I have received a few emails from people who were upset at the evangelists who preached at the bus stops on Labor Day weekend at the Fiesta Hermosa. But time is of the essence in our minds… Every person who died on 9/11/01 thought they too had another day to live.
The following article was sent to me by Anna (Banana) Jackson about an incident that happened just a few days ago in her life reminding us that tomorrow is promised to no man:
Last evening, while participating in Saturday evening worship, I got a call from a friend. I silenced it and went on listening to the sermon. Then the call came through again. Again I silenced it. Finally I received a text message asking me to call her. At this point I knew something must be wrong so I went out the back of the sanctuary and called her back. She answered the phone crying. The elderly lady who lived across the street from her had just been hit by a car. She was rushed to the hospital by ambulance with many broken bones and internal injuries… she remained conscious for some time, but died later that evening.
Now for the most important question… did she know the Lord? Her next door neighbor shared the gospel with her on multiple occasions. But as far as I understand, she seemed somewhat hardened against it.
However, she did remain conscious and communicative for some time after the accident. This gives us hope that, even if she did not know the Lord, because of the nearness of death, the words of the gospel she’d been told would echo over and over again in her mind. We have hope that she cried out to Christ for mercy and was saved. We don’t have assurance, but we do have hope.
When I was mulling this over it occurred to me that people die like this every day. And with the numbers of people who attended Fiesta Hermosa, it is only logical to assume that at least one or two are now also dead. Perhaps one of them had to stand in line waiting for the bus.
Perhaps he or she was annoyed, or even angry, about having to listen to people pleading with them to repent and put their faith in Christ.
Perhaps he or she was offended by the notion that God would send them to Hell for lying, stealing, or looking with lust.
But in the last hours, or moments of life, thoughts would race: Oh God help me! This is it, I’m going to die! That crazy, “screeching,” street preacher at the festival said that I would go to hell for my sins if I didn’t repent and put my faith in Christ! Oh dear God, I repent! I repent! Please forgive my sins! I put my trust in Jesus Christ! Have mercy on me! Save me from hell!
This is why we do open air preaching.
(“Banana” designs the “The Way of the Master” newsletter.)
“No sort of defense is needed for preaching out-of-doors; but it would need very potent arguments to prove that a man had done his duty who has never preached beyond the walls of his meetinghouse.”