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, May 31, 2008
a wet night of evangelism...

Introducing the false god, 'Audi R8'. Tonight 'R8' was the undisputed king of all idols. The abomination was parked right behind our preaching spot, and all manner of souls walked passed us, ignoring the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, to prostrate themselves before the vain automobile. I really aggravated me for much of the night, but the 'R8' did provide an opportunity for me to deal with a young idolater. A conversation that I hope will bring much spiritual fruit; more on this later.

It started raining the moment we picked up our Gospel signs to make our way downtown. It wasn't a hard rain, so we decided to press on with our night of evangelism. Personally, I hate open-air evangelism when it's raining. Bible tracts get wet, it's usually cold and uncomfortable, and very few people are willing put up with getting soaked to hear the Gospel message. That said, I have very little doubt that we've had a strong witness tonight in the marketplace.

Josiah from In Much Wisdom Is Much Grief was with us in our evangelistic effort. Work brought him to our city, and he decided to join us before heading back home tomorrow. He took one of our Gospel signs and offered Bible literature all night on a busy street corner; and I must say, the man can sure pass out the tracts! I hope the Lord will use some of those short Bible messages to save His elect.

Now, here are some of the events of the night that still echoes in my extremely fatigued head:

"Why do you believe in God?"

That's what a young lady, with some weird metal piercing in her bottom lip, asked me. The question took me aback a bit.

"I don't think anyone has ever asked me that question," I said.

Why do I believe the Bible? Why do I evangelize? Why do I believe homosexuals are condemned? I've answered those questions a million times, but rarely have I been asked such a fundamental, basic question. Why did I believe in God? I thought about how best to answer the question for a few seconds and then answered:

"Because I have to," I answered. "I know this probably won't mean anything to you, but the Lord saved me years ago and has given me saving, supernatural faith. It's not something I have to practice, or something I'm working at maintaining. It's like asking me: "Why do I believe in the sun? Well, 'cause it's there! The Lord is there, when He saved me, I became very much aware of it. So I believe in Him, love Him, and do my best to obey Him."

My answer seemed to satisfy the young lady who then took one of my Bible tracts. She left with a sincere 'thanks and goodnight'. The Lord use our short conversation and that Bible tract to give her life, and life eternal.

"Oh my 'Audi R8' god!"

Much to my chagrin, the flow of souls walking right by our Bible signs, ignoring the Sacred Writ, to fuss over the sports car parked behind us, was constant. At one point, a group of young black men took their turn before the 'altar of the R8'.

"Oh my god!" they exclaimed.

"Look at this &%$#!? car!" others said.

Minutes later, one of the young men approached me and read my Bible sign.

"Are you with a church?" he asked.

"Yes, my friend." I replied. "Do you go to church?"

"Yes," the young man answered, "I go to the Met."

The Met is short for the Metropolitan Bible church, which is the biggest evangelical church in my city. My wife and I met and got married at the Met; a fact I shared with the young man. That's when I asked:

"You know what I heard coming out of your mouth just a minute or two ago?"

"What?" the young man asked.

"As you beheld the stupid car behind me, you said 'oh my god'! Not exactly a good choice of words, was it?" I asked.

"No, no..." the young man replied ashamed.

"And you know," I continued, "even if you weren't treating that car as an idol, you're still guilty 'cause..."

"...'Cause I took the Lord's Name in vain," the young man finished for me.

"That's right," I said. "The commandment says the Lord won't hold guiltless those who take His Name in vain. So you're in trouble, my friend. I think you better start seeking to make things right in your life, because clearly, there are problems here."

"Yeah..." the man said quietly.

"And I would make my way out of this market right now if I were you, 'cause if the devil can have you beat with a stupid car, imagine what other sins you could fall into out here tonight," I said.

It was right after saying this that I noticed that all of the young man's friends were behind me listening to our conversation. Another young man, from the group behind me said:

"He's right, man... he's absolutely right."

They took a Bible tract and left, clearly shaken. I hope the Lord did indeed use me as a wake-up call for these gentlemen.

I love easy questions... they make me look S-M-A-R-T!

I was preaching about repentance and faith when a man, from across the street yelled out:

"What gives you the right to stand there and push your religion on all of us?"

Without taking 2 seconds to think about it, I pointed to the sidewalk, and concisely answered:

"Public place... I pay my taxes so I legitimately use this public place and exercise my freedom of speech to proclaim the Gospel."

The man was clearly taken aback by my quick and very logical answer. He just mumbled a "that's actually a good answer", and left with a "well, fine then!".

Good times... good times.

That's the notes for tonight. I desperately need rest now. God bless you all, dear readers. Have a great weekend, and a blessed Lord's Day.



Friday Night Notes

Saturday, May 24, 2008
the devil's masterful work...

Before making my way downtown for our Friday night of evangelism, I was reading about the "report" on "reasonable accommodations", which has received a whole lot of press in Quebec. Two aspects of this report caught my attention. Number one: it took a panel of well 'edumacated' professionals months to arrive to the "let's move on" conclusion. No doubt that was tax money well spent... cough... cough. Number two: when asked to remove a crucifix from the provincial legislature, Premier Charest said, and I'm paraphrasing since I heard this on the radio: "these relics are historical, they USE to mean something, but they don't mean the same thing today." They use to mean something. Wow. That pretty much sums up what has happened to Christianity in Canada, and our night of evangelism only confirmed this assessment.

I was in absolute awe tonight at the major victory the devil has pulled in my city, and by extension, in my country. We preached the Gospel of Jesus, we presented Bible verses on signs, we offered Bible tracts, but by in large, what we got as a response was looks of indignation and mockery. In the eyes of the vast majority, the Gospel is something that once meant something to an "unenlightened" society, a superstition which died somewhere in the 1960's; which means that we are perceived as dim witted simpletons who are stuck in some sort of ancient philosophy. Dear readers, I know that many of you have no idea just how heartbreaking it is to see this vast majority, believing themselves to be wise and enlightened, and yet be so obviously foolish and in complete darkness.

I dealt with a man tonight who claimed to be a believer. He told me that the Lord had "saved" him when he was a young boy. The man is a panhandling drunkard. I told him that the Lord never saved him and that he was serving the devil. He angrily asked me how I could declare this with such certainty, so I answered: "A month ago, we had a conversation and you admitted you were a drunkard. Those who are under the bondage of the bottle, are under the bondage of Satan. If Jesus had saved you, you wouldn't be serving the bottle/devil." This reply was so concise and logical, the man didn't have a single argument to offer against this wisdom. Yet, he walked away to beg for more money, for the next bottle.

Moments later a young man interrupted my preaching to pridefully declare that he was an atheist, as if this was some sort of diplomatic immunity against divine judgment. I told the young man that one day, he would definitely believe in God. He swore he would not. I said: "My poor friend, the day will come when you will stand before the Living God at His judgment. On that day, I very much doubt you will be able to deny God's existence." I know these words rattled him somewhat, but a couple of seconds is all it took for him to harden his heart and walk away mocking.

Then there were the Muslims and the Romanist. What a mess. Right there before me were three Muslims all claiming to have some sort of relationship with Allah, yet all of them were in the marketplace, out for a "good time" along with the heathen. None of them having any measurable righteousness or any true faithfulness to their religion, but still, somehow they were alright spiritually. I tried my best to show them that they were following a false god which only existed in their own vain minds.

"You aren't Muslims," I said, "for if you were Muslims, you wouldn't be here tonight participating in all the nonsense that is here in this marketplace. You are unfaithful at your own false religion, and to make matters worse, you just sink down deeper by creating another false god, this one more carnal than Allah."

They didn't like my assessment of their faith in the least, but it was pretty difficult for them to argue effectively against it. That's when a Romanist, who had stopped by to hear what the fuss was all about, piped up and said: "we Catholics believe that whenever people of different faiths argue with one another, God isn't in it." Oh dear. I just had to raise my head up to Heaven and just sigh at the nonsense. I asked the Romanist whether the apostle Paul was then vainly wasting his time when he argued with Pharisees and heathen idolators on his missionary trips, and his answer was: "well, Paul was a man, you know...". That's when I ended the conversation. There is only so much nonsense I can take.

To cap off our miserable night of street preaching, we dealt with a young man we had spoken to a few weeks ago. The young man professes to be a Christian. He can recite, by heart, tons of Scripture. He definitely understands salvation by faith in Christ alone. All this said, the man won't work. Let me be clear here: it's not that he can't work. He just plain won't work. So, he goes around downtown, just like a drunkard panhandler, begging for money. We have tried on several occasions to show him, from the Scriptures, that the apostles worked and that we are even given this very specific instruction:

"For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat." (2 Thessalonians 3:10)

To no avail. The young man claimed to know the mind of God better than us and affirmed that for him to work, pay rent, buy food... etc... is akin to being worldly. Oh dear.

So... mockers, scorners, fake Muslims, fake Christians and really, really messed up Christians. What a night. I'm going to bed now. The Lord use our evangelistic effort as He sees fit. I trust we glorified Him.

Have a good weekend and a blessed Lord's Day, dear readers.



No Notes Tonight

Friday, May 16, 2008
on the mend...

This morning, I thought I would do the same thing as last week, that is, though not completely recuperated from my health problems, I was going to nonetheless go street preaching. It was sometime in the afternoon my "good common sense" kicked in. I have been ill now for almost 3 weeks; I had some "better" days during those weeks, but I have also had "horrible" days during the same. So, my "good common sense" brought me to the conclusion that I should be resting a whole lot more until I am well over what has been affecting me these last few weeks.

All that to simply say: I have not gone out with Pastor Tim tonight for our usual night of street preaching. I bothers me to no end (I can't help feeling like I'm letting him down), but I need to get better and rest does help. Please, brothers and sisters-in-the-Lord, pray for Pastor Tim while he continues on with the work without me, and pray for me, that I may receive my health and strength back, as soon as possible.

Have a great weekend, dear readers.


Friday Night Notes

Saturday, May 10, 2008
not too strong... but still going...

For a good part of the afternoon, I didn't think I had it in me to go out preaching tonight. I'm afraid my health is still a problem... enough of a problem that I felt too weak for an evangelistic effort. I don't really want to get into medical details on the world wide web, but just to clarify: I'm not dying, nor am I suffering from some terrible disease. That said, I am living with a great deal of discomfort so your prayers, dear saints, is very much appreciated.

Despite my hesitation, I did go out to the market to preach the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Why? Well, surely, there was some personal pride in my decision making: I didn't want to be a wuss. With that though was a sincere desire to not let anything take this time of service away from me. No doubt the principalities and powers of darkness would love to see me fold under the stress of physical illness, no doubt the world would love to have one less evangelist to listen to, and no doubt my own sinful flesh would love to spend more time resting than delivering the Word of Truth to sinners. For all these reasons, I really wanted to be in the market tonight with pastor Tim, preaching the Gospel, despite my "thorn in the flesh".

To give myself a chance to go home earlier and give my body some rest, pastor Tim and I went out preaching earlier than normal. We still preached and handed out Gospel tracts for our usual three hours, but I was home about an hour earlier than normal, which given the circumstances, was quite nice.

There was tons of people in the market tonight. TONS! Both pastor Tim and I handed out a good number of Gospel tracts, and pastor Tim had a number of one-on-one conversations with souls who showed some interest in the Gospel of Jesus. The Lord definitely gave me strength to preach tonight. Despite my physical weakness, I was able to stand on that street corner and preach the Gospel for three half-hour shifts. Praise God.

The Lord also protected me from a couple of "rough" situations; and I thank Him greatly for that, 'cause I wasn't going to offer up much of a defense tonight! The first "nasty" came in the form of a man who decided to grab a handful of loose change from his pocket, and violently threw the lot in my direction. Amazingly, none of the coins hit me. The second "nasty" came in the form of a drunk man who wanted to thrash my Bible sign. I, of course, kept him from doing so, and that irritated the man to no end. Pastor Tim ended up coming to my rescue. He engaged the man in conversation and kept him away from me, while I walked a little further down the street and continued my preaching undisturbed.

Finally, I want to praise God for sending another labourer into the harvest of the market. Pastor Tim and I met a young man named Aaron tonight; he's a Reform Presbyterian, and the Lord convicted him to go out, distribute tracts, and share the Gospel. We need more good souls like this! We had a great conversation. I encouraged him to be disciplined in his evangelism, and to be faithful at it, that is, to not only evangelize from time to time, but to reserve specific times to evangelize and be regular at it. I hope the Lord will make a great evangelist out of Aaron. We need good and faithful evangelists!

With that, dear readers, I close this edition of the Friday Night Notes. I'm going to bed now; do I ever need the rest.

God bless you all.



What "Born-Again" Means! - Part III

Monday, May 05, 2008
Who's doing the work???

"Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God." (Ezekiel 36:22-28)

The above passage of Scripture is actually what Nicodemus should have remembered when the Lord Jesus Christ taught him about the Second Birth. Nicodemus was a Pharisee, which meant he should have been quite familiar with the Old Testament. This is why the Lord, appalled by Nicodemus' ignorance said, in John 3:10: "Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?" Nicodemus should have remembered the passage in Ezekiel about being "cleansed with water", and receiving a "new spirit" when the Lord Jesus Christ spoke of "being born of water and the Spirit".

What we have in Ezekiel 36:22-28 is the salvation of Israel, nationally (which matches perfectly with the teachings of Romans 11). That is, all Jews, one day, will be gathered by God and brought into the land promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God will give them the Second Birth, which is nothing short of being washed clean, receiving a new heart (or nature), and receiving the Holy Spirit. Sound familiar?

Now, notice something very important in Ezekiel 36: what part do the End-Time Jews have to play in being washed with water, receiving a new heart and the Holy Spirit? Do they have to repent? Do they have to 'accept Jesus as personal Saviour'? Do they have to recognize that they are sinners and Jesus died for them in order to be washed and receive 'the goods'? READ THE PASSAGE! The answer is obviously: NO! God makes it clear that all the Jews were, are and will be good for, in a spiritual sense (and this can be said of any other group of people) is profaning God's Holy Name! The picture isn't one of a nation repenting, exercising faith and then getting a favourable response from God; the picture is one of a Holy God, for His Holy Name's sakes alone takes an undeserving Nation and washes it clean, blesses it with a right disposition, and seals it with His Holy Spirit. The only part the End-Time Jews will play in all this is this: they'll receive God's grace. PERIOD.

Fast-forward back to John 3. This time, let us bear in mind what Nicodemus should have had in his mind: Ezekiel 36. Why didn't the Lord Jesus Christ tell Nicodemus what TO DO to be born-again after His statement in verse 3? Simple! There was nothing Nicodemus COULD do to be born-again, it wasn't his work to perform. It was/is/will be God's. Note verse 6 of John 3:

"That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."

The only "birth" that comes from Man is carnal; and that would be our physical births (from our mothers). Then note, "that which is born of the Spirit", that is, of God, "is spirit". If one is to be spiritually born, it will be the work of God, the Holy Spirit. Plus NOTHING! The second you add personal repentance, or faith, or confession, or whatever... YOU ARE ADDING TO SCRIPTURE. The Second Birth is God's work. It is initiated by Him. It is completed by Him. This is why, all over Scripture, we have incredible statements like:

"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:12-13)

"So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy." (Romans 9:16)

"According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved." (Ephesians 1:4-6)

"Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." (Philippians 2:12-13)

"For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost." (Titus 3:3-5)

"Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures." (James 1:18)

So how does all this fit in with "salvation through faith in Christ Jesus alone" (which is clearly taught in the second half of John 3) ? Well, believe it or not, it does fit. Fits rather well too! But that will have to wait for part IV.


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Friday Night Notes

Saturday, May 03, 2008
folly: sin's offspring...

Pete from MyAllForOne gave me a call last night and we spoke on how foolish the people of our nations had become in their manners of life. Elements of that conversation came to my mind often tonight, as we proclaimed the Gospel in the marketplace. Pastor Tim and I were treated to a carnival of some of the dumbest, insanest (if that's a word) souls who claimed to know something, but actually, knew nothing at all. We nonetheless preached the unadulterated Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to them, most often through a symphony of mockery and insults.

Pastor Tim, oddly enough, was the one who seemed most rattled by the crazies tonight. Usually, I'm the one who gets upset or depressed when faced with the relentless parade of sin which fills the marketplace every Friday night, but tonight, apparently, there was a role reversal. I managed to keep my cool throughout much of the night (surely, that was a work of the Spirit!), while pastor Tim, on a number of occasions, seemed to need a few minutes to cope and re-focus his preaching efforts.

I don't know if pastor Tim would admit this, but I think both he and I are struggling with the present situation in our city, and by extension, country. I mean, it's been terribly bad here in Canada for quite some time, but lately, it's been worse. We hardly give out any tracts on Fridays anymore, and the one-on-one conversations are few and far between; and when we do get into a conversation with a particular sinner, it usually turns out to be vain babblings. The Bible says: "
Hope deferred maketh the heart sick" (Proverbs 13:12a). I think both pastor Tim and I are getting a bit heart-sick. We most certainly aren't going to give up, but to deny that we are in heaviness and sorrow over the present spiritual state of our land... well... it would be quite a lie.

I don't think I gave out more than 10 tracts in the 3 hours of preaching that we did tonight. I know that those 10 tracts could save many souls, but all the same, it would have been nice to have given out more. I am praying for a few souls that I clearly remember giving a tract to, hoping that the Lord will be pleased to save them.

In the one-on-one conversation department, there wasn't anything that showed much promise. Pastor Tim and I both dealt with a young lady who claimed to be a Christian, but was going around the marketplace dressed quite provocatively (she was pretty much walking around in a bra). We never said anything about how she was dressed but she complained that our preaching made her "feel bad". Both Pastor Tim and I told the young lady that we were quite glad that she "felt bad". We explained that what she had was a guilty conscience and that she needed to truly repent and trust Christ. She denied this of course, but still, when she walked away, it was clear that she was troubled.

I saw Richard again tonight. No change, still on the brink of total loss. We need to pray for him.

I also had a conversation with a real, no-nonsense Romanist. When I say "real", I mean REAL! This guy was walking around with some "Romanist Mary" medallion around this neck that surely weighed 5 pounds... THE STUPID IDOL WAS HUGE! All of you who know me know that I couldn't let this soul pass without hearing the Second Commandment. He, like most serious Romanist, made light of the commandment against idolatry, claiming that it was only applicable to the false religions of the Old Testament times. When I asked him where in the Bible he got that idea, he turned somewhat quiet. By the time I was done with the poor soul, he was yelling out at me that I was "anti-catholic" (which I have ZERO problem with, though, I think he meant that I was anti-christ), and of course, anyone who is anti-catholic is out of their minds! (a statement that made me laugh because years ago, our Romanist priest had told my mother that if she read the Bible and went to a Protestant church, she would lose her mind).

The one truly pleasant moment of the night came when an elderly gentlemen walked by me about 15 minutes before we called it a night. I recognized the man almost instantly, though, I don't think he recognized me nearly as quickly. The man had walked just past me, trying hard to ignore me and my Bible sign, but still, I called out: "Mr. Dubé?" The man, shocked, turned around to see how I could possibly have known his name.

"Hello, Mr. Dubé, my name is Rand, you taught me Chemistry and Organic Chemistry at College," I said.

Mr. Dubé then recognized me and he got a whole lot more comfortable talking with me, though I think he was still kind of leery of my Friday night activity. All the same, it was good to go down memory lane with my old teacher for a few minutes. I could tell that he was glad to hear that one of his students was not only doing well in a Research laboratory, but that I had actually gone back to our old College to teach a few classes. You see, this man wasn't just a teacher, he was the coordinator who started the Biotech program I graduated from. The program was "his baby", and he was mighty glad that "his baby" had brought me and others success in the field of science.

I hope Mr. Dubé will ponder on what I was doing in the market tonight. Though we didn't talk about spiritual matters, there's no way he missed the Bible sign I was carrying. The Lord deal with him as He sees fit.

With that, dear readers, I close the notes for tonight. I appreciate your continued prayers. My health has greatly improved, but I wouldn't say I'm 100% yet. Thank you to all of you who have left comments, sent e-mails or even called me from far away. Your kindness has been quite heart-warming. Thank you, dear readers.

Have a good weekend, and a blessed Lord's Day.