14 Comments

Christmas Parade Witnessing

I was able to go witnessing at the Pueblo, Colorado Christmas parade on Saturday, an event that attracted thousands of people. A friend and I passed out 500 tracts in about 30 minutes, covering only a portion of the parade route and one side of the street.

Among the few conversations I had, one was particularly alarming.

I asked a group of teens what they think happens when they die, and the young lady who spoke up said she would be going to heaven. I asked why she thought that, and she said she was going to heaven because she’s a good person. I specifically asked if we have to be good to go to heaven, and she responded in the affirmative.

This is a pretty typical beginning to a conversation. Most people think they’ll go to heaven because they’re good people. After that, I discussed a few of the Ten Commandments; she admitted to breaking them, and she seemed humbled by the law.
I asked her if she knew what God did so she could have her sins forgiven; she said Jesus died on the cross.

I elaborated on the gospel a little bit. She seemed to agree with everything I said. At the end of the conversation, her brother, who was listening to our conversation, said they were Christians—and that their dad is a pastor.

I didn’t ask what kind of pastor, but I was shocked that the teenage daughter of a pastor could think of herself as a Christian, and still be so confused about why she’s going to heaven.

The sad part is that this conversation, while alarming, isn’t all that abnormal. Many people claim to be Christians, but do not give a proper reason for why they’re going to heaven. It is pretty rare to catch someone who can correctly explain why his or her sins are forgiven.

If there is one thing I want to drum into my little boys, it is what the Bible says about how to get to heaven. It is by the cross of Christ alone, and not by any of our own good deeds.

How many of the people sharing our pews don’t have a proper understanding of why they can go to heaven? It seems to me that pastors aren’t doing a good job of explaining this fundamental truth.

It used to frustrate me that I would discuss the law and the gospel, and at the end of the conversation, find out that this “good” person I had been talking to was a Christian.
I used to think that I should get in the habit of asking people more about their beliefs so that I wouldn’t inadvertently witness to a Christian. But if someone who claims to be a Christian thinks he or she is getting to heaven by being good—even if that individual is genuinely saved—that person needs to hear the law and the gospel.

***

NOTE: Witnessing at the parade was a great experience. People are happy, friendly and open to talking or accepting tracts. It is a privilege to be able to proclaim the gospel at a Christmas parade where most people are thinking about Santa Claus and decorating their house for the season. It’s a privilege to remind them of the real reason for Christmas.

Feel free to download the Christmas tract I wrote a few years ago (here), and hit your local parade. The tract was inspired in part by “It’s About the Cross,” a song by Go Fish.

14 comments on “Christmas Parade Witnessing

  1. Praise God for your faithfulness Bill! I completely agree with. These days, if someone says, “I’m a Christian,” they’re really saying, “Preach the gospel to me!” So few churches are actually preaching an unadulterated gospel anymore that encounters like these are far too commonplace!

  2. Praise God the gospel is preached!

  3. Thank you for this report brother, even though it is so sad, I am glad you are out laboring and bringing glory to the Lord Jesus. On the other hand you have many false converts who have the right answer that Christ died for them, but they are just repeating a fact they heard and have not experienced in an effectual manner.

    in Christ -Jim

  4. Thanks Chris. I am sure that this type of parade would be a great oppertunity to witness, however please do not suggest that Christ is the true reason behind Christmas. Please do not blaspheme my wonderful, merciful savior and Lord and put His name on a pagan inspired, Catholic holiday that has nothing to do with the real Jesus Christ of the Bible. Search the scriptures, the truth will set you free.

    In Christ,
    Joe

  5. I guess you don’t go to church on Sunday then?

  6. Doreen – I am not sure what you are implying, but yes I do attend church on the Lord’s day and we as a family give the whole day to Him for worship and service. I guess I just do not get your comment. Please clarify.

  7. Joe, I’ve searched the Scriptures for many years, and have never found them tell me that Christmas is pagan-inspired or Catholic. It seems you want us to search uncertain historical records as well, if we are to at all back up those assertions. But certainly, if that is what you believe the holiday is, you do well not to celebrate it.

    Most Christians don’t have the same certainty about what happened 17-1800 years ago that you do, and are not celebrating either paganism or Catholicism in the way they celebrate the holiday. For those Christians, Christ is the true reason they celebrate the holiday, and they do so “unto the Lord” — it is not blasphemy.

    But it has been discussed at length on this site already, and we shouldn’t distract from Bill’s post. This kind of discussion should not be in a thread about the great work of witnessing. If you use the search box, you can find several posts on the topic. I commented near the end of this one, which has discussion covering a lot of the bases: http://defendingcontending.com/2010/11/29/a-radical-approach-to-december-25th-why-we-wont-be-celebrating-christmas-this-year/. If you want to discuss it there, I’d be glad to take a few posts with you. It’s pretty obvious what Bill thinks from his post, but I strongly suspect he’d prefer we leave the “Christmas or not” discussion out of this thread.

  8. Hello Joe,

    Thanks for your comment.

    If you choose not to celebrate Christmas, that’s fine with me. I agree that Santa Claus and trees and lights have nothing to do with the incarnation. However, I’m free to celebrate the incarnation if I choose.

    How would you witness at a Christmas parade?

    Thanks,
    Bill

  9. Bill – again let me just say i agrre with your method of sharing the Gospel. People need to understand that no one is good, no not one. They also need to understand that they cannot compare themselfs with other people. God has a holy standard and that standard is total perfection of keeping all his law ( not only found in the 10 commandments). The coomands of God is a great place to start to show a prideful heart their true separation from a Just and Righteous God. And by doiing this we hope they will have a “Woe is me, I am undone” experience. We also know that only God’s Spirit can reveal this to them, however we need to be faithful in our obiedence to Him and give God’s Word (not our own clever schemes and ideas) because faith comes by hearing, and hearing God’s Word. And this is such a blessing to us that God allows us to be part of this as a messenger of the good news.

    As far as how would I witness at a Christmas parade: well I believe this type of celebration makes it even easier to talk about Christ, because many are confused and think this day somehow is about Him. I would never witness to a lost person by trying to explain how pagan the holiday truly is. There is no other “method” than telling them about their sin and separation and what course they are on, safe they repent and believe on the Gospel. I think it is very much needed to explain what it trully means to believe. To believe that Jesus is “Lord” and what it means to be a true follower (deny yourself, pickup your cross daily and follow after Him). Never look for a quick sell. Spend a lot od time with people and never lead anyone into an unbiblical “sinners prayer” and then pronounce the saved.

    As far as Christmas goes…. I have not talked to any Chistian yet who does not get involved with some sort of Pagan practice if they “choose” to celebrate it.

    In Christ,
    Joe

  10. I have been witnessing for some time and find it eye opening when you find out that a large number of people have been deceived as to what to believe in. The Catholics say that they were born saved.
    Many so called Christians say that their parents are Christian so they must also be. My Paster has been driving home to our congregation about the gospel, and yet more than half are not saved, why? I think the bottom line is that committment is too difficult for them. Tithing is out of the question and would put their family at risk. They may have intellectual knowledge, but their heart is empty, probably because there is doubt. My husband has been fighting satan over this. My husband said that he had it here ,poinying to his head, but not here, pointing to his heart. He said he didn’t know how to pray to God, afraid that God wouldn’t listen to him, because he had rejected God for so many years. I have instructed my husband, read scripture, seen movies, and yet he is uncertain. I can’t force him. this is something he has to do on his own when his heart is ready. He prays to God all the time. He did go to church up until 9th grade. He was baptised when born, but that is all. Every funeral he goes to he cries. He hasn’t really known the people who died. I think God is convicting him.
    This is what is going on with so many people. It isn’t a matter of praying with someone and think that is it. There has to be follow up. I was with a man who prayed with people in shopping malls. The people went away thinking they were saved because they said a bunch of words. God reads your heart. Sometimes it takes one to get to their lowest point before they submit themselves
    totally to God, not holding anything back. It can be an ego thing for some, to let control go.
    I enjoy the time with family and the merriment of the season. I spend many hours a day in prayer and works for the Lord. I realize that all these symbols are based on belief systems of times past.
    But I can celebrate Jesus’s birth any time and any way I want. I don’t forget the reason behind the holiday. As long as you celebrate for the right reason you are okay.
    It is upsetting all the commercialism associated with the holiday. But I enjoy being around happy kind people who are so giving. It is sad that it takes holidays to get people to be civilized to each other. In a perfect world we would all behave. I like the festivities, dances, parties, dinners, dressing up, and decorating. We live in a rat race, so it is nice to come to a halt and relax with friends. My children were taught very you about the real meaning of Christmas. They knew of all the trimmings was just for fun as a way to celebrate and remember The Gospel every year.

    Susan

  11. I agree with Joe. Jesus Christ delivered me from popular Christianity about four years ago when He showed me the overwhelming apostasy and compromise that plagues the church, hence our need to witness to “Christians”. The history surrounding Christmas places its origins with the Catholic Church and no one can mistake the ecumenical reach of this holiday. The Catholic Church is the head of the one world religious organization during the tribulation. Christmas is one more method for bringing the wayward into the faithful fold! The Word of God directed by the Holy Spirit resulting in sharing the gospel is all one ever needs at any time when witnessing. My husband and I do home church because we have yet to find a church where the leadership isn’t involved in teaching some sort of heresy, and I mean blatant heresy. Much of what comes from the pulpit today is self-promotion, ear tickling, myth, blasphemy, false teaching, error, heresy, and apostasy. Church goers are too busy reading the latest and greatest book rather than the Holy Scriptures so they can measure what is taught them by they Standard of God’s Word; no one is held accountable, and those who care, like me, are not welcome even when exhorting by the Spirit of God with patience and long-suffering.

  12. Lauren – God also opened my eyes thru His Word about what true worship really is about 4 years ago. And I praise Him and thank Him always for it and for being patient with me all these years. We serve such a merciful God!

    I know what I have to say is not popular with most people especially many Christians, but it really isn’t an issue whether you “choose” to celebrate Christmas or not. I hear many Christians say that they have liberty to celebrate Christmas even though the origins are Pagan. They will say that’s not what I am celebrating therefore, God knows my heart and it’s perfectly okay to partcipate. They will even mis reference Romans 14 to give support to this very dangerous mindset. Romans 14 is talking about Jewish Christians celebrating God ordained feast days because it was part of their hertitage and Gentile Christians not celebrating the feast days. It has nothing to do with Paul condoning Pagan feasts or days. Also, in general Christians truly mis understand the liberty we have in Christ. This liberty is never to feel free without conscience to partake in what we “feel” like. The beautiful gift of liberty we have in Christ should be cheerished with gratidude; that we are now free from the bonds of sin to live for Him, His ways and His will, not ours. This is such an awesome gift that many Christians do not even recognize.

    The heart of the matter when it comes down to it, is this, and I believe every true believer should consider these questions and look to God’s Word for the answers:

    What are the origins of the December 25th celebration?
    What does God think about this celebration?
    When did the Dec 25th celebration become “Christianized” and what were the motives?
    What does God think about this syncritism?
    Is it okay to Worship God the way I choose? And is God pleased with this form of worship?

    If any true believer is willing to ask those questions and search the scriptures, I know the Holy Spirit will reveal the truth that will set you free from this blasphemous celebration.

    This is really a flesh vs Spirit issue for Christians, a obedience to God’s Holy Word vs rebellion. You must ask, do you love Jesus more than “fun” traditions of men? Do you value His Word above anything else? Are you willing to deny yourself and truly follow Him.

    @Bill – in no way did I mean to Hijack your thread or minimize the importance of reaching lost people, please know that. However it is just as important to honor our Lord, the way He tells us to, not the way we feel like doing so.

    At the end of the day it really doesn’t matter what you or I say, so if anyone is willing to drop their sacret cows and take their heads out of the sand, i am more than willing to provide many scripture references.

    In Christ,
    Joe

  13. Joe, I started to answer those questions, but decided not to. I would have done so on a thread intended for that purpose.

    You show marks of a divisive person. You disrespect those who disagree (your last paragraph), claim knowledge (the history of the celebration) NOT found in Scripture, exalt that knowledge to great importance (those who lack it are “blaspheming”), and break the bounds of propriety (your thread hijacking) in pushing a position derived from this “special knowledge.”

    If you wish to discuss it in a manner fitting for brothers in a thread provided by this site to do so, I will meet you there, as I said previously. To discuss it here would make me a partaker of your hijacking, and exalt your issue to a position it does not warrant.

  14. As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.
    (Colossians 2:6-19)

    I’m not sure how the celebration of Christmas builds any believer up in their faith in Jesus Christ. We know the history of the birth of Jesus Christ from the Scriptures, but the Catholic church pasted that holy story on the filth of pagan worship to join unbelievers to their corrupt worship. That is the history of Christmas, and I’m not sure how we can hold it as sacred, given its unholy origins and the fact that it is co-opted and corrupted through covetousness and wickedness. If Paul says we are not to be judged in regard to Jewish observances, which originated with God Almighty, since they foreshadow Christ, then how much more should we reject those things that are completely of man-made origin and blaspheme the glory of Jesus Christ and His true birth. If you consider the epistles, you will see that neither Paul nor any other letter writer, moved by the Holy Spirit, focuses on the birth of Jesus Christ, other than to declare His human origins. We can never argue for the veracity of any religious activity on the basis of the silence of the Scriptures on that particular subject. To do so opens the doors to all sorts of error and apostasy. We must always apply the clearly delineated principles of the Scriptures to our belief and practice. May God bless us with His wisdom, grace, understanding and faithfulness to His truth.

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