Friday Night Notes
Saturday, March 22, 2014
kept the police busy...
What a night.
Where to begin?
I suppose I should start by mentioning that there isn't a camera-phone picture attached to this post because... well because with everything that took place, pulling out my cellphone to take a picture of our surroundings just didn't cross my mind.
It didn't take long for our night of evangelism to quickly degenerate. If memory serves, I had been preaching the Gospel for no more than 15 minutes when a man professing to be a Christian came over to "set me straight". At first I thought I was in for a "you're-not-evangelizing-right", with a side dish of "you-need-to-preach-more-lovey-dovey". Instead the man, who claimed to be a Christian, started a diatribe about the inaccuracies of the Bible and how, ultimately, God's Word was unreliable. I let the man talk for a couple of minutes, then tried to give an answer, but this was a monologue, not a conversation, so I moved a few feet away from the man and began preaching the Gospel again. That infuriated the man who began to curse and swear at me (remember, this was a professing Christian
At this point I began praying that the Lord would rid me of this wicked soul, when something caught my eye over on the other side of the street where Pastor Tim was offering Gospel tracts to those who walked by. A young woman violently kicked one of our Bible signs to the ground. Pastor Tim walked over, picked the sign up, but undeterred, the woman kicked the sign back down, screaming and yelling at the good preacher. So both of us had crazies yelling obscenities at us, but my "crazy" quickly became of no consequence.
Things were about to get real serious over on Pastor Tim's side, as I noticed a deranged homeless man walking towards the young woman and Pastor Tim. This was a potentially explosive situation: I knew the homeless man was going to defend an old man over a cursing, violent twenty-year-old, and that's what had me worried. I was afraid the man was going to physically assault the young woman and then, well, the game would be on, if you get my drift. So I quickly ran across the street to try to get in the way of whatever was about to happen. The crazy so-called Christian who had been harassing me got a chance to say: "That's right! You run away you brainwashed coward!" Which I must say annoyed me, but I had more serious things to worry about than my pride.
When I got next to Pastor Tim, there was a bit of a standoff, where the wicked woman traded obscenities with the homeless man. Eventually, the woman turned to Pastor Tim and I and said: "What you're doing is illegal, and I'm calling the cops!" To which we answered: "Go for it!" That annoyed the woman who proceeded to kick our Bible signs (all three this time
) down to the ground, and made good on her threat to call the police, before running off into the night.
So in the space of two minutes, Pastor Tim and I were surrounded by police cruisers, with one police officer taking charge, asking us what was going on. We explained the situation and after failing to locate the woman who had lodged a complaint against us, the officer in charge asked us for identification to confirm we weren't troublemakers, and that we would be left in peace afterwards. A quick check on his laptop and the officer gave me back my ID and said: "You guys aren't doing anything illegal and you are free to continue as you wish. Goodnight."
The officer left, and within 5 minutes another homeless man came to see me, to enquire of my well-being. I was surprised that he cared what happened to us, but a bit thankful. My thankfulness however turned to serious concern when the very drunk homeless man said: "Don't you worry guy, if anyone would have given you serious trouble, I would have pulled out my 9mm and would have backed you." Now these drunks are pathological liars, so perhaps he didn't have a pistol and was all talk, but he moved something heavy in his jacket when he said "9mm" and well... that was a thought that gave me the willies!
I was only beginning to settle back down... preached the Gospel for about 15 minutes, when another homeless man showed up and expressed some dissatisfaction toward my preaching. It started with cursing, then came the threats, and then violence. I got pushed around some, the man tried his best to break the Bible sign I was holding, but was unable. That's when Pastor Tim showed up, and seeing that there was two of us, the man relented but he struck again the minute Pastor Tim walked away.
At this point, Pastor Tim rushed back and told me to call the police. I really didn't want to do that, the last thing I wanted is for us preachers to become an annoyance to the police. That's when a man came up to Pastor Tim and I and told us he was a police officer from out-of-town and that he wanted us to call the police right away. Providentially, at that very moment, a police cruiser just happened to come by. The out-of-town officer ran to the police vehicle, showed off his badge and explained the situation to an in-uniform officer and a plain clothed passenger.
Once again, three police cruisers descended on our corner, but this time, we weren't the targets. Three officers detained the homeless man, and the plain clothed man was an observer named Dwayne. I know his name because he visited our church assembly just a couple of weeks ago; he is the nephew of one of our church members. With Dwayne and the out-of-town officer's help, everything got sorted out quickly: the homeless man was warned to leave us alone and to leave the area. Dwayne and the officer he was assigned to remained on our corner for a good 20 minutes while we went back to our evangelism, to make sure we were safe.
I thank God for the work of the various police officers that dealt with us tonight. They were professional, wise and in the end, quite kind to us. Still, I much prefer Friday evangelism nights that don't require the presence of police.
The rest of our night of evangelism was pretty miserable. Our Bible signs were spat at, and there was no shortage of blasphemy and mockery. The only upside is I did hand out a good number of Bible tracts. Who know what the Lord will do.
I have to admit, it's difficult to calm down after such an eventful night. That said, I'm in far better spirits than in my earlier years when I had to deal with violent opposition. Getting to be an old warrior for Christ, I suppose.
Anyway, I'm going to give some sleep a try now... wow... what a night.
God bless you, dear readers.
Have you tried carrying a taser? That would teach them ...
There's a thought that's going to fester...
LOL (Just kidding... as I'm sure you are too).
The reality is physically, the homeless man that attacked me wasn't much of a threat. I'm not a big tough man myself, but I could have taken that man down had I chosen to do so. But out there, on Friday nights, I'm an ambassador for Christ, and the last thing I want is for the unbelieving world to see a Christian beating up on a sinner.
So, bottom line is a taser or any other self-defense isn't the answer. The examples set forth in Scripture are far to clear:
-Moses killing an Egyptian in an attempt to become Israel's saviour.
-Peter swinging a sword at Malchus' head.
-Jesus patiently suffering at the hands of the wicked in His passion.
It's not an easy situation to be in, but I know what example I'm to follow:
"For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously." (1 Peter 2:21-23)
In the end, the Lord showed forth his mercy and care to us street preachers, and delivered us. Praise the Lord for his faithfulness.
I appreciate the carrying of the message of Christ to the lost, and it is a dear thing to find a worker or groups of workers online reporting on each Friday night's work, but I need to add that when we preach, not only do we need to speak the Truth in love (which I have no reason to believe you haven't) to a lost and dying world, but we need to also look at each sinner as a possible future brother in Christ and to post a report which carries the truth of the events but does not call names. Remember that that "drunk" and the "ignorant" (doubtless an apt term, given the nature of islam) muslim who accosted you on Good Friday are souls lost in sin and in need of the same Savior Who saved you. I once heard an on-campus ministry group teacher begin a session about how she was troubled by "creepy people creeping into the Kingdom of Heaven," and I ended that track of discussion by pointing out that hers was the most un-Christian statement I had ever heard, and that if she or I or any of my fellow attendees (yes, I know, a woman teacher subverting authority when plenty of men were available to do the teaching . . . I don't attend that group anymore) had not been such wretched, sin-filled, creepy people, then the Lord Himself would not have had to die on the cross that Friday almost 2,000 years ago. Yes, tell them they are lost and in danger of the fires of hell, and no, don't fall into the "lovey-dovey" trap espoused by the heretic who first preached at you and then cursed at you and called you a coward, but we need to return to seeing the sinner as Christ sees him, as He saw each of us, not as a drunk or an idiot, but as a precious, hopeless, helpless, lost soul, and such were you and I.
I'm not sure I agree with how you define "calling names". My usage of "drunk" or "ignorant" wasn't ad hominems, they were accurate descriptions of the souls I dealt with.
The Apostle Paul referred to himself as a "blasphemer", as "injurious" and "ignorant" before he was saved, and he was! I was ignorant, a drunk, a blasphemer, a fornicator and an exceeding wicked soul; and I sure wish some of the Christians in my life at the time would have been straight with me about my sin. Would it have hurt my feelings or annoyed me? Likely, but that is also a ministry or an effect of the Gospel.
I understand, all too well, that I am simply a "brand plucked from the fire". I have not, and have no desire to be the Pharisee who looks down on the publican. With a right heart, by God's grace, I have, and will continue to call a drunk, a drunk, and an ignorant man, ignorant.
That isn't "calling names". It's telling the truth.
Friday Night Notes
Saturday, March 15, 2014
nice to have some support...
It was a far busier night tonight. Temperatures are beginning to climb, and my fellow Canadians are beginning to come out a bit more. It was still a relatively chilly night, but the wind wasn't nearly as bitter as last week; won't be long now, and the snow will begin to melt away, and summer street preaching will begin.
Our night of evangelism started out pretty well; a man came out of a restaurant near our preaching spot, and quickly came by to speak with me. He said he felt the need to come by and encourage me... that I was "doing a good thing". What he added blew me away:
"I'm a father, and as a believer, I spend a lot of time teaching my kids about 'what not to do', but seeing you here tonight, I realized that I need to start teaching my kids about 'what they should be doing'."
He walked away shortly after saying this, then he stopped and asked me if I would accept a donation. I declined. When I do Gospel work, I like to follow the words of Christ literally:
"... freely ye have received, freely give." (Matthew 10:8b)
A number of other saints came by, from various local assemblies, to offer us words of encouragement. One young man offered to get Pastor Tim and I some hot chocolate to warm us up. The Lord bless these dear saints for their kindness and support.
Pastor Tim had a short conversation with a couple of Muslim women that proved somewhat unprofitable. According to one of the women, Pastor Tim's understanding of "jihad" was erroneous (despite the fact the good preacher actually read the wretched Qu'ran, cover-to-cover)
. According to her, "jihad" was about the inner-struggle in individual Muslims, not violent war on infidels. Both Pastor Tim and I had a good laugh. They were either insanely gullible, or they thought we were.
Our Bible signs almost made it through the night without once being kicked to the ground, but alas, our 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
sign (our most popular)
got taken down with less than an hour left to our evangelistic effort. Something interesting happened as I was about to walk over to pick the sign back up: a man I've seen regularly downtown (perhaps a homeless man, I'm not sure)
told me to keep preaching, and that he'd fix my sign... and he did! I wanted to thank the man for his assistance, but after fixing up our sign, he just walked away. The Lord be merciful and gracious to him for his kindness toward us.
Around 11pm, it was definitely time for me to head home. After hours of listening to the ungodly conversations of the wicked all around me, it got pretty wearying. It truly is awful, the extent of the degeneration of our society, and that, in such a short period of time. The Lord have mercy on Canada... for we are ripe for judgment... or are we already being judged?
Goodnight, dear readers.
Have a blessed weekend, and a glorious Lord's Day.
Friday Night Notes
Saturday, March 08, 2014
preaching to a tough crowd...
Weather-wise, tonight's open-air evangelism was far more comfortable; it wasn't anywhere near as cold as last week. Sadly though, the hearts of those we ministered to, by and large, were cold and hard as ice.
I think our night of evangelism would have been pretty miserable, were it not for a pleasant surprise: Brother Rod was able to join us tonight. He showed up about an hour after Pastor Tim and I got started, and it was really nice to get some reinforcements just as things started to go downhill.
Some of our Bible signs took more beatings tonight. If memory serves only one of our three Bible signs went through the night without being kicked aside. Actually, no... come to think of it, all three signs were manhandled. One young man trampled one of our signs underfoot... can't imagine the trouble the poor wretch is in, especially when one considers Psalm 138:2...
I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.
I did have a "special moment" during my second turn at street preaching: as I was preaching on the necessity of repentance and faith in Christ, I noticed a little boy watching and listening to my words. He was in the back of a car parked across the street from our preaching spot. He had rolled down the window half way and listened attentively. Just before the car left, the boy gave me a "thumbs up" and yelled out: "God bless you!"
That was the highlight of my night... the only highlight. Everything else was blasphemies, threats and mockery. The harsh and crude words were particularly grievous tonight. You'd think I'd be quite hardened by now, and unaffected by the foul language of the wicked... but I have to admit that the wicked world finds a way to vex me with its evil communications.
Still, we did minister the Gospel to hundreds of souls tonight, and several Gospel tracts were handed out... who knows what the Lord will do!?!
To Him alone be all honour and glory, now and forever.
Friday Night Notes
Saturday, March 01, 2014
finally... back to work!!!
It's been awhile!!! Two weeks ago, I was out on a date with my wife (Valentine's Day), and last week, I was in my study, preparing a sermon for the Lord's Day after a really busy week at work. I'd say it was good to be back at street preaching on a Friday night, but old-man-winter decided to give us one more miserably cold night (-18C or 0F). I was good for about an hour and a half, after that, the shivering started, and the fingers and toes
froze. That was no fun.
It was a quiet night of evangelism, with the cold likely keeping people in their homes. Last week (or maybe, the week before) was the end of my city's winter festival, "Winterlude", which probably lowered downtown visitors a lot too. Still, we handed out a good number of Gospel tracts and preached the Gospel to all those who walked by.
After about an hour of street preaching, an old familiar face came by to see me: Scott, from The Crusty Curmudgeon
, was at a nearby restaurant having dinner with couple of Christian friends, when he heard me preaching the Gospel. It was good to see my old friend, whom I kept up with through his blog, but I hadn't seen him in person for years. It was good to see the years had been good to Scotty (he hasn't changed much in over a decade... what's his secret?
), and still walking with the Lord, which is really good.
A few minutes after Scott and I parted ways, a woman named Joan and her friend came by and stood across the street, listening to my Gospel preaching. She listened quietly, in the cold, for a few minutes, then began to walk away. I don't know exactly what I said, but I continued preaching and she stopped and said: "You're right!" At which point, she walked over to my side and thanked me for my evangelism. She said she had suffered a serious health issue, and that she figured that was one way the Lord was trying to get her attention. She said my evangelism was the second "call" she was getting from God. I suggested she listen to those calls and get close to the Living God. I gave her a Gospel tract, and she thanked me with tears in her eyes.
A number of Christians walked or drove by us last night, most of which gave us some encouraging words, or a simple "thumbs up". It's nice to see that the grace of God is at work in many in my city. It's easy sometimes to get pessimistic when all you see around you is evil.
The night of evangelism wasn't all old friends and God-seekers unfortunately. The market has an endless supply of troubled and wicked souls. I watched a man, so drugged out of his mind, that he yelled curses out loud to imaginary foes. I saw another man get into a fight with a bouncer near a local bar. Evidence of all manner of immorality was on display as well. The Lord have mercy on this wicked and lost generation.
Remember us in your prayers, dear saints of God...