Saturday, May 19, 2007an 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:
"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."
"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)
Labels: Friday evangelism