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, June 30, 2012
the Truth shall set you free...
The market was quite heavy with traffic tonight; the busiest I've seen it this year. With more souls comes more opportunity to present the Gospel of Christ, but it also makes it difficult to preach uninterrrupted. Everything from loud motorcycles, to street musicians, the noise level in the market was quite high. That said, the Lord gave us ability to effectively present the Gospel despite the various challenges of the night.
Both Pastor Tim and I handed out a decent amount of Bible tracts, and had a few one-on-one conversations; though most of those were pretty unprofitable. I had a conversation with a so-called Jehovah's Witness who took exception to my general Gospel presentation (don't laugh too hard, I've had true Christians come to me with the same objection)
. She thought my John 3:36
sign was far too harsh, and as far as she was concerned, preaching "repentance and faith" should come only after making it clear that God loves everyone. What a mess!
I asked the woman: "The verse on my sign... is it true?"
"Oh yes," she replied, "but that isn't the point."
"Okay," I continued, "we are agreed that the sign is truth. Does the Bible not say that the Truth will set souls free?"
"Well... yes... but you still have to be gentle and respectful in presenting Bible verses," she answered.
"Miss, have you ever read Acts 2
?" I asked. "Peter in the first Gospel presentation of the Church Age preached truth. Hard truth. He knew that preaching the whole truth and nothing but the truth was the only way to glorify God. My Bible sign offends you, and the other sinners in this market because you are not born-again, and you know not the Lord. You need to repent, miss."
I could tell that the woman didn't care to listen to my appeals. Clearly, in her mind, she was doing me a favour by trying to straighten me out. Oh dear. Like the carnal minded multitudes in John 6
, unable to grasp the Gospel, the woman walked away, annoyed that I was unwilling to see it her way.
Pastor Tim had a long conversation with two Muslim men, which at first seemed promising, but by the end, well, not so much. Pastor Tim, having recently read the entire Qu'ran pointed out the violence and clear unrighteousness of the wicked book, but the men claimed the good preacher was "misunderstanding" the text, and that he was pulling passages out of context. Anyone who knows Pastor Tim at all knows that that is crazy-talk; the man is nothing if not extremely thorough. Seeing that the conversation wasn't going anywhere they liked, the men shook Pastor Tim's hand, and walked away. The Lord have mercy on them.
Saddest statement I heard all night
: No, it wasn't a string of curses or blasphemies by some atheist. It was a statement uttered by a young Christian man. After a short conversation with the young man, I asked him if he was planning to do some evangelistic work on the Lord's Day, which is also Canada Day this year. His reply, and I quote:
"I know this will sound bad, but no, I won't be doing any evangelism on Canada Day, because, well, it's the Euro 2012, and my favorite team, Italy, is playing."
Now, I'm not making any of that statement up. He actually did start with "I know this will sound bad...". It sounds bad because it is bad. The Lord's Day becomes soccer day. Oh dear. Saddens me almost as much as when I hear of American Christians skipping church services for the Superbowl or some Nascar race. The Lord's Day. The LORD
. Seems rather self-explanatory, doesn't it?
O Lord, revive Your church!
"Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?" (Psalm 85:6)
Friday Night Notes
Saturday, June 23, 2012
another night at the zoo...
It was another busy night on the streets of the downtown market. With the summer crowds comes great opportunity to share the Gospel of Christ to hundreds and thousands of souls. Sadly though, it also means far greater abundance of wickedness. All manner of wickedness.
Pastor Tim and I both distributed a fair amount of Gospel tracts tonight, which made up for the lack of one-on-one conversations with sinners. The only one-on-one conversation I had tonight was with a wicked man who rejected my claim that the Lord had gotten involved in my life and had given me faith. He claimed that the Faith was "all in my head" and that I looked like an idiot. I just smiled and silently thanked God for the peace and assurance He provides for me by His Holy Spirit. The man, perplexed at my unwillingness to argue with him, walked away shaking his head. The Lord have mercy on him.
Another good thing I took note of tonight is how little mockery and violence we have had to deal with of late. I mean, we still occasionally get a threat, and a night of evangelism doesn't go by without having some awful words thrown at us, but all in all, nothing too grievous has come our way in quite some time. We even had respite from that awful, mocking guitar player which had been plaguing us the last few months; I truly hope nothing bad has happened to him, but I was thankful for the "night off".
Nothing too dramatic to report tonight. It was a quiet night of evangelism considering the number of people we ministered the Gospel to. The only excitement came around 10:30pm, when an army of police cars converged in front of a strip club a few yards away from our preaching spot. Without exaggeration, there was surely 5-6 police cruisers with their flashing lights on. In very short order, they grabbed a man, handcuffed him and put him in the back of one of the cruisers. A couple of minutes later, a policeman came by, wondering what my Bible sign said. I asked him what the big fuss was all about and he told me an intoxicated man ran out of a bar and started attacking anyone and everyone who got in his way. The officer told me he had just been transfered to the market, so with a grin on my face, I said:
"Welcome to the zoo."
On my way back home after our night of evangelism, I came across Brother Layton and his group of Open-Air Campaigners who were packing up and heading out themselves. I was quite happy to see the dear brother out, soldiering on, despite a rather serious health problem. Remember to pray for Brother Layton. He's making good progress with medical treatment, and he's hoping for a complete recovery after a few more months of treatment.
With that, dear saints, I'm off for some good rest.
Have a blessed weekend... especially the Lord's Day.
Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. (2 Timothy 2:1-3)
Friday Night Notes
Saturday, June 16, 2012
any churches in Saudi Arabia???
The marketplace was quite busy tonight, which is always a bit intimidating. That said, more souls in the market means more sinners to minister to!
One of the challenges we street preachers have to deal with in the summer months is the downtown noise level. Street musicians, motorcycles, skateboarders and other sources of noise can really make it difficult to effectively preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those who are walking by. You don't want to preach to loud, 'cause then you sound like a raving lunatic. You don't want to preach too softly, 'cause then no one can hear you, and people just assume you are a cellphone-schizophrenic. Hitting that sweet spot between "raving lunatic" and "don't-mind-me-I'm-just-talking-to-myself" takes years and years of open-air preaching experience. Pastor Tim's got it nailed down perfect.
We handed out a number of Bible tracts tonight, which is always encouraging. Who can tell what the Lord will do with those Bible messages stuffed in pockets or purses?
Pastor Tim and I each had a couple of one-on-one conversations with sinners. One in particular is well worth reporting on. I was preaching the Gospel on a street corner when a couple Muslims came by to hear what I had to say. I started to present the Gospel of Life to these young men, and at first, they listened and both were impressed at my profession, my Gospel work, and my general point-of-view on various social affairs. Things started going south when the young men, desiring to reconcile our religious differences, began to present the merits of Islam. Well, suffice it to say that I shot down every Islamic apologetic that was being uttered. The apologetics weren't terribly good, so it wasn't terribly hard to say: "No, sirs, you mistake."
I could tell that I was beginning to annoy the young men when one of them, finally tried to make peace by saying: "Well, in Islam, you know, even as a Christian, you are going to Heaven." That statement made me frown and I couldn't keep a "what?"
from coming out of my mouth. The statement also got the attention of a man who was walking by with his two daughters. The man was definitely of Middle-Eastern descent, and my first thought was: "Uh-oh, one more unhappy Muslim to deal with!"
The man introduced himself as Amer. Amer said he spent his childhood in a number of Muslim countries, and was brought up in the Muslim faith and knew the Qu'ran very well. He uttered a few words in Arabic, which I assumed was a quotation from the Qu'ran. What came out of Amer mouth next was a complete surprise: "I know the Qu'ran... I know Islam... and I know that what you just said about Christians going to Heaven according to Islamic teaching is flat wrong... and I know this because I am a born-again Christian today, and there isn't a single Mullah who hasn't condemned my conversion."
Amer was amazing. Every lie the young men tried to get away with was exposed instantly by my brother-in-the-Lord. It was clear that my new friend had had a number of these discussions in the past. Some of my favorite Amer quotes:
"You say Islam in tolerant of Christians? How many churches are there in Saudi Arabia, the home of the two Islamic Holy Cities?"
"There are too many Christian denominations for it to be of God? How many sects and different practices are there in Islam?
"The fact of the matter is if this man (pointing at me)
were presenting the Gospel like this in an Islamic country, he would be at best imprisoned, at worst, killed. That's Islam. If you're not Muslim, you are worthy of contempt and violence."
The young men after a number of Amer's answers were well beyond being annoyed and we all decided it was time to move on. After the two young men left, Amer spoke with Pastor Tim and I and it turns out he is a member of an Arabic Baptist church in the city. He said he spends a great deal of time evangelizing my city's Muslim community. It was good to speak with this brother and learn of what the Lord was doing in his life and the people he ministers to. The Lord bless him in all his endeavours.
The rest of the night was far less exciting. Our 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
continued to attract much attention, but praise be to God, no one tried to destroy it tonight. We were mocked a fair bit, but for the most part, everyone behaved themselves. Again, the Lord be thanked.
With that, I'm off to bed. Forty-hour work week, capped off with three hours of evangelism... I'll take a bit of rest now. God bless you all, dear saints.
"...He giveth his beloved sleep." (Psalm 127:2b)
Praying as you go & reach-out to your world. Keep blessing the Lord & His!
Friday Night Notes
Saturday, June 09, 2012
tired... but still kicking...
It was a busy end to a busy week. I worked a good 10-hour day in the lab, and then made my way to Pastor Tim's house. I was pretty tired, but I didn't want to go another couple of weeks without doing the important work of an evangelist. Praise be to God who gave me the strength and ability to proclaim His Holy Word to hundreds and hundreds of lost sinners, and that, for a couple of hours.
There was no shortage of folly and wickedness in the market tonight. Pastor Tim and I, both with Bible signs in hand, really, really stood out! There were a number of "hail Satan!", as well as "There is no God!", when wicked souls walked by us, but we persevered and preached the Gospel of Truth that could save our listeners from the bondage of sin.
We gave out a fair number of Bible tracts and has a few one-on-one conversations with sinners. One that stands out to me right now was a group of three young ladies from South Carolina. It was said that one of them was a "serious Christian" who went to church every Sunday. Problem was that this "serious Christian" was dressed very, very immodestly. I asked her where she went to church and said: "Well, I know that they're extreme, but I go to a Southern Baptist Church." I really tried not to laugh, but I couldn't help but giggle a bit. If she figures her Southern Baptist Church is extreme, imagine what she'd think of me!
I also spoke to a Romanist who stopped in front of me to read my John 3:36
sign. After reading the verse, I asked him if he had life, or if God's wrath abode on him. He told me that he was "good" and that "St-Bridget would save him." Ah! Romanism... what a mess.
A short time later, a woman walked by me and said: "Bless you for what you are doing!" She was truly lovely. The man who accompanied her (likely her husband)
was also quite handsome. Their appearance was so different from the people around them. I have observed in the past, that sin often has a devastating effect on people's overall demeanor and appearance. It was quite a contrast... the steady flow of sin-hardened faces walking by, and then these two lovely souls that just seemed to shine God's grace and love.
As I prepared to leave for home, about half-an-hour later, the woman who blessed me came by again and asked me if she could get me a coffee or some other refreshment. I told her that I was just about to pack it in for the night, but that I truly appreciated her kindness. The Lord bless these two souls.
On my way home, I ran into Brother Layton of the Open-Air Campaigners. I was really happy to see him. Brother Layton had been quite sick and was unable to evangelize as much as he would have liked over the last few weeks. The brother isn't out of the woods yet, he is being treated for a pretty serious health condition, and his treatment is a year long. Please, remember Brother Layton in your prayers, dear saints.
With that, I'm turning in. Hope you all have a safe and blessed weekend, dear readers. The Lord bless you!
Sorry For The Delay...
Sunday, June 03, 2012
we were far away...
My family and I just returned from a long trip to visit relatives. I wasn't anywhere near the marketplace last Friday. That's why there were no Friday Night Notes.
I would have left a note earlier, but I had little access to the internet over the weekend.
Hope all is well with you, dear readers; have a good week in the Lord!
Praying as you go & reach-out to your world. Keep blessing the Lord & His!