It was a beautiful cold night on Market Square. The Christmas lights were lit, lots of people walking around, Salvation Army giving away free hot chocolate(Thank you!), vendors selling their wares, ice skating, and Christmas carols sung at various locations.

This was a wonderful night to distribute Gospel of John books and Gospel tracts.  Tonight, people were  more receptive to receive Gospel material than other evangelism nights. One Jr. High man took a Gospel tract. As I walked away, two of his little brothers came running to me wanting a gospel tract.

The following Bible verse  demonstrates  what occurred later on this evening.(Of course down on Market Square it happens frequently, but not to the degree it did tonight.)

2 Timothy 3:5 (English Standard Version)

having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.”

In Krutch Park, I about handed a lady a Gospel of John. She looked at it and then looked at me with pure disgust and hate. Here is her exact words to me in our brief conversation:

Lady: “God does not want you doing this $%@!  He wants you to feed the poor and take care of the sick”

She starts to walk off not before I tell her:

Me: “The Bible tells me otherwise.”

Lady stomps back in my direction and very snooty and very  loudly proclaims:

” I  am a pastor. I have a Master of Theology and I can speak Greek and Hebrew fluently.”(The first sentence out of her mouth told me she also speaks “sailor” fluently.)

I could have got into a verbal diatribe with her. I only ended the conversation with the Holy Spirit giving me the Word of God to speak directly to her. I don’t know why this was the verse he wanted me to give her. In my flesh I would have quoted 2 Timothy 3:5 to her, instead the Lord prompted me to tell her:

1 Corinthians 1:18 (English Standard Version)

“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

She then stomped off in a big huff.

She saw what I was handing to her was the Gospel of John. Normally, it is a “Go to Hell” gospel tract which would get me a mean glare. Yet, it was the Bible that she did not want me handing out.

As far as proclaiming theological training, to me she did not possess the spirit of a true Christian pastor.  If she is a pastor of a Christian denominational church, it is disappointing but biblically prophetic  to know that there is a female wolf in the  Knoxville sheep pen .   I used the Shepard’s staff(Word of God) to drive her away from me so I could continue doing the Lord’s work.

Matthew 7:15-16 (English Standard Version)

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?”

Downtown Knoxville has very liberal unbiblical so-called churches to deter people away from hearing the pure Word of God in a Biblically sound church. Yet, these churches are in existence because according to the book of 2 Timothy.

2 Timothy 4:3 (English Standard Version)

“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions…”

 

NOTE: God makes pastors, not theological degrees. (See following verses.)

1 Corinthians 2:1-5 (English Standard Version)

“And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”

 

Colossians 2:1-4 (English Standard Version)

“For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ,  in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments.”

I would also say that being Christian is not just solely feeding the poor and helping the sick.  I cannot take full credit for the following response I could have given her: “We can feed the hungry, cloth the naked, and heal the sick. Then when they die these people will be the best fed, clothed and healthy as they go thru the gates of Hell.”

I found it neat as the Lord revealed to me how tonight was the first night of the official lighting of the trees in downtown Knoxville by letting me distribute several copies of  the Gospel of John. The front cover of the Gospel of John had two words, “The Light.” The true light of Christmas is none other than Jesus Christ!

John 8:12 (English Standard Version)

“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”



Fisher of Men

November 19, 2010

Matthew 4:19 (English Standard Version)

19“And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

As I am finishing up the last bit of C.H. Spurgeon’s book, “The Soul Winner”, I have been blessed and encouraged on how nothing really ever changes in evangelism. There are people without Jesus and bound on the Highway to Hell.

One quote which from Spurgeon rang clear and true for me.

” The fisherman is a daring man…So the true minister of Christ, who fishes for souls, will never mind a little risk.  He will be bound to do or say many a thing that is very unpopular;  and some Christian people may even judge his utterances to be too severe.  He must do and say that which is for the good of souls. It is not his to entertain a question as to what others will think of his doctrine, or of him;  but in the name of the Almighty God he must feel, ‘If the sea roar and the fulness(sic) of thereof, still at my Master;s command I will let down the net'” (The Soul Winner, pg. 234-5).

When you remain close to the Lord and His Word by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit in Evangelism, the Lord will be glorified. Church people may be critical of your methods. If you are remaining biblical in your evangelism doctrine and methodology, don’t worry about how others respond. D.L. Moody was once approached by a woman giving him negative feedback on his evangelism style, to Moody’s reply was “You do evangelism your way, and I will do evangelism my way.”  We must be God pleasers  and not people pleasers.

I love how Jesus uses fishing references to going to people to catch them for the Lord. If  a man of God uses different bait to catch men than me, God be the glory. If God enables one man to open-air preach and another man distribute Bibles or gospel tracts,  God be the glory.  When Jesus choose the twelve to be fishers of men, not every man was alike.  Some of the fish we catch prefer live bait(person to person) and other fish will be attracted to plastic worms(gospel tracts). Spurgeon says in “The Soul Winner” to “Do something.” Something is better than nothing.

Even in our human imperfections and mistakes, God can still use  those situations to still bring many to salvation.  You do not have to be an expert. Remember, it is Jesus making us fishers of men. It is not in our personal abilities, although God may use those abilities.  We must remember we are under the leading of the  Master Fisher of Men, Jesus.

This morning, a group of us were dropped off down by the Neyland stadium to handout Christian literature.  Each of us probably passed out over 1,00o gospel tracts per Evangelism member. I was also able to pass out about 15-20 Gospel of John. Of course we were rebuffed by some people.(Typical of every evangelism encounter.) However, we were thanked and we were encouraged in the Lord by  several Christians attending the game. The encouragement always is a Holy Spirit energy boost to combat those that reject or throw the tracts on the ground.

It was also encouraging to have the Fellowship of Christian Athlete’s handing out football cards with the Christian message and a link to a Christian website.  While they were not part of our group and vice versa, they are apart of us in the body of Christ.

Mark 9:38-40 (New Living Translation)

Using the Name of Jesus

38 John said to Jesus, “Teacher, we saw someone using your name to cast out demons, but we told him to stop because he wasn’t in our group.”

39 “Don’t stop him!” Jesus said. “No one who performs a miracle in my name will soon be able to speak evil of me. 40 Anyone who is not against us is for us.

While techniques vary with different Christians, it provides a  way to minister to the different personalities that all of us come into contact. As long as the other groups are in agreement in the essentials of the Christian faith, we can lay aside the non-essentials. Just like there are different branches of the military, there are different branches of the Christian faith.

Now it is time for me to prepare to go out and share Jesus with those celebrating the UT victory over Old Miss(52-14).

P.S.: It was encouraging and awesome to hear on the radio many of the football players giving thanks to the Lord for the abilities God gave them.  We should all be thankful to the Lord for the life he has given us and to verbally glorifying him for what he has done and will do in our lives.

 

Many think of Evangelizing is solely going out on  a street corner and passing out tracts. However, there are different aspects of being apart of Evangelism.

Here is a list I have complied on my own or by some of the books I have read on Evangelism(not an exhaustive list but a framework):

1. Father/Jesus/Holy Spirit(GOD): Without God, Evangelism does not occur.

2. Evangelizer: The actual person that meets a person(s) or leave gospel material available to people.

3. Prayer Team: Those with a holy passion to pray for any or all aspects of Evangelism. These individuals are like the pre-strike airplanes in war that alert the civilians in the targeted area to flee the coming attacks. These prayers  go before, during, and after the Evangelism.  Realizing God is the Master Conductor, prayer is realizing our need for God to be involved in every aspect of life.

4. Encourager: This person is the Cheerleader for the Evangelizer.  We all need Barnabas in our life. The Evangelizer needs to be continually uplifted in spirits.  Encourager puts a smile and spring in the step of the Evangelizer.

5. Tract Supplier: Title says it. The Evangelizer uses tracts to communicate to people. Tracts have been around since the printing press started printing Bibles. They are a like the bullets to Barney Fife’s gun. Although, the Evangelizer needs more than one tract(unlike Barney) in his arsenal.  There are different kinds of tracts to give to people. Just ask the Evangelizer his preference in tracts. Warning not all tracts have the Gospel and all are not Christian tracts. Hence, communicating with the Evangelizer is necessary. Don’t want the Christian Evangelizer giving a tract that is not biblical or may direct the reader to a cult.(i.e. Mormons, J.W., etc.)

6. Accountability Partners/Board members: These are usually the same gender of the Evangelizer. Evangelizer reports back on occurrences in the field. Any dangers they encounter.(physical harm, sexual temptations, verbal confrontations, law enforcement encounters, etc). Help keep the Evangelizer humble, honest, and above reproach.

7. Lawyer: Assists on legal issues, local laws, legal entanglements with groups/individuals/law enforcement/city code officers/etc.

8. Pastors: When the Evangelizer goes out to Evangelize, he not only represents the Lord, but to his home church. The Evangelizer needs to realize the biblical authority of the Pastor to the Evangelizer.   If a person on the field becomes a Christian believer, then the need for the new baby in the Lord needs spiritual nourishment from a body of Christian believers. If they do not have a church home and are in the same area as the Evangelizer, the Evangelizer needs to invite the person to his/her church. If they are not from the area, try to keep in contact with the person to help them find a Biblically based Church. (Pray the Lord lead them to a church if further contact will be unable to occur.)

This is a very basic list. The Evangelism Team list helps form a framework for the Body of Christ to operate in a biblical function.  Everyone can participate in Evangelism through many aspects. I pray this is a help to the Church body.

 

Ok. After I left Wednesday night services, I headed for the University bar district. I handed out and placed a couple of tracts in the area. I then read scripture in front of a bar and liquor store. Two girls started mocking God’s Word. I never take anything personally from mockers and hecklers. They have a problem with God is the reason for their verbal and sometimes physical confrontations(knocking the Bible or tracts out of my hand, throwing liquid beverages and food at me, etc.) I take no worries cause I know it happened to men in the Bible and among the great evangelists of church history. I rejoice that I am apart of such great men, of whom I am humbled to at least hand out a tract a day and take no glory but give glory to God.

Jail Ministry

The evening at the Knox County Detention Center was a tremendous blessing. The Lord allowed me to share with several men the Word of God, spiritual encouragement, and prayer.  The Lord laid on my heart to read to many of the men a Psalm from the book of Psalms. I prayed for the Lord to let me read the Psalm which would speak directly to the heart and soul of  each man.  Many of the men received a New Testament Bible and a new believer took a new believer guidebook in helping him on his Christian walk. I left rejoicing and praising God that men behind bars are more free, by Jesus Christ, than they were on the outside.

Cumberland Strip Evangelism

After leaving the Knoxville Detention Center, the Lord gave me the physical, spiritual, and emotional strength to top off the night by Evangelizing down on the Cumberland Strip.  Handfuls of tracts were passed out. I had a variety of tracts from different organizations and businesses.  When I finished handing out tracts, I stood on two different street corners and started reading the Bible.  After the second place I stood was directly across four bars, a Taco Bell, and a liquor store.  One man kept yelling at me as he walked by…..”No one can hear you, no one can hear you!(He was singing the statement over and over.) I called out to him that “Jesus loves him” and “I follow Jesus and not him by obey his Word to publicly proclaim his Word in the streets”.

Another man walked by and in a cadence he was yelling at me to, “Shut Up! Shut Up! Shut Up!” I called back saying, “Jesus Loves you.”

Both men entered the bar of their choice to fill themselves with alcoholic spirits instead of choosing to continue to listen to the Word and be saved and be filled with the Spirit of God.

One incident that shook me as I was walking down the strip was seeing a young person that attended our church. The young person was with a group of friends. They waved and smiled at me as we walked by each other. I gave them a gospel tract created by some Calvary Chapel people.  The tract is called “The Man of Salvation”. For some reason seeing this person down near the bar areas concerned me and I quietly prayed for them.  I do not know why they were out in the college bar section as I knew they were of high school age.

Conclusion

It brought  my attention to see how the men in jail for the crimes they have committed have a more willing ear and broken heart to love of God and the Gospel. The men with a personal walk and repentance in Jesus are truly free.

It also brought my attention to see how people going to bars and elsewhere in public are very closed to the Gospel message.  They believe they have found freedom in having the ability to do whatever they desire and with no care for the consequences following feeding on the flesh.  Sure, many like the church friend I saw participating in  negative worldly activities, may feel that by going to church on a Sunday or any other religious ritual then be able to do whatever their heart desires the rest of the week.

These bar hoping people are not truly free. They are  in chains and prisoners to their flesh than those behind jail bars finding true freedom in Jesus Christ. My old worldly days was going to church on Sundays and Wednesdays followed by going to alcohol bars and strip joints on the rest of the week.

God’s Word speaks on having a “fence rider”/”one foot in church the other in the world” mentality.

Luke 16:13 (New King James Version)

13 “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and Mammon.”

Matthew 12:33 (New King James Version)

33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.”


I joined four other men to go into a max. security pod to share Jesus, pray and give away new testament bibles to the inmates. Was blessed by having a neat bible study with an inmate( J.) He loves studying the Word and I encouraged him to stay in the ministry of prayer while behind locked doors. Told him how God will reward him for praying(laying treasures in Heaven).

Wow. God is good.  Thank you Jesus for allowing me to serve you in Jail ministry!!!

Today was the monthly “First Friday” in Knoxville, Tennessee. This is a monthly event held on the first Friday of every month. Everything “artsy” happens in the downtown area of Knoxville.  Nothing wrong with the Arts and there are many artists here that are talented. However, there are some that take their gift and it is used in a very non-Christian way.  This is an open opportunity to share the Gospel and hand out tracts.

Several of the Million Dollar Bill money tracts, Fellowship Tract League tracts, and a Wretched “Todd Friel”  Gospel show on DVD  was handed out. The DVD went to some Jr. High skater boys. The DVD is geared towards a the school and college age crowd.

However, I never go out to do Street Evangelism without praying first. When Evangelism in the open, always pray and ask for the power of the Holy Spirit in leading you and protecting you. I go out in my Hawaii t-shirt and shorts. I am not one to do the suit and tie. Especially with hot temperatures.  As far as materials, I pack my satchel/murse with Christian materials.  In my satchel are my pocket New Testament Bible(Holman Standard edition), Gospel tracts, New Testament Bibles(Holman Christian Standard: This is the Southern Baptist translation also known as the Hard Core Southern Baptist….hence the same first letters in each word as Holman Christian Standard Bible.), Greg Laurie’s New Believer pocket guide, hand gel…yes you come across some of the homeless and you will be thankful later, and a couple of Spanish tracts.

I walk all around the downtown area and greet people as they are handed a gospel tract. Other times, I lay a tract down by a table or chair. Most people are gracious in taking the material. You will always encounter the meanies, but even more of a reason to pray for those that reject the Gospel message. They are rejecting Jesus and not you so never take it personal. One encounter the guy refuses the tract and asks me, “Are you a Jehovah Witness?” I replied, “Nope!” He still refused the Gospel.

To get to the atmosphere of the area. When First Friday occurs, pretty much everything “Anti-Bible/Jesus/Christian” comes out in FULL FORCE.  Yet:

1 John 4:4 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

“You are from God, little children, and you have conquered them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

Most all the vendors selling their wares and services(example: Yoga and Palm Reading) have New Age, Unitarian, Open Homosexuality, Buddhist, Eastern Mysticism, Catholicism, Socialist, Communist, Witchcraft, Pagan, and the list goes continues of views opposite of Biblical Christianity. It is weird feelings of demonic oppression I face during this monthly event. You enter the devils playground, expect demonic attack in all manners.  Most of the attacks were mental and emotional. Other attacks were from vendors that know me and I am a deterrent to their pagan and demonic businesses.

What ruffles my feathers is when the vendors or people downtown combo parts of the Christian faith and mix it with paganism, yoga, and New age mumbo jumbo. That is very sacrilegious and when you read in the Word how in both the Old and New Testaments how God is displeased when people mix the religious practices of pagan nations with his standards.

Here is a passage from God’s Word about his views on witchcraft and paganism….which have their roots in drug use.

Nahum 3:3-5 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

3 Charging horseman,
flashing sword,
shining spear;
heaps of slain,
mounds of corpses,
dead bodies without end —
they stumble over their dead.

4 Because of the continual prostitution of the prostitute,
the attractive mistress of sorcery,
who betrays nations by her prostitution
and clans by her witchcraft,

5 I am against you —
the declaration of the Lord of Hosts.
I will lift your skirts over your face
and display your nakedness to nations,
your shame to kingdoms.

Many of the New Age girls dress very loosely to expose almost all their chest to attract guys to their booths or the ritual dances they do using a hypnotic drum beat(Drum Circles). The drum circles have lots of  intentions of drawing crowds with very loud beats to drown out any potential street preacher proclaiming God’s Word.

After about an hour of  passing out tracts, I thanked the Lord for the opportunity of Evangelism and proceeded home.

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!