Acts 8:25 (English Standard Version)Now when they had testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel to many villages of the Samaritans.

It was back to the mall after church service ended.  Many people picked up the Michael Jackson Million Dollar Bill off the floor and out of the soda machines bill slot. I had some of the Christmas gospel business style cards. I left them on benches and tables. All of these tracts were being read as I watched them picked them up. Some kept the tracts. Others put them back down and another would pick up the same tract.

I was in the food court and seen a group from my church eating lunch. The smiled and chuckled as they watched me drop the bill tract on the ground and get picked up by the public.

As I sat at the table from the church group explaining how evangelism takes place within the context of an indoor public arena(i.e. mall). I set a Michael Jackson Million Dollar Bill on the table a few inches away from me.

A young black man in his late teens stood up at the table across from our table and picked up the tract. The man showed the tract to his family and asked if I had more of the MDB. I gave him what I had left in my pocket. He asked me about the M.J. MDB.  He said his family and himself love Michael Jackson. From M.J. on the front, I said, “On the front is the King of Pop. Now he is no longer alive. Yet, on the back of this bill is the gospel message about the King of Kings, Jesus who is alive forevermore.”

I shook his hand and  introduced myself and he told me his name was Phil.  He told me he was from Cincinnati, OH and was visiting family for the holiday.  I asked him about his spiritual background. He said he was a Christian, yet he did admit he did not go to church as often as he would like.  He has a relative in the ministry and attends their church once in a while.

I just encouraged him in his walk with the Lord. His relative listened to our conversation. He asked me about where I got the tracts. I told him about Living Waters website. http://www.livingwaters.com

I also told him about the same tract with President Obama face on the front. I explained to him and his family how I will use the person on the front of the bill to transition to the gospel on the back of the bill.(Transition with Obama to the gospel….yes Republicans/conservatives/etc….you can make the transition. Let me explain: During Obama’s presidential campaign last year Obama major themes was “Hope” and “Change”. While Obama offers temporary hope and change during our lifetime, Jesus is our eternal hope and we become a brand new creation when we repent and place our faith in Jesus.(I Timothy 1:1, 2 Corinthians 5:17) Phil and his family was impressed.(Maybe more of surprised shock of a white guy in the South being able to take the natural realm of using President Obama as a springboard to the Gospel.)

After we parted company, I went to my car. In my glove box I had a sealed package of 100 Michael Jackson Million Dollar Bills.  The Lord impressed on me to go back to the food court and give it to Phil.  So I did. I went up to him and asked him if he wanted a the M.J. MDB package. He happily grinned from ear to ear and warmly received the gift. I told him to make a promise to me.  I said, “I know you and your family love Michael Jackson and it is a neat novelty item to give to friends and family, yet I want you to be able to explain to those given the tract about the gospel message on the back, using the same transition I gave him about the King of Pop to the King of Kings. ” He promised me he would. He joyfully thanked me and gave me the “bro” handshake(starts with the firm grip to the fingertip grip).  I told him to have a safe trip back home and God bless.

In my heart I was jumping for joy of how the Lord gave me the opportunity to encourage a fellow brother in Christ and encouraged him to share his faith in Jesus.

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One of my favorite Christian organizations is The Salvation Army.  They have blessed many lives over the years. When disaster struck the town I grew up, they were the only organization to stay the longest and sacrificed time and effort to met my town’s needs.

I was recently downtown passing out gospel tracts. Walking along the sidewalk in front of the Mast General Store was The Salvation Army kettle and kettle bell-ringer.  I fished in my pocket for some change to drop in the bucket. The lady ringing the bell politely thanked me. I gave her a Christmas themed gospel tract. As I walked away, she stopped ringing the bell and read the tract. She started to ring the bell more, then she re-read the tract again. I kept glancing back and watch her ring, read, ring, read over and over.  I pray for some seeds to be planted. If she is unsaved, I pray she repent and place her faith in Jesus. If she is saved, I hope she is encouraged and gives the tract to someone else.

Ezekiel 3:17-18 (New Living Translation)

“Son of man, I have appointed you as a watchman for Israel. Whenever you receive a message from me, warn people immediately.  If I warn the wicked, saying, ‘You are under the penalty of death,’ but you fail to deliver the warning, they will die in their sins. And I will hold you responsible for their deaths.”

Black Friday Evangelizing

I admit it was crazy to get on the road and to the mall on Black Friday.  Yet, after prayer and a morning devotional in the book of Psalms, I pressed onward.  I always start with prayer prior to evangelizing.  Ended up parking way out in “No-man’s Land” I did a one  package(100 count) test run of the Santa Million Dollar Bills.

SIDENOTE: With the Supreme Court cases like Pruneyard, I could walk in freely and talk to anyone. I cannot just go up and start handing out tracts without catching the attention of the mall cops(Paul Blarts’). Thank the Lord, he blinded the eyes to the mall cops in my general surroundings.

So tract distribution has a different approach than outdoor public venues.  1. Talk first, then give tract. 2. Conventionally place tracts in public eye.(drop a bill, bill in coke machine dollar slot, on a bench, chair, food court table, on top of the hand dryer in the bathroom, and etc.)

The mall was packed like sardines and people were rushing as fast as they could to get the next deal in each store. The only ones really interested in talking were the elderly sitting on benches watching people shop.  So one of my methods in the mall during busy traffic times is to quickly drop a bill on the walkway. Then I watch a few feet away while someone takes the bait(Thus, many in evangelist call evangelism, street fishing. )

I drop my first bill. I wait and wait…..wait some more…..then trusting God, I walk on knowing someone will pick up the bill.(Even if it is the Environmental Services, i.e. maintenance.)  I head to the inside entrance of JC Penny and drop a bill. Within minutes someone picks it up.(Walked away and came back and noticed the bill was gone.)  I stick a Santa buck in the Coke machine slot and a teen takes the bill.

I do this method of bill dropping on the ground for a few rounds around the mall. One instance, a lady picks up the bill and very loudly reads it to her shopping party and those in earshot.(One bill= five listeners)

The next few rounds, I target empty benches and chairs. Black Friday shoppers need a sit down break. So watching many shoppers read the bill on the bench. Some take the bill with them, others leave it for others to read. I had one elementary school girl give me my bill I dropped. She thought I did it on accident. I told her to keep the bill.

It was getting close to lunch, so I go where most hungry shoppers congregate….the food court. Santa bills in the food court go like hotcakes. The first one in the food court to grab a Santa bill tract was a  chocolate candy sample guy.  He started reading it to his coworker handing out the chocolate kisses.(Yes, I found all the chocolate candy people and they gave me candy samples. I was able to hand a Santa bill to one of the sample candy people.)  At empty tables, I left a Santa bill.

I had  one person walk up to me, thinking I accidentally dropped the bill. I did tell her thank you. So, I found a new home in the food court for the bill.  After leaving the food court, I started to return to my car. HOWEVER, God gave me the nudge to the best place to get the most readability out of the Santa tract. I walked around the area where the Mall Santa  was sitting. There were benches galore around the area.(They each got a Santa tract. Some more than once after a person decided to keep the tract.) There was a line to see Santa, so I did give out a few Santa bills to some children after I got permission from the parents.

I dropped one Santa bill in the hallway of JC Penny leading to the bathrooms. I walked a few feet away and saw a man sitting on the ground waiting on his wife in the bathroom. Apparently, she took awhile because he picked the tract I dropped and read the message. He put the tract back on the ground and  with a worried look kept rubbing his forehead and staring at the tract. I quietly prayed for him as the message was taking root in his spirit.

I still had some Santa bills left as well as some various other tracts in my possession. I had the rest of the day free so I pressed on with the evangelism.

God blessed me with the Black Friday mall shoppers, so I prayed and asked if he grant me favor to go across the street to Boarders bookstore and place some free bookmarks(tracts) in some popular reading materials. He gave me the green light.( I have learned to pray first and let the Lord go before me.) Books are popular Christmas gifts. (So why not give some food for thought when it comes to reading you favorite book?)  Most all  fiction books have some religious references scattered throughout the pages. So why not give the real Christian message to the religious ideals in fiction books.

Some popular books and authors got my tract approval(Or disapproval pending on how you look at it.) One popular book among teens and the goth crowds is the Twilight series. I noticed the majority of teen fiction books had some occultist or dark themes.(Vampires, witches, etc.)   I went to the classic section and did more bookmark placements. One of the positives of having a mother teaching me to read at a early age  and taking  American Literature class in college was to recall popular titles. Some classics which got tractd’  was “1984” and  “Count of Monte Cristo.”   I stuffed any book with the Oprah selection sticker.

I did go to the  Christian non-fiction section. Most of all the “Faith” teachers got my tract. Also in the tract stuffing was Rick Warren and Joel Ostink( I meant Osteen. Heh! Heh!)

I ended up in my car praying for the seeds planted at the mall and bookstore.(I have made it a habit of beginning and ending in prayer when Street Fishing.)

I went home for a brief break.(I.E. Eating Thanksgiving leftovers. Yummy!)

Market Square Christmas Festival Kickoff

I arrived early and was able to secure a parking space next to Market Square.  I grabbed  twenty Billy Graham Decision magazines and my satchel containing a variety of tracts.(This is one of the handbags given to me by my mother’s prayer group. If a woman is in possession of the handbag, it is called a handbag. If a man is in possession of it, it is called a satchel. Enough said.)

I  placed a  dozen Decision magazine on all the benches in Market Square. The rest  of the magazines I gave out to the public.

I walked around and handed out the last 25 Santa bills.  I switched to a stack of Michael Jackson Million Dollar bills and various business card style tracts.  During the duration of my time in the downtown area, I walked around handing out the tracts saying, “Merry Christmas” or “Here is a million dollar bill for you”. I had several ask me what the reason for giving them out. I told them there was a gospel message on the back of the bill or tract. I did get rejected a few times.(The times I did was when I said “Here is a million dollar bill for you”. Saying, “Merry Christmas” almost guaranteed the person taking the tract.

The only two times I said, “Merry Christmas ” the tract was rejected. One by a girl who threw the tract in the trash and another by a man asking why I was giving the tract. He thought I was giving a business flyer and promptly walked away after I told him about the gospel message on the tract.  I felt the prompting of the Holy Spirit to pray for him.  I always pray for all the tracts I give out to have a positive effect. Yet, sometimes, God leads me to pray for certain individuals receiving a tract.

I did receive some positive and much-needed encouragement from Christians in Market Square. I only hope it is reciprocal and they are encouraged to share Jesus.  One of my consistent Market Square Christian encouragers is a street musician, James. From talking to him, he has the fruit of a believer. He earns most of his money by playing his wooden flute in the downtown area. He helps me in handing out tracts. When a person drops a dollar in his hopper, he thanks them and gives them one of the tracts.  If people stick around and visit with him, he starts sharing the Gospel with them.

I do find enjoyment from serving Jesus in this capacity. As time passes, I hope the Lord keeps giving me opportunities to evangelize.  When the Lord gives you the opportunity to serve him, do it.   I always want to make myself available to serve the Lord. If I could evangelize full-time, knowing my daily needs would be met, I would do it in a heartbeat.

I want to leave you with a quote from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Spurgeon. There are many biblical ways to evangelize. Spurgeon has a way with words on strategy.

“All men are not to be reached in the same way, we must be wise to win souls, wise
with wisdom from above. We desire to see them conquered for Christ, but no warrior
uses always the same strategy; there is one for open assault, for another a siege, for
a third an ambush, for a fourth a long campaign.”

Unique Tract Reactions

November 22, 2009

1 Thessalonians 1:5 (New Living Translation)

For when we brought you the Good News, it was not only with words but also with power, for the Holy Spirit gave you full assurance that what we said was true. And you know of our concern for you from the way we lived when we were with you.

God’s Word has can have an explosive effect on people. When sharing your faith, sometimes you can see people’s reactions.  I had three separate incidents by just using a simple gospel tract.

The first was an older couple. The man noticed I dropped a Million Dollar Bill.  He thought I accidentally dropped the bill.(I did not.) I told him I sometimes purposefully drop the Gospel tract which look like real money. He said that was neat. He then proceeded to tell me he was a retired minister and how it was a blessing to see someone evangelizing.  He encouraged me to never quit doing what the Lord started in me.

The second incident was at my every other year eye exam.  After the doctor was done checking my eyes, I showed him one of my eye illusion tracts(the curved angle tract).  He liked it and I told him he could have it to show his other colleagues in his eye profession. Then I told him there was a gospel message on the back of the tracts.

The last and funny incident was at KFC. I sat next to the trash cans.  I placed the fake Monopoly game piece(Get out of Hell free card) on top of the cans where the trays are returned.  I watch how one man took the card back to his family and church family, about 25 adults and children,  occupying half the KFC building.(Must have been Baptists. Ha! Ha!) He handed off to one of the ladies and she very loudly in the dinning area read the gospel tract. They kept the tract.

Just because someone attends a church and has the appearance of  a Christian, does not mean they are saved.  It maybe someone in the church group will come to actual repentance and faith in Jesus instead of playing church religion.

I did have other opportunities to hand out tracts or place them in unique areas such as benches, tables, books, and etc.  It was these unique incidents God let me encounter the explosive power of the Holy Spirit.

Knoxville Fish Feeding

November 14, 2009

Some days I do not have tremendous opportunities to physically hand a tract to loads and loads of people. Today I may have given out physically about 8 tracts.

The rest of the tracts and Billy Graham’s Decision magazine(too numerous to count.) were strategically placed in the post office, mall, a bookstore, and Market Square. The only similarity in life to leaving tracts in public places is going to a public fish pond. If you go to a public park or off a fishing dock  you see the 25 cent machine filled with fish food. You throw the food in the water and watch the fish gobble down the food.

When I was at the mall I had placed some Million Dollar Bill tracts on benches, the floor, and in the Soda machine bill slots.  I stepped back and watched the fish(people) look at the tracts, pickup the tracts and read them. Some of the people kept the bills and others read the bill then immediately put the bill down in another spot.  I can only pray for those reading the tract. A seed or two was planted and God will nurture the seed in however he sees fit.

The Lord brought this passage from the Bible to my mind.

Ecclesiastes 11:2 (New King James Version)

The Value of Diligence
“Cast your bread upon the waters, For you will find it after many days. Give a serving to seven, and also to eight, For you do not know what evil will be on the earth.”

Any step of faith made by a believer to share the gospel in something as small as leaving a tract on a table in the food court in the mall is never in vain.

Epilogue

Sometimes when you go out “street fishing” you encounter some various forms of spiritual warfare.  Today I was harassed by some teenage boys. They saw me drop a Million Dollar Bill on the ground. One of  the boys told me I dropped it.  I said that is ok, you can have it.  He did not pick it up. A few moments later a man closer to my age picked it up. When he did, the boys went to the man went up to the man and took it away from him. They were discouraging from possessing it and reading it further. As I was leaving, the two boys started  following me giving me dirty looks. They threw the tract the other man picked up in my face.   The boys had read the tract and did not like the message, hence the mean attitudes.  One of the phrases they said, “Michael Jackson sucks!”

Unbelievers will be used to attempt to cause interference with Christian believers from evangelizing. The more I thought about the harassing boys, I recalled a similar incident with Paul in the book of Acts.

Acts 16:16-18 (New Living Translation)

“One day as we were going down to the place of prayer, we met a demon-possessed slave girl. She was a fortune-teller who earned a lot of money for her masters.  She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, and they have come to tell you how to be saved. This went on day after day until Paul got so exasperated that he turned and said to the demon within her, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And instantly it left her.”

Now I did not cast a demon out of the boy throwing the tract in my face, but I walked away and continued on with any more opportunities the Lord allowed me to have in tract distribution at the mall. Eventually, I drove across the street and went to the bookstore.

The bookmarks(tracts) went into some popular classic books, Joel “Ostink” Osteen’s newest book, and several different books concerning the year 2012.

With time on my hands, it was off to Market Square. I handed out several Million Dollar bills and placed several copies of the latest Billy Graham’s  Decision magazine on the benches of Market Square. The Jail ministry at our church is no longer able to pass out literature to the inmates(they been using it for smoke rolls or start a fire.) So while we are still getting them in the church mail, they let me take them out to give away or leave in public places.

When I was about twelve, my reading tastes became into Christian books. One of the first Christian books I read was a Billy Graham book.  I have the utmost respect for Billy. God has used him greatly to bring many into  faith in Jesus.

I have said this before on Savor the Savior, I may not have a mass audience to preach faith in Jesus, yet I am humbled to be given the opportunity and be powered by the Holy Spirit to share my faith with those I come into contact in East Tennessee and on the Internet. I am just the pen filled with the ink(Holy Spirit) and guided by the hand of my Heavenly Father.

 

I  was asked after church,  if I wanted to join a couple of other guys from church to the World’s Fair Park for the Knoxville Chili Cook-off.  So I grabbed a handful of gospel tracts and proceeded to the contest. One of the elders heard me wanting to take the opportunity to evangelize at the event, so he paid my entry fee.(Thank you, Chip.)

It was admission based to enter. The money went to Second Harvest Food Bank.(A very worthy cause.) Due to the fact it was a paid event in a public place, I had to be creative in the approach to evangelize. If I was outside the gate and on the sidewalk, I am free to handout tracts to  individuals. Since I was on the inside, the “time, place, and context” rules change. I could have started passing out tracts like nobody’s business. However,  not to  get kicked out(since I paid money to eat chili), I placed tracts on the tables and chairs around the vicinity. People had their hands full of samples of chili, drinks and free bag of goodies.  Passing out the tracts would have not been convenient. So, I figured at least lay a few on the table and get read. Then if someone did take one, they could put it in their goody bag.

Some of the Chili was good, two were excellent, two tasted like someone poured cigarette ashes in the pot,  others were bland, and one forgot to drain the grease off the meat.  One of the samples of chili was so hot, my head started to sweat profusely.

Speaking of hot, the main tract I left for people to read was very similar to this one.(The one I had was yellow and was a Community Chest card.)

get out of hell free

 

Hell is a real place.  It will be hotter than the hottest bowl of chili at the cook-off. Jesus talked about Hell. In the book of Mark 9:42-48, Jesus repeats three times this phrase concerning Hell,

“…Their worm does not die
And the fire is not quenched…”

As believers, we should be concerned for others. Many you pass by on a daily basis are most likely unsaved and will spend eternity apart from God and in Hell.  Ask God, to give you the boldness to share or at the least a tract to someone to read later.

This is an encouragement to those out street fishing. You can take opportunities like an event to share the gospel. Always pray before going to evangelize and after evangelizing.  God must always go before you and behind you. Always ask other fellow street fisherman of how they evangelized in a particular setting or what they could have done differently. Be ready in the likely event of an event to evangelize.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watchtower_Bible_&_Tract_Society_v._Village_of_Stratton

Keep handing out tracts and preaching repentance and faith in Jesus. Respect the no trespassing signs and the no-thank yous’ from those not interested. Keep moving on and Keep moving forward.

This Supreme Court ruling was given to me by former law enforcement  officer turned street preacher, Tony Miano.  His website is: http://thelawmanchronicles.blogspot.com/

 

Tony said this to me:

“The case you may be referring to is Pruneyard v. Robbins. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a private business open to the public must have a written policy specifying time, place, and manner for the expression of free speech in order to lawfully regulate that free speech. Because of this ruling, almost every mall in California now has written free speech policies.

According to the US Supreme Court, unless they have a specific and consistent policy they cannot regulate free speech. Of course, in most parts of the country the case law has yet to be tested. In your area, it may require that you push the envelope a bit.

If you are told that you cannot conduct the activity on their property, ask if they have a written policy specifying the time, place, and manner for free speech exercise. If they say yes, request to see it. If they say no, then explain to them that you have the right to free speech. Now, if they insist that you leave, and you refuse, then it may be a technical violation of your local trespassing laws.

However, private security cannot detain you for a violation of policy–only for a violation of law. Ask them what laws you are breaking by handing out tracts. They won’t have an answer for that. Request that they call the police. When the police arrive, submit to their authority if they ask you to leave; and then contact an organization like Alliance Defense Fund to see if you have any recourse.”