Saturday, September 30, 2006freeeezing c-c-cold!!!
It's had been awhile, but we finally made it out for our Friday night street preaching ministry. It "good" to be back at it. I say "good" because, let's face it, things aren't too good for evangelists in these dark days, but it definitely is good to serve the Lord by working at the Great Commission. I am also thankful for the protection and the utterance the Lord provided for us tonight.
It was seriously cold out tonight. Every year is the same: at the beginning of Fall, I always wind up terribly under dressed on the street, and then I get to spend 3 hours shivering in the cold. The temperature dropped down to 5 degrees Celsius tonight (that's 41 degrees Fahrenheit for my American readers), so yes, I froze in my little Fall jacket.
The cold probably kept a lot of the usual marketplace crowd at home tonight, because it was pretty quiet all night long tonight. There was a steady enough stream of people, but nothing like the myriads of souls we've seen in the summer months. Now, I'm not complaining... I'm definitely not complaining. While having large crowds is good in that we have more people to preach to, it also means that the mockery, the cursings and the possibility of violence is seriously increased. On a night like tonight though, things were pretty tame and under control. Praise God.
Here are some lingering memories of our time out:
Why does he always speak English?
A group of Francophones walked by me tonight as I was preaching. For the record, I almost always preach in English since I represent an English local church; I do preach in French from time to time, when I see that I'm dealing with a mostly French audience. Anyway, as the group walked by me, one of the women raised the following complaint:
"Pourquoi est-ce-qu'il ne parle pas en français celui-là ? On l'écouterait peut-être bien!" (translation: why doesn't he ever speak in French? Perhaps we'd listen to him if he did!)
Well! I wasn't going to let that "hypocrisy test" just walk by. I looked at the women and said:
"Restez une minute, madame, et je vais vous parler en français; ça m'ennurais pas du tout!" (translation: Just stay a minute, miss, and I will speak to you in French, it won't bother me one bit)
They all rejected my offer by laughing me to scorn. They didn't even slow their walk. Still, I'm glad I called this woman out for her hypocrisy. I'm glad I showed to everyone watching that she was without excuse: the preacher was there, he was willing to share the Gospel of Life with her, and she said: "No."
The Lord be deal with this woman as He sees fit.
Dealing properly with the false teacher:
A man walked by me, again, as I was preaching the Gospel and asked me:
"What kind of Christian are you?"
"I'm a Baptist by denomination," I answered directly.
"We're Jehovah's Witnesses," he replied pointing to his companion.
The man just stood there, as if he was waiting to see how I would respond to that piece of information. Knowing that the Bible warns Christians about dealing with false teachers, I just said:
"Well, I've been to the "kingdom hall" for a number of months, and in the end, I just didn't buy this "New World translation", I don't believe it's a faithful translation."
"What Bible do you use?" he asked calmly.
"I use the King James version, as in the Received Texts."
"Alright," the man answered.
And that was it. It was great. No striving about words to no profit, no vain babblings (2 Timothy 2:14-26). I gave him ONE key matter that divided my faith from his, and that was it. Going any further would have been a complete waste of time, so long as he clung to his false religion, and praise be to God, he didn't even try to argue his nonsense.
Let us pray that this poor soul will, as I have, start to question the veracity of his fraudulent Bible version, which isn't based on any legitimate texts. Let us pray for the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit.
One tender heart:
Just a few seconds after that French group left me, their mocking laughter still in the background, an older woman walked up to me and asked:
"Are those people making fun of you?"
I then explained what had just transpired and shrugged my shoulders in resignation. The woman seemed perplexed.
"I don't understand," she said. "You're not doing anything wrong. Why are they mocking you? You're just speaking of your faith, something you truly believe in, and that's a good thing. Why don't these people just leave you alone if they don't want to hear what you have to say?"
I must admit, I was kind of touched by this stranger's empathy. I assured her that the others had not caused any hurt feelings on my part, and that she shouldn't bother herself too much over this incident.
"Well, okay," she replied. "Keep on speaking. You're doing something good here."
If she isn't already a sister-in-the-Lord, I pray that, as she had been gracious towards me, the Lord would show her great kindness, grace and mercy.
And that's the notes for tonight. I should already be in bed, tomorrow my church is having a hike in the mountains and a picnic; I don't want to be tired for all that outdoor activity.
Goodnight, dear readers,