I put out the challenge to one of our evangelists: “Go preach to the people waiting in line for the shuttle bus that takes everyone to the Fiesta Hermosa. There will probably be quite a crowd there.”
To advance the kingdom of God “forcefully” means that Christians need to be people of action. If we wait for unbelievers to flock into our churches, we will be waiting a long time. If we wait for that yearly evangelistic play to draw them in, then we have put our light under a bushel basket for 51 weeks (and no one likes plays anymore anyway). If we think that evangelism is the Pastor’s job, or the evangelist’s job, then we are disobedient.
No retreat. Forcefully advance.
Without hesitation, “Righteous Richard” Chaverria heard, understood and accepted his orders, marched off with his milkcrate and set up about 20 feet away from the line of 50 festival attenders.
My two daughters and I were heading back to the fair to do a little shopping and we stood patiently at the back of the line, undetected.
The crowd was attentive as Richard launched into an impromptu sermon about God’s standard of righteousness being the 10 Commandments. He explained that if anyone had broken just one Commandment—if they had ever lied just once, ever stolen one thing, ever misused God’s name one time—then God would see them as lying, thieving, blasphemers…
…and on Judgment Day, if found guilty, they would end up in Hell.
Some pretended to ignore him, while others watched him out of the corner of their eyes. What else could they do? They were a captive audience. I asked one lady what she thought of “that guy.”
“I think he’s great!” she said. “It’s God’s word!”
Richard preached on and on…
…totally oblivious to the advancing shuttle bus rounding the bend, threatening to cut his sermon short.
The crowd stirred a little, not because of the preaching, but because everyone wanted to get on the bus as quickly as possible so they wouldn’t have to endure another shuttle bus sermon. I spun my finger in a “hurry up” motion to Richard, concerned that he would not be able to get to the good news of Jesus’ forgiveness before the bus cut him off—then it was too late! It pulled in and his “congregation” was instantly hidden from the preacher behind the great yellow bulk of the shuttle.
The fair-goers erupted into spontaneous applause.
The crazy guy on the box was effectively shut down.
No problem. Another bus was unloading its human cargo right behind that one. “Richard!” I yelled, blowing my cover. “Go to the other shuttle and hand out tracts to everyone getting off.” Immediately, he picked up his milkcrate, and went over to the other side, stood next to the open doors, and dutifully handed out his Gospel tracts to all the surprised off-loading passengers.
The bus then lurched forward to pick up another load of passengers.
My girls and I entered with the new line of people as they piled into the just-arrived bus; then I took advantage of the situation… by handing out my Gospel tracts!
Hey! I didn’t want that crazy on the crate to have all the fun!
(Click here to read Part 3 about The Church of the Holy Guacamole, a 7 Deadly Sins tattoo, and… the Wrist of Faith!)