Fried Food, Farm Animals and the Gospel

The evenings I spent at the Colorado state fair last year were one of the best times I’ve ever had. There is one place where benches surrounded a fountain, and people just sat around, taking a break from the festivities. I’d have a conversation with someone, walk a few feet, and have another conversation with someone. It seemed like everyone was grateful that I or my friends talked to them.
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The people I went with last year were too busy to go the first night I went. Last Tuesday, I went alone, and talked to about 20 people. In two conversations, people brought up objections, but almost all of the others thanked me for talking to them, and said they would think about our discussion.

One young man, who was a Wiccan, disliked Christianity because he thought it didn’t provide an adequate explanation for the suffering in the world. I tried to explain to him that all sin, including his, causes misery. He didn’t like my explanation, but later in the conversation admitted to stealing a $2,000 bike. It seemed like a perfect example of how his sin made someone else miserable. It’s easy to see everyone else’s sin and yet dismiss our own sins as no big deal.

My wife and I went back on Thursday evening. I was hoping for and expecting similarly good results. We had a couple of good conversations, but the atmosphere was completely different. Many people didn’t seem to be humbled by the law; they wouldn’t admit that they deserved hell. If they did admit it, they didn’t seem to care.

It’s hard to tell why one day everyone is so humble, and another, a seemingly similar crowd was not humble. When that happens, I’m always tempted to say that one day was much more successful than the other, but I don’t think that’s true. The main purpose of evangelism is not to get people saved, but to glorify God. Hopefully He was glorified through our obedience both nights. We are left to pray for everyone who heard the gospel, and leave the results up to Him.

The state fair is a great place to share the gospel.

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12 Responses to Fried Food, Farm Animals and the Gospel

  1. Cherryn says:

    I can honestly say that I would be one of those people that would not listen, when I go to the fair it is a place where I go to chill, and leave the world behind for a while, you know, just escape everything and have a little mindless fun… So if some guy approached me and wanted to talk religion, I dont know that I would be very open to the old deep and meaningful…

    I think it is wonderful that you are obedient to your faith and to your God for that matter… really I commend you, it takes courage to talk to strangers and open up your heart to them… especially when the chance of having it thrown in your face is so high…

    Just a different perspective is all I am giving you here… that is all. I dont think that one day can be compared to another, there are so many variables into why someone will listen and why they wont. But hey, anything that might help someone understand that being a truly good person is what it is all about… well I am all for that.

  2. billphillips says:

    Cherryn,

    Thanks for your comment. I understand everyone doesn’t want to get into a deep topic when they’re in a lighthearted place. Is there any time when you would be open to discussing these topics with me? I realize that I’m just some strange guy walking up to you, I could be pushing almost anything. Some people are open to talking to strangers and some aren’t.

    Concerning the “good person” thing, what standard do you use to judge whether you’re good or not? Check out http://www.tenthousanddollaroffer.com and let me know what you think.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  3. Cherryn says:

    Bill,

    My standard for myself is simply this, am I trying to be better today that I was yesterday, a week ago, a year ago? I dont pretend that I am perfect nor do I claim to be. BUT I do try to be nice to everyone that I meet, I try to let go of any grievance against me, I try to be extemely honest in ALL my dealing etc…

    That link was very interesting… good one… However I feel that there is alot of doom and gloom afterward. I just dont feel like God is that way, I dont feel like he is this omonous being to fear, I feel that he loves us as a parent loves us.

    Like my own children, only intensified as he is our creator. I love my children regardless of what is going on or what they do. If they are trying and trying their best then that makes me happy, and that is what I require of them. If they make some wrong choices along the way, I am not about to banish them to the basement to burn, I am going to guide them, and help them to make better choices.

    And, I am always open to talk about whatever, and if a subject is interesting to me I can talk on it for a very long time.

  4. billphillips says:

    Cherryn,

    If someone tortures and kills a child, we are sickened and angry, and we should be. We want that guy to be punished. We feel those feelings, and we know that God does, too. We are made in His image.

    The Bible says that God is infinitely just and holy, and He’s not just going to punish murderers, but also thieves, liars, blasphemers, etc. We can dismiss our own lies as no big deal, but the Bible says that our sins are against God. When we tell a little lie, we’re breaking the law of God. Just like any lawbreaker we have to be punished. The Bible says all liars will have their part in the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8).

    We don’t have to like God’s law, or the consequences, but we have God’s word that that is what the deal is. Criminals don’t like the law or the judicial system. That is what we are; we’ve all broken God’s law. I deserve to be first in line for hell, because I’ve broken the Ten Commandments so many times, so I’m not comdemning anyone or judging anyone. I’m just warning people of what the Bible says.

    Even though God is so angry at sin, he provided a way for us to go to heaven. He gave his very life so that justice could be served, and we could be set free from what we truly deserve.

    I agree it’s a very harsh message, and a bitter pill to swallow. But it makes the good news of what Jesus did all the more sweet. He endured all of God’s wrath on my behalf. Jesus’ offer to take your punishment is a free gift. All you have to do is accept it by repentance and faith in Him. You can’t earn it by getting baptized going to church, or being a good person. All you can do is accept it.

    What do you think about this stuff? Do you believe the Bible is God’s word?

    Thanks,
    Bill

  5. Cherryn says:

    Wow… that is just so heavy, I want to simply close my mind to it becasue it does not sound happy at all, that message does not sound sweet at all… Also your explaination of …

    “…what Jesus did all the more sweet. He endured all of God’s wrath on my behalf”

    Dont you believe that this is the same person? SO God is executing punishment to himself? I am confused on this one. Okay maybe not punishment… wrong word… so God is enduring all his own wrath…? Still confused.

    In answer to your question, I believe that the bible is what we have been given, and that good men wrote it, (perhaps) but I question and doubt, mainy becasue we have no idea how much is missing, and how much has been edited out or changed… Based on the information we have of the Counsel of Nicea, we really have no comprehension of what has been tampered with. The essense of the Bible is a good message I dont question that, however there a lot of issues that are sketchy at best, and have caused so much contention!

    Basically I go by this… If someone is trying their best to live a good life, then I just dont care to what faith they belong. I just dont think that God/Jesus is going to throw people into a lake of fire.

    Yes, that nasty sick person that molests the innocent child, we want revenge, the man who kidnaps and tortures our sister etc we want the just punishment… however revenge is a human emotion, any faith that promotes taking others lives or freedoms has got issues! Any faith that tells people that they will burn in hell for telling a little white lie, has issues.
    The use of fear to promote faith is messed up.

    So what I think of “this stuff” I dont think it is a bitter pill… maybe for some it is, becasue they choose to take that pill… my faith in God is not ruled by Fear, or fear of him throwing me into a lake of fire for not being perfect. I believes he looks at the good in me, and focuses on the good things I do and try to do, he looks at the way I treat others and will judge me based on that, my actions my intentions and my willingness to live as best I can.

  6. billphillips says:

    Cherryn,

    In John 15:13, Jesus says, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” Jesus is God, and God laid down His life for us, showing the greatest possible love. What do you think the purpose of Jesus dying on the cross was? It was Jesus being punished on behalf of wicked sinners like me. The brutality of the cross shows how angry God is at sin, right?

    Isaiah 53, written 700 years before Jesus was born, gives a lot of insight into what happened. Verses 5 and 6 are particularly on point. It is also amazing evidence that the Bible is supernatural. That whole chapter (and other parts of the Old Testament) has amazingly detailed prophecies of Jesus. You can look at more evidence for the Bible at:
    billphillips.wordpress.com/is-the-bible-trustworthy/
    http://www.carm.org

    God is a perfect judge. If a guilty criminal asks the judge for forgiveness, or says that he’s learned a lot since committing that crime, and he’s really a good person, or any other excuse, it doesn’t matter. No excuse will work. The crime has been committed, and the criminal must be punished. The judge has to uphold the law. Heaven is a perfect place, and God can’t let sin into heaven. He has to punish every sin ever committed.

    What you’re doing when you say that God only cares about your good intentions is really making up a god to suit yourself. That’s called idolatry, and it’s breaking the 2nd commandment. You have no basis for these beliefs; you’re just making a god as you go. What happens if your god doesn’t exist?

    I know I’m speaking bluntly, but if hell is real, and if the Bible is true, I have to warn you, because I care about where you spend eternity. I don’t care where you go to church. I only care about seeing you in heaven. Please don’t close your mind to it. I’m truly only trying to tell you what the Bible says. You don’t have to believe me. I would encourage you to read the Bible for yourself.

    Jesus said, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).

  7. Cherryn says:

    Bill,

    I have read the bible, and I do not believe for one second that I am making up my own God as I go along. I just dont believe what you believe, I appreciate your concern and your candor, however, I am not going to go rounds with you on this one, I am happy to give you my opinions, and for you to give me yours, but I dont really see where this is going.

    Not for one minute do I think that out right sin will go unseen… I just feel differently about it all than you do, and I think that it is okay.

    Honestly, I dont see any benefit in focusing in on all the negetive aspects in the world, in religion where ever… So thanks for the conversation… but I am done with this one now.

  8. billphillips says:

    Cherryn,

    Thanks for the conversation.

    Bill

    P.S. “He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power” (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9).

  9. Cherryn says:

    Thanks for the happy words Bill :)

  10. Cherryn says:

    Yes that was sarcasm!

  11. billphillips says:

    It really doesn’t matter what I believe, or what you believe. It only matters what the truth is, right?

    If you reject the Bible, it shouldn’t bother you. I quote such a verse in hopes that it will wake you up, and maybe even scare you enough to find the truth.

    Here’s another one. In John 3:3, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”

    Bill

  12. Pilgrim says:

    I too got to share the gospel at the Nevada state fair. I spoke with a Catholic Nun. Here’s my post: http://reformationnation.wordpress.com/2007/08/23/conversation-with-a-nun-in-the-unlikeliest-of-places/

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