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)
More Evangelistic Notes From "Away"
Friday, September 28, 2007
with a call to prayer...
A nasty virus is working its way through my house right now, so I was unable to go out preaching tonight. The last two days haven't been much fun. Anyway, rather than going without any "notes" tonight, I though I'd share with you an e-mail I got from my brother-in-the Lord who is labouring in Quebec City, Marcel.
Just like my "Friday Night Notes", Marcel usually summarizes some of the events of his night of preaching, but in this particular e-mail, brother Marcel goes on to make a desperate call for God's people to pray. A call that we should all heed to.
If you find some parts of the e-mail difficult to understand, bare in mind that brother Marcel is French.
SEPT. 21ST 2007-QUEBEC CITY STREET PREACHING
September 21st was my birthday. I am now 61 years old. I remember my father was telling me when I was young that life was short. At that time, I did not really realise what he meant because at 16-17, we think that we are going to live for ever. It seems to me that the the clock is ticking faster now.
Marcel A., Lucy and I were on St-Joseph street Friday evening. Narindra is still in Madagascar. He should come back on October 3. There were lots of people on the street because the weather was really fine. We passed more than 150 tracts. Many hundreds of people heard the gospel while Marcel A. and I preached. Many hundreds read the gospel signs we had around our necks. As usual, we had a lot of foolish reactions to our offer of gospel tracts:
1) one man said very loudly and proudly: "It is debauchery that saves"
2) two men walking with 3 cases of beer in their hands had a good laugh looking at us and said: "You are so funny!"...
3) one man said: "Long life to Satan!"
4) many men and women blasphemed and cursed very abundantly. Our ears are really dirty when we come back from there...
While walking to our preaching spot, a lady crossed the street running towards us and asked us some money. We did not give her anything because we do not want to encourage vice. She yelled: "You are so cheap!". It is funny to observe them. At the minute they see someone who believes in Jesus-Christ, they beg for money and if we refuse, they have the most disgusting words towards us. We offered her a tract and she refused.
Very near where we preach, there is a bar. Very often, there is a gang of people outside discussing and yelling. We can listen to the music they have because it is very loud. Lucy was on the sidewalk in front of them. One man was very upset by the gospel sign Lucy had around her neck. They were about 10 (3-4 men and 5-6 women). That man began to yell obscenities to Lucy and he threatened her to force her to leave. As he was walking towards her, 2 or 3 ladies grabbed the man and restrained him. They argued with him: "Let her alone, it is her choice" and other arguments of that kind. Lucy was really frightened. She prayed the LORD and HE used pagans to bring this man to reason.
The police came near us. They stopped and read our gospel signs. It was a woman who was driving. She looked at the gospel sign which reads "For the wages of sin is death" and said very loudly: "Death..., death," and she laughed and laughed... Even police officers cannot control themselves when they are confronted with the Word of God.
When Marcel A. was preaching, a man stood on the other side of the street and began to yell very, very loudly: "SHUT UP, SHUT UP!". He crossed the street and came very near Marcel and continued to yell very loudly. He yelled: "THAT IS NO GOOD", "PUT ALL THAT TO THE GARBAGE", etc... I thought to myself: "Oh, oh, we are going to have trouble". I also prayed the LORD. He continued a few minutes and he decided to quit yelling obscenities and foolish words. I think that we are disturbing Satan's kingdom!
Marcel A. had a very long conversation with Rolland. This man says he is a christian but he does not go to any church and this for many years. Lucy and I also had a conversation with him a few months ago. He said that there is a lot of hypocrisy in the churches. We tried to bring him to reason with the Scriptures but without success.
Marcel also had a long conversation with a young man. He was trying to teach Marcel. You know, there are a lot of "teachers" on the streets these days. They try to convince us of their numerous philosophies. This one had a "Cabalistic" approach to the Bible. Marcel literally bombarded him with verses concerning sin, Christ, resurrection and salvation. He became rapidly irritated because Marcel has an excellent memory and the man had a "heavy rain" of verses!
While returning to the car, we meet a lady who stopped to read our gospel sign verses and she said very seriously: "I know that all that is TRUE!". And she continued in her sinful ways. It is something rare. Usually, they do not want to acknowledged the Bible and the truth. How can somebody come so near to the truth and prefer darkness! Oh my friends, the depth of depravity!
I also had a conversation with a man. He was also a "pagan teacher". He told me: "Do you know what is the problem with people today? They simply do not know that God loves them! The Lord will all save us!". And he began to give me long quotes of St-Francis-of-Assisi concerning the Goodness of the LORD, etc... I brought him some verses on the severity, wrath and justice of the LORD. But he did not want to listen. He was litterally blinded by his "holy wishes".
STREET PREACHING IS REVEALING
Many times, when we go street preaching, we observe the SINS of OTHERS in a very great number of ways.
This week, I saw more my own weaknesses and frailties. I realise that I do not love souls as I should. Sometimes, I do not dare to offer tracts to some people when they look too tough or agressive. This makes me really sad. I am not really ON FIRE for the LORD (at least not as I should). This brings SHAME on me. This is especially true when I see the men the LORD used during revivals. They were REALLY, REALLY ON FIRE!
One man I know (I will not mention his name to keep him humble), has a motto I have liked very, very much the first time I heard it. It is "CHRIST WITHOUT DISTRACTION!". There are so many distractions in our modern lives. We are distracted by the radio and television, by the internet (blogs, "FACEBOOK", etc.). I do not watch television anymore. But I have to learn to discipline myself with internet. It can do good but we have to be very careful. We find time to go there and sometimes passed hours there and we do not find time to pray for hours! Shame on us! Worldliness has invaded us! Let us react and go back on our knees.
I have just received 2 books from a friend of mine: "Preaching and preachers" from Martin Lloyd-Jones and "Why revival tarries" from Leonard Ravenhill. I began to read them both. They are VERY DISTURBING! Are we as faithful as we think we are? Do we love the LORD as we think we are? Are we REALLY ready to suffer for HIS NAME's sake? They show us how cold we have become and how far we are from the LORD. This makes me realise that being in a good church is not sufficient! We have got to REALLY, REALLY strive for HOLINESS and to bring REAL, REAL FEAR OF THE LORD in our lives and that HE becomes the REAL and unique centrality of our lives. Men and women in revivals passed many hours (some up to 5 to 6 hours a day in fervent prayer, were not missing any church services (in fact, the pastor had to fight with them to bring them out of the church, services lasted 7 to 10 hours, all of them were speaking every day to every body they knew about OUR WONDERFUL SAVIOUR! , they all had daily family prayers and devotions, etc... , etc..., etc... We, fundamentalists, have grown cold and we have LOST OUR FIRST LOVE!
URGENT NEED OF PRAYERS!
My partial self-examination brings me to see that I need to pray a LOT MORE! And I also need to be prayed for a LOT MORE! I truly beg you to pray for me: more holiness, more fear of the LORD, more prayer, more Bible, more intimacy with the LORD! LORD, OH LORD, I REALLY WANT TO BE ON FIRE! How can we be satisfied with less than that? Shame on me and shame on them that can identify with me!
Revival is not a dream! The LORD still can do these wonderful things HE DID in the past!
PRAISE TO OUR GREAT AND WONDERFUL GOD! LET US BRING HIM GLORY, GLORY, AND GLORY!
REAL LOVE IN CHRIST
Hope these notes are a blessing to you, dear readers. God bless you this weekend.
Brother Robert, the same Robert who has been commenting on this blog for a number of weeks now, has sent me via e-mail a summary of an evangelistic endeavour he was involved in a few weeks ago. The e-mail is more than just an account of what happened during this endeavour, it is a much needed call to arms to all true believers in Christ Jesus.
I want to share this e-mail with all of you, dear readers, because I feel the account and the overall message is important:
Happy Friday! Outreach report: Bay Days Festival
Newport News, VA Sept 8th 2007
First off, I'm sorry this is so long but I did my best!
I arrived a day late (Saturday) just in time to meet everyone and head out to the festival. Bay Days is a kind of “Street Festival” that is mostly an excuse to get drunk and not feel guilt about it.
We went there to preach “Open Air” as they did in biblical times, and throughout church history. Preaching Open Air is a very effective way to get the “good news” to a lot of people in a short amount of time. One thing has to be noted here: many people see someone proclaiming the gospel while standing on a box or stool as a ridiculous and ineffective means of “reaching out to people.” They say this because of “perceived results.” In other words; because some people mock the preaching and they don’t see anyone running to you to embrace your message, then you must be doing something wrong.”
I’d like to state clearly here and now that perceived results are NOT the yard stick by which we measure our success or failure. We measure success by how faithful we are to preach a clear message. That’s it. John the Baptist was an Open Air preacher, Jesus preached Open Air, the Apostles did also. All through church history, this has been done to spread the good news.
Now that that’s been said…
We arrived a little late, 1:00 PM, and set up. We had a very busy corner staked out and there were LOTS of people at the festival already! (300,000 people attend the fest in a 3 day period!) We passed out tracts for a few minutes before the preaching started. A little explanation about why we pass out tracts: we pass out tracts for two reasons; first, they are a good way to get the gospel to someone with whom you’ll never see again. Second, they are a good “ice breaker” when you are seeing who is, or is not, open to speaking to you. You hand them a tract, and if they crumple it up and throw it back at you…they MIGHT not be open to discussing the things of God with you! BUT, if they take it and if they begin to read, then you have your opening.
I must have talked to 25-50 people myself on Saturday. Many of them, because they didn’t like what we were doing and were more than willing to talk about it! I’d look for someone who was listening in the crowd, even if they looked mad, I’d ask them what they thought of the crazy guy on the box and what he had to say. One man I talked to; “john” said that he thought that what we were doing was definitely NOT right because nobody was stopping to listen. He said we should think about maybe being nicer and quieter in our approach…I ended up talking to John for 30 minutes and talked to him about his eternal destiny; all because he didn’t like what we were doing! Now granted, he was proud, and thought that it was arrogant to think that there is only one path to God, but he heard the gospel none the less.
I wish I was making this part up, but I’m not…St. Marks Episcopal Church was selling beer in the booth across from where we were preaching! I’m not kidding! Here we are at a festival used as an excuse to get wasted, fights, lewd behavior, and everything else that goes with it…and they are supplying the alcohol!
I asked them about it, and apparently my fellow Christians had already done so several times, so they were tired of hearing it by the time I got there! The man behind the beer tap informed me that Jesus turned water into wine and so there is nothing wrong with a church selling beer! When he found out I was with the crew who were preaching; he really gave me the business!
If you think that a church selling beer is no big deal, then I have to relay something that happened on Saturday night; Rob was preaching about 20 feet away from the church beer booth, and it was packed and more rowdy than the daytime crowd. He had just gotten to the place in his sermon where he quotes “do not be deceived, no drunkards…will enter the kingdom of Heaven” when a man holding a beer passed right by me and exclaimed “what are you talking about? The CHURCH is selling the beer!”
How sad that this is what the unsaved see from the church! Instead of being “the light of the world” they are now known as “the Miller-Lite” of the world. :(
At one point, a woman in an electric golf cart pulled up to me and told me that we could not pass anything out! She was pretty upset by what we were doing and I pointed her to the leader of our group; Nathan, who had already checked with the Police before we ever arrived to make sure that it would be ok to pass out tracts and preach. After confronting him with her objection, and not getting anywhere, and the police telling her that we had the right to what we were doing, she was so mad that she took matters into her own hands, she parked her golf cart right in front of the person who was currently preaching, and put it in reverse to it would make the continuous beeping sound and hopefully drown the person preaching out! When the person preaching moved his stool, she moved the golf cart! When she realized that wasn’t working, she decided to take a different tact; she got between Nathan and anyone he tried to hand a tract to and “block” the tract “hand off!” Amazing isn’t it? You can sell beer in the name of God but you cannot preach his word!
It’s interesting that while most mock and belittle us for the message, some do listen. It’s these people that we “intercept” and ask them about what they think about where they’d go when they died.
As I’ve said before, people have a very much inflated opinion of their own innate goodness and nobody thinks that they’d go to hell…no matter what they’re doing!
I talked to a group of girls who looked to be about 15 or 16. They all thought that they were good, and when Tony and I asked them if they lied, stolen, blasphemed, and all of the rest, they admitted it. After being confronted with the evidence of their guilt, they did admit that they’d go to hell if today was the day they died. Two girls in the group of 5 were visibly convicted about it. Their mouths were stopped, they weren’t justifying their actions; they knew where they’d go. We told them the “second half” of the good news, which is the “cure for the disease” Jesus’ death on the cross as payment for their sins. We told them to think about what they’d heard, and to repent before it’s too late.
I learned a few tips and things for explaining the gospel while I was there. One good analogy I learned was this:
Me: “It’s not the fervency of your faith that is important as much as WHAT you put your faith into isn’t it? If you were about to jump out of an airplane that is going to crash, what would you grab and put on your back; the pillow, the blanket, or the parachute? Them: The parachute! Me: Why? Them: Because it’s the only thing that will save you! Me: Right! In the same way; Jesus is the only thing that will save you, not Buddha, not Muhammad, nobody except Jesus.
I also learned another valuable lesson; how faithful a Christian really can be to spread the gospel. Being around brothers and sisters who are “sold-out” for God is a real “wake-up-call” to me. It makes me realize how lazy and slothful I am in my own life when it comes to sharing the good news. Here is an example: Saturday afternoon we stopped for dinner at a restaurant a few streets away from the festival. We had dinner and then as we were walking back to the festival, Neil saw a group of people 15 waiting in line to use an ATM at a bank. In obedience, he stopped and preached the good news to them. All in all it took 5 or 6 minutes of his life, and 15 people heard the gospel. When he was finished and thanked them for listening and we moved on.
My heart was convicted over this.Why am I not doing this? I asked Tony, a veteran seed-sower, if witnessing to a group of people at an ATM was “normal” for him in his everyday life and he humbly said yes, when he sees a group of people he will stop and preach. He confessed that he does get butterflies and is afraid, but he does it anyway.
That’s a lesson for all of us.Obedience is not talk;obedience is action;even when we are afraid.
Sadly; I talked with many, many people who were professing Christians, who were drinking beer and many were visibly drunk and some couldn’t even form a sentence, they were so wasted! And all the while thinking they’d go to heaven because they “confessed their sins!”
This is so deceptive! The idea that you “confess with your mouth” and ask Jesus to be your savior; you’re good to go. These people believe themselves to be saved! Why? Because someone told them that all they had to do was “confess,” or “believe,” or “make Jesus their savior.” Not one person I talked to the whole time had any idea what repentance was!
We are sending people to HELL. Can we stop? This message of “easy-believism” is giving people a false sense of security where none exists.
Can we just stop that?? God is the one who converts the human soul! He does it through the preaching of the word! He uses the Law of God to convict, and convert the human heart. Can we just quit giving people a false hope so it’s just that much harder to give them the real truth? The gospel is a hard message, not a “candy-coated-come-on.”
The preaching went on until about 10:00 pm when everyone was exhausted. We ended the night by passing out tracts until the police sent us packing.
I left Sunday after church, and the rest of the group stayed to go on to preach at two colleges in Virginia Monday and Tuesday.
All in all, it was great! What a privilege to serve God by spreading His gospel!
God bless this dear brother for his service on that day, and may the Lord continue to use him as a fisher of men.
Ps: kind of funny/sad to see that the Episcopal church, which is the Anglican church in Canada, behaves pretty much the same way in both countries... that is, abominably.
the hatred of the ungodly, the ignorance of the people of faith...
I just got back from our night of street preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I thought about waiting a few hours before writing this post, but I think typing on my laptop is helping me deal with all the thoughts and emotions that are affecting me right now. Just a few minutes ago, I was spat on by a young woman who really hated our Bible signs, I was cursed at with words I would really, really like to forget, and I was threatened with violence by yet another young man. All that in took place in roughly 10 minutes. That level of hatred in such a relatively short amount of time, I must say, is quite overwhelming.
I'm not a hateful man. Really. The thought of harming others makes me uncomfortable, and logically, being harmed by others, either physically or emotionally, makes me just as uncomfortable. You can call me a "sissy" if you like, but when I find myself surrounded by people who hate me for whatever reason, I fear. So right now, as I'm writing this post, I'm slowly getting a grip on myself again. Keep that in mind as you read this post.
The night wasn't all bad. We preached the Gospel for about 3 hours without incident. We were mocked and insulted a few times, but nothing overly grievous. The only aggravation I had to deal with in the first 2 hours of our street preaching was the ignorance of a few so-called Christians. On two or three occasions tonight, I was faced with a person claiming to be a Christian, who objected to our 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and John 3:36 signs. It's not that they didn't believe in the inspiration of these Scriptures, but that they shouldn't be utilized in evangelism. "You need to show God's love in salvation, not only preach doom and gloom," I was told by a young lady. I answered that the people of our city no longer had the slightest concept of what sin is... drunkenness is a disease... homosexuality is an alternative lifestyle... etc. Without an understanding of what sin is, how in the world can a person understand the Lord's salvation? I think I got somewhere with one of the ladies I dealt with on this issue.
Tia and Harriett were back tonight. These are two ladies I mentioned in my last post who really had no interest in repentance and faith in Christ, but who did want to know more about why I was preaching the Gospel. Again, these two ladies showed alot of respect for me and again asked me a few questions about the Gospel. They even brought in a couple of their friends to join in the conversation. I truly hope the Lord will ruin their sinful night in the marketplace tonight, and will give them eyes to see, and ears to hear the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Matthew 13:10-17).
I'm pretty sure I wasted a good 20 minutes with a man named Jason who tried really hard to come up with some logical argument that would prove to me that faith in the Bible is irrational. He failed. He was pretty upset when he found out that I was a scientist... it was like I had blasphemed the great "Temple of Science" by contending for the existence of God. He was absolutely incensed that there is a school that gave me a diploma in the field of science. Doesn't everyone know by now that science is only for atheists, or people who at least behave like atheists? And that's no joke, the day is coming...
It was after this waste of time that we decided to head back home. Pastor Tim and I each took a side of the street, to let people read our Bible signs as we walked towards home. That's when a couple of young men and a young woman came up behind me and started to criticize my sign. The young lady started spitting at the signs, whilst cursing vilely.
"Doesn't the Bible say God will forgive everyone," one of the young men said.
"It does not," I answered.
"I'm sure it does," the young man replied.
"Well, show me, in the Bible, where you get this concept," I answered.
With that, this young man gave up and walked further ahead, but the young lady, well, she was still spitting. The other man then took up the fight his friend had started claiming that it was proven that the world was millions of years old so my faith in the Bible was ludicrous. I asked him what he did for a living and he, after a long pause, said he was a geologist (an obvious lie). I then told him I was a biologist/biochemist and that I had not seen this irrefutable proof that the Earth was indeed millions of years old. Like Jason above, this grated the young man's nerves to the point that he got right into my face and pretty much expressed his pure, unadulterated hatred for me.
After this sweetheart moment, and I mean seconds after, another young man showed up, and again got right in my face pushing me back sometimes with his hands, other times with his chest, yelling:
"You stupid f*#$, your so full of s*&%, and you'll never get any sex... you understand you crazy $#%&*#@..."
I really couldn't help smiling at this point for the only one acting crazy at that point, was this poor fool. In an attempt to diffuse the tension, I looked up at the man with a calm demeanor showed him my wedding band and said:
"Guy, I'm married."
Well, I hoped that this man would have realized that his assumption was lacking, and that he would then leave me alone. Boy, did I ever gauge that situation wrong. The man got way more agitated and continued to push me, cursing and making lewd, disgusting remarks about my family (which, I must admit, was beginning to get under my skin). The man finally left me alone when he saw that there were many eyes on him, and that he probably wouldn't get away with doing me any harm.
The Lord show mercy to these sad souls. Honestly, I don't feel anger towards them. I feel sorry for them. Especially after a few minutes at home. I looked at my beautiful wife, my beautiful children, the good life that the Lord has given me, all the spiritual blessings with which he blessed me... and they have nothing of this. The Bible says:
"The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble." (Proverbs 4:19)
The Lord has given me light, but all they have is darkness. I will pray for them. Please, brothers and sisters-in-the-Lord, pray for them as well; and please pray that the Lord would continue to work on me, that I would be of good courage, to declare His Gospel so long as I draw breath.
I'm going to try to meditate on and take comfort in Psalm 140 for awhile, and then turn in for bed. God bless you all, dear readers...
Sister Cathy mentioned, in her last comment on this blog, that her husband manned my post in the marketplace last week. After a night of evangelism there, he returned home tired and weary and declared that we laboured in a hell hole. After tonight's endeavour, he won't get any argument from me.
I'm slowly, but surely, getting past being bothered by the ridicule and vitriol cast in my teeth when preaching the Gospel downtown; what I am still terribly bothered by is just how absolutely ignorant and hard-hearted the people are when it comes to the Gospel. They hate it without having the slightest concept of what it truly is. They loathe it. They really, really do. It doesn't matter if I spend our three hours of evangelism preaching only "positive" aspects of the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, or if I warn of the coming judgment and the reality of Hell. Whatever the message, whatever the tone or disposition....
They really, really hate the Gospel.
And I'm not just talking about the party goers, and the drunkards. No, no. There are plenty of religious people who walk by us on any given Friday night. For the most part, they are embarrassed by us. They think we mean well, but we're kind of stupid in the way we preach the Gospel (which, incidentally, is the method they read of in Scripture... if they read the Scriptures). My pastor spoke truthfully when he said to me:
"You know, Rand, the Sunday after the Rapture... the "churches" will be full. There will be services and lots of people will be in "church" after the Rapture of the saints."
A lot has happened tonight. A lot. There is no way I'll post it all here... I'm just too tired, and I don't think you'll all appreciate a five thousand word post. So here are the highlights and lowlights of our night of street evangelism, rapid-fire style:
-While I was preaching the Gospel a man came by and yelled out in a demeaning tone: "Haven't you ever heard of Darwin?" I asked him what he did for a living. He told me he was a lawyer. I then told him I was a scientist, and if he wanted to talk about Darwin, then he should come over and have a chat with me. He declined.
-I had a great talk with brother Bob of the Open-Air Campaigners tonight. We don't associate ecclesiastically with the Campaigners because they are thoroughly Arminian, but still, I truly appreciate their zeal in presenting what they know of the Gospel of Jesus every Friday night. It was good to encourage and be encouraged. The Lord bless brother Bob and his group.
-I had a nice long Q&A session with two ladies tonight. They really wanted no part of the Gospel, they assured me of that much, but they did want to know more about what I was doing and why I was doing it. We had a pretty good conversation and I pray that the Lord will use our discussion to either save these ladies, or deal with someone else through their "Christian education" tonight.
-In the middle of my second round of preaching, a very drunk, very high, and very agitated man came over wanting to "straighten me out". The effects of what he was on was so powerful, he was borderline violent. I knew if I didn't take charge of the conversation, if I didn't deal with him sternly, he would become a very big problem. So in the middle of his antics, I got right in his face and said: "my friend, if you died right now, you're going to go to Hell because you are a drunkard and a blasphemer." He tried to protest by claiming he was really a "good guy", but I told him that God's standard was higher than his, and that he needed to live his life God's way, not what he thought was "good enough". Our conversation lasted roughly 15 minutes, and by the end, the young man had settled down quite a bit. He told me he respected my beliefs and received one of my tracts (quite a turn-a-round... thank you Lord).
-The Lord gave me the opportunity to speak with Collin, the parking garage attendant, again. He has come to our meetings a couple of times now, but while he claims to be born-again, I see no evidence. I need the Lord to help me deal with Collin. He's a religious, nice guy, but I know that he hasn't given everything over to Christ. I know that he is still holding on to the world. I need wisdom to show this dear soul that he needs to seek the Lord with all his heart (Jeremiah 29:13).
That's the notes for tonight. Please, brothers and sisters-in-the Lord, continue to pray for pastor Tim and I; that the Lord would bless us in giving us utterance, a sound mind and love out of a pure heart in all of our evangelistic efforts. I would also appreciate your prayers for my daily walk with the Lord. I need some reviving, no doubt about it.
Hope you all enjoy the video clip of Pastor Tim's preaching.
There are no Friday Night Notes tonight because I wasn't out preaching the Gospel in the marketplace. Where was I? I was on my way back from a great week in Canada's wilderness with my family. We camped out in a tent, we went on nature walks, I barbacued, the kids went swimming, and I did my best to relax, and enjoy God's wondrous Creation; and truly, His Creation is wondrous!
Before going to bed, every night this week I read a bit of James A. Stewart's "I Must Tell", a short book which chronicles the work of a young street preacher who laboured in the British Isles roughly 100 years ago. In it, Stewart recounts how his health was seriously compromised due to too much Gospel work. He wrote:
"This failure in my health was due to my own foolishness. I had thought that I had to be preaching day and night and that it was a waste of time to take rest and recreation. I was young and I never felt really tired. Sometimes I would preach forty times in as many open-air meetings in a single week. When I was given leave of absence from the Mission to go home and rest between our busy schedules, instead of resting and relaxing, I seemed to preach all the more. When I would return to Mr. Wheeler from these so-called "rest periods," I had not taken one single day off to give my mind and my body a chance to relax.
Every young preacher must learn the lesson that the body demands seasons of relaxation in the Lord's work."
While I will not pretend I am anywhere close to the level of a James A. Stewart in evangelistic work, I have learned all about the necessity of taking a break. I probably should take more of breaks than I am currently taking (the strain can sometimes be truly difficult to endure), but I feel a large measure of responsibility to my fellow man, my church family and of course, to my God.
This "break" wasn't only a time where I put my spiritual activities on hold, it was a time for me to spend quality time with my family. It was good to play, explore and teach my children one-on-one at a beautiful Provincial Park which I have literally fallen in love with. The park isn't very busy, so this family vacation really is a family time. After a week with my wife and my children at camp, I must again say: Praise God for my family!
I'll try to post a few pictures and videos from our trip sometime this weekend... now I'm off to my own comfortable bed... it'll be nice...
Good night, dear readers,
ps: here is a short video clip of my wife and children on one of our nature hikes.
Same old... same old. Three hours of street preaching the Gospel of Christ in the marketplace; three hours of warning of the consequence of sin, reminding all of the coming judgment of God, and finally, pointing to the Saviour. The result was the sad usual: mockery, vile rejections, blasphemies and threats.
Toward the end of our evangelistic time, I found myself staring at the dirty sidewalk where we do most of our Bible preaching and I thought to myself: "What in the world are you doing here?" Please don't attempt to answer this question in the comment box. Whether friend or foe, I really don't need anyone to tell me why I am out in the marketplace every Friday; I know all too well why I'm there. Still, I often find myself in absolute awe at the various circumstances and workings of the Holy Spirit which have brought me to stand on a street corner, the asphalt stained with decades worth of dried chewing gum and all manner of alcoholic beverage, giving our (or attempting to give out) the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. In my flesh, that is, of my own self, I could think of only 1,234,354 places I would rather be spending my Friday nights, but praise be to God, He has saved me from the vanity and wickedness of my sinful flesh.
Other than a few curious souls who have taken Bible literature from me, I was mocked and maligned all night long. Pastor Tim had the opportunity to share the Gospel in a civil, respectful conversation with two men, but I got nothin'. Three hours, thousands of souls, and only one civil, meaningful conversation. How heartbreaking...
I was truly impressed with the level of demon/devil worship surrounding me tonight. No one bowed down to statues of demons, or openly prayed to the devil, but the worship of evil was all around me tonight. From bus loads of drunken University students chanting obscenities, to a couple talking about "spiritual" experiences they enjoyed while high on drugs, to the men who cursed at me for simply holding a Bible sign. It was there. All around me. Evil. Demented. Oppressive.
A few fresh memories from tonight's work:
-One of my workmates walked by me tonight as I was passing out Bible tracts. He and I are on the "Emergency Response Team" at my workplace (it's a first aid response team). He was less than 5 feet away from me, and never said "hello", he didn't make any gestures, he didn't even look at me. I was totally, 100% ignored.
-After reading my 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 Bible sign, a young man asked me if I ever ate shellfish. Knowing full well that he was making allusion to the ceremonial law of Moses in Leviticus, and was trying, of course, to discredit the condemnation of homosexuals, I explained that the passage he was referring to was Old Testament, and that 1 Corinthians was in the New Testament. I insinuated that he would profit more by obedience to the Word, than to amuse himself with inaccurate and foolish anti-Bible punchlines. He just mocked me to scorn.
-On my last turn at street preaching, a group of young men stopped and listened to what I had to say. I could tell that they were mocking me amongst themselves, but I pressed on, hoping that the Holy Spirit would open their hearts to the Gospel I was preaching. Well, that didn't happen. The young men eventually walked past me, dropped some change at my feet (treating me like a street beggar), and walked away laughing. By the grace of God, I turned their evil act into good, by picking up the change, and dropping it in our church "Rice Fund Jar" (a literal jar in which we collect spare change to buy bags of rice for those who suffer famine in other countries).
-The Lord drew my attention to the sad plight of a street beggar tonight. I've known this particular beggar for years now, and I have watched him progressively waste away. Tonight, the man couldn't even stand straight, nor walk straight. I walked over to him and pleaded with him to end his self-destructive way of life. I told him that if he didn't put an end to this soon, he would end up being just another statistic; just another homeless street beggar found dead of an overdose, or exposure due to alcoholic intoxication. All I got as a response was: "I know... I know." He, however, continued to beg for money for the next bottle/hit.
I'm going to stop now, because my soul is vexed, and my heart aches. It doesn't help that I'm terribly tired, so I'm going to turn in now.
Remember us in your prayers, dear saints of God.
Dear readers, have a blessed weekend, and don't forget to give the Lord's Day to the worship of the Lord.
"Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness." (Psalm 29:2)