Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 1:13)
Friday Night Notes
Saturday, January 27, 2007
and then there's Rand...
It was cold tonight. Real cold. I again found myself debating whether I should be going out for the customary Friday night of evangelism in the marketplace, but a sense of duty, and genuine empathy for my fellow man got me out there. Depending who you asked, the temperature was a balmy -18 to -22 degrees Celsius (that's 0 to -8 degrees Fahrenheit)
, so I seriously bundled up: three layers of warm clothing from top to bottom, plus two winter jackets. All this kept me relatively warm for close to two hours.
There were more people in the market than I thought there would be. I distributed a fair number of Bible tracts and had a few short conversations (mostly with young people)
, so it was a profitable night of evangelism. In the words of my pastor (who still was unable to come out with me due to poor health)
: "if nothing else, Rand, God was glorified in the marketplace tonight."
Amen to that.
The Lord really impressed on my heart tonight, the plight of carnal men and women. Too often, on our evangelistic efforts, the people are just one big blur to me... a big blur of blasphemy, cursing and all manner of violence, but not tonight. Here is some of what I witnessed:
-I saw a couple walking in front of me. Clearly, the man was excited at being out with his companion. He held her hand and caressed her several times. The woman, though, seemed somewhat cold, or perhaps even annoyed at her mate's displays of affection. I thought to myself: "poor fellow, I remember the vexation of heart that came with giving someone affection only to have a hard heart as a response."
-A few minutes later, one of the street beggars walked up to me complaining that my preaching was disturbing his requests for money. Without getting annoyed, and keeping a right attitude, I told the beggar that I had purposefully chosen my present preaching area as to not get "in his face". I was a good distance away from him. I told him I was declaring the Gospel of Jesus and that I figured he didn't want me to disturb his begging with my message, so out of respect, I kept my distance. My respectful tone and explanation of the situation totally disarmed the beggar. He walked away saying that he respected me also, and that he would bother me no more.
-An hour later, I saw a by-law officer give parking tickets to two vehicles parked in a no-stop zone right across from where I was preaching the Gospel. Over the 6 years I have been a street evangelist, I have seen countless people get tickets on that section of the market. Some parked there without noticing the "no-stop sign", others, being fully aware of the sign, still chose to park there. In some cases I actually called from the other side of the street, explaining that if they left their car there, they would be ticketed, but to no avail. In all cases, the vehicle owners got a nasty fine. They were charged because they ignored and/or rejected the instruction of a "no park sign".
I carry a sign
with me when I preach. A Bible verse is on that sign
. A Bible verse that speaks of God's salvation and the need for faith and repentance. That sign
is also ignored and rejected by most. I call out to them, warning them of the day when we will all have to answer for our lives and what we have done with the Gospel... but to no avail.
On this particular night, the owners of the vehicles showed up and they weren't too pleased with the parking tickets on their windshields. One of them actually spat on the piece of paper. "Even with full knowledge that they are guilty," I thought, "there is no remorse, no taking of responsibility; just a juvenile and irrational hatred of the law."
-Again, a short time later, I saw a young lady, standing in front of a mirror in one of the market's shops. She was adjusting her skin-tight blouse, making sure that she was showing off enough cleavage. She repeatedly pulled on that top, and then looked at every possible angle of her body in the mirror. "God has given her a lovely body," I thought, "and the foolish woman uses it as an instrument of evil." I watched her walk away, no doubt, to go a whoring. How sad.
After watching this carnival of wickedness, I walked back towards my pastor's house, passing by several souls who were lined up to get into a wicked dance club and that's when I thought:
"And then, there's me..."
I was once as they were, carnal and self-centered in all my thoughts and doings; but tonight, I was out in freezing temperatures (by that point, I couldn't feel my toes)
, with a clumsy Bible sign, declaring the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As I walked away from the market, I praised God for what He had done in my life. I praised Him for all the riches He has showered upon me, and the wisdom and protection He had provided for me to never squander them. I praised Him for the woman He had given me who never tires of my affection, and I praised Him for the chaste and modest attitude He has worked in her heart (which is a woman's true beauty)
. I praised Him for giving me faith; for not allowing me to continue in spiritual blindness to the destruction of my soul. I praised and thanked Him for my salvation in Christ Jesus.
As I drove back home, my thoughts brought me back to the obvious question: "why me?" A question that I sincerely doubt any of God's saints will ever get an answer for, but how can I not wonder?"O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen." (Romans 11:33-36)
Have a good weekend, dear readers, and a blessed Lord's Day.
Labels: Friday evangelism
It was good to read your report. It is 6 in the morning in Quebec City. I am always reading your post the first thing when I wake up on saturday morning. As a fellow street preacher, I am always interested to read your experiences.
I know what it is to preach on the street at such weather! Brrrrrrr....
Brrrrrr.... for our poor fingers and for our poor toes, and for our poor everything else...
I also appreciate your last thoughts about the LORD's grace toward us poor sinners. I am sure that I could be like those we see when we preach: indifferent to spiritual realities and hell and complete slave to sin.
We love you Rand! The LORD loves you infinitely Rand! Keep on the good work. We are very fervently praying for you EVERY DAY without exception!
May our great GOD bless you and give you precious souls.
Sounds like a freezing, but worthwhile night. Funny how the no parking spot is such a perfect picture of what is going on when they reject your message too.
Have a great weekend.
Take care, eh!
Rand, it was really good to read this post. I'm glad God is encouraging you as you keep on for Him.
It was good to see you guys today. Someday we'll have to have you all over for supper so we can have more time to talk.
Have a good Lord's Day!
No Notes Tonight
Friday, January 19, 2007
so much sickness this year...
My pastor is still recovering from a nasty cough, and me... well I got a throat ache. Preaching would have been near impossible.
So plenty of tea, warm soup, and I'm going to spend some more time laying on the couch, pretending to be dying (that's how men get sympathy and cuddling from their wives)
Have a good weekend,
More Romanist Folly
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
You couldn't make this stuff up if you tried:http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,244233,00.html
You know, I've spent the last few weeks showing the folly of the charismatic movement. It is folly, but I can understand how a young Christian can fall into this error. I can see how one can be presented with passages in Acts and the Corinthian epistles and come out thinking they should be speaking in tongues and working all manner of supernatural gift.
Friday Night Notes
Saturday, January 13, 2007
taking it all in stride...
I was a bit tired tonight, so going out for our customary 3 hours of street evangelism didn't appeal to my flesh too much. I comforted myself by thinking: "well, both brother Laz and pastor Tim will be with you tonight, everything should go smoothly." But when I got to church, brother Laz wasn't there (he had to take care of his son tonight)
, and pastor Tim was down with a really bad cough.
"I'm afraid it'll be just you and Jesus tonight, Rand," my pastor said.
So much for an easy night.
The Lord really helped me through the night though. I managed to preach for nearly 2 hours, and I put in another hour distributing Gospel literature all over downtown. And none of it seemed to be overly burdensome. I was a real "easy-going" evangelist tonight. I was reviled a few times (people screaming that God was dead, that I should go home, that I'm soooo stoopid... etc...)
, I had trash thrown at me (twice)
, and I had my old drunken foe, Matthew, staring me down across the street from where I was preaching. But through it all, I never once lost my cool, or allowed any place to discouragement.
Thank you, Lord.
Not too many conversations tonight. It began to rain half way through my time of evangelism, so people weren't too inclined to stand around to hear the Gospel, or to ask questions. I did give out a tract to a young, very drunk lady who said she had read the Bible verse I was carrying on a sign when she was a girl. "You're pretty far from what the Bible teaches now, aren't you, miss," I commented. She didn't protest.
I also shared the Gospel with four young men who very obviously were trying to find some fault or some inconsistency in my evangelism. They asked a series of questions and I really don't think they were prepared for my answers because the more answers I gave, the more confused and ashamed the men were. They eventually gave up trying to make a fool out of me, and walked away, with a Bible tract (hee hee)
Well, it was another "lone ranger" night, and the Lord carried me through safely once again. Now it's time for some rest. I'm exhausted. Good night, dear readers, and have a blessed weekend, and a holy, God-centered Lord's Day."Save now, I beseech thee, O LORD: O LORD, I beseech thee, send now prosperity." (Psalm 118:25)
Labels: Friday evangelism
Charismatic Tongues - Part III
Thursday, January 11, 2007
when sign gifts ended...Before I begin this post, let me make something clear: I refuse to debate historical facts. The exact same way I don't give Holocaust-deniers any time, I will not give any time to anyone who will debate the historical facts cited in this post. If I get a whiff of it in my comment box, the comment will disappear... I promise."Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away." (1 Corinthians 13:8-10)
In the above passage of Scripture, we have an undeniable assurance that prophetic utterances, tongues and knowledge will come to an end. We are told that both prophecies (in native tongue or foreign) and words of knowledge are incomplete in nature; they are in effect, somewhat lacking. Finally, Paul wraps it up by saying that "something perfect" will come, which will replace the incomplete or lacking prophecies and words of knowledge.
Two questions then come up:
-When did or will the gift of tongues be replaced by this "that which is perfect"?
-What is this perfect thing which has or is to come?
Let's begin by answering the second question, first. Some (mostly charismatics)
interpret "that which is perfect"
as the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. The problem, of course, is that the perfect thing spoken of in v.10 is definitely a "thing", not a person. The Lord Jesus Christ is always referred to in the masculine in the Bible, never the neuter. Now think about it: someTHING perfect to replace incomplete, lacking prophecies...
I submit: it is the Bible, the written Word of God. Some of you may disagree, but just stay with me for a moment. Let's test my answer for question #2 by applying it to question #1. If the Bible is the perfect thing which came in and replaced prophetic tongues, what we need to know is: did this indeed happen?
History tells us that all the books of the Bible were written before the end of the first century (Revelation, the last book of the Bible, was written somewhere between A.D. 94-96)
. We also learn from historical accounts that the Bible was compiled together somewhere between A.D. 170-350. So between the second century and the forth, the written word of God was not only in the world, it was complete and compiled together.
Now the Scriptures themselves testify that there were prophetic tongues in operation before the second century. That is clear. After that, things get fuzzy. By the second century, Irenaeus and Justin Martyr (early church writers)
, both confirmed that prophetic tongues were still in operation. For example:"For the prophetical gifts remain with us, even to the present time… Now it is possible to see amongst us women and men who possess gifts of the Spirit of God." (Justin Martyr)"For this reason does the apostle declare, 'We speak wisdom among them that are perfect,' terming those persons 'perfect' who have received the Spirit of God, and who through the Spirit of God do speak in all languages, as he used himself also to speak. In like manner we do also hear many brethren in the Church, who possess prophetic gifts, and who through the Spirit speak all kinds of languages… whom also the apostle terms 'spiritual,' they being spiritual because they partake of the Spirit." (Irenaeus)
Whether the word of these men can be counted on (their word isn't infallible)
, I just don't know, but I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. What is interesting though, is that by the forth century, the fuzziness disappears; all mentions of prophetic utterances (in an unknown or native tongue)
have completely ceased. Theologian John Chrysostom, who lived around 349 to 407 said:"This whole place is very obscure [commenting on the references to tongues in 1 Corinthians] but the obscurity is produced by our ignorance of the facts referred to and by their cessation, being such as then used to occur, but now no longer take place.""But now no longer take place."
This was the reality in this time period and indeed, it would remain that way for over 1500 years. Oh! there were some references of prophetic tongues, here and there throughout history, but all of it's occurrences between the forth and twentieth century were from heretical groups like the Gnostics, the followers of Montanus, and the Cevennol prophets. Never were these occurrences associated in anyway with the Church of God (more on this in part IV of this series)
So, wrapping all this together: we have a passage of Scripture which states that when SOMETHING that is PERFECT comes, the gifts of prophetic tongues will cease. Before the year 400, a PERFECT BOOK was put together: the Bible. During the same time period, all evidence of the practice of prophetic tongues in the Church of God vanished. Friends, there really is no need to over-think this. 1 Corinthinans 13:8 says that the spiritual gift of tongues would cease and 1600 years ago, IT TOTALLY DID!!! And it just happens to coincide with the compilation of the Bible.
Quite a coincidence, wouldn't you say?to be continued...
Labels: Charismatic Movement
Charismatic Tongues - Part II
Monday, January 08, 2007
theological inconsistencies are terrible things...
After realizing that everything a saint has in this life (or in the next life for that matter)
, anything that is of any spiritual value at all, was a GRACIOUS gift from God, I knew that my belief in charismatic tongues was in jeopardy. I was instructed by my charismatic Sunday school teacher that some Christians didn't speak in tongues or have any other kinds of charismatic gifts "because they didn't really really want it." The problem then, is that there was now an element of the faith that is in Christ Jesus that wasn't purely of grace. Actually, it smelled of Romanism: "you do this, and you'll earn
I remember thinking to myself: "Wait a minute... Romans 3:11
tells me that in and of myself (that is, without God's working), I never would have sought God, much less desire any spiritual gift. Ephesians 2:8-9
tells me that my very faith in God is a gift FROM GOD. I am told in Philippians 2:12-13
that it is God that gives me, not only the ability, but the desire to work out my salvation. But now, if I want a sign gift, I have to strive. IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE!"
As I am writing this post, millions of born-again saints have just finished worshiping God on the Lord's Day. Well over half of them have never and will never experience charismatic gifts. Many of them will be holy, upright and faithful, but get this now, because they aren't actively seeking to, or desiring these supposed gifts of the Holy Spirit, they aren't getting them. IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE.
Most charismatic preachers I have known have been carnal and biblically ignorant. They had poor conversations before both man and God; their homes were total messes; their chief affections in their lives were on cars, organized sports, and other forms of entertainment. But praise God, the Holy Spirit blessed them with supernatural sign gifts. IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE.
I have said, and repeat that the pastor I am under right now is one of the most holy men I have ever known. His son was visiting over the Christmas holidays and he described how he would come downstairs every morning as a boy and the first thing he saw, every day, was his father kneeling in prayer. For decades now, in the two cities he has lived in since his conversion, he has never shunned to declare the whole counsel of God with his community. The time he puts into studying the Word puts me, and almost all other Christians I know, to absolute shame. But poor him, the Holy Spirit isn't "building him up"
with sign gifts, "because he doesn't really want it."
IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE.
So without a doubt, we take notice of a serious problem with charismatic tongues just by observing who is practicing them, and who isn't. Every explanation/excuse I have heard from charismatics to answer this problem always amounts to strange conjectures that have ZERO basis in Scripture; and every one of them were unquestionably opposed to biblical grace.to be continued...
Labels: Charismatic Movement
Friday Night Notes
Saturday, January 06, 2007
tired and weary... but still preaching...
So much to blog about, but I'm so exhausted
right now, I don't know how far I'm going to get. It's been a tough week for me, and without going into detail, let me assure you that physically, I'm absolutely and completely spent. I briefly wondered whether I should just stay home tonight and catch up on some rest, but the fact of the matter is, I've totally come to the point in my Christian experience where I know just how important it is for me to proclaim the Gospel, in strength or in weakness. Therefore, I soldiered on.
My pastor had a prior engagement tonight, so it was up to brother Laz
and I to proclaim the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ in the marketplace. Brother Laz's
ability to preach has greatly improved over the last few weeks, which is a real blessing to me since we are now able to equally share the preaching time (which gives my voice time to recuperate
). Thinking back at the Friday night when I first met brother Laz
, it amazes me, just how wonderfully the Lord has worked in his life. How thankful I am that the Lord saw it fit to use me to add brother Laz to our small group.
We preached on our usual street corner for 3 hours tonight, and I'm pleased to report that, for at least half the time we were out there, I carried in my heart a sincere and tender love for the lost. This is something I have confessed before and continue to do so: I have a BIG PROBLEM with these verses:"But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." (Matthew 5:44)"For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously." (1 Peter 1: 21-23)
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I have trouble believing
the veracity and beauty of these verses, my problem is with their application in my life. When I'm cursed, it doesn't come naturally to bless in return. When I am persecuted, there isn't a whole lot of good thoughts floating in my mind. When I am reviled... oh! the difficulty in keeping guile out of my mouth. But tonight, albeit for a short time, I was doing rather well.
As the night wore on though, I could feel my level of frustration increase. As people walked past me, I prayed to God: "Please Lord... please... let them refuse the Gospel... let them think I'm a fool... just please, let them not be vile... that's all I ask." Sadly, they were vile; and I don't use this word lightly. The things people cast in our teeth is absolutely... well... vile. Not only are the words despicable, but the harshness
of the tone with which they are uttered emphasizes their obvious hatred of us, and the Gospel.
By eleven o'clock, I knew it was time to go. By this point, the evil of the market just vexed me too much. By God's grace, I'll do better next week.
I had two one-on-one conversations tonight. Not too sure if any of them were very profitable, time will tell. One of my conversations was with a Romanist
who was quite obviously not looking for Truth. He was playing in the nightlife of the marketplace with all the other sinners, and he made it clear that he was quite comfortable being "catholic". He did however accept one of our Gospel tracts and I encouraged him to read his Bible. If he actually does this, he most likely will not be comfortable with being a "catholic" for too long.
The other one-on-one conversation was with a group of young people who told me they were from a "Missionary Alliance" church (a liberal assembly
), but they were all attending a United church (calling the United church liberal doesn't cut it... the United church is one of Satan's favorite houses of worship
) when they were in the city. I wondered whether I should come right out and say what I was thinking (which was: you are following Satan!
), but instead, I opted to reason with them. I think I made some progress with one of them, the others clearly didn't have any interest in what the Bible taught. I was told that I was a bit "too edgy", but that I had "alot
of guts to be doing what I'm doing", and at this point I stopped them and concluded my time with them with this:"Friends, listen to me now. The Lord Jesus Christ saved my soul. He saved me through the power of His Word. Plus nothing. I stand on the solid ground of His Word and if that makes me 'too fundamentalist', so be it. And the reason I'm standing here tonight with the Gospel has nothing to do with guts; it has everything to do with grace. I'm 100 pounds nothing, and 5 feet something. With my small stature foremost on my mind, whenever I come out here, I'm afraid of what might happen to me. I'm the world's biggest chicken. But I come out because the Lord saved me. I come out because He laid down His life for me, and this is my reasonable service. This is what the Bible has done for me. Friends, read your Bibles. Wrestle with the Lord as Jacob wrestled with God and got the blessing. That's the key to success in spiritual matters. Stay in the Word. Don't look to man. Don't look to me. Anchor yourselves in the Word!"
I think one or two of them got what I was trying to say, but the rest of them remained clueless, though they did seem impressed at my passionate plea. One of the clueless ones started saying something to the effect that she "felt the Holy Spirit was bringing me close to a breakthrough moment". I just shook my head, said goodnight, and walked across the street to relieve brother Laz
from his half hour of preaching.
I hope and pray that the Lord will save and sanctify these young people.
be the notes for tonight, dear readers. It's 1:30 am and I'm absolutely dead. Have a great weekend, and a most blessed Lord's Day.
RandPS: Dear saints, I covet your prayers, for health and strength in the physical realm, as well as in the spiritual realm. God bless you all.
Labels: Friday evangelism
Charismatic Tongues - part I
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
finally got to it...
I was first introduced to charismatic "speaking in tongues" at the very first Pentecostal Bible study my mother took me to. I remember thinking: "Okay, this is weird." My mother was also suspicious of the practice, but both of our doubts were eventually supressed by a very convincing study in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14. I even remember trying to "speak in tongues" in an evening meeting once... I prayed fervently for the Lord to bless me with this spiritual gift and I started to randomly make quiet sounds with my voice, hoping that the Holy Spirit would eventually take over.
What a downer I was on. I began to question my salvation, and I feverishly sought some secret sins that were in my life that could possibly prevent the Holy Spirit from blessing me. This lasted a short season, and then, my senses came back to me. My analytical mind took over again.
In the five years I spent in charismatic circles, I noticed that "speaking in tongues" had nothing to do with holiness, or even genuine conversion since some of the most worldly souls in our meetings spoke in tongues. And there were even cases of people who once spoke in tongues, leaving, not only the local assembly, but the Faith in total.
Then my mind wandered back to the Baptist church where my mother and I first started attending church. I thought to myself: "There were several holy and godly souls in that fellowship... why is it that they don't speak in tongues?" This question bothered me so much, that I brought it to the attention of my Sunday School teacher.
"The reason they don't speak in tongues," she said, "is because they don't really want it. If they wanted it, then the Holy Spirit would bless them. But because they don't want it, they grieve the Holy Spirit. They're still Christians, they just don't do as well."
This answer did it for me for about 3-4 years. I began to think that speaking in tongues was probably done hypocritically by many, and that's why I was all by my little lonesome in the assembly, who didn't speak in tongues. I remember my mother and several people in the assembly comforting me with this very concept. And that's how things remained... until I learned the definition of grace.
I was in a College and Career meeting (a Bible study meeting for this particular age group) at an AGC church in my city when a tall Romanian (though he liked the term Transylvanian better)
, my good friend Rob gave me a teaching that has changed my life. He threw his watch at me and said:
"Here you go, Rand. I'm giving you my new watch."
"Okay..." I said, kind of taken aback.
"One question though, Rand..." he continued, "did you ask for my watch?"
"No," I answered.
"Okay... one more question, if you don't mind," he said.
"Shoot," I replied.
"Did you come here tonight hoping to leave with a new watch?" he inquired.
"No," I answered.
"Okay, one final question: do you deserve my watch?" he asked with a grin on his face.
"Uh... what do you mean?" I asked.
"Did you pay me, or do anything for me to earn this favour from me?" he asked slowly.
"Uh, no..." I replied.
"Now you know what the grace of God is like, Rand," he concluded.
It took me a solid year to grasp all the ramifications of this fantastic concept but two things became clear: if all we have, that is of any spiritual worth, comes by the grace of God, then both salvation and sanctification are not of men or the will of men. They both have to come from God.
So if it is by God's grace that we are both saved and sanctified... I began to wonder: "what's this business of 'really wanting to speak in tongues'
to get it?"to be continued...
Labels: Charismatic Movement