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, March 29, 2008

I'm presently sitting on the couch. I have a cup of lemongrass tea, and I have my softest, gentlest music playing. I've been taking it easy like this for a good hour before starting this post. I needed to calm my mind; I needed to get a grip. It isn't that something crazy dramatic happened tonight, but there are times when all the little things I hear and see on the streets of the marketplace just overwhelm me. I think I would like to cry right now, but I haven't been able to make myself cry in years. I really think a good sob-fest would feel real good right now though. Too bad, I guess.

Pastor Tim and I were a little late getting to our customary preaching spot, but we still managed to preach the Gospel for over two and a half hours. There was a cold wind blowing tonight, but my winter gear kept me nice and warm. Both pastor Tim and I are looking forward to the days when we will not be needing two sweaters and a winter jacket to go evangelize the marketplace. Shouldn't be too long of a wait now.

I don't think I was prepared for our night of evangelism tonight. Actually, I know I wasn't ready for it. This week has been so busy, so cluttered with all sorts of duties and responsibilities, I simply wasn't in a prayerful and focused frame of mind for our usual Friday night work. This surely explains, in part anyways, how I feel right now. Not going out there tonight though, was completely out of the question. A good soldier does his duty whether he feels ready or not, and I am determined to be a faithful soldier of the Cross.

How can I possibly convey to you, dear readers, all that my eyes have seen, all that my ears have heard, and how it has affected my emotional state...

I'll try this... here is a point-by-point summary of the highs and lows of my night of street preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ:

-I was walking on a busy downtown street with one of our Bible signs, handing out Bible tracts when three young ladies walked by me. One of them said: "Yay! Jesus! we're from a Christian school!" I suppose that would have made me happy, if the two other ladies weren't lighting up marijuana joints. As they all took turns smoking weed, I said: "Fat good you're 'Bible school' is doing for you ladies."

-I spoke for a good 10 minutes with two young men who claimed to be Christians, and who wanted to get more serious about evangelism. Now I asked them where they fellowshipped, and when I heard the name of the church, I knew that these guys probably hadn't received any quality Bible teaching in a very long time (if ever). I invited them to stick with us for awhile, to learn from us in our evangelistic effort; basically, I was giving them what they claimed they wanted. They left.

-The police showed up near the end of our preaching time and raided the parking garage behind our preaching spot. They were after a dealer who was moving around with a large bag. The ungodly wretch managed to escape. We had a good conversation with the officers after their failed attempt to clean up the parking garage from the continual drug trafficking that has been going on in there (one of the officers was actually an old acquaintance of Pastor Tim's).

-Both pastor Tim and I, on our way back home, were intercepted by three men who were obviously making there way from the homeless shelter to the marketplace to, no doubt, beg for money (for the usual alcohol and drugs). One of the men was in a wheelchair, having had both his legs amputated; he claimed that he had a terrible disease which cost him his limbs, but who knows, some of these guys get pretty messed up by abusing drugs. The man in the wheelchair gave us a brief account of his medical history and then asked us for some money to help pay for the "penicillin" he needed. Watching this man lie to us so easily was difficult to bear. Even his two buddies seemed to be uncomfortable with his lying to a couple of "God's preachers". We, of course, said "no!".

-After refusing to give them any money, one of the other men, looked me straight in the eyes and asked: "I just need to know, man, if I ask God to forgive me for the evil things I do, but I keep doing these evil things, will that help me at all?" When I told him that that would get him nowhere other than Hell, forever, his eyes teared up, and you could totally see the heartache that my answer had given him. I told him if he truly repented, the Lord would change his heart, and his old way of life would be no more; but he still walked away with his friends, going downtown to con their way to their next bottle or drug. How wretched... how absolutely depressing.

These are but a few events that caused me some measure of distress. There were others, but I just don't have the energy, or the willingness really, to share them with you tonight. I'm sorry. On the upside, I did receive one of the most original compliments from a brother-in-the-Lord who came to speak to us when we were preaching. It was also one of the nerdiest compliments I've ever received, he said:

"Wow! I'm really glad you guys are doing this! You guys are the real stuff! Not a lot of people are doing anything like this anymore... you guys are really the last of the Jedi!"

LOL! The last of the Jedi.

I'm off to bed now. Have a great weekend, and a blessed Lord's Day, dear readers. Forget "the Force" and may THE LORD be with you.



Friday Night Notes

Saturday, March 22, 2008
smooth, quiet night of preaching...

While tonight was definitely a quiet night for us street preachers, the marketplace of my city never has a dull moment. I took this picture as I was making my way back to my vehicle after our customary three hours of street evangelism. There were four police cars with a small army of officers investigating some nonsense that a group of young people had either witnessed or caused (I don't have any details, I do my best to keep my nose out of things that don't concern me). As I looked over, from a distance, at the whole spectacle, I thought to myself: "what an aggravation it must be to try for these officers to deal with sinners who just won't behave with the minimum of civility. A preacher puts up with a lot when evangelizing, but a police officer must put up with a whole lot more nonsense on any given day. The Lord help them and bless them.

As I have already mentioned, tonight was a quiet night of street preaching. I suppose that having most of the downtown shops closed for "Good Friday" kept the number of souls in the market rather small, but no matter, even on a quiet night, we have undoubtedly shared the Gospel with hundreds of souls through our effort.

It was cold tonight. It wasn't freezing by any stretch of the imagination, and we have undoubtedly been out preaching on colder nights, but it felt pretty cold to us. I suppose the mild weather we got last week, combined with the official start to Spring just yesterday weakened our cold weather resistance somewhat. After our first hour of preaching, my fingers and toes were completely frozen. I started praying that the Lord would keep pastor Tim and I going despite the cold, and the Lord didn't disappoint...

I was preaching my second half hour when a car pulled up in front of me. A young couple with a baby in the back seat asked me for a couple of our Bible tracts. I immediately gave them the literature. The young lady told me she was a Christian, thanked me for my service and the couple took off. Moments later, as pastor Tim was preparing to preach his second half hour, the young couple returned. They asked us if they could get us something warm to drink.

My heart melted within me.

You have to understand... all the mockery... all the vile cursings... all the threats... all these things that we endure during any one of our preaching endeavours... when someone breaks away from these and not only shows us civility, but actual honest-to-goodness kindness... well... it's like giving a cup of water to someone who has been lost in the dry desert for days!

Anyway, the couple came back five minutes later with a cup of tea for me, a hot chocolate for pastor Tim and a couple of warm muffins on top of it all! In the middle of the small tray they handed to us was a small printed note which read:

"God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow" (Phil. 2:9-10)

Precious is the name of Jesus, Sweetest name on Earth;
Who in Heaven or Earth can utter all its worth?
Now in Heaven, He still is Jesus, To whom all must bow;
Oh how glad the heart that to Him boweth now.

I thanked the young lady for all that she had done for us, and blessed her in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ; and I continue to ask the Lord to bless and guide these kind souls now and forever. As the Lord blessed the Shunammite woman in 2 Kings 4:8-37 for showing kindness to the prophet Elijah, the Lord care and bless these dear souls.

Shortly after this, the Lord gave me opportunity to share the Gospel with a group of young, black men. It was difficult to tell if they were favorable to the Gospel or if they just had a sincere, though carnal, respect for my endeavour. I encouraged all the men to seek the Lord by studying the Word of God, that through such reading and studying, it could make them wise unto salvation (2 Timothy 3:15). May the Lord bring back into their minds throughout the night and the weekend the things I have shared with them tonight, and may He cause the light of His glorious Gospel to shine in their hearts.

I also dealt with one of the street beggars who was complaining about my preaching from across the street. He got more and more disruptive so I asked the Lord to help me deal with the man. It was then that I looked straight at him and said:

"You will curse this night one day, my friend. You will curse the day that salvation was right across the street and you instead complained, wanting your cursed drugs and alcohol, the very things that may very well damn your soul one day, more than the Gospel of life."

The man's complaining became a grumbling and mumbling after those words, and he troubled me no more. The Lord show this most miserable of souls much mercy.

Finally, I want to mention another thing that happened tonight that is worth praising God about: while I didn't see them, we were told that the Open Air Campaigners were out preaching the Gospel a few blocks down from where we were preaching. The OAC usually stop their evangelistic efforts in the winter season, so I'm glad that they are back for another season of evangelism. The Lord bless them and help them in all their work.

That's it! I'm off to bed now. I again thank all the dear saints that have and continue to pray for Pastor Tim and I's ministry, and thank you, dear readers, for keeping up with our escapades through this humble blog.

The Lord bless your weekend, especially the Lord's Day.


ps: a special congratulations to Cathy (aka Pearl) from Of Great Price, who has given birth to a little boy tonight. I don't have much details, other than the child is healthy, and the name is Samuel. God bless you, sister.


Romanism and Church History

Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Joe... this one is for you...

Unless I'm mistaken, it was Napoleon Bonaparte who said: "History are but a set of lies agreed upon." Now while I must say that with age, I have grown more and more cynical, Napoleon has got me beat in this category. That being said, I believe that there is some measure of truth to Napoleon's view. It's not that history can't be a source of great knowledge, it's just that, like all things, a lot depends on the user, and the provider.

To this very day, if you were to search through Romanist documents on the subject of the Reformation, you would find nothing but negative historical accounts of how terrible the Reformation was. Stories of people fearing Hell and being manipulated by some Protestant ogre who would leave these poor souls in torments over their spiritual state. I posted about such an account not too long ago. Strangely enough though, if you were to say, read documents from Protestant sources, and even totally secular sources on the Reformation, you would find a myriad of positive effects on Christianity and the even the public at large, all brought on by the Reformation. Hence, my statement: a lot depends on the user.

If we need to be wary of the user, just imagine how careful we must be before placing our faith in those from whom we receive our history lessons. As a Christian, the Bible is my premier historical resource. Why? Simple, it is a divinely preserved, perfect work. I need not worry about the Provider. He is altogether perfect. Any and all other historical resources are, at varying degrees, flawed... and that is why we must be careful what assumptions we formulate through these flawed resources.

To clarify my points so far, consider this simple example: Today, I have read some works about World War II, I've also read some online material on the student massacre at Tiananmen Square, and in my local newspaper, I've read about a 10 car pile-up on a local highway which claimed the lives of 10 people. Now suppose for a moment that this church age is to continue another 500 years, and let's fast forward those 500 years. I can pretty much guarantee you that, even 570 years after the fact, you will still find a treasury on information on World War II. Information on the Tiananmen Square massacre, on the other hand, will be quite sparse, but surely, something of this event will still exist even 520 years into the future. Now the 10 car pile-up I read of in my local paper, I assure you, dear readers, will be nowhere in any historical documents, 500 years later. Why? Again, simple: it wasn't a big enough deal to be recorded. It affected such a small portion of individuals (unlike WWII and the Tiananmen Square Massacre), that history simply forgot the albeit, major traffic accident.

My point: would it be fair then, for a futuristic historian (remember, we're still 500 years in the future) to claim that major traffic accidents simply didn't happen in the early 2000's? Or without going too melodramatic, would it be fair for our historian to claim that the accident I read of in my newspaper, never actually happened? Of course not. It would simply mean that major traffic accidents weren't frequent and catastrophic enough to be worthy of historical record.

Now, to the matter at hand. Romanism and church history. My friend Joe (who is directly responsible for this post) asked me: "If you believe that there are no Catholics alive who would make it to heaven, what about the time period between the Apostles and the Reformation? The Catholic (and Orthodox) Church was pretty much all we had." Okay, in his question, Joe makes an assumption. Do you see it?

"The Catholic (and Orthodox) Church was pretty much all we had."

With the above statement, Joe points out, quite accurately I might add, that those who labeled themselves as Christians, 1000-1700 years ago, would have been part of some form of the "Roman Catholic church", or one of it's Orthodox counterparts. Note that I have written "some form of", since these institutions have changed a lot over time, and without a doubt, the Romanists of today are a somewhat different beast than the Romanists of 1500 years ago (just as an example, "transubstantiation" wasn't in Romanist dogma until the Council of Trent in the 1500s). There is more in Joe's statement though than just a historical statistic. There is the assumption that these institutions were the ONLY "churches" that "we", meaning Christians, had. It is an assumption that would make the pope (and no doubt, the devil) proud.

This is where my introduction to this post fits in: the user and the provider. We'll start with the provider. I don't know where EXACTLY Joe got the information to base his assumption on, but it isn't too hard to figure out how one would come to this view. Want to see how? Just click on the link below...

Click Here!

If you don't understand the relevance of the link, let me explain. According to the pie chart over at Wikipedia, which is as secular as you can get, 33% of the world's population is Christian. Now that would mean that there are, presently, roughly 2.3 BILLION Christians in the world. I have only one thing to say about that: YEAH! RIGHT!!! Can you imagine the kingdom age we would be living in if we actually had 2.3 BILLION SAINTS IN THE WORLD??? No, no... everyone knows how outfits like Wikipedia get their numbers when it comes to faith statistics: the question "are you a Christian" is asked, and if the answer is "yes", then you're counted in. The fact that most of these "Christians" are living in fornication, are drunkards, and/or have never disturbed the centuries worth of dust on their Bibles bears ABSOLUTELY NO IMPACT on Wiki's statistics.

My point: Wiki doesn't care about what makes a genuine Christian, Christian. It's all about what the majority says; irregardless of whether what the majority says is true or not. Were 90-95% of those who called themselves Christians over 1000 years ago Romanists or Orthodox? More than likely. Does this mean that these were then, necessarily, all true, born-again saints of God? Of course not. Does this mean that God's people were then necessarily part of these "churches"? Nope. Genuine believers, with the exception of the great Old Testament and New Testament revivals have always been in the minority; and this minority could meet together anywhere, under any banner to worship and fellowship together. God has always been the Lord of a faithful REMNANT, not a vast majority.

"God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. (Romans 11:2-5)

In conclusion, and I hope my friend Joe doesn't take offence to this final aspect: the user. Joe isn't a fundamentalist (not by my definition of the word anyway), and I suspect that in the circles he fellowships in, the number of Christians in the world is far larger than the number I perceive. There is no point for Joe and I to argue about this, he probably has his mind made up, and I'm pretty convinced of my views as well. That said, one thing Joe cannot deny is this: his assumption of just how many people did and does God have in the world will greatly influence his view on church history, as my assumption will greatly influence my view of church history. If Christians, real Christians were fewer in number than the small numbers we have today, is it inconceivable that groups of Bible-only Christians did indeed exist throughout the Dark Ages, with history books largely ignoring their existence?

For the record, I have no problem confessing that there may have been many souls truly and honestly saved during the Dark Ages through pseudo-Romanist/Orthodox churches or other groups that have come and gone throughout the first millenium. Saving faith in Christ Jesus is what is required for salvation, not being part of a KJV-only, Baptism-by-immersion, Premillenial, Calvinistic, Baptist church (which couldn't and didn't exist). That said, we are told, in the Scriptures, that Jesus came into the world to save His people FROM their sin... not IN them. That is why when I am asked to believe that men and women who worshipped Mary and who bowed the knee to the papacy, were indeed saved believers... well, sorry... I find that totally inconsistent with the doctrines of the Word of God.

And that's my usual fundamental 0.02$,


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Friday Night Notes

Saturday, March 15, 2008
a solid night of preaching...

With the weather becoming milder, we are beginning to see far more people in the market, and the bigger the audience, the greater statistical chance that we will be preaching to some of God's elect. We ofter pray about that, pastor Tim and I, we pray that the Lord would lead us to His elect, and/or that He would lead them to us. I hope and pray that that happened tonight.

We shared the Gospel with a whole lot of people tonight, and the Lord granted me a good number of one-on-one conversations with individuals. Some of those conversations were obviously unprofitable, but a couple were obviously quite profitable. Praise God. It's these profitable conversations that really encouraged my heart tonight. That and I suppose my success in continuing in prayer as I distributed Bible literature surely helped keep me focused on the reason I was out there evangelizing tonight: God's glory.

Pastor Tim and I were really "ON" tonight. LOL. Seriously though, the Lord really gave us wisdom and utterance, even in the face of mockery and the folly of the wicked. Here are a few examples:

Classic Pastor Tim

Pastor Tim was preaching about the need for repentance and faith in Christ Jesus when a young man who was passing by him yelled out: "Satan rules!!!" Without missing a beat, Pastor Tim pointed at the young man and said, loudly: "He rules you, alright! He use to rule me too, but no more!" After this quick and witty retort, my pastor went on to warn the young man that if he remained with Satan in this life, he would spend his eternal life with Satan, in Hell. The young man quickly walked away, mocking, but I think he got the picture nonetheless.

Scott, the youth group leader

A man named Scott came by as I was preaching the Gospel and gave me the usual: "Are you sure this is the best way to communicate God's love?" Now Scott is a supposed youth group leader at his church, and a faithful Christian (this was his profession to me), but Scott obviously felt that my evangelism was, well, not so great. I tried to explain to him, with Scripture no less, that my preaching is the power of God to those who belong to God, and foolishness to those who belong to Satan. I was just beginning my explanation when some of Scott's friends started calling out to him from across the street. I was clear that Scott really didn't have much time for my biblical exposition, so he shook my hand and wished me well, but as he started walking away, I clung to his hand and dragged him close to me and said:

"Scott, you claim to be a Christian... now before I let you go, I want to remind you that a Christian isn't one who only says he's a Christian, but someone who acts like a Christian. You see, Scott, I know what goes on here in the market on Friday night when a bunch of guys get together for 'a good time'. You watch yourself Scott, 'cause God is watching you."

You should have seen the level of discomfort on Scott's face. It was clear I had touched a sore spot. He was probably up to no good tonight, and me reminding him of God probably ruined his night. Praise God.

Matthew, the geologist

By far, this was the best conversation I had tonight. A man named Matthew wanted to know more about why I was preaching the Gospel, and why I thought the Bible was 100% true. I gave him information on the Second Birth, and the salvation of the Lord, and he received these truths rather well. He did however have a big problem with the Biblical doctrine of Creation. He said:

"I'm a geologist. I know that some of the matter I study is far older than five or ten thousand years old. So when I hear Christians claim that the Bible is 100% true, I think that they are nuts. I mean, we know things today that was completely unknown when the Bible was put together. The Bible might have been great 2000 years ago, but things have evolved now, things are different today."

I started laughing when he said that. I made sure to tell him that I wasn't mocking him, I just found his statement, while totally accepted in the general public, completely without merit or logic. I asked him if he had studied the Bible at all, and he said he hadn't. So I said:

"You know what I found out about what people believed and how they behaved 2000 years ago from the Bible, Matthew? To my shock and surprise, the acted and believed in the same manner as our supposed advanced and modern society today. Oh, we have sweet technological gadgets and really fancy clothes, but when it comes to social behaviour, we are far more like our ancient counterparts than different. The same way our modern society has forsaken the Living God for vain and foolish pursuits, ancient cultures, for the most part, had done the exact same!"

I then tackled his geological problem. I told him to consider a rock in his laboratory, a rock that by his calculations, had to be 20,000 years old. He looks at that rock and says: "well, there you go, this rock has all the properties of being 20,000 years old, so the Creation account is false!" I then told him that if I viewed that rock, I would see a rock that was created 5,000 to 10,000 years ago with all the properties of a rock that had been around for 10,000-15,000 years.

"And you can't prove that I'm wrong any more than I can prove that you are wrong. We are now, both of us, in the realm of faith, Matthew," I said. "Rejecting the Gospel is an act of faith, just as receiving it."

This clearly blew his mind. He said that if what I said were true, it would mean that the foundations of our society, from the foundations of science, to psychology and other social studies would be completely false.

"That's right," I said. "And that is consistent with Biblical teachings. Sinful men hate God, so when laying the foundations of their society, it only makes sense that would God be left out."

With that Matthew thanked me for speaking with him, he made it clear that I had given him a lot to think about. It was a good time of witnessing for the Lord Jesus Christ and the Truth of His Word, and I truly hope the Lord will bring up these ideas in Matthew's head over the next few days. He took a Gospel tract with our church address on it, so I'll be praying for him to come to one of our meetings, and learn more about the Bible.

Scott, the drinker

I dealt with another Scott tonight. This one was an alcoholic begging for change on the streets. He came by to speak with me, and in our conversation, he professed to be a believer.

"Scott," I began, "if you're a drinker in this life, you're not going to be in God's Heaven when this life comes to an end."

That pretty much ended our exchange. Just like the rich young ruler, Scott was quite favorable to our endeavour, but when his sin was exposed, he walked away with sorrow in his heart. In the end, he may have had some sort of love for God, but he loved the bottle more.

The Lord deliver him from the cursed booze.

That's the notes for tonight. It was a pretty good night of street preaching. Now, it's quite late, and I have lots to do tomorrow. So, I'm off to bed.

Thanks for all your prayers, dear saints of God.

Have a blessed weekend, dear readers, and a restful, God-centered Lord's Day.



Friday Night Notes

Saturday, March 08, 2008
let it snow... let it snow... let it snow...

You can't really tell from these tiny pictures I took with my cellphone camera, but it's been snowing non-stop today. I was afraid all this snow was going to prevent me from making it out to Friday evangelism in the marketplace, but the roads were just good enough for me to make my way downtown. It's crazy the amount of snow that has fallen this year. Watching the snow fall from above was quite a sight; and seeing the trees all covered in white, well, it was very picturesque.

Now admiring God's natural display was good, but it wasn't why pastor Tim and I were out in the market tonight. We were there to preach the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, and that's exactly what we did. For three solid hours, repentance and faith in Jesus was preached, Bible literature was handed out and Bible signs were held high for all to read something of God's Word. The reception was, as usual, quite hostile and mocking, but there were some souls who were favorable to our message.

In our first hour of evangelism, I was treated to this diatribe a man laid out to his friend, as they walked by me
(this whole conversation was uttered in the French language... you have no idea how offensive people can get when they think you can't understand them):

"So this crazy *expletive* who lived 2000 years ago with some pretty *expletive* ideas showed up and started preaching his *expletive* ideas. Then, 12 idiotic screw-ups started following him along and basically amplified his *expletive* ideas. Even after they killed him, idiots like those twelve screw-ups all the way to this idiot (that would be me, Rand) kept and keep the whole sorry thing going."

I never got the chance to deal with this poor soul for he kept his diatribe going as he walked away with his buddy. On the upside, when they walked past me, his friend did take a Bible tract from me.

In hour two of our evangelistic effort, I saw drugs galore. Right next to our preaching spot is a staircase which connects all four floors of the parking garage that lies at the center of the marketplace. Well tonight, that staircase was the WallMart of illicit drugs. From ecstasy-pills to heroin syringes, all of it was being trafficked right there before my eyes. I looked for police officers, but there were none in sight, and I knew by the time I called them in with my cellphone, the dealers would be long gone. So I endured, though it annoyed me to no end.

The upside to hour two was that both pastor Tim and I handed out a fair number of Bible tracts, and our preaching went uninterrupted, for the most part. I also had another conversation with Collin, the parking garage attendant. He remains quite favorable to our cause.

Hour three brought a nasty heart ache. I saw Richard again. In my Friday Night Notes from last May, I had mentioned Richard:

"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 remember listening to pastor Tim deal with Richard last year. He warned Richard that he was going to right down into the gutter of society, that he would lose his mind, and that he would destroy himself completely. Well, the warnings did little for poor Richard. I couldn't believe my eyes. There was Richard, walking towards me, mumbling to himself. He was carrying a plastic garbage bag, filled with junk food and pop. He even stopped a few feet away from me, picked up some crackers someone had tossed to the ground, and added it to his junk food collection... in his garbage bag. So overcome with heartache, all I could say was:

"Oh... Richard."

I was surprised he remembered me, I really thought his mind would be too far gone to recall anything about me. He asked me how I was doing and then told me that he was going through some pretty tough times. He followed that statement with the old:

"You wouldn't have a dollar on you, huh?"

And that was just too much. Anger and distress poured out of me like a raging sea...

"RICHARD!" I cried out angrily, "the reason you're asking me for that stupid dollar is why you are so messed up right now, AND YOU KNOW IT! Don't you dare tell me that you want that money for food or something good, because I'm not STUPID, and YOU KNOW THAT TOO! We warned you Richard. WE WARNED YOU! I MEAN, LOOK AT YOU! This time next year, you probably won't have enough of your mind left to understand me, and shortly after Richard, you'll die! You're killing yourself slowly, right there before me."

"No, no..." Richard replied, "I'm going to shape up soon, I'm telling you..."

"Do you have any idea how many times I've heard that phrase, Richard?" I inquired. "Do you have the slightest idea how many times I've heard guys in your situation assure me that they were going to make things right sometime in the future? I've never seen it happen Richard. Never."

I then pleaded with him. I pleaded that he would get off the streets NOW. That he would shape up NOW. He gave me a "I hear ya!", but I know all too well that Richard is still in the marketplace as I am writing these words, and just as soon as he gets the money necessary for his drugs, he'll be destroying himself further with those cursed narcotics. I prayed and continue to pray for Richard's physical and spiritual life, but I have to admit, it's difficult. He was just so far gone. He couldn't even stand in one place without twitching and mumbling. May the Lord help me pray...

Writing about this hasn't done me any good... I'm upset all over again. I'm going to close the notes now... and try to get some sleep.

The Lord bless you, dear readers. Have a blessed weekend, and a wonderful Lord's Day.



Friday Night Notes

Saturday, March 01, 2008
another visit to the zoo...

It was an up and down night of street preaching tonight. Like last week, pastor Tim and I were confronted with mockery and hatred by many of the souls we looked to minister to, but unlike last week, we were treated to some kindness and respect by some of the souls walking the streets of the marketplace. I wouldn't say tonight was a good night of preaching (not by a long shot), but there were a few conversations, a few events that gave both pastor Tim and I hope that we had done some good for our fellow man.

It was freezing cold today. With the windchill, it felt like -20 C (that's -4 F), so I seriously geared up for tonight's evangelistic effort. Once in the marketplace though, it started snowing and the temperature got milder; so we didn't freeze in less than 20 minutes. Praise God.

I got a chance to speak to Collin, the parking garage attendant, again tonight. Collin has actually been dropping by our Lord's Day morning services of late. It is extremely doubtful that he is born-again, but so long as he is reading the Scriptures and attending church services, who knows what the Lord will do. After a short conversation tonight, Collin said he would see me on Sunday, so please, dear brothers and sisters-in-the-Lord, pray that Collin would receive Christ this weekend.

The following half hour of preaching was pretty grim. Sodomites responded to my preaching by acting out lewdness in front of where I was preaching, ungodly women yelled out that they were going out to sin and would enjoy it, and foolish young men blasphemed and uttered obscenities in an attempt to drown out my preaching. After all this, I must admit, I was pretty down; and that's when an elderly man walked up to me, put down shopping bags he was carrying, took one of my Bible tracts and said:

"It's good, what you are doing. This is important. It's the most important thing ever. I want you to keep holding up the Truth. Don't get discouraged, don't get down."

He repeated that last bit three times until I acknowledged him with a "I won't". I didn't even get the man's name, but I thank the Lord for his kindness toward me. The Lord bless him.

Moments after, a young man walked by me, read the 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 Bible sign I was carrying, and then took off. I could tell that reading this verse had affected him, so I wasn't at all surprised when he turned around and came back to speak to me. He asked me what I was doing and I explained that I was sharing the Gospel of Jesus with anyone who would hear me.

"Oh! alright, I'm a Christian," the young man affirmed.

"Where do you go to church," I asked.

"Well, my church is near where I live," the young man began, "I can't remember what it is called... it's been awhile since I have been there."

"Listen, my friend, I know what you mean when you call yourself a Christian," I said. "It's this common idea that if you are born in a family that occasionally goes to church, then that makes you a Christian, but listen, that isn't what Christianity is all about. A Christian follows Christ, my friend. A Christian reads his Bible. A Christian goes to church to worship."

The young man agreed with what I was saying, and thanked me for my words to him. I hope the Lord will save this young man from the error he was living in, and will grant him eternal life. I pray that he will start, even tonight, to seek the Lord with all his heart.

It would have been nice if that would have been the end of our night of preaching. Ending on a good, positive note would have been great, but it wasn't what the Lord had for us. Instead, pastor Tim and I were threatened with violence by an unstable man (drunk, drugged, or just out of his mind). Things could have gone terribly wrong for us in those last few minutes of our evangelistic effort, but the Lord protected us from harm yet again. The police showed up minutes after our dealings with the man and they arrested him about a block away from where we were preaching.

Do I ever hate violence...

With that, I close the notes. Goodnight, dear readers. Have a safe and good weekend, and a God-centered Lord's Day.