The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; Heb 4:12 NIV
“I’ve seen so much on the road that nothing shocks me anymore,” I casually announced to a room full of people. Saying that was a bad idea. It was as if I had issued a challenge.
The Sojourner, Ron Fuller, had invited Ken Copeland Ministries and Pocket Full of Change Ministries to Manchester, Tennessee to participate in an evangelistic outreach to the 80,000+ crowds expected at the famous secular concert, Bonaroo. Ron Fuller is my mentor and has an amazing heart for God and ministry. In addition to being the pastor of their local home fellowship, The Sojourner mentors home churches and ministries all over the world. Visit Sojourners Hub.
Riley Stephenson from Ken Copeland Ministries was kind enough to bring training materials and tracts for the Sojourners to use. We began on Wednesday night with Riley leading evangelism training. Riley reminded the Sojourners that Jesus came to save and not condemn and that to evangelize meant to share good news. He said we were going to see shocking things. We were to stay positive and not debate or condemn. That was when I said the words that would come back to haunt me.
The next morning, we went to Bonaroo. It was amazing. In the middle of that dusty noisy field, many young people prayed to receive Jesus. I’d been walking for hours in 92 degree temperatures and was exhausted. I spotted The Sojourner sitting under a giant oak tree and dropped beside him to rest on the grass.
“How many steps have you taken?” a young woman asked. She’d noticed my pedometer. I turned around to answer her and didn’t see her boyfriend standing next to her.
“I’m over 16,000,” I said.
“Wow,” she said. “Do you always walk that many?”
“It depends,” I laughed. “I’m a Christian missionary and writer. When I’m on a mission trip, I almost always walk over 10,000 steps. When I’m back home writing, it stays under 5,000. I’m here at Bonaroo telling people that Jesus loves them and wants a relationship with them.”
She quickly lost interest but the word Jesus got her boyfriend’s attention.
“Jesus,” he slurred. “He’s cool. My girlfriend broke up with me last month and I was bummed. I cried out to Jesus to hold me and it felt like He did. I called my Mom and told her Jesus held me. I don’t understand it but ever since, I’ve been hearing about Jesus everywhere.” I resisted the temptation to remind him that since he was here with another girl, he hadn’t grieved for very long.
I followed his voice and as my eyes traveled upward, I saw bare feet, bare legs, and then, my eyes quickly moved past the only thing he was wearing - hot pink men’s bikini underwear with a bright yellow band. They left nothing to the imagination and covered little. I shuddered as I looked upward to notice the beer can in his hand.
I remembered my casual words from the night before and prayed, “God, is this a test? Maybe it is a joke.” Between the beer and the bikini, I was tempted to ignore the opportunity but I remembered Riley’s training from the night before. He’d reminded us that the word of God never returns void. I took a deep breath, shook off my shock, and proceeded with the process Riley had suggested.
“You called on the name of Jesus. That was serious and He heard you. In the Bible, Romans 3 says that all have sinned. Romans 6 says that the wages of sin is death and the gift of God is eternal life. Romans 10 says that all who call on the name of Jesus will be saved. We’re going to take care of that right now.” I had his full and amazingly sober attention. He leaned over to me and I had to choose between smelling the alcohol on his breath or taking the chance of seeing something I didn’t want to see again… beer-breath won by a landslide.
“Pray after me,” I instructed, staring deep into his eyes.
“Ok,” he soberly nodded.
Line by line, he repeated the following words. The entire time we were praying, his new girl friend was snapping pictures of him from behind.
“Dear Jesus, I believe in you. I believe you died on a cross and rose from the dead for me. I’ve made mistakes and I ask for your forgiveness. I ask you to come into my life and be my Lord and Savior. Thank you for my salvation.”
He said the words without any slur and I knew the word of God had indeed divided his soul and spirit and the Holy Spirit had reached this young man’s spirit in spite of the beer and his state of undress.
“You’ve just made the best decision of your life,” I said. I had to bite my tongue not to add, “Now, go put on some clothes.”
Instead, I said, “Chances are, you’re going to do everything you planned to do at this concert but pay close attention. It is going to feel differently now. You won’t enjoy it as much. The Holy Spirit is already working on you.”
He walked off trying to tell his uninterested girlfriend what he had done. I heard him saying Jesus repeatedly. The Sojourner, who’d been quiet until that moment said, “I saw that young man earlier. I noticed what he was wearing and asked God to help him. A few minutes later he is over here starting a conversation with you.”
“It’s a good thing you were here to witness this,” I joked. “Otherwise, no one would believe this story. I never should have said that nothing shocks me.” Hmmmm...Maybe now I can say nothing else could possibly shock me.