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)
Would You Like Fries With That?
Sunday, May 27, 2007
this sort of thing gives me indigestion...
Yesterday, my wife found this in our mailbox:
This sort of thing drives me crazy. It's the sort of thing that unbelievers bring to my attention when I try to show them the reasonableness and wisdom of the Christian faith.
A "Jesus Burger".
Can you believe that there is a pastor of a Baptist church (Greenbank Community Church is part of the Baptist Fellowship of Evangelicals of Canada)
, in my city, that looked at the above flyer, read the phrase "try a free Jesus burger", accompanied with an image of the "romanist jesus" handing us a quarter-pounder, and thought: "good stuff! let's distribute this all over the community!"
Unbelievable! I've got indigestion, and I haven't even tried the "jesus burger".
Also, note the message transmitted by the flyer. No Scripture. No reference to the salvation that is in Christ Jesus (no, the burger doesn't count)
. There is nothing spiritual in the flyer. Quite the opposite, the flyer is extremely carnal: free food, music, entertainment, games... etc.
No doubt, the flyer was prepared to appeal to the flesh of the unconverted. The people who have prepared this flyer would most likely call me a real fool for the way I evangelize. They would say that one has to appeal to the unregenerate on their level in order to bring them into church, where they could be saved. They would think the straight preaching of the Gospel is ineffective and would only "turn sinners off".
How utterly sad. How utterly carnal."For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God." (Romans 8:5-8)"To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life." (2 Corinthians 2:16a)
RandI guess these folks would have no time for this either!
Friday Night Notes
Saturday, May 26, 2007
more from the whining preacher ;-)There she is... my favorite Bible tract. No fancy art work, no cartoons, no nonsense. Even if it never makes it into the hands of sinners, just the reading of the front cover is a powerful witness. "God, Jesus Christ and You." The second the eyes of the unconverted come upon this title, they have a decision to make: "do I want anything to do with God and Jesus?" I don't even have to say a word. I simply present the tract, and let those who pass by make up their own minds.
I distributed a fair number of these tracts tonight, but overall, the reactions to our evangelistic effort was the usual: mockery, disdain, hatred. Still though, I thank the Lord my God that He provided us with safety and for three hours, the thousands of souls in the marketplace of my city heard or read something of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. There are a whole lot of people who, after tonight, are without excuse.
The whole effort went far better tonight as far as the preachers were concerned. There were moments when my heart and mind weren't focused on the Lord as they should have been, but in general, I would say we laboured well (by far, better than last week)
. Here are some of tonight's highlights:1- Standing up for the preacher:
In my six or seven years of street preaching, I have occasionally come into contact with carnal men who, despite their carnal minds, have an affinity or respect for our endeavour. They think that "we have guts", and they like us on that level. I had a short conversation with four young men of that type tonight. I spent most of my time speaking to one of them, and what I got from him was that he and his friends were up to no good tonight, but he insisted he was a Christian. The conversation didn't last long enough for me to deal with him, so I simply encouraged him to seek God by reading the Bible, and to go to church on the Lord's Day.
It was right after that admonishment that the four men started to walk away from me, and another man, coming out of a bar yelled a most vile obscenity at me. I have developed quite a thick skin to such wickedness, so I really didn't think too much of the wicked statement, but I wasn't the only one who had heard the obscenity. One of the four young men heard what was said to me, and he really wasn't impressed. He turned around and started walking towards the man from the bar. I knew if I didn't do something, a fight would probably break out, so I got into the young man's way, and gently laid my hands on him and said:
"It's okay, my friend... don't worry about it. I appreciate what you are trying to do for me, but it's okay... just let it go..."
The young man relented and repeated a few times that he had a tremendous amount of respect for me. He took one of my Bible tracts and said goodnight. The Lord bless him for his concern. May God show him much favour, in Christ Jesus.2- Mike, the drunken, fornicating "Christian":
I was walking down the street with the 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
sign when a man from inside a bar called out to me. He asked me why I was walking around with a Bible sign. I explained that I was reminding the people of God. I then applied it to him, saying:
"You see, my friend, you have forgotten God. Or at the very least, you are trying to put him out of mind, 'cause if you did put your attention on God, you wouldn't be in that bar right now!"
Mike (that was his name)
wasn't too pleased with that assessment. He gave me the old: "what's wrong with being in a bar?" So I asked him:
"Mike, what kind of things happen in a bar?"
"Drinking..." he answered.
"And..." I continued.
"Fornication..." he continued.
"And..." I said.
"Okay, okay... I get it," he answered (it should be noted that Mike, an unconverted soul, realized what I was getting at faster than some Christians I have dealt with about bars in the past)
In the minutes following the above exchange, it became clear to me that Mike was drunk, and he was out looking for women. He couldn't say two phrases without using the F___ or some other curse word. It was clear, Mike wasn't converted, but still, Mike insisted he was a Christian.
"Mike, you are trying to tell me you have had an encounter with the Living God, but there is no change in you," I explained.
I wanted to show him that when a soul is genuinely converted, "old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17)
, but I guess the Lord wouldn't have me share any more with Mike, since his friends decided to come get him to whisk him away, and two of my work colleagues showed up to speak to me.
The Lord have mercy on Mike. He wouldn't take a tract... I just hope the Lord will save him from his self-deception, and genuinely save him.3- The Ukrainian sisters!
As mentioned above, the Lord brought two of my co-workers (they are sisters, not in the religious sense, they both have the same parents)
to "my street corner" tonight. I appreciated their kindness and concern for me, especially when they probably thought what I was doing was kind of crazy. We had a nice time talking about work, and about my evangelism.
I love it when people from my work see me preaching downtown. It's a great witness for the Lord. You see, taking these two ladies tonight as an example, they know me. They know that while I'm weird, I'm not a fool, nor am I an uneducated dummy (which sadly, is how I am perceived by most on Friday nights)
. So they both got to see their colleague, an able lab technician and an all around "decent guy", taking the Bible seriously, and proclaiming the Gospel.
And it doesn't end there! The workplace rumour mill spreads the word (and hopefully, the Word)
faster than lightning. The Lord use our meeting tonight as He sees fit. As for me, I will pray for God's blessing on both these two kind ladies.
On that note, dear readers, I'm closing the notes. I'm preaching on Sunday evening, so I need to get some rest. I plan to spend the day tomorrow in the Word, and prepare for the Lord's Day, which means tomorrow will be a sweet day.
Have a great weekend, the Lord bless you all...
Labels: Friday evangelism
Friday Night Notes
Saturday, May 19, 2007
an off-night on so many different levels...The second I got in the van to make my way downtown for our night of preaching, I began to feel a bit of a headache. I wasn't going to let a mere headache stop me, so I prayed for some relief and pressed on. The thought did come into my mind though that if the headache didn't go away, and tonight's preaching were at all difficult, I would most likely be in rough shape by 11pm.
I'm in pretty rough shape. My head is absolutely pounding right now, so this post will probably be short.
Both preachers weren't too stellar tonight, I must confess. My preaching was pretty flat, my responses were sometimes unclear, and pastor Tim, well, it just wasn't his best night (even the greats have off-nights)
. In our defense, I have to say that we were presented with a whole lot of "crazies" tonight, doing and saying a whole lot of crazy things; but even with that in mind, I truly believe we could have done a whole lot better.
What do I mean by "crazies"? Imagine a street beggar so exasperated by the preaching of the Word that he began to slam his head into a metal door. Repeatedly. He cursed and blasphemed while he... slammed his head into a solid door. Then imagine us being faced with two sodomites who are trying to "reason" with us, to show us "the way", and they refusing to take the hint that we have no time for their nonsense. They just wouldn't go away. They got in our faces and yelled obscenities and blasphemies, making a spectacle of us. All this taking place, of course, as my headache peaked. I spent much of our last half hour of preaching praying... actually, make that begging God to keep things from going completely out of control (which thankfully, He did)
I could point to these and make excuses, but the fact of the matter is we reacted and handled these situations kind of poorly tonight, which in the end, probably hurt our testimony and definitely made our difficult work, tougher. Tonight's evangelism was pretty messy and there was a time when I would have dismissed the whole night, calling it one big fiasco, but experience has taught me that the Lord can work great things, even when the preachers are malfunctioning.(Man... Advil is great... I'm feeling much better now...)
There was some obvious good tonight. We got to know two young men who have been distributing Bible literature in the marketplace for a few months now. These guys would be in their early 20s and they are spending their Friday night spreading the Word of Truth. Praise God for their faithfulness, and I pray that the Lord would make them steady and effective fisher of men.
I also saw my cousin, Gerry, tonight. He was having dinner in one of the market restaurants with a young lady. Gerry isn't a Christian (not by a long shot)
, but I will give him credit for this: when he saw me walking by with a Gospel sign, he knocked on the restaurant window to get my attention and gestured a "hello". I have had friends and family members ignore me when I have been doing Gospel work, but not Gerry. Even around his women, he has never been ashamed to call me family, even if he thinks I'm 100% crazy.
I don't think my cousin was aware of my Gospel work in the marketplace. I hope and pray that at the next family reunion, the issue will come up, so that I can again be a witness for the Lord Jesus Christ to him.
Finally, I have to mention that a good number of Bible tracts were given out tonight, and I actually saw a good number of people reading the tracts. The great thing about tracts is that people read them, then put them in their pockets or purses, only to be rediscovered the next day, when things are quieter, and sober. The Lord use those tracts as He sees fit.
I'll close the notes for tonight with this short exchange I had with one of the young evangelists:
"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!" (Romans 10:13-15)"Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?" (Psalm 85:6)
"It's pretty bad out here, isn't it?" I observed.
"Yeah, it's bad," the young man answered.
"My pastor and I have often prayed for the Lord to send a revival, but He hasn't answered affirmatively yet," I said.
"Well, if the Lord is to send a revival," the young man said, "He'll use this kind of work to start it, no doubt."
"Amen, amen brother."
Labels: Friday evangelism
The Wicked, the Compromiser and the Fundamentalist (part IV)
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
for Part I of this series)
for Part II of this series)
for Part III of this series)
I want to conclude my series on the interaction between Ahab, Jehoshaphat and Micaiah found in 1 Kings 9 and 2 Chronicles 18 with a few personal thoughts.
First, this account is EXTREMELY relevant to our present day situation. The world is full of Ahabs, and the vast majority of Christians are of the Jehoshaphat type. Without a shadow of a doubt. The Micaiahs are few and far between.
You don't buy it? Consider this: how many pastors did George W. Bush have in his corner to "justify" the Iraq war? How many Christian leaders "helped the ungodly
" in matters they knew nothing about? From Jerry Falwell to John MacArthur, all went before the television cameras and proclaimed that they, and by extension, God, were with President Bush in his endeavour to defend America and liberate Iraq. All of them made affinity with the President and treated him as one with them; that is, a Christian. You could hardly find one single Micaiah who would state the absolutely truth about the Iraq situation: "I don't know anything about it, Mr. President, I'm not of this world, my citizenship is in Heaven." Still today, even with his evil fruit showing for all to see, it is difficult to find one Micaiah who will challenge the President's claim to be born-again. Unbelievable.
This is but one example out of many that show forth the complete lack of fundamentalism in the church today. By fundamentalism, I don't mean those who call themselves fundamentalists in the U.S.; for by in large, they are traditionalists, not fundamentalists. By fundamentalism, I mean being a Micaiah. Saying: "Thus saith the Lord", plus/minus NOTHING.
By fundamentalism, I mean being "doers of the word, and not hearers only" (James 1:22)
. "Doers the Word" don't waste time with Hollywood movies, ungodly TV shows, and vain activities.
By fundamentalism, I mean a boldness to "preach the word in season and out of season" (2 Timothy 4:2)
; and yes, that means you still have to preach when no one wants to hear it (that is, after all, what "out of season" means)
. And no, you are not fulfilling this charge by debating Calvinism in some internet forum.
By fundamentalism, I mean: "be ye separate" (2 Corinthians 6:17)
. If someone isn't preaching the Truth, or walking in the Truth... separate! Don't hang out with the wicked or with compromisers because it is a sure bet that before you make them into anything other than a wicked/compromising soul, they will make of you a wicked/compromising soul.
Do you find this too extreme? Too difficult? Consider Jehoshaphat and Micaiah again, and then consider which of these you really want to be. You can never attain unto Micaiah's reward without his manner of life. If you live like Jehoshaphat, you'll wind up with Jehoshaphat-type messes. Guaranteed. You will reap what you sow (Galatians 6:7)
Finally if, after reading this post, you've come to the conclusion that you are definitely NOT a Micaiah, and you want to do something about it... well... get serious! You have the Bible, now just do it! Don't look to the right or to the left, and remember: it isn't only the Ahabs you should be wary of. The Jehoshaphats of the present will cause you nothing but grief, and will be no help to you at all. Jehoshaphats, while ultimately saved by grace, are compromisers and all they will encourage you to do in the end, is compromise.
I'm not saying that any of this is easy, nor am I suggesting that I have attained unto some "Super-Micaiah-Christian" status. It is however my daily aim, and by making it my objective, I often have success in being a true fundamentalist for the Truth. There is a cost associated with this though: loss of Christian friends, family troubles, being seen as an obstinate non-conformist... etc. I have, by God's grace (and on numerous occasions now)
, paid that price.
Rand"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)
Labels: Biblical Separation, Fundamentalism, Holiness
Friday Night Notes
Saturday, May 12, 2007
all these eyes have seen...On occasion, when driving back home from our Friday night of evangelism, I think to myself: "how in the world will I convey all that I have seen tonight to those who read my weblog?" Tonight was such a night. There are so many things that were said, so many things I have witnessed... and all of it, for the most part, is all mixed up into a big mess of ideas and impressions that I will most definitely spend the weekend trying to sort out.
Friday nights have become quite wearisome.First
, there was this mildly drunk man. He criticized my preaching claiming I was far too closed-minded and that I needed to "lighten up". I tried to share the Gospel with him but I was cut off by this statement:
"I am saved, man. I've done the whole born-again thing."
My answer: "No."
This, of course, infuriated him. He carried on and told me all about his Bible studies and he shared with me some of his insights which included such doctrines as: Jesus wasn't God, there are mistakes in the Bible, and the Genesis account is complete nonsense. I told him that he had done a pretty thorough job at inventing a "jesus
", but that this "jesus
" couldn't save him from anything. At this point, things turned ugly and he started cursing at me, so the conversation ended with me pointing out, again, that I had no time for his impotent "jesus
". He left.Then
, there were the women. It never ceases to amaze me how in this age of "equality of the sexes" and the whole "women's rights" movement (what a joke those words are)
, that so many women make their way to the market dressed in a manner that labels them as sex objects for men to lust for. They are not comfortable in the clothes they are wearing (that much is clear)
, and the little outfits they wear give poor warmth in a cool night like tonight. Insanity. Wicked insanity.
Praise God for his help tonight though. He, by the power of the Holy Spirit, kept me in an attitude of prayer throughout the night, which helped to keep my eyes off the pseudo-prostitutes of the marketplace.The next observation
of the night was the police. They were out in full force tonight. There were literally four to five police officers on every street of the marketplace (no exaggeration)
. My pastor mentioned that there had been an article in the newspaper about the police cracking down on the drug users/traffickers
, the panhandlers, and other criminals that do business in the marketplace.
The thing that truly impressed me was the number of arrests that were being made tonight. When the police get organized (that is, when they actually enforce the law)
, a whole lot of people get busted; and that, to me anyway, speaks volumes of just how BAD things are.Which brings me to a conversation I had
with one of the market's restaurant owners. He came by to see me as I was preaching the Gospel and asked me if he could interrupt me for a moment. He said:
"I have two questions for you: why are you doing what you are doing right now, considering that most of your audience don't know anything about what you are talking about, and they don't want to know. My second question is: have you ever had lots of people come seeking after God from what you are doing right now?"
I was all set to answer the questions when the man interrupted
me again and added this precision:
"The reason I ask is because I go to a church in the West of the city, and I learn things about the Bible there, and I like it. So I talk about it to my employees at the restaurant but they don't care! And more than that: they don't know anything. They don't know anything about God and holiness, and they don't want to know! So, that's why I want to know if you are seeing or experiencing something different than I."
"Well," I began, "to answer your first question, this is a labour of compassion and of love. Like you, most of my audience don't know anything about God or holiness, and want nothing to do with these. Nevertheless, I preach on because it's the right thing to do. If a man stands in the middle of the street and a bus comes rushing down the road, the decent thing to do is to call out to the man and warn him of his imminent encounter; that's what I'm doing here. I'm warning my fellow man of their imminent encounter with a holy God.
"As for your second question," I continued, "no, I have never seen lots of people come to me for the Gospel. I have had a few souls here and there, but never large numbers. A fact that is truly heartbreaking."
We talked for a few more minutes, lamenting the state of our poor land. He told me he attended a charismatic church not too far from where I live, which really surprised me because he made a whole lot of sense (sorry... but most charismatics I meet don't make much sense)
. He then took off, thanking me for my work. I thank God for this gentle and kind man, he was a welcome break from the insanity of the market.Finally
, more insanity. Wicked insanity. From the man who decided he was going to urinate against the parking garage wall, to the woman who was so drunk-out-of-her-mind, she had to be dragged into a cab (again, not an exaggeration)
. From the man who called me "sick" for preaching the Gospel of peace, to the woman who gloried in the knowledge that she was going to hell. And then there was Richard. Richard came to our meetings for a number of months and we were all praying that the Lord would save him. Sadly, that never happened. Richard became a drug dealer, and clearly, after talking with him tonight, this error ruined him in every possible sense of the word. Poor Richard, he was a shadow of the man he use to be. All pretty grim. All pretty sad.
I have no idea if this post makes any sense, or if it gives you, dear readers, any insight in the work that was done here tonight, but this is all I got. I'm at the point of tears now. I'm terribly tired and resigned to the fact that I may never be eloquent enough with letters to truly explain what I experience in our three hours of open-air evangelism, and its aftermath. I'm going to bed now, I have a busy day tomorrow.
I hope you all have a blessed weekend, dear readers.
Dear brothers and sisters in the Lord, have a glorious, holy Lord's Day.
RandThou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. (2 Timothy 2:1-3)
Labels: Friday evangelism
Friday Night Notes
Saturday, May 05, 2007
not easy being a chicken...
Despite the chill in the air, the crowds were back in the market tonight. Thousands of people walking about, heading for restaurants or pubs. In the middle of all the action, pastor Tim and I took our place on a street corner, and preached the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. For three hours, we preached on various evangelistic Bible verses, we distributed Bible literature, and we walked about with our Gospel signs.
I was quite nervous tonight. I don't know why. Perhaps it was the immense crowd, but I was truly on edge. Last time I was out preaching, I was amazed at how calm and temperate I had become, but tonight, no kidding, I could feel sweat drops rolling down my sides. I would even literally jump or step back defensively whenever someone yelled an obscenity too close to me(which happens a lot when preaching the Gospel in the market)
. This is quite a step backwards... I'm kind of disappointed.
Perhaps this is the Lord's way of keeping me humble and looking to Him for strength."And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong." (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
It wasn't a terrible night of preaching. We passed out a lot of Gospel tracts, and while our audience was mostly hostile, things never even came close to violence. Praise God for that! Here are some of tonight's more memorable moments:1- "The Bible Jesus" or the "Hippie Jesus"?
Yes, again, I was approached by a young man who claimed to be a Christian and had issues with my evangelistic methodology. His big problem was with my walking around the marketplace with a 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
sign. He said:
"My friends and I saw you walk by the restaurant we were eating in and we began to talk about whether your method of evangelism is appropriate."
He told me he was in town with some "Christian" organization whose mission was to present the "love and grace of God" to all men. I then tried to explain to the young man that I didn't believe he and I served the same "Jesus", because the Jesus I believed in was/is gracious to His people, but He had no time for those who, in word or action, hated Him. This didn't jive with his "theology" one bit, which he made clear when he said:
"But Jesus always preached the Gospel in a kind and compassionate way, and the Bible says that we are to preach the Gospel in the same way. We have to preach it in a way that our fellow man will receive the Gospel message."
I then asked him: "Chapter and verse, please?"
He didn't have one.
The conversation came to a sudden end when he claimed that God created the sin nature in man, so God would never condemn anyone because of something He Himself created. At that point, I told the young man that the Bible was clear, God is NOT the author of sin
, and that he was wasting my time. I have no time for the "hippie-Jesus" who "saves" people IN their sin.2- "I love Jesus and Jesus loves me!"
That's what two young ladies who were walking around half dressed yelled out. Unable to let that go, I looked straight at them and said:
"No, you don't... and no, He doesn't. Repent and believe."
They both laughed me to scorn and walked away. The Lord have mercy on their lost souls."If ye love me, keep my commandments." (John 14:15)"God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day." (Psalm 7:11)3- Which wilderness???
At the end of our time of street preaching, when the drunken noise of the market peaks, I told my pastor:
"I was at our favorite provincial park last week. We hiked in mountains, amongst the trees, with all manner of living things crawling and flying about. They call such a place: the wilderness. Let me declare to you right now, dear pastor, that there is more civility and order in that wilderness, than in this place tonight. There are more wild beasts in this market tonight than any forest has ever seen."
With that, dear readers, I conclude my notes. It's been a long day, and a busy week. Time for some rest. Have a blessed weekend, and a glorious Lord's Day.
Rand(I am once again preaching the Lord's Day evening service, so I appreciate your prayers, dear saints of God.)
Labels: Friday evangelism