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Pick a card, any card

In March, we conducted our first outreach of the year to New Agers, and a number of Jewish people came to the stand for a ‘Life Reading’. Visitors to the stand pick a card on which is written a biblical text. Starting with the Bible verse, the gospel is explained in about ten minutes after which the visitor is asked to respond to what they have heard. In the four days of the outreach this year, 1,254 people came for a ‘Life Reading’ and twenty made professions of faith.

The Festival is a large, attractive booth and was located in the midst of many stands promoting alternative spiritualities. Two large stands nearby housed rows of fortune tellers, while another booth selling scented sprays was run by people who claimed to be in frequent contact with spirits. The ‘spiritual’ stallholders were often the friendliest. The focal point at The New Age outreach was a beautiful, handmade banner featuring a large, golden menorah, the seven-branched lampstand from the ancient temple. On either side the names ‘Yeshua’ and ‘Immanuel’ were picked out in gold and these, along with the Hebrew literature, caught the eye of a number of Jewish visitors.

Reaching out to New Agers is physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually exhausting. You never know who you are going to meet and there are many people committed to unconventional ideas and beliefs that seem perfectly plausible to those who hold them. One lady told A that God was ‘the whole of the universe operating in unison with itself.’ Another female visitor told A that although she was a Christian she rejected organised religion and took her children to the park on Sunday mornings to talk to the trees and flowers. God was in each of these things, she said, which is why plant life responds when we speak to it!

T, an alternative health practitioner, noticed the Menorah banner at The New Age Outreach. Because she was Jewish, our worker spoke to T first of all about the fact that Jesus was Jewish and then shared that, because of his perfect life, Jesus was able to become the atonement for our sins as described in Isaiah 53. After speaking to N, T was very happy to take Hebrew/English gospel booklets.

J was confused by the Jewish symbols that were on display at our stand. A saw her looking at one of the Hebrew gospel booklets and asked if she could read Hebrew. She told A she was Jewish, but not religious, and admitted that she could not read Hebrew. When A asked J if she believed in God, J said she wasn’t sure and that she was ‘maybe’ searching for God. A told J that she had herself come from a rather confused religious background but that from an early age she recognised there had to be a Creator. She went on to share how she came to see that Jesus was the Servant of the Lord prophesied in Isaiah 53, who gave his life as an atonement for sin. At that point, J’s mother turned up and objected that religion divides people. She didn’t like those who impose their views on others but A, who is from formerly Communist Romania, told J’s mum that one of the blessings of living in Britain is having the liberty to discuss important matters freely.

As well as Jews, people from many different ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds visit The Jesus Experience. G, for example, was from mainland China and had no religious background. She took a break from her own stand to hear about Jesus and picked a ‘Life Reading’ card at random. The Bible verse G chose was John 16:33: ‘These things I have spoken to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.’ She admitted that peace was exactly what she was looking for and had recently visited a good local church. Just as N started to guide her through a gospel booklet, her mobile phone rang to call her back to work. But before she left G took an evangelistic booklet and an invitation to take part in a seekers’ course.

 

These are just a few stories from our ‘Rescue Shop within a yard of Hell,’ as C. T. Studd would have put it. Please pray for all those who heard the gospel through the ‘Life Readings’ and especially for those who made professions of faith. Remember also the Jewish people who attended and pray that the Spirit of Truth will use the evangelistic literature to constantly remind them of the Truth.

This article first appeared in the Summer Herald 2013

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