November 26, 2010
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.”
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.
October 2, 2010
Late Friday night and Saturday night I ventured back to both Market Square and Cumberland Avenue.
Many Gospel tracts were handed out. I prayed for humbleness and boldness as I open-air preached.(In the tradition of John the Baptist, Jesus, the Disciples, John Wesley, George Whitefield, C.H. Spurgeon, etc.) I had about three unique encounters when I O.A.P.(Open air preaching). The first was with a former Catholic. He has been going to different churches in the area and has been reading on his own the Bible. I encouraged him to continue in reading the Word and to always ask God to help him understand what he is reading. I gave him the Calvary Chapel Knoxville business card if he should perchance want check CCK.
The second encounter was with a homeless man. He was asking what I was reading. I was reading Isaiah 53, the passage of the suffering servant, Jesus. He opened up his backpack pulled out his Bible and started reading the passage. I explained to him how the passage was referring to Jesus.(This passage was written over 700 years before the physical birth of Jesus. He asked me to pray for him over certain issues in his life. We prayed and parted ways.
The third encounter during an O.A.P. was on Saturday. This was the saddest encounter of the three. A drunk college age lesbian Aussie, approached me with her other drunk lesbian friends. In her drunkenness and stammering was asking if I honestly thought reading the Bible aloud in the public arena was actually doing any good. It was hard to answer her due to her drunkenness and being dragged away from me by her drunk lesbian cohorts. I could only reply I was obeying what God tells me in His Word. She said I was not doing what the Bible was saying. It is hard to reason with a drunk person, so the conversation could not go further and she walked away in her lost state. I did say a quick prayer for her that she would remember this encounter after she sobers up and seeks the Lord soon.
Open air preaching is something that cannot be done in flesh but only by the Spirit of God(Zechariah 4:6). The lost may never enter a church, so the only time they may hear the Word of God is thru open air preaching. Proclaiming the Word of God never comes back void.
Isaiah 55:11 (New King James Version)
11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
I am joyful the Lord has given me a passion to go out to Evangelize and Open Air Preach. The purpose in what I do is to truly Glorify the Lord! In all we do, it should be to give God the glory.
October 2, 2010
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.)
September 17, 2010
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.
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.”
September 12, 2010
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.
September 6, 2010
A number of us went down to open air preach, pass out bible tracts/bibles, and engage in one on one discussion with people.
There were a lot of people….estimated according to reports up to 400,000. I estimate I was able to pass out about 300 tracts and about 5 bibles.
A group of Johnson Bible College Students engaged us on the evangelism methods.(passing out tracts, open air preaching, carrying signs with bible verses.) One of our men asked them what is wrong in the methodology. Apparently following in the tradition of open air preaching and interacting on spiritual matters in a public area like the Old Testament prophets, John the Baptist, Jesus, and the disciples in the Book of Acts is not correct according to the JBC students.
I will note that we never yelled or were hateful towards any of our hearers. We read the scriptures out loud and did a little expounding on the text.
The JBC students told us what were doing is not effective and was turning people away from the Gospel.
We had more negative reaction from other Christians than we did from non-Christians.
The mindset of many Christian towards Evangelism is just inviting people to church or doing good works to people to hopes of non believers coming to the Lord. Yet, the Great Commission given by our Lord Jesus is to “Go in all the world and preach the Gospel to every person.” Going in the world means going where there is people. Boomsday is one place where we saw people. Going into to all the world doesn’t mean “Build a church and the non believer will come”(If I may borrow from the movie “Field of Dreams”).
If people come only come to the Lord solely on the basis of the idea that the church does nice things for me, then what will happen when the person is in need or greed and the church does not meet a that particular need? The church will have become nothing more than a “Welfare Program” meeting only physical needs.
The main focus of believers to present an unbeliever the greatest need, a spiritual need. That main spiritual need is Jesus Christ.
Cults and government programs offer help to people in order to win their trust and loyalty. The devil comes as an angel of light to deceive people. In the last days, the Devil will come in the embodiment of the Anti-Christ as one who will win people’s trust by claiming to solve people’s problems. So other non-Christian groups and people can do “nice things” for people, which means Christians can only proclaim something that in not offered by the world . God gives only the believer the ability by his Spirit to share the Jesus of the Bible.
Evangelism means getting outside the walls of the church and telling the lost about their need for Jesus. This is done under the power of the Holy Spirit, who will tell us what to say via the Word of God. John the Baptist, Jesus, the Disciples preached “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand, put your faith in God(Jesus). By seeing this done multiple times throughout scriptures, God is showing believers the example to follow in Evangelizing the lost.
Yet, many want to follow church traditions and societal rules rather than following the Word of God. In our society we are being taught not to offend people and everyone needs to not confront other beliefs because we live in a country that gives people the freedom to choose their path.
Yet, are we not proclaiming the Love of Christ by telling someone if they continue on the path they are walking will lead them to their eternal death?
In the Old Testament, God tells the reader that if a watchman on the walls of a city sees an enemy approaching and did not blow the trumpet to the people to warn of impending dangers, God will hold that man accountable for the bloodshed. Yet, the blood will not be on the watchman if he sounds the alarm and people refuse to heed the alarm.
I agree with the Bible we are to do all things in love. Yet, in biblical love we will have to proclaim what the Word of God says even if makes people uncomfortable. Yes, we do not have to be mean in our approach. Yet, if we are truly led and empowered by the Spirit of God we will not go wrong. The message will go out in the way the Lord intended, even if it rattles some feathers of individuals. Yes people have a choice, yet by not proclaiming publically God’s Word we are denying the person a choice they may not get. You may be the one God sent to share of Faith and Repentance to a person. It may be in the context of a public venue like Boomsday in Knoxville, TN or on a street corner passing out tracts, sitting next to someone on the bus, wherever you are currently located. God intentionally places us in every avenues of our life to shine and reflect Jesus to a lost and dying world. The Great Commission is a command, not a suggestion from Jesus.
September 5, 2010
For most East Tennesseans, you would not hear this statement in the title of my post. You would normally hear, “IT’S FOOTBALL TIME IN TENNESSEE! For all intents and purposes, I deal mainly in the area of ministry. Especially when it has to do with Evangelism.
I went down to Market Square and Old City to pass out tracts. I did a change-up in Old City after my normal stroll up and down the sidewalks. I actually stopped and passed out tracts on the Southwest corner of Jackson and Central.(In front of a closed down bar is where I did the street evangelism.) I was getting tired, but had some Holy Spirit power giving me the energy to keep going as long as the Lord needed me.
Once older gentleman, Mike, was walking down the street a little inebriated. He could still hold a conversation after I gave him a gospel tract. He remained by my side as I was handing out tracts. The rest was the Lord work. It is hard to hold a conversation with a man having one to many drinks. Yet, I knew this was an opportunity for this man to remain in one place and not get himself into any trouble. I shared a quick testimony of my life before Christ and after Christ. He told me he was saved and could quote scripture(albeit out of context). His conversations were not completely coherent due to the alcoholic intake. Yet, he still needed a listening ear and the love of Jesus displayed to him.
On the tracts I give out, I stamp my website on an available area on the tract. This is to help for any potential follow-up a person may have about spiritual issues if they do not have a church home or need a little more one on one before going to a church. I just pray that Mike does not lose the tract and starts seeking satisfaction in the Jesus rather than a bottle of beer.
Several others throughout the evening accepted a gospel tract. A few rejected or threw down the tract after taking a tract. Yet, I am just being used by the Lord to plant a seed and what happens afterward is up to the Lord.
September 3, 2010
This week marks my 4th year anniversary of living in Knoxville. It was God that brought me here, used all situations to make a firm commitment to my Jesus through repentance and faith of my Lord and Savior, Jesus.
As many of my normal readers are aware, the first Friday of every month is when the “artsy” people come and show off their talents. Jim and I meet an array of people enjoying the downtown festivities. This week I received a handful of tracts from Acts Tracts. For those interested in the number of tracts we handed out, I estimate around 25.(now the number of people reading the tract: I know there was a lot of people downtown so let us just say we will have to wait til Heaven to find out how one tract given to a person affected other people!
One gentleman walked up to me and inquired about my tracts. He told me and from talking with him, he is a brother in the Lord. He is from North Carolina visiting his son.(His son attends one of the local bible colleges in the Knoxville area.) Bill was telling me he was looking at different tracts to give to people. I gave him two different tracts(different creators of the tracts). He also told me he is also involved with the prison ministry and missions. I told him about the Acts Tracts as a good suggestion. It is encouraging to encourage another brother or sister in the Lord to follow the Great Commission.
Many fear getting rejected by the masses as a reason to not going out evangelizing. Just remember persecution comes with the territory of being a follower in Jesus.
2 Timothy 4:2(HCSB/Holman Christian Standard Bible)
“proclaim the message; persist in it whether convenient or not; rebuke, correct, and encourage with great patience and teaching”
Do you enjoy a product in your household? If it is a helpful item, do you tell others the wonders of the product? Now lets bring this to a spiritual standpoint. If you proclaim the title, “Christian”, then what is the hold up of not sharing your faith in Jesus.? People’s lives depend on Jesus. Putting their faith in Jesus means they can give their sins over to Jesus in exchange for his righteousness. Thereby not being found a guilty sinner at the Day of Judgment.
You don’t have to stand on a street corner with bible verse signs.(Unless the Lord guides and provides you to do it.) He may just assign you to a family member, co-worker, friend, an acquaintance, etc. As a believer, he will give you the words to say as you are led by the Spirit of the Lord(Zechariah 4:6).
You can even just place Salvation Gospel tracts in public locations. There is no limit to how God can lead you to share the Gospel in confrontational and non-confrontational settings.