This story was written on July 22, 2009, and is reposted from another blog.
My time at the corner of Avenida Entrana and Lyons Avenue was short, today. It had been a long and less-than-stellar day. I got to the corner with my cross a little later in the day than usual.
I started to hum "Nearer My God To Thee." It was a quiet act of worship that helped to put the day in perspective. It also helped to fill my heart and mind with something other than the sinful, silent grumbling that had plagued my thoughts for the last few hours.
I stood at the corner for just a few minutes when I noticed a young man crossing Avenida Entrana from the homeowners' association parking lot. His track and the look on his face told me that he was coming to talk to me.
"Hi." He said.
"I'm just curious. What group or church do you belong to?"
"I live here in Santa Clarita; but I attend Granada Hills Community Church in the San Fernando Valley."
"It takes a lot of commitment to do what you're doing."
"Thanks." I extended my hand. "What's your name?"
"Nice to meet you, Doug. My name is Tony."
"I'm a Christian, and I was thinking about going back to church." Doug said somewhat hesitantly.
"Do you live in the area?"
"Why did you stop going to church?"
"I went to college and, well, you know."
"Where did you go to school?"
"Really? So, what do you want to do with your education?"
"I want to work in film."
"Nice. Well there are several good churches nearby."
I gave Doug the names and locations of three area churches.
"There are many different definitions for the word 'Christian.' What's yours?" I asked.
"Well, I guess it would be someone who goes to church and follows the rules."
"Okay. I'm going to put you on the spot for a second."
"Okay." Doug said with a short, nervous chuckle.
"What if I had only three minutes to live and I wasn't a Christian. I believe in God, but I'm not sure what's going to happen to me when I die; and I'm scared. What would you say to me?"
"Um, I'm not sure what I would say."
"I appreciate your honesty. So, what do you think a person has to do to go to heaven?"
"Follow the rules and be a good person, I guess." Doug changed the subject for a moment. "Where's your church? I don't mind commuting."
I gave Doug directions to my church.
"Doug, what do you think is going to happen to you when you die?"
"Well, that's the big question. Isn't it? I don't know."
Before I could take Doug through the Law and the Gospel he pointed to his car in the parking lot. "I'm sorry. I've got my fiance in the car. I've got to get going. Do you have a card or something."
I handed Doug one of my Living Waters business cards and a "In Times Of Crisis" gospel tract.
"Please read that, and feel free to call me or e-mail me, anytime. If you have any questions about what I gave you to read, or if you have questions about churches, don't hesitate to give me a call."
"I will. Thanks."
"Thanks for coming by to talk to me."
We shook hands, and Doug walked back to his car.
The cares and worries of the day just seemed to evaporate as I watched Doug walk to his car. I prayed, thanking God for His faithfulness and love. I prayed that Doug would read the tract and that the Lord would use it to draw Doug to genuine repentance and faith.
Once again, the cross proved to be an effective evangelism tool. Doug stopped to talk to me because he saw the cross.
I can't wait to see what the Lord does next on Avenida Entrana.