Sharing The Gospel Again...

Sharing The Gospel Again...

Mike Barko's blog post details his return to sharing the gospel after a pause. He recounts heartfelt encounters where he spread the message of salvation, igniting positive responses. He shares stories of engaging people in downtown areas, at a grocery store, and while holding a cross publicly. Mike emphasizes the universality of the gospel and how faith in Jesus Christ is the path to salvation. He challenges misconceptions about relying on good deeds and highlights the transformative power of the gospel message. The post encourages readers to boldly share the message, exemplified by Mike's experiences, which demonstrate its life-changing impact.


Mike Barko

5/24/202012 min read

I am very thankful to be back sharing the gospel again. It is still slow, but I will take what I can get.

"Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life." (Proverbs 13:12)

Now I won't say that my heart was sick, because I have really been enjoying the rest and extra quiet time with our Lord. However, I could tell that I really missed sharing by what happened when I got to share again last week.


As I left my downtown office, I noticed a young boy seated on a bench across the street with his mother next to him, and a man off to the side. I was a little hesitant, but as I approached them my heart lit up and I knew what I wanted and needed to do.

I introduced myself and then was about to say, "Does anyone want a bracelet?" However, what came out was, "Has anyone ever gotten one of these bracelets?"

That question proved fortuitous as the mother responded, 'Yes, I got one of those before.' (I believe I had shared with her downtown at some point.)

So, I asked her boy, Kayden, if he wanted one. Yes, indeed he did, and mother, Rosie, gave me permission to share with him.

I let them know that I was going to maintain social distancing and keep my mask on the whole time that I was sharing with them.

I knew that I had favor with her when she got up from sitting next to her boy, and walked behind the bench as if to say, 'The floor is yours, preach!'

The man off to the side appeared disinterested, and I sensed that if I engaged him things might turn sour. I didn't need to. After all, she was the mother and with her permission I was good to go.

Little Kayden, I would estimate he was probably around ten years old, wanted to hear how he could go to Heaven one day. He had no idea why God might let him into Heaven.

So, we talked about sin and I asked him if he had ever sinned before. I got no response so I volunteered my own sins and asked if he had done these things too...'told lies, disobeyed mom, gotten really mad at someone?' Yes, little Kayden confessed that he had done these things as well.

As I began to share with Kayden, I noticed a new joy and liberty as I was sharing. Maybe it was because I hadn't shared in a long time and it was 'the desired fulfilled which was the tree of life?' Whatever the case may be, I felt an unusual amount of love for this little boy as I shared.

I actually was kind of giggling with him and myself as I shared. This joy of the Lord brought immediate fruit. A lady and a man who were standing adjacent to us came closer to hear, being drawn, I believe, by the joy of the Lord.

The lady, Ranna, began to question momma Rosie about what exactly was going on here. Momma Rosie let her know what I was doing and that everything was okay.

The man, Ranna's boyfriend, Jim, was really listening intently as I shared. In fact, when I gave the invitation at the end, he actually prayed with me and little Kayden.

I continued sharing with Kayden. He understood the concept of punishment, and that he had done wrong before God. What was the punishment for his sins?...'H...E...double hockey sticks!' Like I said, I was feeling the joy.

How could he get out of the punishment that he deserved? He didn't know. So, I talked about Jesus, what He had done for him, and how He had taken his punishment.

I helped him to understand this by asking him how momma punished him when he sinned. He told me that she sent him to his room.

So, I explained that if she sent me to the room instead of him, that would mean that I had taken his punishment. Jesus had taken his punishment by going to the room...'H...E...double hockey sticks!' for him.

I then told him that God had risen Jesus from the grave because He was very happy that there was no more punishment for little Kayden. The resurrection proved that God had taken all of Kayden's punishment on the cross.

He understood that if he 'believed, or trusted what Jesus did for him', he would be 100% sure that he would go to Heaven.

I wanted to make sure that Kayden knew that Jesus was God. When I asked him, I was surprised that he confidently affirmed that truth to me.

Little Kayden said that he now believed and was 100% sure he would go to Heaven. I asked him if he would like to receive Jesus as his Savior and he told me 'yes'.

We prayed, and again, I noticed that Jim was praying with me. Both he and Ranna had been listening the whole time over to the side.

I spent some time making sure that Kayden understood John 6:47, "He who believes in Me has eternal life.' Mom encouraged him a little here and coached him.

I gave both of them a great big air hug before I left, and they both seemed grateful and encouraged that I had shared the gospel with them.


Jim and Ranna had settled down over to the side and were seated together on the pavement. Because of the extra joy I was experiencing, I went over to talk to them some more.

Ranna asked me a question, 'What about Catholics?'

I have a standard illustration that I use when people ask me about specific denominations. It is the ice cream illustration and it goes something like this...

Think about pure Breyers Ice Cream with four ingredients in it: milk, cream, sugar, and the flavor. The substance to the ice cream is the milk, cream, and sugar. What changes is the flavor.

The substance to the church in simplistic form: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. What changes is the flavor, or the denomination.

Unfortunately, many people put their focus on the flavor and even boast about and trust in their flavor. We are free to enjoy any flavor, as long as it is real ice cream (a real bible believing fellowship), but we should not place our trust in the denomination for our salvation, but we must trust in God alone.

Then I told her that her salvation was trusting in Christ alone, and more specifically, that she was to trust in both the person and the work of Christ for her salvation.

This is what I have observed. The Catholics really seem to understand the person of Christ. That is, most of them that I talk to, very readily understand that Jesus Christ is the second person of the Holy Trinity, God himself incarnate in human flesh. However, many Catholics struggle with trusting in the work of Christ alone for their salvation.

Many protestants have the opposite problem. They have a better understand of the work of Christ, that is, they understand that their salvation is based upon His work alone. However, many of these same protestants that I talk with will acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God, but when I ask them if He is God, they tell me 'no'.

I used this to emphasize to Ranna that if she wanted to be saved she needed to trust in both the person and work of Christ alone for her salvation.

Jim had actually received Christ a few months ago but was struggling to live the Christian life. Ranna was very honest with me and confessed that she was really struggling to believe. I really appreciated the openness and honesty that we shared together in these precious moments.

Both were actually visiting Harrisonburg and were from Ashburn, Va, the training camp of the Washington Redskins. Both got a charge when I told them, "Go Cowboys!" (No, they didn't ask me to leave.) lol

Pray for this precious couple...



I have also started to hold the cross again by the leading of the Holy Spirit and by confirmation from a few different sources. Pastor Luke Weaver of Journey Christian Fellowship commented to me, 'I think you should hold the cross again. People are really wanting 'normal' again, and I think you being out there will remind them of 'normal', and they will really appreciate it.'

Isn't it funny when holding the cross on the median of a busy intersection is referred to as 'normal'? lol Then I received a message from a precious sister in Christ letting me know that she really missed seeing me out there with the cross.

Yes, it is good to be back out there and there are a lot of people who are happy to see the cross again.

There are fewer people who are crossing the street where I hold the cross, I would assume because of the virus. However, I did get to share with a girl when I was out there the other day.

Shay thought she would get to Heaven because 'she believed, she tried to live right, and tried to be a good person'
Because she was trusting in both herself and Christ, she was not sure where she was going to go when she died.

Shay understood her sin and the penalty of her sin. She understood that hell is what she deserved. She needed to understand that God would justify her not on the basis of what she was doing, but on the basis of what Christ had already done for her.

So many people think that as long as 'they try', God will accept them on that basis. Having gotten a previous speeding ticket, she understood that if she made her defense on the basis of 'she tried hard not to speed', that would not fly with the judge.

Christ had paid her 'speeding ticket fine' when He died for her on the cross. When He rose from the grave, that let her know that her debt had been 'paid-in-full'.

Shay understood that she had been trusting in herself to be saved. She wanted to place her trust in Christ alone. Like Kayden, she immediately acknowledged that Jesus was God himself in the flesh.

Shay prayed with me and professed to me that God had saved her. Like Kayden, we went over John 6:47 before she left.

Like with Kayden, I also wore a mask and maintained social distancing with Shay. What happened here at the end blessed me.

I couldn't take a selfie with her because of social distancing. I asked if I could get her picture by herself, but as I kind of sensed, she was not comfortable with that.

Well, guess what happened? When I got home later on that day, a brother sent me a picture that he had taken while I was holding the cross. Here it is, with me sharing with Shay...



Last but certainly not least, is this final story that happened at the grocery store. As I approached the entrance, guess who I saw chatting with one of the employees?

Karen Brooks is the one you read about in the last newsletter. Guess what she was doing? Yep, sharing the gospel.

When I approached, she had just finished tying the bracelet on Antwan's wrist. He had a great big smile and so did she.

Karen spoke up, 'Antwan received Christ at the age of 13. However, when I spoke to him today, he was still trusting in his works. He understands now.'


Later, after getting my groceries and heading out of the store, I saw Antwan. Here is what he told me...(paraphrased)

'I am really glad that I got to meet Karen today. God knew that I needed to talk with her and He specifically sent her to me and it was perfect because I didn't know her.'

'It was perfect because I didn't know her...'


Isn't it interesting that many times we don't share the gospel with people because 'they don't know us?' However, here, it was that very thing that made the encounter special for Antwan.

By the way, I had seen Antwan over the last month every week when I went to the grocery store. I had done a lot of, "Praise the Lord's, and God bless you's, and God protect you" to Antwan, but had never taken the time to find out about his spiritual condition.

Thank you Karen. Great job sister.

Hebrews 10:24 admonishes us to 'provoke one another unto good works'. 2 Corinthians 9:2 lets us know that 'your zeal has provoked many.'

Well, guess what? Karen's zeal provoked this ole bird to be a little more zealous. Here is what happened next...

The grocery store I had just left had no paper towels or toilet paper. I was down to my last ten sheets of toilet paper. After a very bad joke from me about possibly having to use a 'corn cob' (lol), the store employee directed me to the Family Dollar store right next door to the grocery store.

With renewed zeal to share the gospel as a result of Karen's good work, and with a hope not to be forced to use a 'corn cob' (lol), I headed over to the Family Dollar store.

I got my toilet paper, (the paper towels were in a great big family pack so I passed), and headed to the counter.

After paying for my toilet paper, I asked the cashier, Franklin, if he wanted a free bracelet. He accepted one of our rubber ones. Then, when I asked if he would like to hear what the colors meant, he said 'yes'.

Before I shared, I had to let a gentlemen with his daughter through the line, not wanting to hold up traffic sharing the gospel. She was a little precious girl and I told her several times that Jesus loved her. Smiling, Dad seemed agreeable to my comments.

After they left, I asked Franklin if he believed in a place called Heaven. When he hesitated, I let him know that he could be completely honest with me.

So, he said, 'No.'

We talked a little and then I said, "Would you acknowledge that their might be a placed called Heaven?'

He said 'yes', and then I asked him, if Heaven did indeed exist, did he think he might get in.

As expected he said 'yes'.

Then, when I asked him "why" he thought he might get in, I also got the expected answer...

'Because I'm generally a nice guy and try to help people'

People who profess not to believe are still banking on the fact that if they are wrong, and Heaven and Hell do exist, they will in the end still be okay because 'they are generally nice and good people.'

I continued, "If there is indeed such a place, would you like for me to share with you how you can get in?"

Unexpectedly (maybe my lack of faith), Franklin said, 'Yes.'

Wasting no time since we are in a check out line, I said...

"I've lied, how bout you?"...'Yes'.

"I've stolen, and you?"....'Yes'.

"I've lusted, you?"...'Yep'. "If you'd said no, you're a liar!"...That lightened things up and got a chuckle out of him.

"I've too?"...'Yep.'

"Have you used God's name in vain like me?"...'Yeah'.

This is usually difficult to say, but for some reason I had a lot of love in my heart and I was able to say this with authority and a big smile...

"Franklin, you're a liar, thief, adulterer, murderer and blasphemer!"

"Just like me, you're not good! You're hoping that the good on your scale of justice will outweigh the bad. That's not gonna work. If you stand before a judge for a speeding ticket and say, "I didn't speed every other day of the year, only this one time, what is he going to do?"

Franklin understood, 'That won't work.'

I asked him, "Do you know what God did for you?"

Franklin knew, 'He died for me.'

I explained, "God paid your sin debt on the cross. He paid for your 'speeding ticket' and do you know what happened three days later"

Franklin knew, 'He rose again.'

I continued, "That's the receipt on the blood payment and do you know what that receipt says?"

Again he knew, 'Paid in full.'

"So, Franklin, God wants you to stop trusting yourself to get to Heaven and only trust in what He did for you."

Franklin understood. Then I asked, "Do you understand that Jesus is God?"

Surprisingly, Franklin said, 'Yes.'

"And if you put all of your trust in Him, where would you go?"


Finally, I decided to phrase the invitation differently because of Franklin initial statement of unbelief. So I said...

"When would you like to put all of your trust in Jesus?"

His answer shocked me...

'As soon as possible...'

Not having shared in a while, and still a little hesistant, I said, "Would you like to do that today?" (I still thought he might say 'no'.)


So I led Franklin in a prayer right there at the counter.

I believe right after the prayer we had to let another customer through, and then I asked him...

"What did God just do for you?"

'He came into my life.' (He said it with a little bit of hesitation, maybe he was blown away by the whole thing.)

As with the others, I finished with John 6:47 and Franklin understood that by trusting in Christ he had eternal life.

How can an apparent non-believer make a profession of faith so readily?

Well, the answer is found in Romans 1:16...

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."

What is the power of God unto salvation?

The gospel!

Share the gospel and watch what God does!

Thank Karen for the provocation...

and thank God for the salvation!