Jim and I go to Market Square the first Friday of the Month in downtown Knoxville. First Friday is when all the Artsy, musicians, pagan/witch/drum circle groups, and anyone else meet together. The weather was great as we gave about 40 tracts(courtesy of Carl Kalbfleisch at

http://www.bezeugen.org/

His tracts are in the shape of business cards. They are very well made out of a coated covering to last long.

One guy in front of Yee Haw lithograph shop was drinking openly in public. We gave him a tract, he cussed and gave the tract back.  Many others took the tracts, few rejected, God was glorified.

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Around 830pm I arrived on Market Square in Knoxville, TN. The Dogwood Arts Festival was not opened late at night. Yet, there were hundreds of people eating, drinking, and enjoying a nice evening. The Lord gave me some creativity in distributing  Gospel materials. I had about 20 Gospel of John(NIV) and a handful of the Christmas Million Dollar Bills. So I place a bill in each of the Gospel of John books.  The idea was a person will more likely keep the tract if placed in the Gospel book. I only saw two GOJ with/tract on the ground and another person rejected a Gospel of John. However, out of the 20 Gospel of John books 18 were kept by the receiver and another 10 Million Dollar Bills were given out.

Just planted seeds and pray other brother and sisters in the Lord will come and help me harvest on the Market Square “Farmville”(My reality version  of the Facebook game “Farmville”) Remember the Lord is the one that makes the seed grow. I do not have time to do Farmville on the Internet. Yet, I love doing real spiritual Farmville among the Lost in Knoxville.

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.”

I prayed for no rain in the evening around Market Square. My prayer was answered as God held back the rain for me to hand out  Gospel tracts. I started on one end of the Square and gave out some tracts. Then I went to the other end of the square and gave out……you guessed it….more tracts. Then proceeding to Gay Street, I did something……wanna guess???? I handed out more tracts.

There will be opportunities to have neat adventure stories. The other times is just planting seeds(tracts) in the soil(people).  Did I encounter any demon possessed people?  I might have and the demons might have just been mellowed out for the evening and were told by God to give me a break tonight after the car trouble and sickness I have the past few weeks prior. It is nice to be able to have a smooth evening once in a while.

Many of you may be thinking I act like those idiot “sign guys”  yelling out at people  and just give out judgments without grace and salvation of Jesus.  No way indeed. That is not me, and I try to stay away from those guys if I am in the same area sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

In golf, the instructors tell their students to “follow-thru” on their golf swing. If you want to make the golf ball go far, you must do a full swing to allow for maximum impact.

Many of the guys you have seen with the “God hates fags” signs and just give out judgments, do not give a full gospel “follow-thru”. They stop at the judgments on people and entice people into a “legalistic religiosity” which is not “Biblical Christianity.”

As I look how Jesus preached to the masses, He always preached in love while he spoke truth.  The only times he got miffed was at the religious leaders for misusing their positions of power to keep people under their thumbs with religious rituals.

I want to mimic my Jesus. I want to share with the world around me(Right now it is Knoxville and to an extent the Internet.) what they must do to be saved from being found guilty under the Ten Commandments and suffer eternal punishment in Hell. It is simply “Repentance(Turning away from selfish evil  lifestyles)” and “Faith(trust) in Jesus for their salvation. With God’s help, I treat others with respect and courtesy. It does not mean I water down God’s Word. Biblical love is done truthfully.

I have previously wrote about sign guys. I do not want to lump ALL guys using signs in gospel presentations as bad or non-biblical.  Sign people, whose presentations have the complete follow through of the Gospel I respect as brothers and sisters. Follow-thru is very important in Gospel presentations. Without the grace following the law during evangelistic outings,  it becomes just as bad as those watering the Word with a feel good message.

So today’s word is: Follow-thru.  It makes Gospel presentations clear and effective when done in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Evangelism Code Words

  1. Fishing(Street Witness)
  2. Worm(Gospel Tract)
  3. Fish(People)
  4. Fishing Hole(favorite place to street witness)
  5. Fish Cleaner(God/Jesus)
  6. Fisherman(Christians)
  7. Rough Waters(Spiritual battling ground to share the Gospel)

Back in Action

October 22, 2009

knoxville market square

After having no passenger-side headlight, today the problem was rectified. This means, I prayed and landed  Market Square this evening.

God gave me the opportunity to distribute some gospel tracts. I was rejoicing the Lord granted me the ability to get back in the saddle and get some evangelistic action. I left praying for the tracts handed out will cause the readers to repent and place their faith in Jesus Christ.

The Lord gave me a little over an hour to hand out Billy Graham “Decision” magazines and some Million Dollar Bills on Market Square. I prayed for people to not mistake me for a Jehovah Witness handing out “Watchtower” magazines.  I gave away all my stack of “Decision” magazines(about 25 copies.)  No one really stuck around to talk or return to ask me questions. I don’t make an effort to make notches on my belt for new converts.  God gives me the opportunity to do spiritual “tilling” of the market square “garden”.

I remember as a young teen during the springtime, dad would get out the rototiller and break up the rocky ground in our backyard to plant a garden.  As my dad would till the ground, my brother and I would have to grab the big rocks out of the garden. For vegetables to grow properly, you have to breakup the stony ground. The same applies to evangelism.

1 Corinthians 3:6-9 (New Living Translation)

“6 I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. 7 It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work. 9 For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building.”

As I was leaving Market Square, it started to rain. This is a great reminder to me. God let me plant some seeds and God watered the seeds. Pray for the spiritual fruit to grow and blossom.

Revelation 3:16 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

“So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of My mouth.”

Now you may ask, “Where does the vomit play into street witnessing?”  The next morning I woke up with a headache. I still went to the morning street evangelism class at Calvary Baptist Student Center. My headache proceeded to get worse. The moment I entered my car is the moment I stuck my head out of the car and returned the pancakes and sausage onto the ground.  Gross, T.M.I., Robert.

I need to bring this up(oops. Sorry again.) to tell you  the Christian walk is not all rosy. When you give your life to Jesus in Christian service, expect to be attacked by the enemy.  I have become temporarily ill the past few times I go out and witness to people, experienced car problems,  and encountered spiritual warfare in various others means.

I know it is not the flu or something I ate to make me sick, the past other times I got this sick was when it involved street witnessing. You may say to me, “Use Germ-X.” It may sound like a good precaution, yet if Satan and his demons want to fight back, they will use any method to discourage or stop the witnessing. I am not going to stop sharing about my Jesus.  I am thankful God allows me to evangelize to people.  It humbles me he wants to use me to glorify Him.

Ephesians 6:12 (New Living Translation)

“12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”

God calls all believers to evangelize(verb). You may not be led to be an Evangelist(noun) like Billy Graham. Yet Jesus give ALL believers this command:

Mark 16:15 (New Living Translation)

“And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.”

God may protect you from puking your guts up after sharing your faith, then again he may allow it. I just ask you if you are willing to share your faith are you willing to potentially endure more than just being temporarily ill. You may be thrown in jail as a result of false accusations(I’ve had this happened to me.), Spit upon, verbally abused, and especially if you are in a hostile country to Christianity: murdered.  It is a privilege to bring the Good news of Repentance and faith Jesus. Are you ready?


First Friday Market Square

September 5, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Isaiah 64:6 (New Living Translation)

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

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

milliondollaroriginal

Philemon 1:5-7 (New International Version)

“…because I hear about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints. 6I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. 7Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.”

After the Way of the Master class with Tim Weakly, I took the million dollar bills given by Tim.  I gave some to a gas station attendant, fast food employees, individuals, and college students. The following  is a snippet of the interactions during the handing out of the million dollar tract.

When you are by yourself and walking along, you have less than three seconds for the exchange. Some of the places downtown I gave some away was Market Square, the escalator by the theater(I went up and down it several times and gave the bill to people going the opposite way of me.), people standing in movie ticket line, one fun incident was on the UT strip(college bar and restaurant area). At a stop light a big long black limo was carrying a group of college kids. They hollered at me while I walking. This was my Holy Spirit cue to approach the limo and handed about a dozen bills to the occupants in the limo. On the opposite corner was one of the public transit buses. The driver had her window rolled down and I told her, “Here is a tip for all you hard work.” She gave a smile and a laugh. This bus driver needed a good laugh especially dealing with some of the crazies riding her bus. On my way back to my car, I came upon a small group of college kids and all of them took a bill.

Saving souls at a the Collective Soul concert at the Tennessee Theater: Yes, as people were waiting to get in the Tennessee Theater, I started handing out the Million Dollar tracts.  Question is for the attendees: Who is going to “collect their soul”?

I only came across one bill thrown on the ground.(after handing out about 75 bill tracks.) Of course, a few refuse to take a bill. Remember Mark Cahill says, “A  no rejection is a win-win situation.” No matter what occurs, if done in biblical love is still obeying the Great Commission. Your reward in Heaven will be great.

Luke 6:23 (New Living Translation)

When that happens, be happy! Yes, leap for joy! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, their ancestors treated the ancient prophets that same way.”

Matthew 5:12 (New Living Translation)

Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.”

I do recommend if you go out street witnessing, take someone with you. Now if you cannot get anyone to go with you, then use wisdom and discernment.  Always pray before and after street witnessing. Remember to be led by the Holy Spirit and not in your strength. (Zech. 4:6).

Towards the latter part of the evening,  I came upon a black gospel music performance in Market Square. When one of the organizers asked what I was doing. He offered and I accepted prayer over me for boldness in witnessing. This guy’s name was Robert.(not ironic, but a God-sent conformation.) He was an on-fire brother in Christ. Covered in tattoos and looked like a bouncer. God definitely used him to help and encourage me. Many times in street witnessing, you need an encourager. It was much needed for the rest of the night.  He wanted info about my church. I gave him a business card and the group of people with him each got a million dollar tract. Hopefully, the bill tracts will encourage them to boldly share Jesus with people.