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 30, 2009
preaching the Gospel isn't a shtick...

The week went by so fast, I didn't even remember that it had been two weeks since I last went out for some street preaching. Seriously, time just seems to be flashing by lately. I didn't feel rusty at all out there tonight.

Pastor Tim was away at a family gathering, so I lone-rangered it for almost three hours, handing out Bible tracts and preaching the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. The response was again quite varied. A woman gave me a "God bless you" as she walked by me early in the evening, but an hour later, a young man took one of my Bible tracts only to rip it in two. I was mocked by the overwhelming majority, but that's to be expected:

"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Corinthians 2:14)

I only had two one-on-one conversations tonight. One was with a believer who was visiting the city from Alabama. He couldn't believe how spiritually barren the people of my city were; he was amazed at the hostility he faced at the very mention of God or the Scriptures.

"Welcome to Dead Land," I said, "welcome to Dead Land..."

Hours later I had a rather long chat with an unbeliever who, at first anyway, seemed to want to argue and/or mock me. It was clear that as we began to talk, he was waiting for me to give him "my shtick", or "my sales pitch". He was more than a bit surprised that I had neither for him.

"But... aren't you suppose to yell at me that I'm going to Hell and all that?" he said.

"If you want to talk about Hell and your spiritual state, my friend, we can do that," I replied. "I don't see why I would waste my time though, since very manifestly, you've heard the Gospel before, and you don't seem to want anything to do with it."

"You're so... well... rational," the young man began, "I feel bad now that I thought bad of you."

It was a strange conversation, yet surprisingly profitable. We spoke about what it means to be saved and how the Lord's salvation changes everything. I told the young man that since my conversion, I've seen God's hand in everything; in the good times and the bad times. I also spoke of how God's love for me constrains me to serve him, and that, with my whole heart. I must have made a lot of sense to him, since by the end of our conversation, the man insisted on shaking my hand (twice!), and said:

"I wish you weren't here with this Bible sign, but I have to say that you are one seriously faithful man, and in a way, I kind of wish I could be that passionate."

The Lord open this lost soul's eyes. I hope that God will use things I've said tonight to save and sanctify as He sees fit.

Thank you again, dear readers, for following my Friday night adventures.


Ps: I will be preaching the evening service this Lord's Day... please remember me in your prayers, dear saints of God.


Return From Vacation

Friday, May 22, 2009
it's good to relax...

Sorry, dear readers... if you were logging on to read my Friday Night Notes, there are none this week. No doubt pastor Tim (and perhaps brother Josiah) went out to preach the Gospel downtown tonight, but I'm resting from a very eventful week.

Let me tell you, with three kids and a pregnant wife, even vacation is a whole lot of work!!!

We all spent the week at my favorite Provincial Park (aka: "My Happy Place") and I took lots and lots of pictures with my new digital SLR camera. I will be posting some of my shots in the days to come... I'm too tired now... I going to bed.

I did put up a shot of one of the lakes we camped by. What a glorious creation God wrought!

Have a great weekend, dear readers.


Friday Night Notes

Saturday, May 16, 2009
troubled on every side...

So many things this week has caused me to be annoyed... and I mean annoyed... bordering on aggravation. Most of the issues were nonetheless dealt with and I looked forward to a night of street preaching free from distractions. Don't get me wrong, I always steel myself against the folly, hatred and even violence of the wicked when we go out to preach the Gospel, but I was glad to be able to preach without some nonsense plaguing the back of my mind. Barely one hour went by, and I was annoyed again.

I don't want to gripe, nor do I want to publicly shame men who are surely my brothers-in-the-Lord, so I'll only say this: a group of Christians were out tonight to do some evangelism, and they showed us very little respect/consideration. And that's putting it mildly. I couldn't believe... and I still can't believe what they did. A man told me to "bite him", another shook his head and called me an idiot, and yet another mocked me in front of an audience... not much fun, but none of these bothered me near as much as the misconduct of my fellow evangelists.

Okay... deep breath... and think and act like the Lord Jesus Christ. No point being aggravated. The Lord is judge and I will plead my cause to him. Everything else is vanity, if not sin.

The only conversations we had tonight was with mockers and scorners, so I won't bother relaying any of them here. Lots of people stopped to listen to some of our preaching, and a fair number of people took Bible tracts; so there was some positive. Still though, by the end of our evangelistic effort, I was starting to feel pretty down. The spiritual situation is Canada is nothing short of dire and the goings-on in the market are a clear indicator. I know EXACTLY what king David meant when he wrote:

"If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?" (Psalm 11:3)

The absurdity... the wretched absurdity of the words I've heard and the actions I have seen... an intoxicated woman who needed the assistance of two men to carry her back home told me I needed to get a life... a drug addict professing to being converted doing his best to show me that "the Way" is the WatchTower, the so-called "Jehovah's Witness"... a young woman who was wearing so little that she had to tug her top up, and her bottom down, yet she proudly proclaimed to loving God...

This is just the tip of the iceberg. I'm telling you... sometimes it all makes me dizzy.

I suppose it would be best for me to just end this post here, and get some rest. The following Scripture comes to mind:

"It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep." (Psalm 127:2)

Have a blessed weekend, dear readers. Enjoy the Lord's Day.



Friday Night Notes

Saturday, May 09, 2009
a rather uneventful night...

This edition of the Friday Night Notes will most likely be fairly short; there is very little to report. Pastor Tim and I preached the Gospel for over three hours, distributed some Gospel literature and had a few one-on-one conversations with the lost, but nothing really noteworthy came of it. There was no serious aggressively to contend with, no great interest in the Gospel... it was all rather lukewarm.

There is a certain sadness in the apparent indifference of our audience to the Gospel message, but I am thankful for another week with no violence. Just yesterday, a man was murdered in the market (some sort of gang related fiasco), so at the end of our evangelistic effort, I thanked my God for His protection and asked that He would use my efforts as He sees fit. Who knows what the Lord was doing in the hearts of all those who heard us preach tonight. It was an uneventful night in my carnal eyes, but God can yet work great things.

Pastor Tim had a long conversation with a young couple about the Gospel... he was able to explain many things to them, but then a charismatic joined the conversation and everything went South, and that, pretty quickly. When this was going on, I was having a long conversation with a young man named Hamed. He had a mixed religious background. He had some Islam in him, but he also had some "Coptic church" in him. He asked me questions on everything from God's Law, to the miracles of Jesus, to the Deity of Jesus and the doctrine of the Second Birth. We must have talked for an hour! I'm not sure what Hamed will do with all this information, but he took some of my literature and I encouraged him to come by our church sometime.

When I first started talking with Hamed, a woman we often see in the market dropped by to say "hello". The woman is a serious Romanist, but interestingly enough, she is quite favourable to our preaching. Anyway, we talked for a few minutes, and it became clear that she views me as "her Christian brother". She even hugged me as she left me to speak to Hamed. I think I really need to cross the "t"s and dot the "i"s with this woman. I don't want to encourage, in any way, her view that she and I are brother and sister in the Lord. She needs to know that as long as she clings to Romanism, she is an enemy of God. The Lord help me deal with her in a manner becoming of a child of God.

As we closed our time of evangelism, pastor Tim and I walked to where we had set up one of our Bible signs, and we noticed a young lady trying to knock our sign over...

"Excuse me," I said.

The woman immediately ran off yelling hysterically.

"Wow Rand!" pastor Tim said, "you're quite the intimidating guy."

And that's it for tonight. I have a busy weekend ahead of me. Remember me in your prayers, dear saints of God. Have a safe weekend, and a blessed Lord's Day.

Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers out there!



Friday Night Notes

Friday, May 01, 2009
had to lone-ranger it...

Last week was a big night of evangelism, complete with large crowds and several hours of preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This week, everything was... well... somewhat less. The number of souls in the market was definitely lower than last week (it was windy and cold tonight), and there was only one preacher representing Grace Baptist Fellowship evangelizing. That would be me!

Pastor Tim didn't have anything left in the tank tonight. Secular work and the business of the church has kept him quite busy this week, and tonight, he needed to some serious rest. So, I took one of his Bible signs, a handful of tracts, said "Goodnight!", and made my way to the market.

As I entered the market, everyone was staring at me and my Bible sign as I made my way past the restaurants and pubs. I felt like "Christian" or "Faithful" in John Bunyan's classic, "The Pilgrim's Progress":

"Now, Christian and Faithful, as I said, must needs go through this fair. Well, so they did; but as they entered into the fair, all the people were moved and the town itself, as it were, in a hubbub about them, and that for several reasons; for their garments were very different from the kind sold at the fair; their speech was also strange since they spoke the language of Canaan."

Once at my customary preaching spot in the marketplace, I preached the Gospel for almost an hour. During that hour, I had a lengthy conversation with a young man and his girlfriend. I became clear after some time that the young man cared only to discuss "faith" or "religion" in a philosophical way. After answering some of his questions, I got serious and said:

"You know what, my friend? This is all very academic and interesting, but it is altogether vain. While we are both talking philosophy right now, there is a very important matter that separates us: I am saved from my sin, and you are dead in yours. The difference between you and I is that you are not sorry for your sin, you hardly even recognize the concept of sin, but when I was lost in my sin, I couldn't even breathe! I had to call out to God! I had to seek him with my whole heart. This happened to me because God regenerated my soul; I was born-again. You don't know what I'm talking about experientially, because you are not born-again. So you try to figure things out by philosophy, trying hard to fit all the pieces in a way that makes you feel good, in a way that will never move you to consider, or do anything about your sin."

The young man was pretty stunned. He knew what I was saying, and he knew that what I was saying made a whole lot of sense, but it was clear he didn't want to consider the matter any longer. I hope the Lord will remind him often of the things he has heard of me tonight, that he may realize his need, as I had recognized my need so long ago.

A short time after this long conversation, a colleague of mine from work stopped by and took one of my Bible tracts. He and his wife were out for a walk and wanted to say "hi!". We had a short conversation and they went on their way. I didn't press my friend to much because I have a pretty good feeling that I will have more time with him since he works in the lab just above the one I work in. I pray that the Lord give me more opportunities to witness to this dear soul.

After an hour of preaching, I decided to walk around downtown with my Bible sign, offering Bible tracts to all who would receive one. During this time, I met a number of brothers who were either starting or finishing their own evangelistic endeavours. It's always good to see friendly faces like brother Alex and brother Layton. The Lord bless them in their efforts.

I finished off my night of evangelism with a bit more preaching, and tract distribution but that last hour was pretty much void of any meaningful exchanges with sinners. Still, God's Word was preached, and many souls read my Bible sign... who knows what the Lord will do!

With that, I close this edition of the Friday Night Notes. Tomorrow will be a busy day for me, so I need to turn in.

God bless you, dear readers. Remember pastor Tim and I in your prayers, dear saints of God.