel?”
I said, “Yes, Hope Chapel was our home church.” His face darkened, and he asked, “With Pastor Zac?”
As I started to respond, I noticed his fingers taking up tearing positions on the bill. But what else could I do? I said “Yes, Pastor Zac was our Senior Pastor.” He proceeded to tear the bill in half, staring me straight in the eye; he threw the bill halves in the planter behind him.
He seemed upset, but I didn’t sense anything especially dangerous about him, so I didn’t feel like we needed to run. But it caught me off guard, and I wasn’t sure what to say. So I said, “Oh, you don’t like Pastor Zac, huh?”
“No, I don’t like him.”
“Well, why not?”
“Just look at all that crap he owns up there!”
That surprised me. “What do you mean?” I asked.
“He owns McDonalds, he owns the copy place…”
I jumped in and said, “Actually, he doesn’t own the McDonalds.”
“Yes he does,” he replied. “He owns McDonalds, he owns the copy place…”
“No, he doesn’t. He doesn’t own anything on that side of the street.”
The guy said that he didn’t like Zac or Hope Chapel because they taught that Jesus, God, and the Ghost were the same person. He also said that he was Jewish, but that whatever we believed was alright. I don’t think any of the three of us were satisfied with that.
Howard asked if he was familiar with the prophecies regarding the Messiah. The guy said yes, and Howard explained that we believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the person who fulfilled those prophecies. Then the guy argued that Jesus never claimed to be the Messiah. Before any of us could comment on that, he clarified that he himself didn’t believe that the Messiah was coming, and that whatever we believe is alright as long as we live good lives.
I was ready to address his falacies on many points, but then he sat down like he considered the conversation over. I wasn’t about to let him get away that easily, but at about the same time, a third guy rode up on his bike and said loudly, “Where’s my money!?” He dismounted, took off his backpack, and the 3 people on the wall started to gather around him. I realized that we may have been interrupting something that would be better off left uninterrupted. I looked towards Ryan and Howard in an attempt to communicate that I thought it would be best if we backed out gracefully. I didn’t ask if they got my signal or if they just reached the same conclusion on their own, but we walked away and thanked him for his time. He didn’t pay much attention.