September 12, 2008

A Ceramic Jesus or The Living Word?

Yesterday I arrived in the small town to find that some of the main streets were closed. Hundreds of people were carrying and following a 4-foot ceramic statue called "Good Jesus of Green Cane." It was the 7th day of a 10 day festival where this statue is carried through the city to the cathedral and a mass is held each day. Afterwards, in a tent on the side of the cathedral, there is a drunken festival.

I walked the street and had a look at the worshipers and then began to climb the hill. I saw a young man seated alone on a corner. He is a homosexual and friend of another homosexual I had witnessed to last year. I sat for a moment and we began to talk. The Lord impressed me to tell the story of the rich ruler that asked Jesus about eternal life. He then began to talk about his upbringing being raised to worship at the cathedral, but thought that there was too much falseness in religion. He said that he'd been thinking of becoming a believer and wanted to, but hasn't done it yet.

He began to talk about the Pentecostals in the town (a small closed group) and said that they weren't all as good as the look. As we talked I told him the story of the Pharisee and the tax-collector, the story of the wise and foolish builder, the parable of the sower, and the story of Zacchaeus. We began to talk about the way God's message can change a person who repents. I asked him what he is lacking (alluding to the words of Jesus to the rich man). He began to think about it. I told him that the rich man honored Jesus as a good teacher and lived according to many of God's commandments, but held part of his life back from God. Jesus told him to give away everything he had and let his treasure be in heaven.

A friend of his came up to us while we were talking and she heard part of our conversation. She said: "I want to know about the evangelical church in the city, but my mother scolded me for it." I began to share more of the gospel with the two of them and told the man: "If you deliver up to God all your sin, even the ones you treasure most, he will save you and your family and your friends. God will use you to begin the church that you want so badly to be a part of. You have to be like the wise builder."

We agreed to talk again next week. At this point it was 9:15 PM and I had not gotten beyond the base of the hill.

more later....

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