Many of you know that I completely tore my right Achilles tendon roughly a year ago. One of the major issues concerning rehabilitating a surgically repaired tendon is regaining elasticity. This calls for lots of stretching and gradual use, which for me is jogging once or twice a week at Lady Bird Lake in downtown Austin.
Rewind– Two weeks ago, after jogging downtown, I decided to take the scenic route home, opting not to utilize the freeway. I like driving and especially driving through the city and observing the nuances of life. I noticed my gas indicator light came on, so I pulled into a gas station. I usually keep my music playing while I pump my gas and on this occasion the gas station employee appears from behind the building and says, “Hey, I like that! I like that old soul sample and the horns. It reminds me of De La or Tribe.” After I turned down Eshon Burgundy, we proceeded to have an interesting conversation about hip-hop history. I was impressed by his knowledge of mainstream and underground artists and his sentiments that today’s hip-hop is merely refuse compared to yesteryear. “Man, I wish the sound of the Golden Era would come back!” he said.
During this whole time I’m contemplating whether or not to shift the conversation to matters of importance, namely the gospel. I didn’t. The conversation ended and I drove off. As I was driving, I regretted not sharing the gospel or even making an attempt to. My selfishness was in full effect.
In his book, Let The Nations Be Glad, John Piper said, “Missions exist because worship doesn’t.” What a simple, but profound truth! This thought, on more than one occasion, has caused me to examine how much I desire to see God worshiped by me and by others. Beholding the glory of God in Christ, as much as humanly possible, will compel us to lovingly and boldly share the gospel, come what may. Because no matter what comes, the glory of God is better and the joy that comes from making Him known is incomparable. If we share the gospel out of guilt, or human expectation, we share it in error and Christ is not magnified. The glory of Christ should be our chief motivation for sharing the gospel.
Fast Forward – Last night: Same situation, same gas station, same worker, right perspective. When I saw him in there again, I knew this was the grace of God. After I purchased my drink, he said, “So what do you think about the NBA playoffs?” We proceed to chat about the NBA and moved the conversation outside because he wanted to smoke. I reminded him that we talked a couple of weeks ago about hip-hop.
“Yeah, I remember and I thought about making a mixtape for you, but I didn’t know if I’d see you again. I’m Bryan by the way.”
“I’m David. Nice to meet you..again. You know, I was impressed by your level of hip-hop knowledge.”
“Let me ask you a question. What do you think about hip-hop being fused with “religion”?
“Ah, well, that’s difficult. I think that many true hip-hop heads won’t care for God hip-hop and I don’t see religious hip-hop moving the kinds of units like say, a Lil Wayne or somebody like that.”
“But what about Public Enemy, Poor Righteous Teachers, KRS-ONE, and Brand Nubian? They all had religious elements in their music and they were relatively accepted by the mainstream, though they were pushing 5%er doctrine.”
“Yeah, you’re right. I don’t know. I hate Christian rock. It’s so cheesy. But I like gospel music and the Kirk Franklin stuff, but I don’t know if hip-hop will go over well in the church crowd. Especially since most of what hip-hop says goes against what’s in the Bible. But I think it’s cool that people decide to use their talent to speak about better things rather that gettin’ chicks, gettin’ high or drunk or shootin’ and things like that.”
“Where are you from, Bryan?
“North of Houston.”
“I’m from Houston!”
“What is your spiritual background, Bryan, and I ask based on some things you’ve said.”
“I grew up in a Baptist church. It was what our family did.”
“So what do you consider yourself now?”
“Well, honestly, I’m searching for something to hold on to, that’s real. I mean, I see Christians in the media and they’re just weird. They have an agenda and I don’t think it’s honest. I mean, what’s real? My sister is Greek Orthodox and some of my family are Methodist. Why are there these differences?”
“Well, there’s a reason for that Bryan, but if you don’t mind me asking, do you know what the central theme of the Bible is? Let’s push the denominational issue to the side and focus on the central message the Bible is communicating to us.”
“Okay. Well I think the central theme is that we should love God as best we can and live in such a way that helps others so this world can be a better place.”
“Is that your motivation and action 24/7/365?
“No. But that’s because I don’t have the relationship with God that I know needs to be there. I feel like once I get there then I would be a better person and God would accept me.”
“Bryan, (my eyes were almost welling up) do you mind if I share the gospel with you?”
“Not at all. Please share.”
After, I shared the gospel, I inquired if he had any questions or if he understood what I said.
“So, the way I can be accepted by the Father is to have faith in Christ, because He was a substitute for sin and took the punishment?”
“Yes! And you don’t have to work for salvation. It’s free for those who admit their sin and turn to Christ by faith for forgiveness.”
I then explained what grace and mercy was and he said, “I like that!” with a huge grin on his face.
I gave him my last Reach Records Before You Die CD tract with my number included and urged him to read the Gospel of John. He said he would read the tract, listen to the CD, read John and call me.
We shook hands and departed company. I have a strong hunch that I’ll be stopping back by that gas station soon!
What a privilege it is to share the gospel! What a gift from God! I can’t begin to describe the joy I get by sharing the good news of reconciliation. The more the Lord affords opportunities to share the gospel or overhear conversations concerning “religion”, it is clear that America, not just countries on the other side of the Atlantic, is ripe for missions.
If you remember, please pray for Bryan’s salvation and his well being. Also, pray that the Lord would continue to give you and me opportunities to share this gospel of peace!
Grace & Peace,