This past Saturday I set my sights on Downtown Durham again. My mother (Marcia Rowland) and my son (Dillon Padgett) joined me in the walk.
When we immediately began the walk, a couple ran up to us and asked us for a picture. They were Christians and told us about how God had touched their lives. Isn't it great that He started our journey out with encouragement?
After that we were on our way to the mission field. As we continued down Mangum Street, an SUV pulled up beside us. It was a guy that I had met the prior Friday during my first crosswalk in Downtown Durham. I had asked him last week if he would be willing to walk with me sometimes and take pictures, and he said yes, but I wasn't sure if he was serious or not.
Well he obviously was serious!! And he was there to take pictures.
We approached Main Street and I saw people outside eating. As I passed by one place, a lady asked if she could take a picture of me. Eager to start preaching I told her "yes". As her camera snapped the photo I said "Now I get to preach." She said "No I really don't want you to." And I replied that I let her get the picture, so she should allow me to preach in return. She explained that she was an atheist and didn't believe Jesus existed. I had talked with a professing atheist last week too. I asked her what she thought happens when you die, and she just said that we die and that's it. I asked her if she ever wondered if there was more to life than just this. She said that it didn't bother her. I noticed that she had cigarettes and wine on the table and I said "If this is all the life you will have, I see that you are speeding up the process of ending it with those." With that they just laughed. I began to tell her what Jesus could do for her and she insisted again on not having this conversation. She started to become agitated, and the more I talked, the more angry she became. She didn't want to let go of her lifestyle and her views and I was just cramping it. When I saw that she wasn't responding at all to the Word, I gathered up my cross and continued with the walk.
We walked down a little further and a man standing outside of a shop said "Hey Jesus....Hey.....Jesus didn't have wheels on his cross." The Holy Spirit immediately put a word on my lips, which I will be using in the future, since many people like to criticize with this point. I said "You know, so many people focus on the insignificant things so that they don't have to focus on the cross." And he replied with "You're right."
As we began to talk to him, a small crowd gathered. A lady came up behind me and started telling me about how she had been raped and all the things her and her sister had been through in life. She poured her heart out to me and I just listened and took it all in. She was attached to me like glue and would not part from me. My son, Dillon, was witnessing to the guy we first talked to, and my mom said Dillon had a glow on his face as he told the man about Jesus!
We talked to another lady standing in the crowd and I asked her how her relationship with Jesus was. She said it was good, as do most people. I asked her if she was living right and she stated "halfway." So I asked her, "Look, if you were applying for a job and you called and asked them if you had the job and they told you 'halfway', would you be secure with that answer?" She said "no" and I said "We can't live halfway for Jesus either. He wants our whole heart." So I asked her if she was living in sin and she replied that she was....she was living with a man that she wasn't married to. I asked her if they were having sex and she admitted that they were. Then I asked her if she thought she would go to heaven if she died right now and she replied that she thought she would because she was nice to people and tried to do good. I told her what the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 - "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? DO NOT BE DECEIVED! Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God."
I said "According to what you have told me, you are living in fornication. Do you still think you would go to heaven now that you know what the Scripture says about it?" She replied "Probably not, I guess." I told her that I didn't want her to be deceived. Then I told her the Good News. "Now that you understand what sin can do, let me tell you what Jesus can do. When you believe on Jesus, you are accepting his sacrifice for sin. In other words, He took the penalty of sin for you. Jesus died so that you could be forgiven and free, and all you have to is repent of your sins, allow Jesus to be the Lord of your life, and He will help you overcome that sin that leads to death. Apart from God we can do nothing. We need His transforming power to change us so we no longer have the desire to practice sin." She told me that it was her plan to do things right and get married and she thanked us for talking with her.
By her standards, this lady thought she was good. But we can't live by our own standards! We have to live by the standards God tells us in His Word! There are so many people deceived in this way. I see it over and over again. It is important that we tell them the truth and not toy with them on this matter. It could mean the difference between life and death!
At this point, my mother and son went to get something to drink, so I went a little further down Main Street. As I was walking a teenage girl came up behind me and asked for a picture. She had two other young ladies with her. Then I saw two young men get out of their car and come over to where we were. I let them take a picture and afterwards I got to share the gospel with them. The two young men, Derrik and Patrick, were really under conviction. I noticed that one of them had a lot of scars on him....like scars from a knife. I asked him about the scars and also asked him if he was waiting for death to submit his life to God. He replied "You're right. I've been running and I need to get things right." I told him that God wanted to use him in a mighty way and that it was not a hard thing to give his life to God. I gave him Romans 10:8-10 - "For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says 'Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.' For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For 'whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.'" Then we prayed together and both young men gave me their phone numbers. I told them that if they were serious, I would contact them and help them go all the way with God.
After that I headed down the other side of Main Street and continued to talk to people about the Gospel.
We decided to also venture to Roxboro Road and the traffic was pretty heavy. There were lots of people out and about. I walked for a while and didn't talk to anyone. But I finally came upon a church where a small group of people had stopped and waited for me to come by. When I approached, they asked for a picture, and you know the drill by now....they get a picture if I get to preach. They agreed and I did what I love to do....share the gospel of Jesus Christ and what He's done for me! I continued down Roxboro Road towards a shopping center and my mom followed behind me in the Jeep. People were turning around to look and coming out of their shops to catch a glimpse and get a picture. A police officer came over to where we were and walked up to me. I was a bit worried at first that he might be trying to stop what we were doing, but it turned out that he just wanted a picture like everyone else.
I told my mom that I would meet her at the Roses, so she drove ahead and I set out walking again with the cross. As I got near the shopping center, I approached a little grassy area. All of a sudden there was a crowd of twenty or more people gathered around me on the grassy area. They all stood there and listened as I preached the life-saving gospel of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
Hallelujah! God's presence was mighty for sure!
By this time we were getting a little hungry and thirsty and we decided to go into KFC for dinner. I propped my cross up against the building and went inside and grabbed a seat. As I sat there people began to stare. I mean....it's not everyday that you see Jesus at KFC, right? (Disclaimer folks....I know that I am NOT the real Jesus.) As I began to eat a family of four came up to me. They were excited and said "We saw you walking down the road and we followed you here. We just wanted to know what you were doing." So I told them to go and get their food and come sit down and we'd talk. They explained that they actually weren't coming to eat, but just to talk to me. So I told them about how God had given me a vision in my mind....about how it would look if Jesus were to carry a cross through our cities. I told them that God wanted people to become aware that Jesus is coming again soon, and that this would be a sign to many to prepare themselves for His return. He told me it would shock people and even convict people of their sins.
As we ended the day, I loaded the cross onto the Jeep and a man came over from the bus stop. He told me that he wanted to pray for me. I could tell that he had some mental problems, but he prayed The Lords Prayer over me and it was a beautiful sound in my ears, as I'm sure it was to God.
I would like to encourage all believers who may be reading this blog post. If you've ever desired to be a witness for the Lord, but have been afraid to step out because of fear or lack of self-assurance, don't be! Let me tell you from my own experience, and my family can confirm, I am shy in crowds and I don't like speaking up in front of people. I get very nervous when I do anything like that. But you have to kick down those barriers by faith, and step out in obedience. Then, and only then, will God reward you. He will give you SUPERNATURAL BOLDNESS to perform His will. You will begin to be so bold you won't even recognize yourself.
Galatians 2:20 - I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
God Bless All Of His Saints!
Stay tuned for more!