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, June 30, 2007
what a contrast!!!Another Friday night, another time of street preaching the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. I was by myself tonight; that is, pastor Tim was unable to come out with me. We were both at our church's family camp this week, so he needed the night off to prepare his sermons for the Lord's Day services. So while he locked himself in his study, I took a Gospel sign an manned our post on our street corner.
What a contrast I witnessed in just a few short hours! I spent the week at a camp site with saints of God, where there was no cursing, no blasphemy, no violence... quite the opposite, I was surrounded with people who minded the things of God and desired to serve him with their whole hearts. I came back home from this camp at around 4 pm this afternoon, and at 8 pm, I found myself in a place where cursing, blasphemy and the threat of violence is so prevalent, it almost seems "natural".
I had prepared myself mentally for this, but still, it was a tough night. The conversations I had with sinners all seemed rather unprofitable, and the number of tracts I distributed tonight was lamentably small. Everything seemed as spiritually dead as ever in the marketplace. I pray the Lord will yet surprise me by working some great work of salvation/sanctification. I'm holding out faint hope for Collin (the parking garage attendant
) who seems to desire, at least a measure of godliness; and there was another fellow I dealt with who was well versed in Scripture but leaned towards "oneness theology" in which he said he had difficulty believing in the Triune nature of God. If the Lord does anything with either one of these two men, I would greatly rejoice, but I must be honest, I see them as "long shots"; then again, "is anything too hard for the Lord?" (Jeremiah 32:27)
While I was the only member of my church labouring on the streets of the market tonight, I wasn't completely alone. The picture at the top of this post is of a brother-in-the-Lord who is involved with a ministry called the Open-Air Campaigners. During the summer season, they are usually out preaching the Word on Friday nights as well. While we are not in complete agreement in doctrine, I know for a fact the Lord can and does use their efforts and I appreciate their faithfulness in proclaiming salvation in Christ Jesus. Talking with them was a blessing tonight... the Lord bless these dear brothers.
After this nice time with the Campaigners, I went back to work and brought my Romans 6:23
sign to the doors of most bars/clubs in the market. There was plenty of jeers and insults, but there was also some downcast faces (which I truly hope were signs of shame)
. It took me well over an hour to present the sign at all these abominable places, and during that hour I was took note of the power of drugs and alcohol in the lives of the lost. So long as the devil keeps them high/drunk, they are unable and quite unwilling to have anything to do with the Gospel, and under the powerful influence of these vices, sin abounds. Chiefly would be the sin of immorality, but there are also a plurality of other sins which surfaces: wrath, idolatry, revelry, blasphemy and cursings... etc.
The absolute ugliness of sin in the market left me feeling a great sense of sadness, and exasperation. Oh! that the Lord would awaken my sick... sick city... and by extension, my country.
I covet your prayers, dear saints. My week of evangelistic work in nowhere near over: this Lord's Day is Canada Day (the Canadian version of the 4th of July)
. Hundreds of thousands of souls will come to my city to celebrate how "great" my ungodly nation is. That's an opportunity my pastor and I never miss; so right after the morning service on Sunday, my pastor and I will spend the afternoon street preaching to all those people. Please pray for the Lord's leading, protection, and for the salvation of souls.
On that note, I'm off to bed. I hope to have some notes for you late Sunday night, after the Lord's Day evening service, in which I will summarize our afternoon of Gospel work. Have a great weekend, dear readers.
Labels: Friday evangelism
Friday Night Notes
Saturday, June 23, 2007
such foolish vanity...
Literally minutes before stepping out of the house to make my way downtown, Brother Pete from My All For One called me up. We had a nice conversation and before saying goodbye, Brother Pete prayed for me over the phone for blessing and protection during our night of evangelism. What a blessing! Brother Pete is thousands of kilometers away from where I preach the Gospel, but in a way, just through a short time of prayer, it was like he was nearby. His support over the years have been a real blessing to me; the Lord bless him abundantly for his brotherly kindness.
My pastor and I made it to our usual street corner and began preaching the Gospel around 8pm. There were two drunken panhandlers across the street from where I was preaching which, at first, I feared would cause me some aggravation, but the Lord delivered me; when they saw I was about to begin my night of evangelism, they got up and left. I heard one of them grumbling at me, but grumbling I can handle (lol
Pastor Tim was a preaching machine tonight; not that he preached more than usual, but rather, his preaching had an urgency about it, and his words were sharp and direct. This, of course, raised the ire of many ungodly souls, but he pressed on, not letting anyone distract him. He was really something to behold tonight..."You ladies are in danger of hellfire!" he exclaimed to a group of four young ladies who were, without exaggeration, running around downtown in lingerie. "You are dressed like prostitutes, you act like prostitutes, and the Lord detests it. If you do not repent, the Lake of Fire is where you will spend eternity."
On my side, I was able to preach the Gospel without much interruption, having a few short conversations with a couple of souls. I spoke to a nominal Romanist who wanted to know what denomination I represented. I told him I was a Baptist by denomination, but he had no idea what that meant. So I took the opportunity to explain to him how being a Baptist differed from being "a catholic"
. I explained to him that for a Baptist, it was the Bible plus/minus nothing. Much to my chagrin, the poor fellow told me he didn't really believe the Bible was the literal Word of God. Knowing that this was evidence that the Holy Spirit hadn't done anything for this man yet, I encouraged the man to read the Bible and to give it a chance. My hope was and is that he will open his Bible this weekend and by the working of the Holy Spirit, he be converted by God's Word:"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
After this conversation, the cursed car came back. Yes, the cursed car.
You see the car attached to this post? It was parked at the exact same spot a few weeks ago, that is, it was parked right across from where we were preaching; and it should be noted that the sports car was in a "no-stop" zone. Not just "no-parking", but "no-stop". The owner of the vehicle got away from a ticket a couple of weeks ago, but not tonight. He/She got a hefty fine for his/her violation.
Now why do I call it "the cursed car"? Simple. It distracted our audience. It was a sad site to behold my dear readers. The people would come, they would ignore our preaching and our Gospel signs (the things that could be used to save their souls)
, and then spend several minutes coveting this fancy car. Oh! the vanity! The stupid thing will be rusting in some junkyard in about a decade and no one is going to care in the least about it, and that's what the people chose to place over the Gospel of Life. What utter folly!
I did end up using the "cursed car" in my preaching though. When I noticed a large crowd had formed around the car, I seized the opportunity. I cried out:
"The owner of the vehicle you are coveting just got an expensive ticket for ignoring the "no-stop" sign. He broke the law... the law that was set up before him on a sign... and because of this, he is guilty and must pay for his crime. You will all face the same fate one day, for I stand before you with a sign... warning you of God's law... and you are disregarding it, preferring the vanity of this car... and I assure you, there will be a price to be paid!"
Finally, I was scolded by a young man who believed I should have been spending more of my time making the panhandlers and street drunks more comfortable than preaching to them. Clearly, he was a "love, love, all you need is love" type, and of course, he attributed this philosophy to Jesus (if I'm not mistaken, John Lennon wasn't Jesus)
. I tried to explain to him that our society made the panhandlers and street drunks comfortable enough by providing them with food and shelter, and that what they needed first and foremost was the Gospel. He disagreed.
Seeing that the conversation wasn't going anywhere, I ended it, and went back to preaching. The young man wasn't too happy about being "blown off" (those were his words)
, but still tried to take the "high road" on me by extending his hand and saying: "I love you." I shook his hand and said: "it's all good my friend, there is no offence here... it was just clear to me that our conversation wasn't going anywhere so I figured we should both stop babbling." This answer didn't smooth things over at all. It would seem he manage to forget that he "loved" me in less than 2 minutes because he walked away from me criticizing and mocking me to his friends.
Unfortunately, that pretty much sums up our night of evangelism. Plenty of scorn, lots of mockery. God be thanked though, while a young man did try to push me into a wall as I walking with a Gospel sign, there were no instance of violence. All and all, in was a pretty standard, same-old-same-old kind of night of evangelism.
Thanks to all my brothers and sisters-in-the-Lord who have prayed and are praying for me and our evangelistic efforts. I truly hope that one day, I will write one of these Friday Night Notes to share with you a mighty work of God in the marketplace, that we may joy together. Until then, I appreciate you loving support and your continued prayers.
Have a blessed weekend, and a glorious Lord's Day,
Labels: Friday evangelism
Friday Night Notes
Saturday, June 16, 2007
the fear of the Lord… or lack thereof…It’s been, and continues to be, one fantastically busy week. Leading the Christian Children Soccer Club, preparing my Sunday School lesson and a sermon for the Lord’s Day Evening Service, and add a scientific conference to the mix along with helping my father install a hard wood floor in his house… I’m exhausted!!!
As I made my way to the marketplace, I felt I was like a dream, you know the kind where you feel like you are out of your body and get to watch you act. The market was full and loud tonight, which I believe only accentuated the “surreal” feeling I was already experiencing. I was out for only 2 hours tonight, since I needed to hit the road back to my hometown, where my dad awaited with lots of home renovation work.
In those two hours, I got to, once again, behold those who fear not God throw themselves into all manner of destructive sin: immorality, drunkenness, revelry, covetousness… etc. The fear of the Lord was definitely the theme of my night. When Collin came by tonight (the parking garage superintendent I have witnessed to before)
, I realized after talking with him for awhile that like King Agrippa, Collin had a measure of the fear of God in him, but not the kind the would save him. It’s a, for lack of better word, a “natural” fear of God. Poor Collin has enough fear to keep him from drunkenness and many other types of folly, but when it comes to immorality, he just loves it more than God. Pure and simple.
Then I had a short conversation with a very mild mannered man who asked me this:
“Why would God condemn me for simply not choosing to believe in His Son?”
“Why would a judge condemn you for committing a crime in this country?” I responded.
I then explained that the reason for the condemnation was that a law was broken. I showed him that the Lord commands us to repent and believe on Jesus; it’s not invitation or a suggestion, God commands it (Acts 17:30; John 3:18)
. This answer satisfied him, that much was clear. He then confessed that his problem was that he didn’t fear the Lord. To that I replied:
“Yeah, that’s right, and the only way you will ever truly fear God is if He saves you. God puts His fear in those He saves, it’s a gift, it truly is.”
Our conversation was unfortunately cut short due to the ranting and raving of his friend who wanted no part of what I had to say. I truly hope that the little I shared with this gentle soul will cause him to seek God with all his heart. God promises salvation to all those who do just that."And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart." (Jeremiah 29:13)
I’ve had a number of people bless me tonight, which was a refreshing change to the chorus of blasphemies and mockeries I usually put up with. Oh, don’t worry, the mockeries and hateful words still outnumbered the blessings 10 to 1, but I rarely get one “God bless you” during my usual three hours of preaching. So I thank the Lord for this grace. All and all, tonight was a good night (as much as preaching the Gospel to the godless in the market can be good)
. I was in close fellowship with the Lord by prayer, speaking to him in an inaudible voice as if He were right there beside me (for I know He was)
. This definitely helped keep my attitude right as I laboured through my preaching in the midst of so much ungodliness.
Praise God for the inner working of the Holy Spirit in me tonight.
One more thing worthy of mention: as I was preaching tonight, a man yelled a very loud "hi Rand!" from across the street. It took me a few seconds to recognize who it was. The man was Sebastien, a fellow I went to high school with. In high school, Sebastien and I never really hung out together; he was in the "in-crowd" and I most certainly wasn't. Despite this social separation, we were always friendly to one another. That is, until about five years ago. What happened five years ago? Both Sebastien and Carl (another high school buddy) first saw me preaching the Gospel downtown. If memory serves, they both yelled out some not too pleasant words at me and walked away.
Then, about two years ago, I met up with both Sebastien and Carl, yet again, during one of my Friday night evangelistic efforts. This time though, I didn't let them run away from me. I walked right up to me and said "hello!". I didn't give them a hard time over our last meeting, but instead I attempted to show them that I hadn't gone mad or weird; and much to my surprise, it worked. We had a great talk and I actually managed to be a good witness to both men.
So it was good that Sebastien yelled out a greeting tonight. He could have ignored me, he could have gone back to mocking me, but he didn't. I pray that both Sebastien and Carl would one day seek the God of their old buddy, Rand.
With that, I close the notes for this week. I have to be up early tomorrow to work with my dad, and then prepare for the Lord’s Day. Remember me in prayer, dear saints.
Lord bless you all.
RandPs: the picture at the top of this post isn’t really clear (and it’s probably a good thing), but what you are looking at is my Gospel sign on the street corner where we preach, and just around that corner there were men playing these “jungle drums” while a woman danced lewdly in their midst. I thought the contrast was worthy of a picture.
Labels: Friday evangelism
Saturday, June 09, 2007
I apologize for the delay...
Due to an early evening thunderstorm and a really nasty headache, I wasn't able to go out for our usual night of open-air street preaching. When I got home from work, I headed straight for the couch and only moved off in early hours of the morning to make my way to bed.
Have a blessed Lord's Day, dear readers.
Open Letter to David W. Cloud
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
for what it's worth...
My dear brother-in-the-Lord, John van Eyk, sent me an e-mail a few weeks ago now, requesting I post this "open letter" to David W. Cloud, an American baptist fundamentalist and missionary whom we both respect, despite his hatred for the doctrines of grace. The subject matter of the "open letter" is, unsurprisingly, the doctrines of grace (or the soteriological system called Calvinism)
. More precisely, it is an answer to an article that has appeared on brother David's website
entitled "Calvinism on the March Among Evangelicals"
. Brother John's letter contains good advice, and I thought brother David would profit from it, as well as all those who, like him, are fighting against God by resisting the grand Truth of God's sovereignty in the salvation of His elect.
About John van Eyk: I met brother John at Bethel Baptist church in London, Ontario a few years ago now. From the very first sermon I have had the pleasure of hearing him preach, I loved him. John may not be the most dynamic/funny/expressive/entertaining preacher you've ever heard, but the man preaches substance! You can hear some of John's preaching right here, simply click on these links:Did Jesus Really Exist? (.mp3)God's Glory - 1 Peter 5:10 (.mp3)Holy Living (.mp3)Pictures of Wesley (.mp3)The Great Commission - Luke 24:44-49 (.mp3)The Lord Is The Beginning Of Wisdom (.mp3)They Really Don't Know Him (.mp3)
So, without any further delay:Brother John van Eyk's Open Letter to David W. Cloud
RandDisclaimer: this isn't my letter, it is brother John's. I will not answer for him, so if you have any questions about this open letter, please e-mail brother John at the e-mail address which he supplied. Any other comments/impressions are welcome in the comment box.
Friday Night Notes
Saturday, June 02, 2007
good start... terrible ending...The weather reports all warned an impending "severe thunderstorm". By 7:30 pm though, there wasn't a drop of rain, nor were there any thunder or lightning. So, knowing full well that we were probably going to get caught in the middle of a thunderstorm in the marketplace, we went out street preaching. Too many times we trusted the weather reports, and too many times, we scratched a perfectly good night of Gospel preaching.
The night started off pretty well, and I'm not just referring to the lack of a rain storm. Remember this guy from the notes I posted a couple of week's ago...
"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."
Well, he's the first soul who came by to talk to us tonight. He was strangely, or surprisingly, quite coherent; and no, he didn't bang his head against anything. He said:
"Look guys, I believe in God... though I find it hard to believe in Him sometimes, but that's not the point... I guess I just wanted to say... that I'm not a loud-mouth jerk, and I'm sorry I gave you both a hard time there last time... it won't happen again."
I couldn't believe my eyes or my ears. A preacher gets pretty cynical sometimes; especially when dealing with some of these street beggars. Instinctively, he gets kind of hardened to the plight of these souls since the overwhelming majority of them are so far deep into wickedness, so messed up by whatever substance they are abusing. He starts seeing them as a complete lost cause, and hope of seeing anything good come from them quickly dissipates.
And then something like this happens.
My pastor and I told him that we appreciated his words and we all left each other with a kind "goodnight". The Lord be merciful to him.
Things quickly degenerated after that I'm afraid. A couple of other street beggars tried there best to intimidate us into leaving tonight; efforts that ultimately failed, but they were quite the aggravation. Then, there was the usual chants: "we love Satan", "you've been brainwashed", "you need a sex life", "God is dead"... and other "pleasantries" that I will most definitely not share with you here (I regret that I have such phrases in my head... I won't infect yours with such vileness)
Sadly, things weren't just bad on the side of the ungodly. This street preacher malfunctioned again tonight. A beggar asked me for some money as he walked by me and I said: "I'm sorry I don't carry money on me when I preach down here." And that, dear readers was a 100%, pure, bold-faced lie. Not only have I had money in my pockets on past endeavours, I had money in my pocket this very night. I don't know why I said that. The man didn't intimidate me in the least, and it probably would have been good for me to deal with him by explaining why I wasn't going to give him any money; but instead, I lied. I actually called myself "an idiot" two seconds after I spoke. This may seem somewhat trivial to some of you, but I really, really hate being good at lying. I never want to get used to it.
Anyway, I tried to go back and speak to the beggar to try and share the Gospel with him, and make it known that my last answer wasn't right, but he had no time for me. If I didn't have any money for him, he wanted no part of what I had to say. So, I guess I'll have to call myself an idiot a few more times. This wasn't my only wickedness tonight (not by a long shot)
. All and all, this has been a pretty crumby night, spiritually speaking, and what's disappointing is that Friday nights are usually the times when I feel I am most faithful to the Lord. I need to shape up...
The night wasn't a whole waste. The Gospel was preached, Bible tracts were distributed, conversations were had, and I have no doubt that the Lord could use the work that was done tonight despite the sad state of this preacher. I just wish I could truly honour my God by being more meet for His use. You know, be more of a Nehemiah or Ezra, less of a Jonah or a Solomon.
Please pray for me, dear saints. I need the Lord to give me the will and the power to do for his good pleasure; and I need to work out my own salvation with fear and trembling."Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." (Philippians 2:12-13)
Have a good weekend, dear readers, and have a blessed Lord's Day.
Randps: two hours into our evangelistic effort, it started raining... hard.
Labels: Friday evangelism