Saturday, February 03, 2007the foundations are truly gone...
"If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?" (Psalm 11:3)
This verse, which was part of my devotional reading this week, came to mind as brother Laz and I were out preaching the Gospel again tonight, in the marketplace. As I was preaching from our customary street corner, it dawned on me that most of my audience really didn't get anything I was saying. "Repentance", "second birth", "faith", and even "grace"... all words that most today, in my country anyway, are completely oblivious to. You can see it in their faces. They all thought of us as a live version of the hypocrite televangelists they saw on the idiot box, or some brainwashed zombies being payed money "to try and scare people with Hell", which, of course, is part of an elaborate scheme to get something from them.
Don't get me wrong, I haven't gone arminian. I fully understand that those who belong to God will come, whether they know the definition of "grace" and "repentance" beforehand, or not. But what struck me tonight was the sad spiritual state of my country. The Christian foundations that were once part of the social fabric of Canada are truly almost completely destroyed. People no longer know what true faith is. They know nothing of the grace of God. Almost all would agree that repentance is a good thing, but the same bunch would be at a loss if they had to tell you what they needed to repent of and why. The great foundations are destroyed.
One more motivation to keep on preaching, I guess. The importance of a teacher only increases when knowledge is lost. So we preached. Three hours we spent in much milder temperatures (-5 Celsius), distributing Gospel literature, displaying Bible signs in front of line-ups to bars/clubs, and of course, open-air preaching.
Here are some highlights:
1- A young man walked by, and took one of my Bible tracts. I had seen this young man a number of times before; he's a street kid, who spends all his time begging for spare change, which he surely uses to pay for some sort of addiction. I had been meaning to talk to this fellow for some time now, but he always seemed too drunk/doped up to have any kind of meaningful dialogue with him.
Well, the Lord opened a door for me tonight, for there he was, a Gospel tract in hand and in his right mind. I didn't waste time, nor did I mince words. Before he got too far in explaining to me how important he was and how God had "some sort of great plan for his life", I said:
"My friend, listen to me. I'm glad you are in your right mind tonight. I'm glad you can both hear me and understand me, because there is something I've been meaning to say to you for months now. Dear friend, you have got to get out of this life you are in right now. You are so young and you are already on the path of death. Think of Matthew (a fellow panhandler he and I both know), I once conversed with him the way we are talking now, but I can't do that anymore because Matthew's brain is gone. And that's what you are heading for, my friend. The complete destruction of your mind by alcohol and drugs."
I encouraged him to seek God, to find work and get off the streets. He took it all remarkably well. He agreed that he was in a bad way and asked me to pray for him. His name is Eric, and he asked me to specifically pray that the Lord would save his leg (Eric walks with a limp, I don't know what is ailing his leg, but it seems rather serious). I promised him I would pray for the healing of his leg... he walked away before I could tell him that I would also pray for the healing of his soul.
2- The parking garage right behind our street preaching spot has a new attendant, and praise God, just like his predecessor, he is quite favourable to us. He came by, took one of our Bible tracts and said:
"You guys are doing a really good thing! You're preaching the Gospel and that's what this insane world needs."
We talked for a few minutes and I learned that he is reading his Bible, but he isn't going to church. I encouraged him to join us on the Lord's Day, or on a Wednesday evening prayer meeting. I got the sense that this man was probably very religious, but probably not born-again. Please pray that the Lord would give me an open door with this man; please pray that he'll come to church sometime this week.
3- Then there were the mockers. Brother Laz and I were treated to all sorts of insults and ridicule tonight. From drunken fools who bowed down before brother Laz to mock his preaching efforts, to a group of young men who gave each other high fives as they shouted in our faces that they were of the devil and loved it. While all this was hard on our pride as it was happening, our conclusion was the same by the end of the night: Praise God! We have been "counted worthy to suffer shame for his name." (Acts 5:41b)
And with that, I will close the notes for tonight. It's late and I'm very weary of the week I just had. I ask you all to pray that the Lord would "strengthen my inner man with might by his Spirit" (Ephesians 3:16b). I sure could use that right now.
Have a great weekend, dear readers. Have a glorious Day of Rest, focused on the beauty of God's holiness.
Labels: Friday evangelism