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.

I want to update those of you reading my blogs.  Many of you remember about the first time we had a traveling family of Evangelists, Agents for Christ, visit our church. We went with them to Market Square to share the Gospel with the Lost.

One encounter involved one of our church members(Linda) and the Agents for Christ leader’s wife confrontation with a demonically possessed homeless man. After the encounter, it left  us in amazement how many are in bondage to the Evil One.

A year later…..

Linda starts a new job working at the local Lifeway Christian bookstore. One day last week, Linda told me of how the man we met down by the mass transit bus terminals was shopping in Lifeway. She described his physical, mental and physical capabilities completed changed. He was cleaned up, a countenance that was of a new Christ believer and follower.  He was asking for help on purchasing a new Bible.

I believe this was a God orchestrated event for Linda to start a new job at Lifeway to have the Lord bring in the former demonically possessed man she attempted to share the Jesus come into the store saved and seeking to become an obedient to the Lord as a Christ-follower.  God wanted to show Linda how she helped in planting one of the many Gospel seeds in this man’s life. She was totally stoked about the occurrence.

Linda will definitely will be rewarded at the Bema Seat for her faithfulness in sharing the Gospel.  We shall keep praying for this man to grow more in the Lord.

Til next time….Blessings.

 

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.

 

It was a blessing to have the Agents for Christ ministry return to Knoxville for more Market Square Evangelism. Friday night was a blessing to have about a dozen of us convene on Market Square. It was the First Friday/Movie night on Market Square. It gave the 12 of us(Agents for Christ, Pastor Brian, Elaine and her son, and me) ample opportunity to share Jesus, pray, invite people to church, and pass out TONS of Gospel tract to the mass crowd.

We came across a variety, and I do say a variety, of  the most unusual people. Everything from Unitarians, Denominational church people(i.e. unsaved people in the church), Bible believing brothers and sisters in the Lord, strung out on drugs people, New Agers,  Self-proclaimed prophets, a Russian Orthodox priest in his garb(appeared like it was more for show than to be actually out ministering….. which kinda reminded me of the priest in the Good Samaritan parable).

Elaine had a terrific encounter in sharing the Gospel.

Thank you Agents for Christ for coming back. It uplifted my spirits. Evangelism can be a lonely ministry. Many in the church use the cop-out of “I’m not called to be an evangelist.” This may be true, yet they forget that the “Great Commission” applies to ALL believers. I just pray for more to step out and start sharing their faith with those they constantly come into contact.  If  we can get excited talking to one another about every time UT wins a football game, then as Christians we should be excited to tell others about our Savior, Jesus Christ.  It can be as simple a leaving a gospel tract on a bench in the mall. If you cannot go and evangelize, then please consider praying for others and myself going out into hostile territory in proclaiming Jesus.  If you have the financial means, then please support us in purchasing gospel tracts.(The gift of Salvation is free through Jesus, however the gospel tract does cost money.) Please see me how you can partner in Evangelism: going out, praying for the Evangelist, help defray costs of tracts, etc. Just pray and seek God in the reading of his Word. Note: There is a Heavenly reward for those participating in Evangelism. So act now.(Read the book of Acts for more details.)

Thursday and Friday nights had many opportunities to pass out tracts and open-air read the Bible.  God kept me going to I Corinthians 13 and I John.(Both talk about the love of God and what is true love(the love of self-sacrifice that comes from the Lord.)

At the end of Thursday night, I witnessed a very potential car wreck. One young man was speeding down the wrong way of the road and sped in the First Tennessee parking lot almost causing other wrecks. The owners of Banditios(a Mexican restaurant in the old Chili’s) came racing out to confront the young man. He was not in his car at the time when we got to his car. The other car which almost collided with the young man, pulled in the back way to confront the man. The cops were called about the incident, thank the Lord no one was injured.(A little shook up, but the girls were unharmed.) The owners of Banditios invited the girls and I inside their eating establishment for some soda, chips and salsa(Thank you Baditios!)

The Lord used the opportunity to make new friends and to be Jesus to my new friends.  The Lord has greatly used the opportunities for me to be Christ-like to several of the business on Cumberland Ave. Jesus was a friend of sinners, so I guess to be like Christ, I can be friends to those I come in constant and repeatedly contact.

During a open-air reading of Scripture on Friday night,some guys were heckling clapping in my face and yelling, “Preach it!”(I guess I rather hear ‘Preach it’ than “F*** You”, which I get  this more often than not in this or similar fashion.)

The Scripture declare, “There is nothing new under the sun.” It is sure true, the faces of the college students change from year to year, but the same verbal or non-verbal ques from them are the same.  Some are receptive to the Gospel of Jesus, while others abandon the faith they may have had during their childhood.  Scripture speaks also about how for those hearing the Gospel and rejecting it, it would have been better for them to have not heard the Gospel because now they are accountable and will suffer a greater deal of  punishment for hearing and rejecting.(See the book of Hebrews concerning after “death then Judgment”(Heb. 9:27).

The countdown to the Rapture is coming and those rejecting or not receiving the Gospel message, will be left behind and suffer the consequences.

Now is the time to repent and put your faith in Jesus!

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.

Right after church and lunch, I hit Cumberland Strip(all the restaurants near the university.). Gave away several different tracts(Chick, Million Dollar Bill, Man of Salvation, etc)

One  older man wearing a Habitat for Humanity shirt took one of my tracts and as he was walking away spoke very loudly and sarcastically, “This is one of those ‘Holy Roller” tracts. What should I expect in the Bible Belt and in the State of Tennessee?”

I also went to a couple different corners on Cumberland Strip and read large portions of Scripture.(Book of Isaiah and John 3 and 4). One college man walked by me and scolded me saying, “You are wasting your time no one can hear you above the traffic noise”.) Ironically, he heard me since he walked right by me. So no time wasted on him as I prayed for his salvation in Jesus.

After watching a play in morning services in church about a Christian man appearing before the Bema Seat of Jesus. This seat is for the believers to be rewarded on what he or she has directly or indirectly done to honor and glorify the Lord.

For the unbeliever, the must appear before the Lord as they are cast away from the Lord into everlasting hell and fire.

I want to as much as I can in the power of the Holy Spirit in this life to bring God glory!  God be the glory for anyone repenting and coming to faith in Jesus or a believer becoming led by God to share their faith in Jesus more boldly.

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!!!