This afternoon I spent an hour with my cross at yet another new intersection--the corner of Bouquet Canyon Road and Alamogordo Road, in an area of Santa Clarita known as Saugus.
Within minutes after arriving at the corner, I saw three young men on the opposite side of Bouquet Canyon Road and walking toward the intersection. One of the three yelled, "I'm Jewish!"
"What's your point?!" I replied.
That got their attention.
When the light turned green, they started across the street in my direction. Chris was the first to speak.
"I just want to ask you a question. Ready for what?"
"Are you ready for eternity? Are you ready to stand before God and give an account for your life?" I asked.
"What makes you ready?"
"I have Jesus."
"What does that mean?"
"I'm a Christian."
"What does that mean? A lot of people claim to be Christian, but they don't know Jesus. They don't know the Jesus of the Bible."
"I'm a good person."
"Do you consider yourself to be a good person?"
"What's your definition of a good person?"
"I don't know. A good soul."
"Do you read the Bible?"
"No. But I used to go to a Bible study."
"The Bible says that every man will declare his own goodness."
One of Chris's friends interjected and asked, "Do you go to church on Sunday?"
"Yeah, but that doesn't make me a good person. I'm not a good person."
"I feel like you don't have to go to church on Sunday. I haven't been to church in fifteen years. I don't feel like I have to go to church to be a good person."
"In the end, it doesn't matter what we feel or believe. What matters is whether or not what we feel and believe is true. A lot of people have different feelings and beliefs out there. Some people feel and believe it's good to fly planes into buildings for their god. That's doesn't make it right."
I returned my attention to Chris.
"Are you familiar with the Ten Commandments?"
"Okay. That's actually God's moral standard. In fact, the definition of 'good' is moral perfection. I'm not that."
I took Chris through several of the commandments. He admitted being a liar, thief, blasphemer, and adulterer-at-heart.
"Chris, does that sound like the definition of a good person?"
"I guess I'm going to Hell."
Chris's response seemed a bit sarcastic; but there was more to his answer than that, and I could see it in his eyes. He had a look of concern and conviction on his face.
It was at this moment that Chris's two friends became uncomfortable and wanted to leave.
"Come on, man!" One of his friends said. "It's time to go drink some beer!"
"You can get beer in a little bit. You can stick around for a bit and have a reasonable conversation."
Back to Chris.
I shared the courtroom analogy with Chris. It was during the analogy that his friends made one last ditch effort to pull Chris out of the conversation. It didn't work. Chris wanted to stay and talk. Chris' friends made some mocking comments, but a couple minutes later they walked away.
When I finished the courtroom analogy, ending with a stranger coming into the courtroom to pay Chris's fine, I asked Chris, "Would that be good news?"
"What would you think of the person that did that for you?"
"I would love him."
"Okay. Let's see--because that's exactly what God did."
I then proclaimed the gospel to Chris. Throughout the presentation of the gospel, Christ nodded in the affirmative.
"Chris, it seems you are agreeing with me, because you've heard this before. But yet you think you're going to Heaven because you believe you're a good person. The Word of God says that there is no one who is good. All of our good deeds are nothing but filthy rags before a holy God.
"God's standard is perfection, and we can't live up to that. That's why Jesus came to Earth. We need a savior. The Bible says that the demons believe and tremble. Satan and his demons know exactly who Jesus Christ is and what He came to do. Their knowledge is far superior to our own. But they're not going to Heaven simply because they know the truth about Jesus.
"What God commands of us is that we repent--that we turn from our sin, turn to God and put our faith in Christ alone to save us. Not in our own goodness; not in a church; not in anything else but Jesus Christ. And it's on the basis of what He did on the cross, and not on the basis of anything we have done, that we can be saved.
"So you need to consider where you really stand with God."
Chris's eyes were watery, as if he was fighting back tears.
"Now, you're standing here and your friends walked away for a reason. There's something going on inside you. I can't read your mind and I don't know your heart; but you're staying here for a reason. They walked away for a reason.
"As soon as you walk down that street, they're going to try to talk you out of everything you just heard. But there's nothing more important than your soul, Chris. When you die and stand before God, there are no second chances. There are no do-overs. That's why God has given you the opportunity to hear the gospel today--giving you the opportunity to repent and put your trust in Christ."
Chris and I talked for another minute or two. We shook hands and thanked each other for the conversation.
I watched Chris walked down the sidewalk, in the same direction his friends went several minutes earlier. I knew what the conversation would be like when Chris reached his friends. I prayed, asking the Lord to allow the seeds I tossed to land on good soil. I asked the Lord to save Chris.
Please join me in that prayer.
Two mocked and walked, but one stayed. One stayed. And I thank God for that.