Saturday, November 21, 2009cold and wet...
It was good to be back preaching the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ in the market. I've missed the last two Fridays of street preaching, so despite a steady light rain, I purposed to go out for some serious evangelism; I get too rusty if I let more than two weeks go by. It's quite the discipline and hard work, this business of street preaching, but I thank the Lord my God every Friday that He has made a street evangelist out of me.
My night of evangelism didn't start out too well. It rained steady during our first hour of preaching, and we got a short visit from a less than favorable police woman. She told me I was being too loud and that I was causing "a disturbance" (there was no one around at the time). It was clear that she didn't like my preaching and that she was hoping that a little intimidation would get me to leave. I rolled my eyes, muttered a "good grief", and went on with my preaching. Probably realizing she didn't have a legal foot to stand on, the officer left, though she did drive by a number of times, glaring at me at every opportunity. The Lord have mercy on her.
This exchange reminded me of the great evangelist, George Whitefield. Now there was a man who knew how to cause a "disturbance" with his open-air evangelism! Check out this excerpt from Wikipedia:
"Benjamin Franklin once attended a revival meeting in Philadelphia and was greatly impressed with Whitefield's ability to deliver a message to such a large group. Franklin had dismissed reports of Whitefield preaching to crowds of the order of tens of thousands in England as exaggeration. When listening to Whitefield preaching from the Philadelphia court house, Franklin walked away towards his shop in Market Street until he could no longer hear Whitefield distinctly. He then estimated his distance from Whitefield and calculated the area of a semi-circle centred on Whitefield. Allowing two square feet per person he realized that Whitefield really could be heard by tens of thousands of people in the open air."
Moments after that nonsense, a young man walked up to me as I was preaching and ordered me to "shut up". When I asked him what was the problem, the young man said nothing. So, I went back to my preaching. Somewhat annoyed with me, the man started asking me to tell him about Jesus; this wasn't an expression of interest, he was trying to find some fault with whatever I had to say. After putting up with a few of his "gotcha" questions (he never did "get" me), I asked him if he had been drinking. The young man was a bit erratic and I didn't want to waste my time on someone who was under the influence of alcohol.
"No, I haven't been drinking," the young man answered. "It wouldn't make sense for me to be seeking God while I'm drunk."
"You're right," I answered.
A couple of more "gotcha" questions came up, and that's when the young man got close enough to me for me to detect the stench of alcohol on his breath. So I stopped all the questioning and whispered to him:
"You're a liar."
"What do you mean?" the man said.
"I'm going to ask you again: have you been drinking tonight?" I replied.
The funny thing about our conversation was that he was doing his best through all sorts of questions to find fault with me, and in two simple questions, I had found fault with him. I suggested that he go home, sober up, and make it a point to seek God with all his heart. He was quite annoyed. He said he would come back to talk to me some other day when he was sober. I guess we'll see.
Pastor Tim and I were blessed by the encouragement and kind words of a Christian woman who showed up during our second hour of evangelism, and a man named Nathan during our third hour of evangelism. The Lord bless them abundantly for they have seriously refreshed a couple of weary preachers.
It was during our second hour of preaching that I shared a few words with a street beggar named René. He claimed that the Lord had saved him from heroin addiction and alcoholism. He was genuinely pleased that I was preaching the Gospel, but I was disturbed by his begging and the company he kept (men that I know for a fact are drug users and alcoholics). Not having any proof of sin however, I took the man's word and encouraged him to keep seeking the Lord. I will no doubt be seeing him in the weeks ahead... the Lord help him and save him!
In our final hour, pastor Tim and I had a few short one-on-one conversations with sinners... some good, some not-so-good. One woman stands out in my memory. She was an elderly woman, and it was clear as she walked toward me that she had a bee in her bonnet. She quickly snapped at me with:
"All religion is good for is causing wars!"
I laughed. Then I said:
"You were just itching to spew out the nonsense, weren't you? You feel good getting that off your chest and 'setting me straight'?"
The woman seemed a bit annoyed by my assessment of the situation. I tried to show her the distinction between false religion and carnal lusts which creates "wars and fightings" (James 4:1), and the Living Faith which only breeds peace and righteousness (2 Corinthians 13:11). She would have none of it, so she walked away angrily. The Lord, again, have mercy.
And that's all I have to report for tonight, dear readers. Please remember Pastor Tim and I in your prayers, dear saints. The cold season is upon us here in Canada, making street evangelism all the more challenging.
Have a blessed weekend and a glorious Lord's Day, dear friends.
Labels: Friday evangelism