Here I was, a young Christian from Boston, in Congleton, England, on a missions trip for God!
I stood in the middle of Main Street surrounded by six skin-headed punk rockers wearing big, black army boots. I was a nervous wreck. I didn’t even know what to say. I knew that these kids needed Jesus. If only I could introduce them to Him in a real way, I knew that they would respond just as I had six years earlier.
Suddenly, a thought came to me: Ask them a question. Ask them what they think of America. A stupid question I’ll admit, but it was all I had. They came back with the answers I expected. They told me – in no uncertain terms – that they hated America. Although they did say that Madonna was the greatest.
They went on to say that they hated their own country. They were all unemployed and on the dole. They had just enough money to survive on and maybe buy drugs on the weekends. These kids told me that they hated life. And I believed them.
The ice was broken; we were talking. This went on for a while until we started to run out of things to say. All that I knew was that I loved these kids and had to tell them about my Jesus. If I left them now, I would never see them again.
At that point, the nervousness came back. How in the world could I ever turn this conversation around to Jesus? How could I share Jesus in a way that they could understand? How could I ever get into the hearts of these radical kids who had totally given up on life?
Wait a minute! Jesus was a radical! He did and said some things people in His day thought crazy. Maybe His life could break through to these kids.
I said: “You know … I know a man who changed His town. I mean, He really shook it up! This guy was radical! Thousands of people followed Him around and listened to the things He said.
“He hated religion because it was leading people in the wrong direction. He would walk right up to religious leaders and call them snakes and vipers. He told them how good they looked on the outside, but on the inside they were full of dead man’s bones! On the inside they were hypocrites.”
I could see that they were interested, so I went on …
“This man had power! He raised people from the dead. He even went into a Church carrying a whip in His hand because there were people selling junk in there. He couldn’t stand it so He chased them out like a mad man. He demanded 100% commitment from the people who followed Him. He told them they had to deny themselves.
“You guys think you’re radical, but you don’t even come close to this man. He didn’t sit around complaining and getting high. He did something with his life. He changed His town.
“But finally He went too far. The religious hypocrites, who plotted against Him finally killed Him. None of you would ever be murdered for being too radical. None of you would ever suffer like He did for what you believe in.”
At this point they didn’t even know who I was talking about. Finally, one of them asked me, “Who was this guy?”
I said, “I’ll tell you, but you have to promise to listen to the rest of the story.”
I said, “This man was Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”
At this they laughed at me and swore, but I was not about to quit. So I told them about how he changed my life and gave me excitement for living. I told them that He was my Hero, my Lord and my King!
“That’s why I’m here all the way from America – because He loves you guys a lot and He died for you. He took your place on the cross so you wouldn’t have to live in misery. He can change your life. He wants to use you to change your country!”
One interrupted and said, “We can’t change anything around here! How can one of us do anything?!”
I asked them if they had ever heard of John Wesley. They said they hadn’t. So I told them about how God got ahold of Wesley’s life and about how he changed England in the 1700s, “God used a single man to do it. He can do it with you too!”
I invited them to the church service that night and the last thing I said was, “If you want Jesus to change your life, be there at 7:00 P.M.”
Well 7:00 P.M. rolled around, but as the service began there was no sign of them. We were singing “To God Be the Glory.” I had my hands raised just praising God, when out of the corner of my eye I saw a big, black army boot stepping up the aisle. Tears came to my eyes, as four punkers sat down beside me. All I could do was pray for them.
As they sat there, they were unruly and laughing. One of them even lit up a cigarette and began to smoke until I made him put it out. I wondered how long the pastor would put up with these kids.
Finally, Eric Johnson, the American youth evangelist, stepped up to the pulpit. He began with this scripture, “The thief comes to kill, steal, and to destroy, but I have come that you might have life and that you might have it more abundantly.” He read it with power and anointing.
“Satan wants to destroy you, but Jesus Christ wants to save you and make your life count for something!” His message was simple, and he preached it with all his heart as if it would be the last time he would ever see these kids.
He challenged these kids. He called them out, “C’mon, it takes some guts to stand up for Jesus! It’s going to mean that your friends will laugh at you and you’ll probably lose them. But you don’t know anything about friendship until you get saved and join the family of God!”
But no one came forward. Then he prayed one of the most powerful prayers I have ever heard. At this point, the leader of the group stood up and walked forward with tears streaming down his face. Then his friend beside him came forward. Two kids came to the Lord that night with broken hearts, repenting of their sins. There is no one too lost that Jesus can’t find and save.
I will never be the same after witnessing this. Up until this time I was on the defensive for God. Defense spends all of its time fighting off the assaults of the other team. But I realize now that I don’t want to miss out on what God is going to do through His Church in the Last Days.
Will you go on the offensive for God? That means making yourself available to do His will. It means having compassion for people. It means doing exploits for His glory and the advancement of His kingdom. It means being a part of His kingdom here and now.
I pray that God will use this experience of mine to excite you and challenge you to step out and share Jesus with the lost. Go out into the highways and byways and compel them to come in!