One80 Podcast Episode 72
Rick and Jane McKinney
Prayerwalk Across America

This transcript may have errors that veer from the original audio, found here:

Margaret Ereneta: Today’s One80 is 100 percent feel good inspiration. Rick and Jane McKinney grew up in different parts of the country, but their testimonies have striking similarities. God wove these stories together so these two could embark on coast to coast ministry, hand in hand, be encouraged by their story and learn some helpful evangelism tools from these experts.

 Welcome to Rick and Jane’s One80

Margaret Ereneta: hello, everybody. Thank you so much for joining us today on One80. We are privileged to have Rick and Jane McKinney, some prayer warriors you want to know about, and their testimony is really fun. 

But what’s really cool about Rick and Jane is their testimonies are really similar, even though they grew up in different communities. parts of the world. and it’s really neat how God brought them together. Thank you so much, Rick and Jane, for being on One80

Rick and Jane McKinney: Thanks. 

Margaret Ereneta: So excited to hear your story. So we like to start with a random question. So my question for you is, What type of good deed done for other people do you personally find the most rewarding?

Rick and Jane McKinney: I’m a substitute teacher at our local high school. every day loving on these kids is the best deed I could ever do. I love, uh, because I grew up in a home that didn’t have a lot of money and we still don’t have a lot of money, but one of my greatest joys is being able to help.

financially, kids that are going on mission trips. I teach at the local college here and it’s a Christian school. We have lots and lots of kids who go on mission trips from our church and from our school. And we love being able to help them. 

Margaret Ereneta: That’s awesome. Solet’s get into your stories that are so similar. So I’m just going to ask you both each question. Jane, why don’t we start with you? Where did you grow up and what was faith like as you grew up?

Rick and Jane McKinney: I grew up in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. And, I grew up in a Christian home. From a very young age, I knew about God and Jesus. we prayed before meals. We went to church every time the doors were open. and that’s how I grew up. 

Margaret Ereneta: All right. What about you?

Rick and Jane McKinney: My dad was a pastor. so my very earliest memories are of church and singing in church. And so I heard the gospel, from before I was born really in the womb. I don’t know that there was ever a time, as a child when I didn’t accept the facts of Jesus. That certainly didn’t save me, but, I knew who Jesus was. I knew who God was and I knew a little bit about them. I think there’s a wonderful blessing in that, but I think there’s there’s also a danger in that. 

Margaret Ereneta: So like Rick and Jane, there’s many of our listeners who just grew up in the church. they were seeped in the gospel and they think they don’t have a testimony. but you do have a point when faith gets real to you.

And so we’re going to talk about that with Rick and Jane and think about your story and how you can share it too because God wrote it. It’s already awesome. Why not share it? so personally you believed everything that you heard. There wasn’t a point when you weren’t convicted by what was being shared when you were young.

Rick and Jane McKinney: there was really never a doubt in my mind at that, point. I was six when I realized I needed to do something more and I actually talked to my choir director. I asked my mom and she said, why don’t you talk to Mrs. Rubel? And I said, okay. So after choir one day, I stayed and she led me through the prayer And I asked Jesus into my heart 

Margaret Ereneta: Um, and then I went and talked to the pastor and I remember he told me a story about a chair And I was only six, but I remember it so clearly.

Rick and Jane McKinney: He said, you’re sitting in a chair. And I said, yes. And he said, do you believe that chair will hold you up? And I said, yes. And he said, do you believe Jesus will keep you saved forever? And I said, yes. And he said, okay, we’re and I was baptized, quickly after that. 

Margaret Ereneta: cool. The faith of a six year old is real.

Rick and Jane McKinney: As I said, it seemed like I was always in church as a child.

And I remember, we had a guest speaker, one Sunday, his name was Arthur Walker. He was one of my Dad’s good friends. And he preached about salvation and about sin and about forgiveness. And I think that’s the first time I ever felt that little twinge in my heart that, said you need to do something about this.

There’s, a decision you need to make a, commitment you need to make. And so, a few weeks later, we used to have, when I was in first grade, we had a little early release program. on Wednesday afternoons, they would let us out of school for an hour early.

We would walk a block down to the little Baptist church on the corner. And it was kind of like a weekly Vacation Bible School. And so a couple of weeks after I had felt that first conviction, really in my heart, we, uh, had our little program.

And at the end, they didn’t always do this, but at the end of the program, uh, they asked those who would, like to follow Jesus and like to be forgiven of their sins and have a relationship with God through Christ to come down and kneel at the altar. And so I remember doing that and the pastor’s wife actually took me into a room and talked to me and I accepted Christ.

I know that it happened. I know that there was forgiveness. I always tell people that one of the reasons I know that I was saved that day is because the change I had in my attitude. 

 But I sadly have to say that like a lot of people who make decisions very early in life, it didn’t take very long for me to become a nominal believer and one that wasn’t super committed to the Lord.

Margaret Ereneta: Well, we’ll get into that. Folks, I want to tell you, you think about how idyllic it was growing up, Rick, with the program, having him learn the Bible Elsewhere, there is a program now that actually does that legally in several states. I’m going to link that in the show, just in case you’re curious and you were thinking what I was.

Oh, what if we did that again today? I just learned about it. It does happen today. So Rick, can you just continue on what happened next after that period? 

Rick and Jane McKinney: Well, I think I was very normal. Of course, you know, at a young age like that, I didn’t have the opportunity to do a lot of bad things. but I think, from the age of six to 10 or 11 or 12, it wasn’t so much doing bad things as it was not doing the right things.

 I didn’t really. I did not have a desire to pray. I didn’t really read my Bible much. I went to church and my dad was a preacher. And so I kind of assumed that that took care of it. And I was also raised in a, church and a, mindset that was kind of, okay, you’re saved now. You’re good. there’s really nothing else to do except hang around and wait until you die and go to heaven.

So I think that’s where my faith began to, I don’t know that it got weak, but it just didn’t get any stronger. It was just that salvation experience and that’s all there was to it. And of course, then as I got past that 10, 11, 12 year old stage, I began to be exposed to a lot more opportunities, to do things that were sinful and displeasing to God.

And so because all those years I hadn’t grown in my faith and I hadn’t learned to depend on God, I fell. And, I did a lot of things and I participated in a lot of things, that I shouldn’t have. not because I didn’t love God or because I wasn’t a Christian, but because I just was still a baby.

 I just had never grown. I just didn’t have any spiritual strength to overcome those temptations.

Margaret Ereneta: what about you, Jane? What about after you, accepted Christ at that young age? How did your faith work out when you were

Rick and Jane McKinney: Again, it was very similar to Rick’s. I grew up in a church where, everybody just went to church. And, all my friends went to church and that’s just how it was, 

As I got into the youth group and we were challenged a little more, biblically And then, Oklahoma has this fabulous youth camp called Falls Creek. It’s huge. Every year we would, my friends and I would go down and, you know, rededicate our life and come back and we would be the same.

and it was like everybody in Oklahoma just calls it the False Creek ExperienceAnd so even that didn’t stick. but, I was probably, 13. I was sitting in church and I just knew I had to do something. And so, I went down and I truly rededicated my life.

And that’s when it changed, for me. And I started reading my Bible more and, getting more with the program.

Margaret Ereneta: So what happened after that, after you rededicated for real this time? 

Rick and Jane McKinney: of course I wasn’t ever perfect, and still didn’t grow a whole lot because I didn’t have a whole lot of help at church. to be quite honest, the best thing that ever happened to me was when I went to college and I met Rick.

And we began to have Bible study together. He taught me so much and we learned so much together. And that’s really when, when everything changed. Yeah.

Margaret Ereneta: Great. Well, let’s go back to Rick because we had left you at, you’re still making bad choices. 

Rick and Jane McKinney: It’s so interesting to me because our life’s really, um, we’re so much the same even though we were separated by so many miles. when I was 13, there was a group that came and visited our area from Texas and it was just at the, beginning stages of the Jesus movement. and Texas was one of those places like California that was just exploding with youth who were excited about Jesus.

And this youth group came from Texas and spent a week in our area and we were with them every day. It was during the summer with them every evening. And it didn’t take very long for me to realize that these kids had some kind of relationship with Jesus that I did not have. They were passionate about they talked about Jesus constantly. They were carrying their Bibles around with them. and I never got the feeling that it was just because they were on a mission trip. I really felt like it was a deep, commitment that they had that was bringing about this change in their life. And so at the end of that week, they presented, the very first, contemporary Christian musical called Good News.

Good News. And, at the end of good news, they gave an invitation. And during that invitation, I walked forward, along with just about everyone in my youth group. And we committed our life to do whatever we had to do to have that kind of passionate relationship with Jesus. And for me, that was a much more, um, outwardly transformative decision than my decision to follow Christ because I wasn’t involved in a lot of sin.

I wasn’t a bad kid. I didn’t you know, I didn’t have a long record. I didn’t have a rap sheet with God. You know, I just was a regular, first grader. But by the time I was 13, I did have a record. And when God changed my heart that night, I It was so radical. I have never been the same since that night.

 I have never left that passion that I have for Jesus since that night. it revolutionized my life. It changed my life. I instantly, couldn’t get enough of God’s word. I couldn’t pray enough. I began to share Jesus with my friends that fall. When I went back to school, I was such an evangelist and we would go out and share Jesus with people on the street and knock on people’s doors and tell them about Jesus.

We’d go to the beach and one day when I was about 15, we went to the local lake and they had a little beach area there and there was a motorcycle gang there and I remember just boldly walking up to this motorcycle gang and sharing Jesus with them and talking about Christ and there was no fear.

I wasn’t afraid. 

In my high school, uh, we began to share and the other members of my youth group that had made that same commitment that night began to share. And by the time we graduated from high school, I graduated from high school at 16. By the time we graduated from high school, Almost everyone in our senior class had become Christians.

I spoke at graduation My best friend, Scott, spoke at graduation because he was the class president and my dad was asked to sermon. And when people left the graduation that night, they said, it feels more like we’ve been to church than a high school graduation.

Margaret Ereneta: that’s great. 

Rick and Jane McKinney: And so, I went to college, started college at 16. Jane was 18, regular age.

yeah, before you go to college, I just want to say this is a when faith gets real story and you just heard that right there. They’re both of them had this moment when faith gets real. It’s different for everybody, but when you grow up in the church, just remember that you do have a testimony to share.

Margaret Ereneta: So now let’s go to college, 

Rick and Jane McKinney: I’ll start it and let Jane finish the story. , I was very young. I went with my two best friends, Scott and his cousin Jeff. And, I moved almost a thousand miles away from home to go to college.

and I met Jane the second week of February.

Our freshman year. And, um, I’ll let her tell the story. my best friend, or one of my friends, Patty, had met Scott. And, she said he has two other friends from Ohio and I think you would like one of them. I didn’t know which one. So, they were going to a football game that night, 

And, so her and I were, were sitting under a tree that they had to walk by to get back into campus. And she goes, Here they come, 

And, Jeff, He had already been in the army. And he was 23, I think? 24. 24, when they came to, uh, school, but he was very, uh, youthful looking, and Rick, he just looked older, so I gravitated toward Rick, and we talked till curfew.

Margaret Ereneta: Nice. 

Rick and Jane McKinney: And she actually went in that night and told her dorm director that she had just met the man she was going to marry. And of course her dorm director tried to calm her down. You’re a freshman. You don’t really know. but one of the things we shared that night was Jane said she felt like she had been called by God to be a pastor’s wife.

And so, I think that was affirmation for her, that. we were on the right track and, we fell in love right away. And, it was two years before we got married, but two years, but, that’s not very long. We got married between our sophomore and junior year.

Margaret Ereneta: so you’re both in the word now. 

Rick and Jane McKinney: We are in the word. and we found a church to go to together right away. And then not long after that, a little church. outside of Oklahoma City called him to be their youth pastor. And so that was, his first official church job. 

Margaret Ereneta: Wow. 

Rick and Jane McKinney: I was actually younger than some of the seniors in high school when I took that job.

So it was a little intimidating. Um, but it was, it was a great first experience for the most part. 

Margaret Ereneta: So how did you get the call to be a pastor? 

Rick and Jane McKinney: as soon as I made that decision when I was 13 and I started to get into the word.

it took about a year after that decision. when I was 14, I just, knew that I would never be able to be happy doing anything but preaching.

And so when I was 14 I took my dad’s hand and I said, dad, I feel like God wants me to be a preacher.

My dad began to sow into my life more. He began to, let me go through his sermon books, which I still have. he started taking me to, meetings with him and conventions and, just really training me up. And he started to let me preach right away. I preached my first sermon on a Wednesday night, when I was 14 years old.

and I knew that it was right. as soon as I preached that first sermon, I knew this was right. And so I got lots of opportunities to preach at our church. And then people began to hear me and they began inviting me for youth. Revivals and to fill in when pastors were on vacation. By the time I went to college at 16, the summer before I left for school, I preached every night of the summer except for one.

Margaret Ereneta: Oh my word. 

Rick and Jane McKinney: so by the time I met Jane, I’ve been preaching for two and a half years or so and I’d preached hundreds of times and it was my life and it’s still my life. I enjoy preaching and teaching more than anything else we do.

Margaret Ereneta: Don’t you love it, Jane? Being a pastor’s wife. It’s a hard job. I do. I do. Yeah, you love it. You were called to it. But to be on the pedestal like that and. Be the example is hard. 

Rick and Jane McKinney: it is. Yeah. Do you want to hear that real quick of how I called?

In New Mexico, there was, a fabulous, conference center called Glorietta. And our church would, every year would send teams to Glorietta for different weeks. They had like Sunday School Week, Music Week, Missions Week, whatever. And our family went several times. And one night, and again, I have no idea what the sermon was about.

 but I went down front and, to talk to the lady that was standing there and she said, Do you want to be a missionary? And I said, Yes. No. And she said, Well, why have you come? Because at that point, the only thing women could do, that you surrendered your life to was to be a missionary.

And I said, I’m supposed to be a pastor’s wife. And she said, Oh, okay. So that’s when I surrendered to be a pastor’s wife. I think I was nine, ten.

Margaret Ereneta: Wow, it’s a special calling, And that’s really, cool that you both were called. so you did go on to be a senior pastor for many years, Rick,

Rick and Jane McKinney: yeah, we, we have a wide variety of ministry experience, but most of our 52 years together, I’ve served in some capacity on a church staff. I started as youth pastor. I’ve been interim pastors, when churches needed to fill in between pastors, I’ve been senior pastor, I’ve worked with college students, I’ve worked with senior adults.

 worked with children, And so, we’ve been in one kind of pastorate or another, most of our ministry together. We did spend seven years in full time evangelism.

uh, where we traveled all over the world. 

So we, we lived on the road for seven years and, um, that was a really awesome part of our ministry as well because we got to minister to a lot of pastors. 

we’ve done all those things and most of them have been smaller churches, but we’ve had some bigger churches too.

And we’ve seen lots and lots of people come to Jesus and lots and lots of baptisms. And my ministry has always been to the people who have fallen between the cracks. I always said I was a misfit and I’m a pastor to the misfits. 

 I’ve always felt like that was a special calling I had and always tell churches when I interview for a pastor’s job, I always say, look, if you call me as your pastor, here’s what’s going to happen. People are going to start coming to this church who don’t look like you. They don’t dress like you.

They don’t smell like you. They don’t talk like you. and if that’s not okay with you, please don’t call me as your pastor because that’s who I’m called to reach. I’m not called to reach the religious folks who already are set in their ways. God has called me uh, lead the church to reach out to people who aren’t being reached.

Margaret Ereneta: And I’ve always had a heart for them and for the homeless and for, the addicted and the broken hearted and the apartment dwellers and the welfare recipients and all those people. And that’s where most of our ministry has been for 50 years,is reaching out to those people who, who normally don’t get reached out to by the church because the church, unfortunately in a lot of cases doesn’t really want them to be there.sad. So your seven years of evangelism on the road kind of gave you some experience for this unique call that you had later. So do you want to talk about how you got called to what the unique job was that you did? Yeah, I did. Hmmm.

Rick and Jane McKinney: Big build up. Actually it was in that period of time near the end of that period of seven years on the road we were doing, extended meetings, revival meetings and conferences, and I was teaching and preaching and we were singing and. I was studying one night, I’d been preaching all that year on reclaiming America.

And so I had a series of sermons that started with reclaiming your own life and reclaiming your family, reclaiming your church, reclaiming your community. And the last sermon was always on reclaiming America, reclaiming our nation for Christ. And I was studying in Joshua chapter one.

And, I read the verse that said, every place you put the sole of your foot, you can claim for me. And I was the only one in the room, but I heard a voice. I don’t always hear audible voices when no one’s there, but that night I did. And the voice said, do you believe that? And I said, do I believe that that happened?

Yes. I believe you said that to Joshua. And so this conversation with God started and he said, no, do you believe the principle? That every place you put the sole of your foot, you can claim. And I had to think about that a little bit, but I, I said, I think I do. He said, well, what do you wanna reclaim? And I said, our nation, he said, how much of it?

And I said, all of it. He said, then put the sole of your foot down from one side of it to the other. And that was the call. It took me several weeks to. work up the courage to tell Jane what God had said. she received that call graciously like she always does. And, we began to prepare. We prepared for that whole year.

we walked about 1500 miles the year before we walked across America, preparing and learning about shoes and socks and rain weather gear and all those kinds of things, talking to people who’d done long walks. And then on January 1st, 2006, We took our first steps from Santa Monica Pier and we walked 20 miles a day, six days a week for six months and walked into Washington, D.

C. across the bridge from Arlington Memorial Cemetery to the Lincoln Memorial on July 4th of that year, six months later. 2, 770 miles and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of conversations. with people about Jesus. Uh, lots of prayers. And, it was really, I think the most amazing adventure of our lives.

Margaret Ereneta: And you did write a book about that, which I will definitely link in the show notes. Folks, can you tell us the name of that book?

Rick and Jane McKinney: And so we walked.

Margaret Ereneta: That’s great. Can you tell us a story about that walk?

Rick and Jane McKinney: Sure. 

 Probably one of my favorite stories is a couple that we met in Flagstaff, Arizona. Their names were Will and Linnea and, we actually saw them four times, which is very unusual when you’re walking, a straight line across America. we met them, um, one day and talked with them.

They were obviously homeless. They were young, they were struggling. why don’t you pick it up from here? we asked him if we could pray with them and they said yes.

And so we got in a little circle right there on route 66 and Flagstaff and prayed for them. When we got done praying, we looked up and we saw that Linnea was crying they were trying to get enough money together to get a motel room that night so that they could get off the street.

Hey thanks for listening to One80, make sure to share Today’s One80 with your people. It may be the best news that they hear today. Now back to the show.

Rick and Jane McKinney: so we gave them a few dollars and, and a card and we said, if you need anything, call us. We had a 1 800 number people could call us anywhere along the walk. So, the next day, it was Saturday, so we walked a short day that day. And we were driving into town to try to find a place to worship that Sunday.

And there they were, and they saw us and we beeped our horn and they started running after the van. So we pulled off and we met with them again. They said, Hey, uh, we were able to get a room last night and, we’ve gotten a little temporary job washing dishes at the university here in town. And.

Margaret Ereneta: Hmm.

Rick and Jane McKinney: So we said, congratulations.

That’s great. We gave him a hug and prayed with them again that afternoon they called and they said, would you be able to come pick us up from work tonight? We don’t have a way to get back to the room. and it was way past our bedtime because when you’re, when you’re walking 20 miles a day, you go to bed about eight o’clock and get up about four.

And so I said, sure. It was 11 o’clock at night. We stopped and bought them separate jack in a box and took them back to the little room. And I cried when we got to the room, just seeing how awful it was where they were spending the night. And we said, Hey, tomorrow morning we’re going to be at this church and they’re going to allow us to speak and talk about the walker across America.

You guys are welcome to come. And, we never thought we’d see him again. and that Sunday morning we pulled in, they were sitting on the curb waiting for us and they went into church with us. It’s just an amazing thing. I think the most interesting part of the story was when we were giving him a ride home that night from work, we wondered why they were, homeless, what the situation was.

You never know. And Will said, I called my mom today. And Jane said later, her first thought was, well, if you’re talking to your mom, why are you homeless? Why don’t you go home? And, uh, he said, I I told her about meeting you guys. And she said, Oh, well, I’m so glad they’re an answer to prayer.

I’ve been praying that God would send someone to tell you about Jesus. And we heard stories like that all across America, knowing that God had ordered our steps in such a way that we had these divine appointments that when we met somebody who was crossing the street at the same time, or a waitress who was waiting on us in a restaurant or someone who happened to be walking along the road like we were.

we knew those weren’t accidental. We knew they weren’t coincidental. They were all orchestrated by God so that we would be there exactly when they were there so that we could share Jesus with them, pray for them. And some of those folks came to Jesus right there on the roads. and we’ll spend eternity with them, because of what God had arranged to happen and to use two unlikely people who were not athletic at all, um, to walk across America.

it was quite an amazing thing. And I’ve always said, I’m sure we weren’t the first people that God asked to walk across America to pray for the nation and to share Jesus. But we may have been the first ones who said yes. 

 that’s the story. it also transformed our life.

And we never, you never look at people the same. We prayed before we started that God would help us to see people the way Jesus saw people. Don’t ever pray that prayer unless you want your heart to be turned inside out. Because every time you look at people and you see them the way Jesus sees it breaks your heart because you don’t see who they are. You see who they can become in Jesus. And that is a radical, radical thing. And it just makes me so, consumed with telling as many people as I can about Jesus, because, he can revolutionize and change their life and transform it in a way that’s good.

And at this point in our life, the writing of the books has just become so amazing and so important because this is a way that we can help other people know how to share Jesus. And it’s everybody’s responsibility. It’s not just the preacher’s responsibility. I shouldn’t say responsibility.

We have all have the privilege of sharing this good news with people. Right. And, I think. So many Christians I know forget how good the news really is. And, if we were convinced of how good it was, I think we’d be much more apt to share it, on a more consistent basis.

Margaret Ereneta: so, what would you say? what if I’m the homeless person, you’re just, doing your prayer walk, and I I’m right there, how would you interact with me?

Rick and Jane McKinney: it would probably be me because, I would talk to the women first. I’d say, Hi, what’s your name And Hi Margaret.

I’m Jane. and then you would probably say, what are you doing? And I would say, we’re just out here walking. across America, but today we happen to be walking here in Kentucky and, I see you’re, sitting here.

Is there something I can pray with you about? do you have any needs? and then. you know, depending on what you say. I would say, because I believe in prayer and I believe that Jesus can answer my prayers. Do you believe that? And then just go from there. and sometimes they say yes.

And I say, that’s great. so you have Jesus in your life sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t. And then you say, well, I can tell you how you can do that. I can, share with you what Jesus did for you and just kind of go from there.

Margaret Ereneta: So, the sharing with what Jesus did for me, can you

Rick and Jane McKinney: absolutely. a long time ago there was a man named Jesus who was actually God’s son and God sent him to the world and he came for one purpose and that was to save all of us. And then you might say, save me from what? And I would say, all of us have sin in our life, Margaret. We have all done bad things, and we know in our hearts that, that’s not right.

And so, when Jesus came, He offered to die in our place, because if He didn’t, we would have to die for our sin. And, the Bible’s very clear on that. It says the wages or the payment for sin is death, and somebody has to die. And Jesus offered to do that for us. And he did. He died on the cross and all we have to do is accept his gift and believe that he did that.

 and you know what, Margaret? He didn’t stay dead. He rose from the dead on the third day. And then he went back to heaven. But he sent someone to help us. And that someone is called the Holy Spirit. And he lives in me. And when you believe in Jesus, he can live in you too. And he can help you, even in your life, the way you are now.

 and he wants to do that. he sent me here to meet you. Isn’t that amazing? Oh, good. I can tell you how.

Margaret Ereneta: How? Please tell me.

Rick and Jane McKinney: all you have to do is just believe that he died for you. Do you believe that?

Margaret Ereneta: Yes.

Rick and Jane McKinney: And then you need to tell him that you’re sorry that you’ve sinned. And then you need to, accept his gift and say, Jesus, I want to live for you from now on. And then he will, he will forgive you and he will come into your life and he will be with you forever.

And guess what, Margaret? Even though I’m I am walking on today. I will see you in heaven. Is that so cool? Hehehehe

Margaret Ereneta: Thank 

you. I really appreciate talking us through that. Some of our listeners 

Rick and Jane McKinney: may not, know. 

Margaret Ereneta: people who’ve grown up in the church, they’ve heard the story. They know that Jesus died on the cross, but they’re not comfortable saying that to somebody else. we live in a culture where. it has become very inappropriate.

Rick and Jane McKinney: as far as the world is concerned to judge or to give the impression that we’re saying we’re better than somebody else or that somebody who, who isn’t a Christian is going to hell. we live in a culture that has, made people feel so bad about the truth. the spiritual truth that Christians have become very reluctant.

To cross that line and to share Jesus. But what we found is that when we talk to people, we talk to people about how much God loves them, how God will accept them, how God will give them an eternal home in heaven about what God has purpose for their life. And not so much about, if you don’t do this, you’re going to go to hell.

 that’s the truth of the matter. But, what we want people to be drawn to is the way that Jesus loved them so much that he gave himself for them and to respond in like by loving him back. and I think that’s the key. there’s a balance between telling people the truth and telling people the good news that is associated with the truth, that the wages of sin is death.

Because the rest of that verse says, but the gift of God is eternal life. And so you have to keep the balance right. And you have to make sure that you’re telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, but telling it in a way that, draws people to him rather than repels people away from him.

I think most diehard sinners already know they’re going to hell. Um, they already know there’s an eternal consequence for their sin.

They may joke about it and they may say, Oh, I’m going to have a good time there. But that’s a way of deflecting they know that they deserve punishment.

They know that they’re sinners, but they don’t understand how they can move from that place to the place that God has designed for them called salvation, where they can be in relationship with an eternal God through his son, Jesus Christ. And that’s what our responsibility and our privileges is to tell them what the path is.

that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, that there’s no other way. God has been gracious enough to give us that way. and if we choose that path and go down that road, that narrow road, there’s life at the end of it and there’s life in the middle of it. Uh, it’s not just pie in the sky when we die, but it’s an abundant life that Jesus promised us now.

 and that doesn’t mean that a homeless person won’t be homeless anymore. But here’s what I would tell you, Margaret, if I met you on the street and you did accept Jesus that day, I would say, now, Margaret, You need to find a church, or a mission somewhere, someone that you can tell what you’ve done today.

You need to share it with somebody else, and then you need to, find other people who have made this decision as well. And, you know, your life may not change physically radically today, but it may. but your eternal life has, and you need people to share that with. you can’t just make baby Christians along the way and then leave them, on the street.

You try to give as much instruction as you can, knowing that you’ve got to walk on, but also trusting that just like God had in the divine appointment for us to meet Anthony, he also has divine appointments for other people to meet Anthony, to disciple him and to grow him. it’s all in God’s plan. God, God won’t ever leave a baby stranded.

He will always bring people. If we’re obedient, to those babies to help them grow and to nurture them and to get them to the place of maturity where they can begin to share the gospel with other people it was an amazing adventure to see how God ordained our steps, how he prepared people’s hearts.

I think in the whole walk in the hundreds of people we talked to, I think there were only. Maybe two or three people who were not receptive to the gospel. Most people wanted to hear about Jesus. 

And people asked us to send them Bibles, people called us after the walk on our 1 800 number. some people we talked to for months, we sent them food.

Some of those homeless people, we took 5 McDonald’s gift cards with us every day. And when we met those homeless people who didn’t have anything to eat, we gave them McDonald’s gift cards and we told them that we were doing this in the name of Jesus. We were doing this because Jesus had loved and blessed us and we wanted to love and bless them the way Jesus loves them.

And um, that tangible way of showing people that God loves them is, very, very powerful.

Margaret Ereneta: You know what is cool about your story too is there’s this lie today that we’re not supposed to share Jesus with strangers. We’re supposed to have a relationship with them first. Can you talk about that because clearly these are all strangers. 

Rick and Jane McKinney: Right. I’m sorry. I don’t believe that. Well, I get the point. I get the point. And there are some people that you will be more successful sharing Jesus with whom you have a relationship with. There’s truth in that. But if I wait to build a relationship with every person I encounter, I’m going to tell very few people about Jesus.

And so. Many times when I pull up to the gas pump and I start pumping gas in my car and there’s someone standing across the island from me pumping gas in their car, I don’t have time to build a relationship with them. But I do have time to start a conversation with them. And so many times it’s a very kind of innocuous conversation, very innocent question.

I’ll say, man, this is great weather. Have you enjoying the day? it doesn’t have to be something that sounds churchy or religious or even use the name of Jesus in that first sentence. I sometimes, comment on somebody’s cross or crucifix that they’re wearing around their neck.

I’ll say, Hey, I noticed you’re wearing a cross around your neck. What does that mean to you? Does that represent anything to you? well, no, it’s just a piece of jewelry. Well, you know, there’s really more to it than that. 

 there’s time for that conversation while two cars were filling up with gas. I don’t know that person. 

I don’t have a relationship with them. The most important thing,is not my having a relationship with other people.

the most important thing is them having a relationship with Jesus. And so however that presents itself, whatever opportunity God gives me,I need to take advantage of that opportunity to make sure that I do everything in my power to give them the opportunity to have that relationship with Jesus.

 One of my favorite stories on the whole walk. Uh, we were in, Winslow, Arizona,

 we had seen a young native American man. When we first entered town, he wouldn’t respond to us at all. His head was down. And when we got done walking for the day, we were headed back to the van to drive back to camp. And we noticed this man was standing by the welcome to Winslow sign. It was kind of a monument.

So we walked up, called out to him and said, Uh, is everything okay? And he turned around, we noticed he was crying. And, um, he’s a native American, uh, Navajo man who was homeless living under the interstate bridge, which was just a few hundred feet from where we were standing.

And he said, I was just remembering. And he went on to explain that he had been part of the Navajo Job Corps that went to New York City after, 9 11 and helped clean up the debris. And he said, my job was to sift through the rubble and find bodies. And he said, I was just, Remembering, because this monument is made from two steel beams from the World Trade Centers.

And so we began to share with him and talk to him about Jesus. And, uh, we asked him if there was anything he needed. And he said, I’m very hungry. And I said, well, there’s a truck stop right across the street here. They have a buffet. Let me take you over there and buy you lunch. And so, I walked him over and Jane went back to the van.

And, as we were walking over, uh, his name was Rick. And he said, um, they won’t let me eat inside. We’ll have to get it to go. And I said, why not? And he said, because I’m homeless and because I’m an Indian. And so I walked in and I told the cashier, I said, I’d like to buy my friend Rick here at the buffet for lunch.

And she immediately reached under the counter for a to go container. And I said, no ma’am, he doesn’t want to eat it to go. He wants to eat it right here like everybody else. And I was very insistent and I waited long enough for Rick to get his meal and sit down at the table and, said goodbye and, and left When we got home from the walk talked to, uh, a church one Sunday about the walk, and I told that story.

It happened to be the Sunday they were taking communion. And, when one of the elders prayed for the communion, they said. Lord, I thank you that at your table, there are no to go containers. And I love telling that story because for us, that really sums up the walk. It sums up our ministry.

 it sums up what God has called us to do. we’re not called to fix to go containers for people to hand out. We are called to invite people to the table. When that’s your attitude, everything changes. because you see the table as the place where you meet people, so that they can meet Jesus.

Margaret Ereneta: so folks, We have tools for you if you want to talk to strangers. We have cards for all of the One80 shows. If there’s a favorite show of yours, just let us know. We’ll send you cards. You can hand out cards when you’re sitting in the, airport next to somebody or anywhere, you can hand them a One80 card.

They can listen to Rick and Jane story or any story you want. just wanted to let you know, that’s a simple, uh, evangelism tool. You can share other people’s testimonies and it’s a great way to share Jesus with someone. Just hand them a card and they can look at the show on their, at their leisure, anytime with a QR code.

Rick and Jane McKinney: that’s wonderful.

Margaret Ereneta: Thank you so much for, sharing your story and, and. telling us about evangelism. Testimonies are a great evangelism tool and you’ve given us some other great evangelism tools. I will link your bookson our show notes so that people can get more wisdom from Rick and Jane and all the evangelism that they have learned along the way and shared freely with others.

So thank you so much for that and I really appreciate your time today.

Rick and Jane McKinney: you, it was great to be with you. Thank you.

Margaret Ereneta: We hope you enjoyed today’s show. To send us off, we have Blind Tony who has a poem prayer for the nation in honor of Rick and Jane’s story. Please enjoy.

Blind Tony: You know sometimes I stop and take a close look at our nation and it fills me with a lot of anxiety, fear, and consternation. But the Bible says we should pray and not think. And not to really concentrate on all the things the country ain’t. Because the effectual fervent prayer of the righteous availeth much.

Especially when things seem to be getting so out of touch. So father, please give us the wisdom to seek your face. Shower us with favor, mercy, love, and grace. Let your Holy Spirit fill this place and all our fears and anxieties, please erase. Because you tell us father, that if we humble ourselves, turn from our wicked ways, seek your face and pray that you would allow us to see a better day.

So on our knees, father, teach us how to stand. Because we need you, Father, to please heal the land.