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, November 29, 2008
bringing out the worse in people...
It was definitely a wet night, but thankfully, it really wasn't all that cold; and despite the soggy weather, pastor Tim and I preached the Gospel for a good 4 hours. The Lord use our labour as He sees fit.
Handing out Bible tracts in wet weather is always a challenge, but we managed. The reception to our preaching was rather cold tonight, with most mocking us and blaspheming the Holy Name of God. I mentioned to pastor Tim just how much I hated hearing some of the disgusting blasphemies sinners utter during our customary night of evangelism and to that he replied:
"You know, we get upset when we hear such vileness for a few hours, from a handful of souls... can you imagine the things God must hear every moment of every day from the mouths of the wicked!"
After thinking about this for a couple of seconds, I could only say: GOD IS MERCIFUL AND LONGSUFFERING!
A few souls blessed us with kind words as we laboured, but for the most part, we were despised. From the Muslim who couldn't accept that God would let His Son be tortured and killed (I have to admit that the fact still astounds me!), to the drunkard who tried his best to keep us from preaching by shouting loudly, to the man who said he wanted slap pastor Tim, to the many, many souls who declared their love for sin and the devil himself; well, it was all pretty miserable.
Through it all though, I thanked the Lord for keeping me in-line and helping me keep a proper, prayerful attitude. All night I meditated on these Scriptures as I evangelized:
"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." (Galatians 6:9) "My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him." (Psalm 62:5) "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." (Isaiah 40:31)
I memorized these verses this week simply by listening to Scripture Songs on CDs I bought a few weeks ago from a Canadian website (I highly recommend the CDs, check them out at http://www.scripturesongs.com/). It was great to think on those passages in the midst of such insanity and ungodliness.
With that, dear readers, I close the notes. I'm exhausted and I can't think straight enough to write anything more.
I run and up down these stairs (4 stories)... over and over again. I feels stupid doing it, and I often fear someone taking notice. Yet this time of the year, I do it 'cause it's the only way for me to keep warm when street preaching; the exercise gets the blood flowing and the warmth can be felt in very little time. So while practically, this is a very intelligent way of warming up, I have to tell you, that as I run up and down this stair case (which is part of a parking garage), with its filthy concrete and the smells of cheap booze, vomit and urine, I can't help but think: "how in the world did I get this gig?
It doesn't take me to long though, that I realize that the gig was handed down by the Lord of my salvation, and that my Friday night of evangelism, stinky stairs and all, is my reasonable service (Romans 12:1). Still though, and I say this with a smile on my face, it is quite a gig. LOL.
Pastor Tim and I were both at our post tonight in the marketplace, declaring the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and offering to one and all some Bible literature. I not sure about pastor Tim, but I didn't give out a whole lot of tracts tonight, but a lot more were given out than would have been given out had I not been in the market tonight! The Lord use the literature that was handed out as He sees fit.
I had a few one-on-one conversations with sinners tonight. The first was with a young man named Vincent. While definitely lost, Vincent had an honesty about him that I enjoyed. This is how our conversation more of less went:
"So, why can't I just be a Christian and not get baptized and not go to church?" Vincent blurted out.
"Do you have a girlfriend?" I asked.
"Yeah," Vincent answered.
"Okay, imagine this," I began, "you tell your girlfriend that you love her, but you never take her out, you never buy her flowers, you never do anything for her, and you don't even think of her as you go through your day. Tell me, Vincent, how long will the relationship last?"
"Not long," Vincent quickly answered, and after a few seconds of quiet reflection, he lifted his head and said: "Ahhhhh... I get it!"
He then took one of my tracts and thanked me for speaking with him. The Lord convict this young man of sin. I truly hope that tonight was the beginning of a wondrous work of God in his life.
The second conversation I had was with a very drunk man, so I don't think anything I said to him got too far. That said, he asked for a tract which I gladly gave him. The Lord use this tract when he sobers up!
Moments later we had a young woman walk up to us, she shook both pastor Tim's hand and mine, and said: "God bless you." She said that the Lord would return "real soon", to which I said, "I hope so!" And that's when things went south. She claimed to know "for sure that it was very soon" and that "she preached this every Sunday at her church". Oh dear.
"But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety." (1 Timothy 2:12-15)
With that I close these Friday Night Notes. I have to be up early tomorrow to attend the baptism of dear brother-in-the-Lord. Have a good weekend, dear readers.
Enjoy the Lord's Day, dear saints of God.
Ps: I know that there are many dear brothers and sisters-in-the-Lord who pray for pastor Tim and I, specifically for our evangelistic endeavours. I want to thank you all. I mean it. It warms my heart to know that I have fellow Christians upholding me in prayer as I labour. I mean I read this comment on my blog tonight, and I was so touched I almost cried. God bless you "witness", you have oft refreshed me with your words, and your spiritual conversation.
I was unable to go out street preaching tonight, so there will be no Friday Night Notes. Both pastor Tim and I were away this week (he was visiting his son in the Canadian Maritimes, and I was in Boston on a business trip), and we both just got back. We now have to focus on being prepared for the Lord's Day services.
God bless you, dear readers, and have a wonderful weekend.
Four whole years ago (my... oh... my... how time flies...), I put up this short account of Joseph Scriven life (originally written by a fellow called Lindsay Terry):
"More than a century ago, on the streets of Port Hope, Ontario, a man could be seen walking along carrying a saw and a sawhorse. One day a rich man from across the street saw him and said to a friend, "He looks like a sober man. I think I'll hire him to cut wood for me." "That's Joseph Scriven," the friend replied. "He wouldn't cut wood for you. He only cuts wood for those who don't have enough to pay."And that sums up the philosophy of Joseph Medlicott Scriven, a devoted member of the Plymouth Brethren Church, who took the Sermon on the Mount literally.
Scriven was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1819. He fell for a lovely young woman, but on the eve of their wedding she accidentally drowned. Scriven never recovered from the shock. The Irishman began to wander, hoping to forget his sorrow. At age 25, he finally settled in Canada. His faith led him to do menial tasks for poor widows and the sick. He often worked for no wages and was regarded by the people of the community as a kind man, albeit a bit odd.
He later fell in love again and planned to marry a wonderful Canadian woman. But again, tragedy struck. His fiance died after contracting pneumonia.
In 1855, a friend visited an ill Scriven and discovered a poem that he had written for his ailing mother in faraway Ireland. Scriven didn't have the money to visit her, but he sent her the poem as an encouragement. He called it "Pray Without Ceasing." When the friend inquired about the poem's origins, Scriven reportedly answered, "The Lord and I did it between us." Scriven never intended for the poem to be published, but it made its rounds, and was set to music in 1868 by musician Charles Converse, who titled it "What a Friend We Have in Jesus." It has since become one of our greatest hymns.
Scriven died in 1886 (ironically, in an accidental drowning). In his memory, the town of Port Hope erected a monument with this inscription from Scriven's famous song: In His arms He'll take and shield thee. Thou wilt find a solace there."
Well, this summer, my family and I made a stop in Port Hope, Ontario, and drove up to a small town just north of Port Hope where Joseph Scriven lived and is now buried. Here are some of the pictures we took:
The path the leads to Joseph Scriven's house and the Pengelley family graveyard.
The province of Ontario put up this plaque with some details about Joseph Scriven. Note the words "a deeply religious man"... oh brother. If the Ontario Government hadn't mentioned his hymn, you'd hardly know he was a Christian!
A humble little house... isn't it? I suppose that there are plenty of bachelor apartments today that aren't much bigger!
A view of the other side of Scriven's house.
A view of the west side of the Pengelley graveyard. Most of the gravestones on this side were of the Pengelley and Northey families.
The Eastside of the Pengelley graveyard. As you can see, this is where Joseph Scriven was buried. It is also where a monument was erected in his honour.
A close-up of the front side of the Scriven monument. You can see the first verse of his most famous hymn. Did you know that the original poem, Pray Without Ceasing, wasn't only published in the Port Hope newspaper, it actually got published in the New York Times! (Somehow, I don't think "the Times" would publish such a poem today... how terribly sad...)
The same monument viewed from a different angle. You can see the second verse of "Pray Without Ceasing", or "What a Friend We Have In Jesus".
Yet another picture of the Scriven monument. You can see the third and final verse of his poem/hymn here.
The actual grave stones of both Joseph Scriven and "his sweetheart", who died of pneumonia. It would seem that Scriven's Canadian fiancee's name was lost; as you can see, only the initials "L.C.D." and "Scriven's Sweetheart" identify the grave.
My little girl having a closer look at the grave stones of some of the Pengelleys. It would seem a number of them were in the ministry. Nearly all of the stones (except for the more recent ones) had Scripture on them.
A picture of Rice Lake, visible from the graveyard. This is the lake Scriven drowned in.
Final Thoughts: I really enjoyed visiting this historical site. What I find absolutely wonderful about Scriven's story is that he is remembered for his Christian conversation, or way of life. Not some great sermon or some great secular or spiritual feat. He professed faith in Christ Jesus, and he practiced his faith with great zeal. Makes you wonder: "when our days come to an end, will the world remember us for our faithful walk with the Lord?"
Here's a short video I got with my digital camera. Quality is pretty poor due to bad lighting and a bit of rain... still though, it gives you an idea of what street preaching with an uncompromising pastor is like!
Street preaching was no picnic tonight. The mockery, the cursing and the blasphemy uttered by the lost in the marketplace was really grievous. It is a twisted thing, the minds of sinners. I can very well endure insults about my person, but tonight, most of the insults were directed at the Lord. After hearing some of the things that the wicked had to say, it stand in total awe at God's grace and longsuffering to this ungodly world.
Pastor Tim still managed to give out of good number of Bible tracts (I, on the other hand, handed out very few), and we preached the Gospel for well over 3 hours. The Lord use our labour as He sees fit.
Further on the plus side, I had a number of people compliment me on my Bible sign. I remember a young man saying: "You keep doing what you're doing!" I also remember a couple of ladies reading the Scriptures on my sign and commenting: "That's true! It's good that you are here to tell the world about this." Most of these positive moments occurred early in our evangelistic effort. As the night wore on, things got dementedly evil.
In the midst of the sea of blasphemies that were uttered tonight, a man walked up to me and claimed that my preaching was all wrong; he told me that he had been to seminary and that he knew what the Bible taught. He said: "Jeremiah 31 says that God will write his law in people's hearts and will forgive their sins, because God accepts everyone." I pointed out to the man that the prophecy he was referencing was written to Israel, God's chosen people, and not written to "everyone"; to that the man replied that the New Testament applied it to everyone. When I asked for a reference... guess what? He didn't have one. Seminary did wonders for him, didn't it?
A short time later, a young man walked up to me and began blaspheming against God in a truly grotesque way. The lad was so vile that even his friend had trouble standing it; the conversation between the two men was somewhat amusing:
"God is $#@&!" said the vile one. "And this freak here standing on a street corner is a zealot!"
"So, what's wrong with that?" his friend finally pipped up.
"Come on, look at what he's doing... he's wasting his time doing this stupid @#$%!" the wicked soul continued.
"Right, and what exactly are you doing with your life that makes you any better?" his friend inquired.
Seeing that he wasn't getting anywhere with me or his friend, the vile blasphemer walked away, much to my relief. The Lord have mercy on both men, as well as their girlfriends which were also especially wicked.
Pastor Tim spent the final half-hour of our night of evangelism speaking with a threesome of "moderate Muslims" who wanted pastor Tim to focus on the things that Christianity and Islam have in common. Oh my... I don't think those men were at all prepared for what pastor Tim had to say about that! Their conversation was civil and respectful, but there was no compromise from the old pastor. No doubt these "ecumenical Muslims" left us somewhat discouraged at our utter refusal to find any "common ground" with their wicked and false religion. They'll just have to be satisfied with finding "common ground" with the Great Whore called Romanism.
On that note, I close this edition of the Friday Night Notes.
I apologize for not leaving a short post last Friday explaining that I would be away all weekend. It was my eldest son's birthday yesterday, and we celebrated it at my in-laws, who live about 600 kilometers away. We took off in a flash on Friday, and I didn't think to let you all know where I was. Terribly sorry.
Anyway, I'm well... the family is well... all is well.