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Five Reasons I've Attended 12 Gay Pride Events

Remember Jesus was "despised and rejected by men" (Is.53:3) so He really feels what these imprisoned, thirsty, strangers-in-society experience in their daily lives. He also commissions us to reach them by reminding us, "I was in prison and you came to visit me...I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink... I was a stranger and you invited me in" (Matt 25:35-36).

3. Investing for Eternity

In my study I have a picture of Steve Hill, the fiery evangelist from the Brownsville revival where I served for five years. Prior to his passing he reminded all of us: "Live each day with eternity in mind!"

The only two things in life that are eternal are the souls of men and the Word of God. Wise disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ know we will all give an account one day for how we invested our time, treasures and talents. Daniel 12:3 reminds us, "Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever."

Putting aside my "busy" schedule to go and invest in the lives of those headed for hell is a most worthy endeavor. Gospel "seeds "are planted by engaging in a natural, relational way and then leaving them to ponder an appealing, personal testimony tract--mine or from a former gay or lesbian.

"Tracts don't work! Plus that's old-school evangelism!"

Cheesy, condemning gospel literature rarely works but what I hand individuals are attractive leaflets from former homosexual Stephen Bennett, "I WAS GAY" (SBMinistries.org) or my personal testimony tract, "A MOMENT AGO, WE MET. WAS IT A COINCIDENCE?"

On Saturday after connecting relationally with people, I personally handed out about 50 of the above tracts. There was not one refusal!

4. Demonstrating God's Love

There are two maxims that bear repeating, "People will never care how much we know until they first know how much we care. "What you are speaks so loudly that I can't hear what you say."

People struggling with rejection find it difficult to receive love from others. That's why it must be practical and not just theoretical! "Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth" (1 Jn.3:18).

I have served at "Pride" events with teams of dedicated and caring Christians by setting up "Dream Interpretation" booths. When passer-byes inquire about what we are doing, it affords a wonderful opportunity to engage people in a winsome way regarding their dreams and what they might mean. Mature and spiritually sensitive, gifted believers are able to minister the love of God as well as bring encouragement into the lives of many depressed and downtrodden LGBT folks.

Many opportunities for sharing Christ come disguised as unwelcome interruptions. On a daily basis and at these type of festivals, if we will seek God He will show us creative ways to practically reach out and serve. It might be through free water bottle giveaways or dream interpretation. The important thing is that we come out of our comfort zones and inward focus to recognize "the fields are white unto harvest" (Jn. 4:35).

5. Evangelizing the Lost

Some gays say they are MILITANT– rough and ready to be combative with anyone perceived as opposing their radical agenda. My experience is these are a small minority.

Most gays are really MODERATE – having found acceptance in a lifestyle they have discovered or with which they are experimenting, they see themselves on a journey, still trying to find ultimate peace and purpose in life.

Other gays acknowledge they are MOVING ON – admitting the emptiness of a way of life they tried and thought would satisfy, they are now trying to abandon it and are reaching out for community and caring relationships to support them on their journey back to wholeness. I have interacted with two people in the past few days that are in this zone.

A while ago I had a divine appointment with John who transitioned from the second group to the third, but tragically it was too late. True compassion for me meant regular visits to a hospice as he went from gay to straight, putting up a valiant struggle with the ravages of AIDS. Just being there, listening, encouraging and reassuring him along with his precious, young daughter, meant the world to John. Later I was able to take care of his memorial service in a way that I trust inspired all of his former LGBT friends who attended to reflect on his life and theirs.

Remember the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., "Whom you would change, you must first love."

Following the method of our Master, we really do need to recapture the adventure of lifestyle evangelism, including charitable outreach to those in the gay community.

For those who still discredit literature evangelism, I thought it was interesting that everywhere I went at the recent Nashville Pride event, there were either booths or individuals distributing literature to influence those in attendance. They sure believe that passing out tracts and fliers can have an impact!

One such piece of literature was a beautiful color brochure entitled "Discover the Unexpected Fabulous Side of Cleveland!" [Hey, that's my hometown!] The 30-page brochure introduced, with an official welcoming letter from the mayor of Cleveland, the International Gay Games on August 9–16, 2014.

The Hon. Frank G. Jackson beckons everyone to come saying that this event is going to "attract more than 30,000 worldwide visitors to our friendly and inviting city."

In the distance I hear someone else issuing an invitation for His ambassadors to also come. "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners" (Mk. 2:17).

Anybody game?

Larry Tomczak is a best-selling author and cultural commentator with over 40 years of trusted ministry experience. His passion is to bring perspective, analysis and insight from a biblical worldview. He loves people and loves awakening them to today's cultural realities and the responses needed for the bride of Christ—His church—to become influential in all spheres of life once again.

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