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, March 31, 2007
I'm going to be thinking about this for awhile...
This was in my "notes" on August 13th, 2005:
Alot has happened tonight. The most significant was "old Rand taking one for the team". Yep, I got physically roughed up a bit tonight. One of the "regular drunks" in the market wasn't too impressed with my preaching so he decided to do something about it. He tried to destroy one of our Gospel signs and when I got in the way to stop him, well, my face got a taste of his fist.
I have, since then, mentioned this drunk on a number of occasions in my Friday Night Notes. His name was Matthew. He was a regular in the marketplace, panhandling for spare change to buy his next bottle. My pastor had, on various occasions, conversations with Matthew, about the Gospel and his need to get off the streets, before the bottle totally ruined him. In the beginning, Matthew listened and thanked him for his concern, but over time, he got more and more aggressive and angry. These last few years, Matthew's brain was completely wasted by the drugs and the constant drinking; it was totally impossible to share anything with him.
Now, I say "was" because Matthew is dead. He died of a mixture of prescription medication and alcohol. That's what a few of the other panhandlers told me tonight. The news affected me all night. I still feel awful. The thought that keeps coming back into my mind is: "What a waste! What a miserable, complete waste.""For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23)
Poor Matthew was collecting those wages his whole life, and he is collecting the full consequence of his sin as we speak. Week after week, eternal life was set before him, but he willfully chose sin every time. How terrible. How sad. My heart is broken.
A couple of hours into my night of street evangelism, another panhandler, a man by the name of Nathan came to speak to me. He told me he wanted to hear "about Jesus". So I spoke to him about Jesus. In our conversation, I found out that he was lost in a world of drunkenness and drugs (just like Matthew
), and was now homeless because of it. He knew that his lifestyle was going to be the end of him. I told him he needed Jesus and that he would do well to get serious, and leave the booze and drugs and call out, sincerely, to God for help. He agreed that that was what he had to do. I prayed with him right there on the street corner, and I asked God to save him in this earthly life, and to grant him spiritual life.
The last thing I need to see is another Matthew (and I'm fully aware that the world abounds with Matthew stories)
Oddly enough, I saw another face tonight that I hadn't seen since August 13th, 2005:
After all this action, I had a conversation with a Fulun Dafa follower. Falun Dafa is a Buddhist type religion which involves meditations of the "Eastern religion" sort. It is heavily persecuted in China, so some of the followers of this religion spread news around to raise awareness. Anyway, I told him that while I hoped to see the day China accepted freedom of religion, I had no time for his religious nonsense. I gave him a Gospel of John and encouraged him to read it. He said he might "for educational purposes". Pray that the Lord save this man through His Word.
He tried to show me the merits of his faith by reading a paragraph from his religious booklet, but I stopped him in the middle of his first phrase. The phrase was something like: "The beneficial influence of kindhearted men..." Right there I said: "no such person".
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9)
"They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one." (Romans 3:12)
I could tell (by his countenance) that that had shocked him. He kept repeating: "no, it can't be that bad", to which I responded: "it can and it is!" Again, pray that the Lord deal with that young man; that he would be delivered from the bondage of his false religion."
What's hilarious is that, after trying to give me some of his Fulun Dafa material (which I promptly turned down), he complained that people were so uncaring and wicked. He cited how thousands of his Fulun Dafa counterparts were being imprisoned and tortured in China, and no one cared. At this point, I couldn't resist saying:
"You've changed, my friend."
"What do you mean?" we asked.
"The last time we spoke," I began, "you vehemently denied that mankind was evil. You spoke of the goodness of their hearts, and that this goodness could be increased through Fulun Dafa; and all these months later, you're no longer talking about the goodness of man, you're complaining about their evil. The kind of evil I was trying to show you last time we spoke. The evil that's in you, the evil that's in me, the evil that is in every fallen sinner on this planet."
I then called him right out for the hypocrite, foolish idolater that he was. I clearly demonstrated how nothing in his false religion had given him one iota of wisdom, and that the unbridled wickedness in the hearts of the drunks and fools in the marketplace was also in his heart. He rejected this assessment despite my best arguments, calling Christianity a "dead religion".
Poor soul, he doesn't realize that it is he who is dead.
A whole lot more down right quaky stuff happened tonight. In my three hours of open-air evangelism, I was cursed, mocked, and threatened... and all of this in the most bizarre, vulgar, and vile of ways. People still manage to surprise me in their ability to find new ways to express their absolute hatred of the Gospel, and by extension, me. I had a guy tonight walk up to me, put his thumb against one of his nostrils and then blowing out mucus out of the other nostril in my general direction. I had a kid who couldn't have been more than 11 or 12 years old come up to me just to blaspheme. Bad. Just, bad.
There were some good things that took place tonight (like the young man who referred to me to his friends as the "Jesus-guy"... I really liked that one... lol), but all and all, what an ungodly, warped mess. A part of me would like to just keep writing to try and give you a better sense of how dysfunctional and crazy the world of the wicked is in the marketplace of my city, but I'm way too tired, and I really don't think I have enough skills in letters to adequately describe to you all my experiences. All of you brothers and sisters-in-the-Lord who have done any kind of sustained biblical evangelism, you probably know what I'm writing about.
I'm going to bed now. I need the rest... I'm pretty weary. Take care, dear readers, and have a good weekend, and a most blessed Lord's Day.
Rand"Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you." (Matthew 5:10-12)
Labels: Friday evangelism
No Notes Tonight
Friday, March 23, 2007
another wearisome week...
I had to be a good son/brother to my earthly family tonight, and this kept me away from a night of street preaching. I spent my evening playing taxi service for my sister, who needed to be driven to my parents house (roughly an hour drive), where she will house-sit and dog-sit.
I thought about going out anyway, albeit for a shorter amount of time, but my body just wouldn't cooperate. I'm totally exhausted. It's been a long week with a whole lot of work. I'll share with you some of the "cool" things that have happened, but not tonight. Again, I'm simply too exhausted.
I still have to finish up a sermon that, Lord willing, I will be preaching this Lord's Day evening, so remember me in prayer, dear brothers and sisters-in-the-Lord.
Take care, and God bless you,
Friday Night Notes
Saturday, March 17, 2007
it's good to have a partner...
I apologize for the little blogging I have done lately, dear readers. I have just noticed that my last post was last weeks "notes". It's extremely busy at my work. I'm actually writing this post from the lab, where I am desperately trying to get this ion-trap mass spectrometer to behave (yes, I'm in the lab at midnight)
. If you have no idea what an ion-trap is, or a mass spectrometer for that matter, don't worry... all you need to know is that I'm having a hard time with nerdy stuff.
I haven't spent the whole night here though... I just got in from 2.5-3 hours of street preaching. My pastor came out with me tonight. He's still struggling with that lung infection which has been plaguing him all winter, but in the words of his wife: "he was getting pretty antsy. He just had to go out preaching tonight." He couldn't preach at all tonight, he just held the Gospel sign and distributed Bible tracts, but still, it was a real blessing to have him back with me. He did his work a few streets down from where I was preaching, but it was nice to know that I had a friend nearby, if I needed him.
We had a number of profitable, and unprofitable one-on-one conversations tonight, and we handed out a good number of tracts too. It really wasn't a bad night. Here are some of tonight's events:1- A miserable drunk, and a pretty bold preacher:
These drunk natives are a real problem in Canadian cities. They come from all over the country; from different reserves, but their stories are all the same. They were born to parents who were drunkards/drug abusers, they grew up without anyone taking care of them, they got into trouble with the law, they got into drugs/alcohol, and now they beg for spare change on every street corner to get their next fix.
One such soul walked up to me while I was passing out Bible tracts. He wanted me to move to the other side of the street so that he could beg for money from my spot. Not wanting to give him any trouble, I gave him my spot under one condition: he wasn't to complain if I preached the Gospel from the other side of the street. He promised he would give me no trouble whatsoever.
Well, the promise of a drunkard isn't worth too much! Less than an hour later, he was cursing and screaming blasphemies, ordering me to "shut up". I wasn't impressed. I walked right up to him (and bare in mind, I'm not a big, tough man)
, pointed my finger at him and said:
"Not only are you a miserable drunk, you're a liar too! You promised me you would leave me alone. I was kind and gracious to you, and you thanked me by being as vile as you could be. Next time you come around for a favour, my friend, you're not going to get it. And if you give me any further trouble, I'll ask the police to deal with the situation."
Considering he was getting a scolding from a shrimp, he took it all pretty well. I don't know if I got through to him, but that was the end of his shouting. The Lord have mercy on this poor soul.2- Absolutely hilarious!
I offered a Bible tract to a young fellow who was walking past me from my left. To my right was a group of 4 teenagers who had already taken some literature a few minutes prior. The young fellow politely refused my offer, and I just said: "okay..."
Well... that definitely wasn't "okay" with two of the teenagers! The two teens got in the way of the young man and said:
"Hey man, you should take of this guys pamphlets, you know? I mean... come on... this guy's been out here for... uh... how long has he been here?"
"Couple of hours now," I replied with a huge smile on my face.
"A COUPLE OF HOURS!" they continued. "I mean this guy's probably not getting paid a cent and he's standing here in the cold to give you this pamphlet about God... don't you think the right thing to do is to take one and support this guy?"
The young man looked puzzled by the scolding/guilt trip he was being handed by these two teens he had never met before. Nevertheless, the man took my Gospel tract and thanked me. I just tried not to laugh out loud at the whole situation. Each teenager also took a tract and one of them said:
"You're doing a good thing, and I'm with ya!"3- "But... are you born-again???"
I had a great one-on-one conversation with a young Frenchman. It was good to witness for the Lord in my native tongue. He asked the right questions and I got the impression that he was interested in the Faith, but somewhat lost the sea of religion he had been exposed to. He told me how he was born a "catholic", but that he had been to other churches (mostly charismatic), and explained to me some of his views on matters of faith. After a few minutes, I simply asked him:
"But... are you born-again?"
He told me that he had attended "born-again" churches, and that he liked some of them and thought that they were probably in line with the Bible.
"Okay," I replied, "but that's not what I asked you. I asked you
whether you were born-again."
The man quickly replied that he had seen "born-again baptism", but that he himself hadn't been baptized by "born-again" Christians.
"Right," I again replied, "but again, you're not answering my question. I didn't ask you if you went to a born-again church, or whether you had been baptized by people who claim to be born-again. I asked you if you are born-again."
At this point, I took over the conversation because I didn't want to embarrass him by making him feel dumb. I told him what the Second Birth was all about; I explained that the Holy Spirit gives life to a dead sinner when a person is born-again, and when that happens, nothing else but Jesus will do! The immorality, the drunkenness, the idolatry... all of it... it had to move out, and Jesus had to come in. Then I said:
"Listen my friend, I don't think you're born-again. Just by the things you have told me, I have a picture of a man who likes God and the Bible, but he loves fooling around with women more. I see a man who likes religion, but loves sin more."
He was pretty earnest at this point, and agreed with my assessment. I encouraged him to read the Scriptures and to honestly ask God to save him. I told him that I was once as he is, but that when God got a grip of me, there was no turning back; that I now go to bed with God, and rise up in the morning with my Lord. I invited him to church on the Lord's Day, promising to give him a French Bible if he came. I will be praying to see him again, on Sunday.4- The boozin' "catholic" showing us Baptists the Way...
My pastor and I both had a conversation with this Romanist who was trying to set us straight. He pulled out a chain that was around his neck, and at the end of it was an image of the Romanist Mary. He told us the usual garbage that Jesus' first miracle was done after the "command" (yes, the command)
of the His mother, and that surely was an indication of the preeminence of Mary.
We tried and tried to show him the Gospel. We tried to reason with him that what he had around his neck was an idol and God hated it, but he would hear none of it. And that's when my pastor got a glimpse of a mickey
in his coat pocket.
"What's a good "Christian" doing walking around town with a mickey
in his pocket?" my pastor inquired.
The man bolted.
There, that's the notes for tonight. I just got home from work. It was a really slow ride back, it's past 1:30am now. We're having quite a snow storm. Here's hoping it's the last one before spring!
Anyway, I'm beat and it's time for bed. I hope to get more blogging done next week. Have a good weekend, dear readers.
Labels: Friday evangelism
Friday Night Notes
Friday, March 09, 2007
more from the un-edumecated street preacher...
Two and a half hours of street preaching done tonight. I fared much better than I thought I would. I've worked a 50-hour work week, so I was pretty wasted by tonight. Despite the fatigue and the usual resistance from ungodly men, I pressed on, declaring the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, for His honour and glory alone.
The marketplace was quite busy tonight with the usual ungodly attractions; from the disturbingly sick art gallery which attracted a host of snooty, rich, and mostly homosexual crowd, to the common tavern with its "good-old-boys" and loose women, each of them looking for their next wicked thrill. I walked in the midst of all this with a Gospel sign that had John 3:36
on one side, and John 3:16
on the other; sometimes stopping to preach. Then the thought came up in my head: "for some of these souls here, reading my Gospel sign or hearing my preaching... it will be the one and only time in their lives in which they'll hear/read God's unadulterated, pure, 100% Revelation." That thought really motivated me tonight, helping me work past my fatigue, and ignore the frigid temperatures.
I had a few interesting one-on-one conversations, and I distributed a fair number of Bible tracts. I was mocked and maligned a few times, but nothing overly grievous. The Lord deal with every individual soul as He sees fit.
Here are some highlights/lowlights of my evangelistic endeavour:1- Oh yeah! Did I mention I was an uneducated idiot who needs a real job?
A man came out of a restaurant to smoke a cigarette. When he heard me preaching the Gospel, he turned towards me and started mocking me by cursing and blaspheming God's Name. I asked him what his problem was, but he answered with more blasphemies, so I opted to ignore him and just keep preaching.
Seeing that he was being ignored, he upped the ante.
"Get a real job, you loser!" he yelled. "You're probably one of these University wash-outs who tried to make something of themselves, and failed miserably, and now look at ya! Let me guess, you tried to be a chemist or something, and you just couldn't hack it!"
I'm not kidding one bit, that's the nonsense he was spewing out. So I walked towards him and said:
"Are you sober enough to listen to reason, sir? 'Cause I have something I'd like to show you."
I pulled out my work badge and showed it to him.
"You see, sir," I began, "I am
a biochemist. I didn't wash-out of anything. I went to school and was quite good at it, thank you very much. You think I'm a fool because of the Gospel? Fair enough, but just be sure that the guy preaching the Gospel before you tonight, isn't half as stupid as you would like him to be."
Realizing that his argument was exposed as pure nonsense, he switched the charge against me. The charge now was that I was hypocritical; that I should be practicing acts of mercy for the poor rather than preaching the Gospel. I just walked away. My pastor once told me: "if you answer a false charge from someone you are dealing with, and the person responds with another charge, just walk away, you're wasting your time."2- The Romanist that isn't that Romanist:
A young woman walked up to me as I was preaching and asked me what kind of Christian I was. I answered that I was a Bible-only Christian, a Baptist by denomination. She then claimed she was a "catholic", which meant she was Bible-only too.
"No, I don't think so," I replied to that assertion.
"What do you mean?" she exclaimed. "Of course we're Bible-only!"
"Miss, if you read "catholic" catechisms, you will find that they add "traditions" and the edicts of various popes to their faith," I answered. "They most certainly are not Bible-only. Miss, what does the Second Commandment
"Oh man!" she said, "I don't know. I'm not that
"Well let me help you then," I continued. "It says no statues, no images for the purpose of worship. N-O-N-E."
I then went on to present to her just how wickedly idolatrous Romanism truly is. In the end, she realized that Romanism wasn't Bible-only, and she thanked me for my insight. I have a feeling the whole conversation was purely academic, but I will pray that the Lord will use our time together to start a great work of grace; the work of salvation!3- Another Pharisee nickel for my jar:
A young man interrupted my preaching and told me that the Lord Jesus Christ most certainly wouldn't approve of what I was doing.
"He would just let people live, man!" he said. "He wouldn't get all preachy with people."
This kind of stupidity is rampant amongst the liberal denominations in Canada. I tried to give him a bit of the Gospel but he would here nothing of what I had to say. Instead, he called me a foolish, hypocritical Pharisee.
Another nickel for the jar.4- O that the Lord would give life:
I shared the Gospel with a man named Brett. It was a civil, honest exchange, but both of us knew, it was all purely an academic exercise. Brett was having a cigarette outside a bar, and he had no real interest in seeking God, and knowing the Lord Jesus Christ. He just wanted to know what I was all about.
So we talked. He asked some questions, I did my best to answer, and I made sure to give him the Gospel. It was a good conversation, but without the Second Birth, that's all it was... a good conversation. I told him, before we said our goodbyes:
"I know this is all purely academic to you Brett (he nodded his head here)
, but it has to become more than that; and I will pray for you, my friend, that it would become more than that."
And that, in a nutshell, was my night of street evangelism. I must say, I'm really getting into the groove of this "lone ranger" evangelism. My pastor hasn't been out with me in months now (due to illness)
, and I thought it would be harder on me than it actually turned out to be. There hasn't been any threat of violence towards me, no serious intimidation whatsoever against me, where being by myself could pose a problem. Praise God.
That being said, I do ask all my brothers and sisters in the Lord to pray the Lord of the harvest (Mark 9:38)
, that He would either heal my pastor soon, or send me a partner to come with me. The Lord did send His disciples two and two (Mark 6:7)
, and I think that that's the best way of going about street evangelism.
With that, dear readers, goodnight, and have a great weekend. Have a glorious, and holy Lord's Day.
Labels: Friday evangelism
Friday, March 02, 2007
nope... not in the market...I had pretty much made up my mind, last night, not to go preaching in the market tonight. It was yesterday evening... I got a phone call from Terry, a boy in my Sunday School class. He had won 4 free tickets to a junior hockey game on Friday night, and wanted my son and I to go with him (I was to be the supervising adult). He would then find one of his friends to take the fourth ticket.
Now you are probably wondering: "Why didn't Terry get his father or mother to take him to the game? Why did Rand have to go on his night of street preaching?"
The reason is quite sad, and what ended up happening to Terry tonight is even sadder. You see, while Terry is a regular in my Sunday School class, his mother never darkened the door post of our church (or any church for that matter)
. And church isn't the only activity Terry's mother doesn't share with her son. For the most part, I would say that those kids (Terry has an older sister)
are pretty much left to themselves. My pastor and I have literally become a second family for Terry. A family that is actually THERE.
Terry's father? Well... there is no father. He's a complete stranger, and that weighs heavy on the poor lad.
So sincerely desiring to be a good friend to Terry, I accepted his invitation to the hockey game. I really believe that that's what the Lord wanted me to do. Plus, this activity would give me a chance to have a father-son outing, which are too few and far between.
It was a little before seven o'clock tonight when I got to Terry's house. I waited a few minutes thinking he would make his way to the van after he got his jacket and winter boots on. After ten minutes of waiting, I went to the door and found Terry without boots or a jacket. He opened the door to me and explained that his mother didn't want him to go to the game tonight. The official excuse was that it was going to end to late (about 10pm), but that story just doesn't sound right to me. Terry gave me the tickets and asked me to go on without him.
It broke my heart.
I don't have the foggiest idea why this woman would do this to her son. Perhaps there is a legitimate reason that I am ignorant of, but when I told my pastor what had happened, he told me that this wasn't the first time she had done something like this; and he has never seen or heard any good reason for Terry to receive such cruel treatments. We all felt a great sadness over the situation.
Not wanting to break my son's heart on top of everything, we still ended up going to the hockey game. We took my pastor and another boy in our Sunday School, Joshua, with us. It was a nice outing, though my pastor and I felt heavy over everything that had just taken place.
Please pray for Terry. We have put a lot of time and prayer in him and his sister. His sister was once a regular at our church but has stopped coming now for a few months. Terry is only 12 years old, and I fear that when the teenage years come upon him, he too will, like his sister, walk away from everything he has learned from us. In the end, I know that if the Lord doesn't genuinely save Terry, then he naturally will walk away. But like the prophet Jeremiah wrote:"It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD." (Lamentations 3:26)