Taco Bell encounter

June 26, 2010

After cleaning the church around 9pm, I was starving. I went down to Cumberland Strip  Taco Bell. I took a book to read while I am eating. My bookmark was a bible tract. A young man with his girl friend were a couple of tables down from me. He recognized me from handing out bible tracts from previous encounters. He asked me what book I was reading and he asked me if I had another bible tract for him. The only tract I had was my bookmark so I gave it to him. It was a tract called, “How to Get to Heaven”.

I rarely get asked to give a person tract, have a challenge enough to give a gospel tract to a person. I considered that a God moment when a unsaved person desires spiritual material.  Reminds me of the passage:

John 6:37 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

37 Everyone the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will never cast out.

Consider it assistance from the Lord when the fish flop into the boat.  When a man comes to the end of himself, he will run wherever will give him comfort. He will never find true comfort in the world but in saving faith in Jesus.

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Remember last week of my experience with a bouncer at Bar Knoxville? Now a different bouncer/gatekeeper at Bar Knoxville, but a much more positive meeting.

As I was handing out Gospel tracts to people going to the bars and walking past Bar Knoxville, the gatekeeper/id checker/bouncer guy started talking to me.  He was very, very, very, polite as opposite to the bouncer from last week.  He asked me what I was handing out. (Many other bars send out scantily dressed women to hand out handbills to new bars/strip joints/best-dressed or least-dress women contest, on a regular  basis.)

I told him I was a Christian handing out gospel tracts and what church I attended. He was curious because he told me he sees me out walking on a regular basis. I introduced myself to him and shook his hand. The conversation was polite. I gave him two different gospel tracts I distribute to the masses. I asked him if he had seen the Million-Dollar Bill tract. He said he did so I gave him some different ones.(One was the tract created by one of the Calvary Chapel Knoxville elders.)

I explained to him how I conduct myself on the street as he was more likely told a different story by the bouncer from last week.  I shared with him I hand out tracts to people only if they want one, NEVER do I force a tract on anyone or prevent them from walking down the sidewalk unhindered. I  gave the golden rule.(Do unto others as you would have done unto you.)

People respond better if you show genuine Christ-centered love towards them. This only can be done by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Now, it doesn’t mean I water the Gospel to a  everyone gets to Heaven message. It means I present the Truth of Jesus….IN LOVE!

Someone was entering the bar and I thanked him for stopping me to talk and I did not want to hinder him any longer from doing his job. I told him where my church is located if he ever became curious about attending a church service.

I was walking down the street thanking the Lord for this opportunity. It was a completely different experience from last week.

Let me give you a visual in your mind of what Cumberland strip is mapped.  The Cumberland strip is one of the main roads in Knoxville. The University of Tennessee is on the Cumberland strip as well as a host of eating establishments and alcoholic bars. There are public sidewalks on both sides of the road and in front of these businesses.

As many Evangelists, trade unions, various protesters are aware, you are able to use the sidewalk to exercise your 1st amendment rights. As long as you do not completely block traffic or force someone to take your handbills.

One of the bars on the Cumberland strip is “Bar Knoxville”  This bar harasses Evangelists on a frequent basis. The bouncers will come out on the sidewalk(legally protected area for free speech) and intimate evangelists by telling them to not hand out religious material. Some are unaware or are aware of the free speech laws and still intimidate Evangelists.

I was  subject to the threats of a bouncer from Bar Knoxville. I verbally stated to him and hearers around him that the sidewalk is public property and I am exercising my first amendment rights to hand out materials to anyone willing to take a Christian material. He kept saying I needed to move on down and that the sidewalk was in front of their bar and they did not want me on the sidewalk. According to past Supreme Court decisions, the bouncer has no authority to tell me how to operate my 1st amendment rights as long as I am not on their property. Even though the public sidewalk runs by their business, his jurisdiction ends once he steps off the bar property and steps out on public property.  The confrontation with the bouncer if taken to a court of law would have ruled the Bouncer was interfering in blocking my access on the sidewalk. Bar Knoxville routinely blocks the sidewalk during the course of the night by setting up stands for those wanting to enter the bar. However they cannot interfere with other traffic not associated with their business.

Many may say I should not be doing this and disrupting their business. May I remind those persons of past history. During the Civil Rights Era in the South, many protested businesses that prevent blacks from access to use their facilities based on their color. In our times today, trade unions set up banners and union members to protest unfair labor practices in front of construction sites, grocery stores, hospitals, etc.(In Knoxville, TN you will see sporadically throughout the city signs which read, “Shame On…(name the business or individual)”   or “Labor dispute”.   They too are constitutionally protected to voice grievances.

While an Evangelists’ concerns are getting the Gospel to the sinner, they will agree with what the Bible states about the dangers of Alcohol, strip joints, Adult video stores, etc.

So I continued to hand out the materials during the rest of the night.  Across the street was another bar. The doorkeeper to the bar was very friendly to me and we had a nice conversation. He knows what I do, yet in love I have spoken to him on several occasions. (Pray for this doorkeeper ab the Half Barrel).  Not all bouncer/doorkeepers at bars are mean.  So the Gospel can be shared with those working at the bars.

As far as Bar Knoxville, I have spoken with other evangelists encountering the same problem with this particular bar. On a side note, this bar from time to time allow young underage minor to come in prior to serving alcohol at 11pm. This is sad how Bar Knoxville is conditioning YOUR children to become acclimated to a bar prior to becoming a 21. They need future customers once the college students graduate and rotate out.  These bars are gateways to get kids away from church(they get drunk on Saturday, they wont be sober enough to get out of bed for church) and into the pagan lifestyles leading to their destruction of their health and potentially keeping them out of the Kingdom of God if they continue in practices that the world offers.

For Evangelists: I pray you remain strong in the Lord despite the threats of bar bouncers. I would also recommend to new evangelists to look up your local laws concerning your ability to evangelize and become familiar with Supreme Court cases. Especially when a bouncer or anyone opposing you may state you cannot evangelize in a certain manner. Many of the opposition are unfamiliar with free speech rights. Many are familiar with free speech right and may still lie to you on what you cannot do in public because they oppose God’s Word.  Always go in the power of the Holy Spirit and never in your own strength.

2 Timothy 4:5 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

5 But as for you, keep a clear head about everything, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

It was the final concert of the 2010 year for Sundown.  I met up with Tim Weakley and a group of other believers in Krutch Park to pass out tracts, visit with the young crowd, and open air preach. When I open air preach, I majority of the time just read straight from the Bible with little exposition of the text.(when explanation of a word or meaning is needed or to put in today’s language or relate-able events.)  It was totally the Lord for me to share the Word without preparation.  The Holy Spirit gave me the words to speak to the listeners and passer-bys.

Most of the tracts I handed out were from Carl K. out of TX.(He gives me tracts in a business card style format. Easy to carry, durable, and the gospel message on the back of the card.)

Towards the end we had a unique encounter with a unsaved college man. Tim talked to him while  another lady in our group and I continued to open-air. The Holy Spirit was working with Tim, then the enemy attempted to interrupt Tim with a Hyper-Charismatic young man. The man was only doing what he had been brought up in the Pentecostal church he attends. He pushed Tim out of the way to talk to the unsaved kid. The over Hyper pentecostal jargon and Word of Faith jabberings this man gave to the kid was not biblical.

Then the Lord brought to my mind Pastor Mark’s sermon from last week on Speaking in Tongues.   He said we don’t speak in tongues in a normal morning service or do things that would frighten, scare, or turn off an unbeliever or frustrate a non-Charismatic believer in the Lord. God is not the author of confusion and fear.  God had allowed me to see what Mark was preaching about in action.

All we could do was pray for the unsaved kid and his friends plus for the Hyper Pentecostal kid to shut up and move on. The kid would not let up till he conviced this kid he needed to have faith to start speaking in tongues.  Luckily the Sundown concert was over and the Lord used a cop to shout out in the park, “Show is over, everyone needs to leave” Well it was an answered prayer to get this hyper-pentecostal kid to stop interrupting what the Holy Spirit was already doing. Yet, we believe God’s Word does not comeback void and hopefully we shall have another opportunity to see the unsaved kid again and share Jesus with him without the interruption of Hyper-Pentecostals.

The Hyper-Pentecostal man was trying to act out the flesh the workings of the Holy Spirit. This goes against what Scripture teaches in Zech. 4:6 “NOT by might, nor by strength, but BY MY SPIRIT says the LORD OF HOSTS!”

Now just trust the Lord in the seeds to take root in those lives the Lord allowed us to encounter!

I like posting Billy Graham sermon clips on my profile and website. I also use other Christian Denominations video, audio, and written material. I believe this is an opportunity for my unsaved friends on Facebook and my tractman.com website to get the Gospel. As long as the content is Biblical, its postable. I use variety of Christian denominations.(both non Calvinist and Calvinist).

Many of the Reformation believers disagree with me posting Billy Graham or anything non-Calvinist/Reformation on my profile. Some of the Non-Calvinists dont like me posting Calvinist material on my facebook or my http://www.tractman.com

Here is the Balance, if the content is Biblical, it is postable.

If there are sprinklings of Calvinist/Reformation theology OR Non-Calvinist Theology within the message but overall still has enough biblical content, it is postable.

I have posted one sermon on my profile on one pastor explination why he disagrees with Reform theology from a biblical standpoint. I did this because I have used many Reformation material before on my facebook and wanted to provide a biblical balance for those not familar with Reform theology.

I am not a Calvinist/Reform theology perspective. I am a Biblicalist. I go to the Bible if I have a issue or concern about a person’s writing/audio/video clips on a matter of the Christian faith. During the start of the church age in the book of Acts and the Paul, Peter, and John letters believers had favorite apostles(John, Apollos, Paul, Peter, etc.)

The same holds true today. Many will have their favorite Christian teachers/denominational leanings.(Billy Graham, Adrian Rogers, James White, Chuck Smith, James MacDonald, Charles Stanley)

The Christian teachers of today have many wonderful biblical insights to Scriptures. I am glad for the personality and teaching styles of the men. But remember they are men, like you and me. We are all not perfect, and will make error. Many of these men will tell you to go back to the Bible to make sure what their listeners say is true.
I am aware that many will not listen to some teachers due to the fact they do not hold or do hold to a certain man-made denominational teaching. That is ok and their choice, yet as long as I discern their messages are biblical I will post them.
I also have the right to edit and delete comments made on my post as I deem necessary. I do have many unsaved friends on my facebook and unsaved visitors to my http://www.tractman.com website, so as the Lord leads, I will post Christian material from a variety of non-calvinist and Calvinist ideals.

I do not seek to win the unbelievers on my facebook to a certain Christian leaning such as Non-Calvinist or Calvinist/Reform denominations, but to see the lost come to repentance and faith in Jesus. God Bless Everyone.

Picture of the week:

Confrontational Evangelism:(verb) 1.To obey the Great Commission and get thine butt out of the pew and into the world.  2. To meet people by sharing the Gospel message.

This does not mean doing good acts of kindness in the name of Jesus. Although, doing good works should be fruitful evidence  of a believer’s life.

Evangelism is to explain to someone or a group of people how they are under the wrath of God due to disobedience and living a life apart from God. How God sent Jesus to die for our sins and allowing the wrath of God to be poured out on him instead of us. He also arose from the dead to defeat death and prove he was an acceptable sacrifice to the Lord.(Note: no other Jewish sacrifice prior to Christ or after Christ has arisen from the dead after being sacrificed.)  Because of the transaction our case at the Judgment Seat can be legally dismissed only on the condition of  our choice of  putting our faith(a surrendering trust in the Truth) in Jesus which means we turn(repenting) from our sins(actions contrary to God’s standards).

This is like a Christmas gift. God so loves the world he gave his one and only son, Jesus. That  whoever believes in him will not die but have everlasting life.  Everyone’s gift is under the tree(the Cross). The only way the gift of salvation can be operational is based on the condition we receive and open the gift. The gift cannot be left under the tree. If you appear before God’s Judgment Seat after you die without the gift(pardon papers,  lawyer/Jesus, etc.), you will be found guilty and sentenced to an eternity in everlasting punishment of Hell.

So, will you allow Jesus to represent you? He is the only way your guilty case will be dismissed. Call upon Jesus, NOW! You do not know the day of your Judgment.  Repent and put your faith in Jesus!

God calls all believers to share the Gospel…see Great Commission.

“Go into all the world and preach the Gospel.”

You may say I am not an Evangelist like Billy Graham. True. Yet, it does not mean you a void of the responsibility of sharing the Gospel with whom the Lord puts in your path.

Here is a question I have for you. What is the subject of the sentence of the Great Commission?  If you remember from English grammar, the subject in this sentence is not “go” or is it “world”.

According to English grammar rules the subject is “you”. The “you” is  implied.

“(YOU) go into the world and preach the Gospel.”

If you have children, you should be sharing  Jesus with them. If you have an unbelieving spouse, relative, friend, or anybody you meet, you as a believer should under the power of the Holy Spirit, whom you received when your put your faith in Jesus, will give you the ability to present the Gospel to anybody at anytime. You don’t have to develop a friendship first, it should be spiritually automatic and not humanly standard(using automobile terminology)  as a believer to share Jesus with anyone at  anytime.

Just wanted to share what God has placed in my heart to share for this blog post.

Now as far as what has occurred in outreach the past two weeks in Knoxville: I met a group of  black college students from Kansas City, Missouri on a summer conference at the University of Tennessee. I noticed they had purple tee-shirts with big letters of K.C.

When they said yes, I told them I was Joplin, MO and told them I had been living in Knoxville for the past four years. The Lord placed an open door for me to share the Gospel with them. I told one of the young men of what I do out here on Cumberland Strip and gave him a Million Dollar Bill tract.

I was wearing a Jesus shirt that was a likeness of the Obama red/blue color Warhol style shirts during the last presidential election.  I think he was surprised a white conservative Bible evangelist would wear something depicting a likeness to the Obama shirts. I told him the Gospel of Jesus Christ transcends human political boundaries. It was a way of delivering without compromising the Gospel. This is much like when the Apostle Paul went to a Greek marketplace/temple area that had an altar area dedicated to the “Unknown God”. From that altar, Paul was able alter the Greek way of thinking by explaining to the Greeks who is the “Unknown God.”

So this is one way which God allowed me to share the Gospel. Note it was not in my efforts, but by the Lord preordained before time began how he would let two men from Missouri to meet one another in Knoxville, Tennessee and have the Gospel presented.  When you realize it is God who does the evangelizing  by using you as an instrument,  you should be filled with joy how God chooses to use his people in his way to share Jesus with others.

We were in the park next to the concert when I was given the opportunity to open air preach.(Like John Wesley, I grew up in the Methodist church.) During the time I was speaking, I did have a piece of food thrown at me….someone must have thought I was hungry while preaching…hee hee.

Many of those in the park down from the concert were Jr. high/high school and college students.  Sometimes they were nice other times they were belligerent. There was one older man who stood in front of Tim and very loudly started cussing. Tim asked him nicely to not cuss especially with little children and ladies present. He just started cussing more. A law enforcement  personnel came up to the man and told him to stop cussing and move on.

During the course of the evening I ran low on tracts and went out to my car to get more tracts. When I returned to Market Square(a public area with public sidewalks) The rent-a-security personnel she would not let me take my messenger bag in and pass out tracts.  Now I knew according to the 1st amendment and Supreme Court cases I was within my rights and not in any violation of the law of passing out tracts.  However, I could have gone to a police officer and registered a complaint. The only restriction on Market Square that night is alcohol could not leave Market Square.  Yet, I did not go find an officer.  I just went and found Tim.(another open air evangelist)  He told me if I wanted I could leave my bag with him and just stuff tracts in my pockets. Yet, Tim did not have the normal amount of guys with him in the park to evangelize. I decided to stay with him and help him out.(That gave me the opportunity to do the open air…see former post.)

Common sense and being respectful  to people, I know not to get in front of the concert stage and be obnoxious.  If you want to effectively communicate your message with the public, you look for avenues that would not disruptive the music performers. The park and areas outside the concert seating was far enough away to not be a nuisance. The was just as enough opportunity, if not more opportunity to share the Gospel with those not paying much attention to Blues Traveler.

http://ref.ly/Mt10.16-25

You always have to choose your battles wisely, or look for the leading of the Lord especially in Scripture of how to handle confrontational situations the public, the law, and even rent-a-cops/security. It is necessary to have prayer and total reliance on the Holy Spirit in evangelism efforts.(Zech 4:6)

Thank the Lord for a good free parking space and the ability to share the Gospel with people attending the free Blues Traveler concert.(Lots of people, I mean LOTS!) If you want an estimate of how many tracts I passed out, I can estimate about 300. One Bible was given out. I met Tim Weakly in the Park next to Market Square and he had a place marked off for open air preaching(speakers, etch board with pictures and text, etc.) He gave me time to read Scripture and do some expository preaching.

The Lord took me to the text Pastor Brian taught on Wednesday night(Romans 6/sin that grace may increase passage) Afterwards I brought in 2 Timothy 4:3-4(The itching ears passage) The next thing I knew was that the Lord was leading me was to explain about cherry-picking the Bible. This is where people take what they like about the Bible, but ignoring other passages that make them uncomfortable. I used Paul’s explanation of him teaching the “WHOLE” counsel of the Word of the Lord.  Shared how God wants us to love and honor ALL that he has stated in His Word. How when we see why God has everything outlined for us in his Word, it is to help us and benefit us in the long run. However because of our sinful nature, we choose to do what we like instead of following what God has for us. Because we go our own way, just like Adam and Eve in the Garden, sin enters and destroys us.  I kept re emphasizing the need to hear Jesus first word that started his ministry, Repent. I followed up by telling other why we need to repent and put our complete trust in the truth of Jesus(faith). Not just half way. God wants ALL of us and wants complete control of our lives lest we destroy ourselves prematurely through taking the reigns of our lives.  The Lord allowed me enough time to share my Salvation testimony.

What followed was this:  A group of Atheistic/Agnostic former Catholics going to UT for degrees in Biology. They started asking questions that I was unable to answer. That is when I was able to get Tim Weakley’s attention. He does a good job at answering Atheists and Evolution questions better than I could.(Biology wasn’t my strong point in college.)

Afterwards after some of the college students had their fun at jabbing the Christian faith, one young man stuck around and was the most polite. The young man, Tim, and I both shook hands and while we did not see eye to eye on faith issues, we were able to have sparked a new friendship with this gentleman. Pray for his salvation.

While I did not get the chance to see Blues Traveler, I am glad the Lord used the opportunity to share the Gospel with a large group of people. To God be the Glory and Praise.