Saturday, October 17, 2009Lookout! Mr. Popular coming through!
Even after 10 years of street preaching, it is near impossible to anticipate just what will happen in the market. No way of knowing whether I will be in grave danger, or if I will simply be ignored. I try not to dwell too much on what 'might' happen when I prepare for a night of street preaching, but for the most part, I can't help it. My mind just naturally wanders into possible scenarios, all sorts of scenarios, from great fires of revival to the severest of persecution, and everything in between.
Well, nothing could prepare me for the largely warm reception I received tonight. No, there were no 'great awakenings', sadly, but there was an appreciation for my efforts. A refreshing change I must say!
As I made my way downtown, my John 3:36 Bible sign firmly in hand, I met up with Emily, a young lady who attended some of our meetings a couple of years ago. She was on her way to some kind of special church service, but made a bit of time to chat with me. It was nice to catch up. After a short conversation, she took off for her activity, and I moved toward the old preaching spot. By the time I made it to my preaching spot, two other souls expressed their approval of my Bible sign. One man even said:
"Those are Words of Wisdom... good stuff!"
I have to say that at that point, I was feeling like a rock star! Way too much praise in way too short a time... I confess that I kept thinking that everything would go sour before my first hour of preaching the Gospel ended, but to my surprise, it totally didn't. If anything, things went really, really well.
A young lady came by to ask me why there was an Old Testament and a New Testament, and also wanted to know what "being born-again" was all about. I showed her, using the account of the Exodus, how the Old Testament was picture of New Testament truth; in essence, how the New Testament is the fulfillment of the Old Testament. She saw right away. I then went on to explain that while everyone in the world was and is born once, but that we are all born spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1). I then pointed out that those who are born-again are those whom the Lord makes spiritually alive, through the reading or hearing of God's Word. She seemed quite pleased with my explanations and thanked me before leaving.
The young man who was by her side didn't care much for me however. He made sure I felt his disapproval with an austere look as I spoke to his friend. When she walked away, the young man pointed to my John 3:36 sign and said:
"I think that verse is wrong... I don't think I believe that."
"I wouldn't believe it either, if the Lord hadn't saved me," I replied.
Moments after this conversation I met a brother-in-the-Lord, a man named Paul, who was handing out Bible literature with the Open-Air Campaigners. We had a pleasant conversation I encouraged the brother to continue to faithfully work at the Great Commission. He wanted to have my church's coordinates, so we could have fellowship at a later date... I hope the Lord of the Harvest is preparing another faithful worker!
It was well into my second hour of street preaching, when I met a Romanist fellow by the name of Michael. We spoke about the demise of church attendance and what a shame that was but I made sure I didn't leave it at that. I told him that after reading the Bible, I could no longer be a Romanist (that always shocks them). I asked him if he spent quality time studying the Scriptures, and the answer wasn't at all surprising:
"No, and come to think of it, hardly anyone in my catholic family reads the Bible," the man answered.
I explained to the man that he needed to start reading the Scriptures. I told him to stop blindly following the teachings of men, and to find out for himself what the Lord has revealed. He agreed that he needed to do that. Let us pray for this lost soul.
As the third hour of preaching drew near, I was getting seriously cold; temperatures are dropping up here in Canada! I did however have a conversation that was somewhat funny, and the humour warmed me up some. A young man wanted to know what I was up to with my big John 3:36 sign...
"I'm preaching the Gospel of Jesus, my friend. Do you believe the Gospel?"
"Of course, I'm as right-wing conservative as you can be!" the man answered.
"Well, that's nice, I'm right-wing and a conservative, but listen, plenty of right-wing conservatives are going to spend eternity in hell," I said.
"No way," the man said, clearly disturbed.
"Look, if you're not born-again, I don't care how right-wing or conservative you are, your sins will sink you to Hell, guaranteed," I continued.
"Well, I went to Bible camps, and I go to church every Sunday, and I just don't believe you really need to be born-again," the man obstinately continued.
"You've been to Bible camp?" I said. "Great, so you know something about the Bible! You surely know that there is a book in the Bible called the Gospel of John, and in the third verse of the third chapter of that Gospel, Jesus said: "Except a man be born-again, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." What do you make of that, my friend?"
"You f*%$# guy, you!" the man replied.
And here I laughed and laughed. You have to understand, the man did curse, but he wasn't really cursing at me, it was more like: "Oh man, did you ever get me there!" Anyway, despite the Scriptures being crystal clear, the young man still claimed that he was 'alright' without the Second Birth. To that, I said:
"Hey! my friend, suit yourself. I'm not going to win any prizes or awards because I've convinced you of the Truth. This whole conversation is for your benefit, not mine. I'm telling you how it is. This is what the Bible says, if you don't like and want to continue in whatever you think is right, go right ahead, it really isn't on me."
The young man appreciated my candor, and I know that deep down, he knew his position was contradictory and unbiblical. He shook my hand and went on his way. The Lord be merciful unto him.
Shortly after this conversation, I made my way back home where my wife was waiting up for me with a warm bowl of soup to thaw me out. Praise God for caring wives!
That's the notes for tonight, dear readers. Have a great weekend, and a glorious Lord's Day.
Labels: Friday evangelism