Well, after a morning of catching up on administrative duties, I hit the streets in the afternoon (on Monday). And what did the bulk of my afternoon look like? Well, what follows is a brief overview, followed by a snippet from a conversation I had with a young teen about science. The purpose of this post is to give you a better feel for the nature and dynamics of this summer ministry:
1) went to Elmhurst and Islington bus stops (praying on the way for grace; was reminded that my primary aim is to please Jesus)
2) tried talking to a friendly lady from China – she said that she does not speak English (this happens often . . . I really need to have more tracts in other languages)
3) walked toward the plaza on the corner of Islington and Rexdale Blvd.
4) stopped at a bus stop to try to talk to man who looked really hard; I was reminded not to judge by outward appearance; I tried giving him a coin and talking to him, but he would not talk with me and even turned his back to me . . . indeed, he was hard
5) kept going toward the plaza and a boy happened to join walking on the sidewalk really close to me; just as he was about to hang back (or go ahead) I gave him a coin with the 10 commandments; he was going into grade 9; we talked for a while as we both walked toward the plaza (I will elaborate on this below)
6) went to the coffee shop to work on my lesson for the Grace Kids Remix service Wednesday night; part of the reason I go there is because I want the regulars (and there are MANY regulars) to get more and more familiar with me so that sooner or later they will feel more comfortable with me and I will hopefully be able to build friendships and have more open doors for the Gospel
7) Steve F. called and wanted to hit some bus stops; thus, I went back to meet him at Islington and Elmhurst; co-labouring in the Gospel gets top priority on my to-do list
8) arrived at the bus stops and met a Christian girl who is a friend of Chloe M. (from GFC)
9) had a great talk for a while with a man from Ghana (in West Africa); we had his NT open (which I had given to him) and we read Ephesians 2:8-9 (for he said that God would accept him based on God’s forgiveness AND the good things he does); he folded the page in half in his Bible (I think he was surprised and wanted to revisit this passage); it seemed as though he hopes we meet again – he has my contact info
10) hooked up Steve F.; he arrived and shared the Gospel with a Muslim man while I was talking with the man from Ghana
11) Steve and I talked to a high school student who goes to a United Church; upon giving him the coin with the 10 commandments on it, he assured us that he has been baptized and confirmed; we talked to him for a bit but the bus came – he also has the Gospel tract which is included in the NT we hand out
12) Steve saw a guy who he knows from local pick-up basketball – I prayed for Steve while he talked to him; just as Steve was getting into the Gospel the bus came
13) saw a man who I had preached to last summer, who actually came out to visit our church once; we talked to him for a bit, giving him a copy of the NT and inviting back to church; interestingly he said, “no, I do not have much money right now.” We insisted that we are not looking for money, and that coming out to church is for FREE . . . he was thankful for the NT . . . it was nice to see him again
14) we walked back toward the church
15) we met a Hungarian lady on the way back who I had ministered to two summers ago; in fact, she also visited our church (at least a few times) two summers ago; I had preached the Gospel to her much two summers ago and even a bit last summer (I think), but she has sadly been infected by the teachings of the word-faith movement and the health and wealth gospel; this time, I simply gave her a copy of the Gospel presentation which I had typed up as an insert in the NT’s I hand out, and I encouraged her to read it to see what she thinks
16) we continued on back to the church
Well, that is it – a typical afternoon of evangelism ministry in Rexdale (though no evangelistic outing is ever the exact same). I am hoping and praying that, by the grace of God, the ministry at the coffee shop will look much different a few months down the road.
Talking about Science with a Grade Nine Student
He just happened to be walking right toward me. When he came onto the side walk I could tell that he was about to go ahead of me or lag behind. So, right away I handed him one of my coins with the 10 commandments on it. He received it and we both kept walking together. I asked, “do you have a religious background?” He said, “Buddhist and Christian.” I responded, “have you ever read the Bible?” He said, “no.” Thus, I reached into my bag and gave him a free NT. I explained to him how the Bible is made up of 66 books and that the NT is the last 27 books, which we have since the coming of Jesus. He did not seem to have a clue about the Scriptures, nor the 10 commandments, but he had heard of Jesus. I asked him of his age and learned that he is going into grade nine at a local high school. I talked to him about this for a bit and learned that he is nervous about going into grade nine.
I did not know how long he would be walking with me so I cut to the chase: “If you were to die today, do you believe that God, the God who created the world out of nothing, who is a person – that God – would he accept you or reject you?” He seemed to be very interested in the way I modified God (as the God who created everything out of nothing), and responded saying, “Did you know that most scientists hold to evolution.” I said, “you mean, that all things came from nothing?” He said, “yes.” I said, “well, there are many who believe that, but that are also many who do not. I went on to talk to him about creation scientists and informed him of the many scientists are convinced that there must be a designer based on the evidence of intelligent design.
I pointed out the apartment building beside us and told him, “I know that someone built that; it did not just come to be.” He said, “obviously.” He went on to talk about the components of the bricks in some scientific lingo that I did not understand. I take it that he is really into science. I asked him if he knew about DNA. He did. I went on to explain that the design of DNA and all things in our world point to a designer.
Since I know that he has already been lied to about science and since he will likely keep hearing lies in high school, I thought it was a great opportunity to reason with him about the nature of science. First, I told him that the scientific process requires observation before conclusion. He knew this. This is basic grade 6 science. He agreed. Then I asked him, “how could people observe what happened before anyone was there? No one was there to observe.” He said, “they can’t, or it would take them millions of years to find out.” I said, “No, they can’t find out from science. No one was there to observe it; it is too late now. We are going beyond the limits of science when dealing with the question of how things began.” I told him, “now we are talking about philosophy and religion; we are talking about what to believe. People can offer theories, but this is not science.” I went on to tell him that the Bible says that God created all things, and that the Bible is God’s Word.
I told him not to believe everything he is taught from his teachers in science. I encouraged him, “have a critical mind.” I asked, “Do you have any younger brothers or sisters?” He said, “yes.” I said, “you know more than them, right.” He said, “yes.” Then I asked, “Are you always right? Should they always believe you?” He said with certainty, “no.” I said, “well, this is the way it is with your science teachers, though they have more education than you, they are not always right; you need to be a critical thinker.” I told him that science is great and that I really like science (for I do). I did not want to discourage him from scientific study, I just wanted him to be aware of the limitations of science. Accordingly, I had one more argument for him to consider.
I told him, “Science cannot prove itself. It is a practice with is based on a set of assumptions, such as, there is order in the universe, conclusions can be found, and other assumptions. These are good assumptions, but the assumptions themselves, that is, these ideas cannot be tested empirically.” I asked him, “Do you know what I mean when I say, ‘you cannot empirically test ideas?'” He said, “yes.” I think he followed my argument. I love science. We simply need to be honest about its limitations.
I hope and pray that he reads the NT and the Gospel tract which I gave him; I hope to see him around.