First Friday Market Square

September 5, 2009

First Friday in Downtown Market Square is an event where the art and music lovers convene to display their talent. A group of us from Calvary Chapel and another brother in the Lord went on Friday evening onto Market Square and shared the Gospel message with those we met. We always start in prayer. Never go in our strength and ask God to keep us humble and to speak through us.

We encountered many people. Some were open to listen as we asked them about their spiritual background. Many gave answers such as, “Oh, I’ve been baptized,” “I’m a Catholic/Baptist/Methodist/etc,”  “I consider myself a spiritual person.” Yet, being baptized or stating your denomination doesn’t grant you access to Heaven.

The use of different gospel tracts(the good person test, million dollar bill, leaflets, etc) helped open up the conversations into allowing the person to divulge the spiritual or lack thereof  background. Many enjoyed the tracts which had a humorous overtones.(The Michael Jackson Million Dollar bill) Breaking the ice with people can disarm any anxiety between the evangelist and the man/woman encountered.

Some of the people we encountered had some Christian background and some had other religious background. The more we found out about an individual, the better we were able to present the Gospel in a way the person could understand.

One lady did call one of the guys ignorant and how we were accosting people out enjoying the evening on the town.  This lady did believe it was alright for other people on Market Square to handout other items(business advertisements, food samples, etc), but Christians should not be able to do the same. I guess in her mindset the first amendment  to the Constitution does not  and should not apply to Christian evangelists.

A group of young people told us the attended Faith Promise. Faith Promise is a Christian Church in Knoxville, TN. They told us they, as individuals, do not believe in sharing their faith in Jesus.  They said if people want to hear the Gospel the just need to come to church. Here is the problem with this mindset: In the Bible we see the prophets in the Old Testament openly preached, Jesus openly preached to the crowds,  and in the book of Acts the disciples preached to the public. There is an Americanized mindset, which is not biblical, in which the Christian faith should only take place on Sunday morning service by a licensed pastor.  Many will not set foot in a church. So in obedience to the Great Commission, We”Go in ALL the World” to preach the Gospel. In other words, God wants us to take the Good News to the public.

We encountered a group of New Age Wicca musicians and dancers. One of the dancers told Pastor Brian she did not like what we were doing and being so narrow minded. The more the drums were beating and the more she danced, the more she was allowing demonic activity to take over her mind and body.

A very upset college-age lady after taking a million dollar bill walked all the way back from Gay Street to Market Square to give us back the bill. She did not like the Gospel message on the tract.

As the night was drawing to a close, we closed in prayer. During the prayer we were interrupted by someone watching us.  We asked if they wanted to join us. We asked her and her friends questions, they divulged they were Jehovah Witnesses. Pastor Brian and Tim Weakley were the main speakers while the women would bring up the issues they did and did not believe about God.  We avoided getting into a shouting match or going to their level of arrogance. This was a first time during the night, God brought them to us instead of us going to a person or group. We ended on polite terms and did not back down from our beliefs.  We gave them props for their cult being so committed to evangelizing their beliefs and how we wished more from our Christian faith would do the same.

We went back to praying without being interrupted and prayed specifically for these women and especially for those which rejected the opportunity to repent of their sins and come to faith in Jesus.  It is sad when many in an area known as the “Bible Belt”  people trust in their good works, rituals,  and attending church on Sunday or  a Saturday Mass, as getting into Heaven. They believe in buying off God through these means to get them Heavenly access. This is a slap in the face to God. He sent his only Son, Jesus, to be beaten and killed for the salvation of world.  Yet, people would rather trust in their self-righteous religiosity than repent of their sins and put their faith in Jesus.

Isaiah 64:6 (New Living Translation)

6 We are all infected and impure with sin.
When we display our righteous deeds,
they are nothing but filthy rags.
Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall,
and our sins sweep us away like the wind.

I do not go out street preaching to toot off my horn. I honestly want to see many people coming to repentance and faith in Jesus. I know where I have came from and where God had brought me. It would be selfish to keep Jesus to myself. So, I want to share Jesus with as many people. If  I am going to spend eternity in Heaven, I want to be able to interact with as many people in Heaven. I love Jesus and I love people. So to really love people, I need to tell them the truth about what occurs in this life, determines what happens after this life ends.

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