Iowa State Fair Outreach 2021 – Friday the 13th

I arrived at the  Answers In Genesis (AiG) booth at the fair about a few minutes late. The crew already had things out, prepared, the televisions on, and trains running around the model of the ark. Chatted with the workers for a few minutes before starting, and noticed that the glass on the ark was dirty, so I cleaned it free of fingerprints and snot from little kids.

The morning went well, and even got my hands dirty giving kids dinosaur tattoos. I really love giving kids tattoos because it’s about the only time I can talk with kids on a one-on-one basis. But in putting the tattoos on, I have about a minute to share something with them. Even the adults get at least a dinosaur million dollar bill. But I usually talk about the Ark, that it’s 450 ft long, 75 ft wide, and 7 stories high. That you can fit over 500 shipping containers inside — that there was more than enough room for people, animals, food, and supplies. In fact, only one-third of the ship was dedicated to the animals. I enjoy talking with the teens as well while giving tattoos. I show them that the ark is a picture of Jesus Christ — that just like there is one door of the ark for people to walk through to find salvation from the flood, that Jesus is the only Door to find salvation from eternal damnation. Most kids, teens, and adults have at least heard of the story — but to put it in the context of the New Testament, most never understand the relationship. 

That afternoon I had a strange conversation with a man who I thought was interested in the things of God. He came in and looked around. Nodded several times, and even took some tracts and pamphlets. I asked him how he was doing and gave him an Ark million dollar bill. I said it had the “million dollar question” on the back: “In the days of Noah, God judged guilty men with a global flood. When you face God on Judgment Day, would you be innocent or guilty?” He looked at it for a minute looked up and said, no. So I probed a little. 

“The Ten Commandments are God’s standard of goodness; as a mirror to see how dirty we really are. Like when you wake up in the morning you look in the mirror to see what damage happened during the night. Do you think you’ve kept the Ten Commandments?”

“Sure I have.”

“All the time?”


“OK, let’s look at a few and see. Have you ever told a lie?”

“Like Republicans? Sure. I’ve lied like Republicans.”

Looking surprised and afraid to ask I said, “Well, what does that make you if you lie?”

“Republican. Or more specifically, a liar.”

“Have you ever stolen anything. Even if it’s small?”

“Like Republicans? Sure, I’ve stolen lots of things. Maybe not as much as Republicans, but, yes.”

Rubbing my forehead I said, “Sir, let’s try to leave the politics out of this, ok? Many people lie and steal on both sides of the isle and…” 

“Well, maybe you can answer a question for me! Why did God murder my two kids, let me become an alcoholic, and damage my marriage. If God is so awesome, forgiving, and loving — then why did He do that to me! Huh!?” 

I started to have pity on him, and realized that this was a sensitive issue. I started to explain that God didn’t create sin, and that God doesn’t murder anyone. But before I could explain deeper he yelled an obscenity at me and walked off, grabbing two more tracts as he left. 

One of the new Testify students were there and looked horrified. I told him, “Sometimes you can’t give the good news to people, if they don’t see their need for it.” That’s a hard lesson to learn sometimes. But giving someone the good news when they are clearly not wanting it, would do more damage than good. It would make them into an inoculated sinner — people who know they are a sinner and that God will forgive them anyway. 

It reminds me of the time I was sent to a hospital to pray for a man who got throat cancer. Upon arriving he asked me, “Why would God do this to me?” I asked him, “Did you smoke?” 

“Yes,” he replied

“Do you have cigarettes here?”

“Yeah, in the drawer.” 

I walked over to the drawer and pulled them out. I held them up to his face and said, “What does that say on the side of the box?”

He read it out loud, “Surgeons General Warning: Smoking causes lung cancer, throat cancer, heart disease, emphysema and may complicate pregnancy.” 

I paused for a minute. “So you were warned every time you bought a pack. God didn’t do this to you. You ignored the warnings. The bible warns us of many bad things to come, and how we are sinners in the hands of God, that we broke His law, and are deserving of judgment. But God also shows us in the bible how to escape from that as well. Would you like to know how to escape God’s wrath?”

“Get out.” 

And so, I left. There’s a saying where I’m from, “Self-infliction gets no sympathy.” I do have pity on them both. I’m no monster. But until people see that they have a disease, they will not receive the cure. They will laugh and mock it like the Greeks in Acts 17. If either of them would have stayed, or not told me to leave, I would have shared the gospel till I was blue in the face. But that wasn’t the case. 

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