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, December 22, 2007
it's CHRISTmas time...

Pastor Tim and I were downtown again tonight, preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The marketplace was quiet again, but when I walked to a nearby shopping mall to distribute Bible literature, I found the crowds! A lot of people read the Bible sign I was holding, and a good number accepted Bible tracts. Praise God!

I definitely raised a number of eyebrows at the exit of the shopping mall. Most, I suppose were shocked by the boldness of my Gospel presentation; others, no doubt, just thought I was an idiot. I did however receive, on more than one occasion, kind words from people who were pleased I was bringing Jesus into what has sadly become, in my country anyway, a Christless Christmas. One young man in particular came by to see me to express just how happy he was to see me presenting the Gospel outside of the mall.

The kind words were great and quite refreshing. The vile words of those who simply thought I was an idiot, were quite grievous to hear. One man yelled obscenities at me for a good, solid, two minutes. He used the f-bomb as a noun, adjective, verb AND adverb. His basic message to me was that Christians were responsible for just about every historical abomination as well as every current problem in the world. When he paused from his diatribe, I simply answered:

"Merry Christmas, sir, and have a good night."

I then went back to preaching which really, really drove him nuts. After another few minutes of being described as the devil himself, he left just as twisted and angry as ever. As for me, I had, and continue to have the peace of the Lord.

"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7)

A positive event I should mention is my new relationship with one of the street beggars. This man used to mock me to scorn every time he saw me. He was crude and generally unpleasant, so I had grown accustomed to just ignoring him whenever I saw him downtown. Well! how things have changed! For two straight weeks now, the man has been extremely kind and courteous to me. I have no idea what has brought on this change of attitude, but I hope and pray that this is the work of the Holy Spirit. The Lord be merciful to this poor soul.

Final observation: with Christmas so close, I really expected to see joy and kindness out of the people who walked by me. I was sadly disappointed. What I saw were hard faces, and most of the souls that walked by me tonight were gripping about something to someone. They were and are blessed beyond measure, but they aren't happy, nor thankful. How sad the life of the wicked. How empty.

"Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened." (Romans 1:21)

With that, I'm going to close the notes for tonight. There are still plenty of preparations to be done before my family and I go into Christmas mode, so I need to get to bed now to get rested up. Goodnight dear readers, and have a blessed and safe Christmas season.



Friday Night Notes

Saturday, December 15, 2007
cold weather... frozen hearts...

I've been back home for over an hour now, and there are still parts of me that are absolutely frozen to the bone. No kidding... it was that cold! I was out all by my little lonesome for about three hours tonight, and I did my absolute best to preach the Gospel to my fellow man. Sadly, the reception to my preaching was about as warm as the outdoor temperature in the marketplace (which hovered near -16 degrees Celsius or 3 degrees Fahrenheit).

Before going downtown for my customary night of evangelism, I ran an errand for my wife at a nearby shopping mall. Well! let me tell ya! Now I know why the marketplace has been quiet these last few weeks. The crowds are in the malls, preparing for their carnal holidays where they will frolic in materialism and over-consumption. I felt like preaching the Gospel right then and there. I didn't simply because I knew that in 10 seconds flat, I would have security officers "escort" me out. Seriously though, I was so affected by the numberless souls wasting away in things that could not satisfy, nor bring any meaningful joy, I felt like I should do something to help... whether they wanted my help or not!

Unable to do anything for those poor souls, I made my way back to the public place, back to my preaching spot in the marketplace and preached my heart out. When I'm by myself, I rarely last more than a couple of hours, but tonight, I was on a mission (I suppose I always am on Fridays, but I guess I has some emotional zeal in me after beholding those crowds). It was so cold, I sometimes had trouble pronouncing words because my lips and cheeks were frozen, but I wouldn't quit. When I started freezing all over, I walked around to get my blood flowing and I prayed to God for Him to warm me up.

Despite my best efforts, I think I only had two meaningful conversations with sinners. The others either wanted no part of what I had to say, or thought I was a lunatic to be preaching the Gospel of Jesus (a sentiment they enjoyed spelling out for me on numerous occasions). No matter... the Lord was glorified, and if that's all that I've accomplished tonight, it's good enough for me.

That's all I got tonight... I will be preaching both services this Lord's Day, so I appreciate your prayers dear saints of God. The Lord bless you all this weekend, dear readers.

"To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen." (Jude 1:25)



How History is Rewritten

Tuesday, December 11, 2007
it's easier than you think...

I believe it is Winston Churchill which said: "History is written by the victors." Perhaps this view seems a little cynical to you, dear readers, but I fear that in many instances, it is quite accurate.

Culture gratefully influences history. There is no doubt about that. Consider my neighbours to the South, the United States. The United States today is pretty much a federation; that is, it has a powerful central, federal government. It wasn't always the case. Not so long ago, the United States was a Confederation; power was decentralized and the States pretty much ruled in all matters (though there was a weak central, federal government). The transition the U.S. went through to go from a confederation to a federation came in the form of a war.

Do you know what the war was called?

It was, of course the American Civil War. You may have been confused about which historical event I was getting to because the American Civil War is rarely presented as a war for the centralizing of power (except perhaps in the American South); instead, it is presented as the "War against Slavery". You have to admit, a war against slavery sounds far nobler than a war to centralize governmental power. That's why the victors, the Northern States, when they wrote their history books, made sure to speak highly of the Federalist good-guys freeing the Southern slaves in the great and noble, American Civil War.

Not too shocking, not too surprising. We have to forget the fact that slavery was alive and well decades after the Civil War and we kind of have to ignore the pervasive systemic racism which went on for a century after the Civil War, but that's just details...

Fast forward to the present, and nothing much has changed. History is still being written by the victors, and now, things have gone even further: history is being re-written. Consider this piece of TRASH.

We now live in a day where the Lord my God is a foolish imagination; an imagination that has no place in public life. An undesirable philosophy which not only needs to disappear in the present and future, but one that needs be maligned in history as well; and this "historian", James Simpson, doesn't disappoint (he will surely win some applause from the Papacy for this nonsense). Consider some of his folly:

"... being able to read the sometimes frightening set of moral codes spelled out in the Bible scared many literate Englishmen into following it to the letter."

Oh my... following the Bible to the letter!!! Loving God with all heart, mind, and soul, and loving your neighbour as yourself... MAKE IT STOP!!! PLEASE!!!

"Reading became a tightrope of terror across an abyss of predestination," said Simpson, author of "Burning to Read: English Fundamentalism and its Reformation Opponents."

"It was destructive for [Protestants], because it did not invite freedom but rather fear of misinterpretation and damnation," Simpson said.

Yes, because everyone knows that true Christians who follow the Bible soon realize that they are mindless robots going to Heaven, and everyone else are mindless robots going to Hell...

"Persecution and paranoia became the norm, Simpson said, as the new Protestants feared damnation if they didn't interpret the book properly."

Strange, when I read historical accounts of revivals throughout Europe and the New World, I read of taverns closing, hospitals and schools opening, and people enjoying God and being kindly affectionate to one another. I read of people being assured of eternal life, not a fear of death. Do I discount that there may have been some who were paranoid, or those who did persecute/act wickedly towards others? Not at all, but these were not the norm of true Biblical revivals. Do I deny that Christians feared God in high measure during the reformation and subsequent revivals? I do not! I only wish that fear, a true an honest fear of God, still existed in our society today.

"The rise of fundamentalist interpretations during the English Reformation can be used to understand the global political situation today and the growth of Islamic extremism, Simpson said as an example."

"Very definitely, we see the same phenomenon: newly literate people claiming that the sacred text speaks for itself, and legitimates violence and repression," Simpson said, "and the same is also true of Christian fundamentalists."

These two quotes are absolutely precious. I mean, I couldn't have made these up if I tried. I have but one question for Mr. Simpson: I would like for him to show me, in history, where Christian fundamentalists (that is, those who adhered literally to the doctrines of Scripture), walked into marketplaces with weapons to slaughter innocent blood. I would like for him to show me how "Christian extremism", which he claims existed during and after the Reformation (in high enough numbers to justify his generalizations), is at all comparable to the violent and downright evil acts of Islamic extremists in our day, and those of the past.

Perhaps some here would like to bring the Crusades as an example. Problem is, the Crusades were instituted and directed by Romanism, not Biblical fundamentalism; and if I'm not mistaken, the Crusades were well over by the days of the Reformation.

Here are the historical facts, dear readers:

-Biblical, fundamental Christianity took the fear of death and Hell out of God's people everywhere by giving the masses the very Word of God. No longer would death and Hell be used as instruments of extortion.

-Biblical, fundamental Christianity was and is the source of the strength of the West. Education, culture, medicine, social benevolence... all these and more have thrived when rooted in Biblical Christianity. The dark ages ended for the West when the Bible was given to the people. The Lord Jesus Christ said: "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free", and that's exactly what happened.

-Biblical, fundamental Christianity was and is the source of true international works of compassion (ex.: relief efforts).

-Any study of history and geography clearly shows the significant benefit of Biblical, fundamental Christianity in the world. Where it is absent, there is but confusion and darkness. Where it thrives (or has thrived), progress and prosperity can clearly be seen.

-Contrary to the assertions of Mr. Simpson and Rosie O'Donnell, Fundamental Christianity and fundamental Islam are quite opposite in faith and practice. Where there are Christian fundamentalists, there is freedom, tolerance, grace and mercy. Where there is fundamental Islam, there is repression, intolerance, viciousness and violence. Again, a quick overview of recent history and the 11 o'clock news tonight will prove this point.

It is truly a sad thing to watch the spiritual demise of the West; when our "learned men" run foolishly against God, despite all the evidence that following the Almighty is life and peace and knowledge. It's sad to see all the progress made, all the blessings we have enjoyed, being credited to fortune, and not to the the One who deserves praise and glory. It is sad to see that the victors today, are the ungodly.

Actually, it's downright sickening.


"...and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for the West. And the children of the West did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Secularism and Heathenism: and they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out heathen darkness, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger. (Judges 2:10a-12 in Rand's Applied Version)

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Friday Night Notes

Saturday, December 08, 2007
from the guy with 'a small mind'...

I worked until eight o'clock, and then ran downtown directly from the lab for our night of street preaching. Never a moments rest when you're a research technician/street evangelist, I tell ya!

Our evangelistic endeavour was, yet again, a quiet one. It wasn't that cold tonight so I expected larger crowds in the marketplace, but still, hundreds of souls heard the gospel of Jesus. Pastor Tim and I preached from our usual street corner to a largely apathetic and, by the end of the night, hateful crowd. I doubt I gave out more than ten Bible tracts, much to my chagrin.

We didn't have a great many conversations either. I did deal with a woman who wondered what would move someone to stand on a street corner with a Bible sign, preaching the Gospel. I explained that only a deep, honest love for the Lord Jesus Christ and his commandments could cause a man to faithfully declare the Gospel of peace. She then explained that she had recently lost a sister to HIV/Hepatitis C (she had contracted both diseases through drug use and/or a very promiscuous lifestyle) and that her siblings death was causing her to consider "religion". I impressed on her that no doubt I must have looked like a real clown in her eyes, standing on a street corner, preaching the Bible on a Friday night, but my clown lifestyle didn't include substance abuse, immorality, or any of the consequences associated with these sins.

"It only makes sense that living life God's way, should be the best way," I assured the woman.

She saw the logic in what I was saying, and took a Bible tract. I don't know if she was honestly considering what I was saying, or if she just wanted to get an idea of what "made me tick", but I hope and pray the Lord will save this woman.

After this conversation, things degenerated quickly. The general apathy of our hearers transformed itself into mockery and hatred; the insults were quite grievous. By the last half hour of our endeavour, I beginning to lose my focus, and I knew it. Everywhere I turned my eyes I saw anger and hostility; every word I heard was a curse or mocking scorn. It really was quite overwhelming. The Lord strengthen me in my inner man by the power of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 3:16).

I would have been a real depressing drive back home after such a dismal night of evangelism, but the Lord put a brother in my way back home to remind me that the Lord still has a people in my city. I was leaving the downtown core when I came up to a road block; the police were checking for drunk drivers. When I drove up to the police check point, I rolled down my window and said:

"Hello officer, I was just preaching the Gospel downtown, so no, I haven't been drinking any alcohol tonight."

The officer mumbled to himself the last section of my phrase as he looked around the inside of my van. He then noticed my Bible on the dashboard.

"Are you evangelical... born-again?" the officer inquired.

"Yes, and yes," I answered.

"Good stuff," he answered, "so am I."

We shook hands and I left him with a sincere: "God bless you, and take care of yourself tonight, my friend."


Prayer: Lord God in Heaven, You who inhabits eternity, who are praised and glorified by your holy angels in heavenly realms as well as by your saints on Earth, accept the work of this lowly and most common vessel tonight. Use my attempt at fulfilling Your Great Commission as You see fit, and God, please... please, make me, in time, to become a fisher of men. Help me to labour as a faithful servant in hope of the glory that is to come, not looking to the right, or to the left, but always looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith. To You, O Living God, be honour and glory forever and ever. Amen.


Friday Night Notes

Saturday, December 01, 2007
needing some serious perfecting...

We went out preaching the Gospel in the middle of a blizzard tonight. It was slow getting anywhere near the marketplace; it was difficult to hold up our Bible signs in the wind; it was near impossible to keep our Gospel tracts from getting wet due to the blowing snow dancing all around us. Yet, despite these difficulties, for nearly three hours, pastor Tim and I presented the Gospel to hundreds of souls who otherwise, would have gone yet another day without the slightest trace of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I praise God for another Friday night in which I could go out and be an ambassador for the Lord Jesus Christ.

That said, I must say I'm pretty annoyed with myself tonight. I don't feel I have done particularly well in our evangelistic effort, and I have no one to blame but myself. From the very first hour, I found myself being of very little help to a young couple who claimed to be Christians but as far as I could tell, by judging the fruit (Matthew 7:16-20), there wasn't much evidence of genuine faith. These two souls should have gotten a "Paul Washer" style wake-up call from me tonight, but I instead tip-toed around the issue of genuine salvation and assurance, not wanting to offend my hearers by questioning their claim to be saved. The whole exchange was an overall mess; a mess that I am sure the Lord could still use for good, but I didn't do well at all, and I know it.

Then there was Collin, the parking garage attendant. I asked the Lord to give me opportunity to deal with Collin more earnestly because clearly, Collin has never and still isn't seeking the Lord with all his heart. He says he is, but it is clear he isn't. He finally showed up while pastor Tim was preaching, and the two of them chatted for a few minutes. When I finally made it on the scene, Collin was leaving. I could have asked him to stick around for a couple of minutes so I could speak to him about truly seeking the Lord, but I instead let him leave. Perhaps this was of the Lord, but then again, perhaps this was just me not seizing the opportunity God was giving me.

And that's how my night of street preaching generally went. I always seemed to be second guessing, not being sure if I was doing/saying the right thing. In the words of the prophet Daniel, what I had was "confusion of face"; and I know all too well why this is the case with me. I am not drawing nigh to God as I ought, therefore, He isn't drawing nigh to me to help me and guide me (James 4:8). In a nutshell, I have and am being given a lesson by Almighty God; a lesson in humility and dependence on Him. I need to take note, for my own good.

Please dear readers, I beg you, don't offer me any comments defending my sad effort tonight. It isn't what I need, I assure you. Again, to quote missionary Paul Washer: "don't try to fix what the Lord has broken." Please pray for me, that I would be more disciplined in meditating on God's Word and seeking the Lord's direction in all things through prayer. That's what I need.

With that, I hope you all have a great weekend, especially the Lord's Day. God bless you all, dear readers.