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.

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

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

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

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

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

Unique Tract Reactions

November 22, 2009

1 Thessalonians 1:5 (New Living Translation)

For when we brought you the Good News, it was not only with words but also with power, for the Holy Spirit gave you full assurance that what we said was true. And you know of our concern for you from the way we lived when we were with you.

God’s Word has can have an explosive effect on people. When sharing your faith, sometimes you can see people’s reactions.  I had three separate incidents by just using a simple gospel tract.

The first was an older couple. The man noticed I dropped a Million Dollar Bill.  He thought I accidentally dropped the bill.(I did not.) I told him I sometimes purposefully drop the Gospel tract which look like real money. He said that was neat. He then proceeded to tell me he was a retired minister and how it was a blessing to see someone evangelizing.  He encouraged me to never quit doing what the Lord started in me.

The second incident was at my every other year eye exam.  After the doctor was done checking my eyes, I showed him one of my eye illusion tracts(the curved angle tract).  He liked it and I told him he could have it to show his other colleagues in his eye profession. Then I told him there was a gospel message on the back of the tracts.

The last and funny incident was at KFC. I sat next to the trash cans.  I placed the fake Monopoly game piece(Get out of Hell free card) on top of the cans where the trays are returned.  I watch how one man took the card back to his family and church family, about 25 adults and children,  occupying half the KFC building.(Must have been Baptists. Ha! Ha!) He handed off to one of the ladies and she very loudly in the dinning area read the gospel tract. They kept the tract.

Just because someone attends a church and has the appearance of  a Christian, does not mean they are saved.  It maybe someone in the church group will come to actual repentance and faith in Jesus instead of playing church religion.

I did have other opportunities to hand out tracts or place them in unique areas such as benches, tables, books, and etc.  It was these unique incidents God let me encounter the explosive power of the Holy Spirit.

After a long nap and feeling tons better.(The getting sick was definitely spiritual warfare.) I grabbed some Million Dollar Bills and headed for the University of Tennessee Strip.(Bar and restaurant area on Cumberland).

I always begin and end in prayer when I go out to fish(street witness).  It is the power of the Holy Spirit which gives me the ability to share Jesus with people.

The Strip was jammed packed with college students and Knoxville police.  Some people took bills, others refused, and many came up to me asking for them. It is refreshing to me when people come up to you asking for the Million Dollar Bill tract.

Some officers called out to me curious to what I was passing out.  I gave the gospel presentation to a group of six officers. Whoot! After the gospel presentation, they told me if I encountered any problems to get their attention.

This night was even more exciting as I was able to attain the attention of several groups of college students. Most take the bill and go on their way. Yet, God gave me more time with the groups and individuals to proceed with the Million Dollar question. (Are you going to Heaven?)

One instance where I was able to ask the question and get at least a 3 minute conversation with a young man.  He confessed he had not been to church in a while and the church he admitted to attending was one down the road from my church.  He was a little tipsy and from the looks of the group he was in attendance was not a group I suspected he  did not really fit in. As his group was dragging him away, I encouraged him to read the back of the bill, read his Bible, and get back to church as soon as possible. After he left, I said a small prayer for this young man.

It is very disappointing to see many young people make the same choices I made in the past. I used to both go to the bar on Saturday night and attend church the next morning.  The bars provide students with unrealistic pleasure which go against the Word of God. The hopes of seeing scantily dressed women show off their hooters after drinking too much was a draw for me to go to bars. Yet, I knew the Bible had clear warning from participating in events at the bars.(wet-t-shirt contests, etc). It took some tough situations for me to experience to know God has better plans for me than what I tried to gain at bars.  I eventually came to repentance and faith in the Lord during this time. Now, I want to be able to reach the college students for the Lord. Many times it means going where the college student goes on nights( bars, waffle house, football games, etc).

I know there are mothers, fathers, grandparents, pastors, and church people praying for there prodigal children.  I wonder at times, if many of these praying people are asking God for someone like myself to encounter their child in these situations?

Here is a Chick tract  which gives a story about many of the situations I encounter at the bar district.

http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/0099/0099_01.asp

Many think I am hokie  for  street witnessing.(Actually, a Hokie is who you are if you attend Virgina Tech.) People can think whatever or discourage me from street witnessing.  I must be faithful to God and his words, “Go into ALL the world…”, Right now my world is Knoxville, Tennessee.  I must obey God rather than the idle threats of man.

2 Corinthians 5:20 (New Living Translation)

So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!

If you want to see sinners repent and place their faith in Jesus, then we need to bring the church to the sinner. Many in the church have it backwards, build a church and the sinner attend. It may happen. Yet according to the Great Commission, we are told by Jesus to “Go into the world.”

If you are a Christian believer, then you are commanded by Christ to share the Good News of Jesus Christ to all people.  155,000 people die each day. Many without repenting and placing their faith in Jesus. What are you doing about it? You may say….”I leave it to the preacher and those called to evangelism.” However, the commandment Jesus gave before ascending into Heaven was for every believer to share and preach the Gospel. So the only way you can be excluded from this is if you are not a believer.

I’m not implying you should become a Billy Graham and hold crusades, unless the Lord tells you.  You daily go out into the public via your job, recreational facilities, events, ball games, etc., so you have a field God has given you to tend.  I will say in the area of you job, do the job you were hired. You can witness by your work ethic and during your lunch break or off the clock you can witness personally to your co-workers.

After church services, I went out to the mall for some fishing(street evangelism). I purposefully dropped the million dollar bills on the ground. In one instance, I saw a group of college age kids pick up the bill. One guy started reading the tract. He then passed it on to his friends. One bill tract was read by seven kids. Pray for these college kids.

In another situation after I dropped a bill, a high school kid picked the bill up read the gospel message and in disgust threw it back on the ground. It was momentarily picked up by a young grade school kid. Then his dad grabbed it out of his hands. The dad read the back and in a huff he tore the bill up and threw it in the garbage.  Now you may say, that was a waste of a tract. However, two men read the gospel message. It cut them in the heart and offended them. Yet, only after time the seeds which were planted will take effect. Over time they will either grow bitter towards the Gospel or it will “bug the tar” out of them til they realize their need for repentance and a Savior. Yet, when they die and stand before the Lord, God will ask them why the rejected the Gospel message. It may have been their only opportunity to know Christ before dying. Just as scripture says:

Romans 1:20 (New Living Translation)

For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.

Do not expect immediate conversion at point of impact.  Just like gardening, it takes time to see the results. Even though time is growing short and God will enter time and space. He will say time is up. Everyone will have to give an account of  why they did or did not repent and place their faith in Christ.

Share Jesus with others while the clock is ticking and let us bring as many people to Heaven. The more the merrier.

This past Thursday was a unique opportunity to give away three million dollar bill tracts.(Michael Jackson on the front.)
Walked into the Krystal on Cumberland(For those living outside the South, it is the redneck version of White Castle.) and saw three older black men playing a serious game of Chess. I told the men whoever won the Chess game would be the million dollar winner. Then I layed two more million dollar bills down and said the looser also get a million. Then I layed a third million dollar bill down(not a Michael Jackson one….I ran out of him. It was the one with Rutherford B. Hayes) and said this is for the person acting as the Judge over the chess proceedings.

At Mall East in Knoxville, I gave one million dollar bill to a person walking out of the mall. The man chuckled as I told him don’t spend it all in one place.
So there are places all around us to share our faith and handout tracts. It is not hard to hand out tracts. Yes, you may have to swallow some pride of what others think about you, especially if you encounter someone you know while handing out tracts.
Matthew 10:32 (New Living Translation)
“Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.

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.

On this Saturday evening, I encountered a  liberal-minded high school age group sitting in the park next to Market Square. I asked one of them if they would like a Trillion Obama bill. A couple of them took the offer. One of the girls was perceptive enough to know there was the Gospel message on the back of the bill.

She asked, “When you hand these out and people see Obama on the front then turn to the back of the bill and see a Christian message, isn’t it a kinda of gotcha tactic?” I respectfully took the natural realm of Obama on the front and bridged the spiritual realm of the Gospel message on the back. I replied, “Both Obama and Jesus offer ‘change’, Obama offers temporary change, while Jesus offers eternal change.” I used  this passage from God’s Word:

2 Corinthians 5:17 (New International Version)

17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

After making the bridge between the natural to the spiritual then applying Scripture, she and her friends were able to make sense of the change God was presenting to them. I thank them for their  time and told them to consider the message on the back of the bill.

Saturday was the big move for the new and returning college students. On Saturday night, they were on the UT strip(Cumberland St.) like locusts. A couple of interesting meets with some students.
One was a returning college student “laying the mack” on some new college freshman girls. I was once a college student and I knew what this college guy was attempting to do with any lady he could seduce. If you parents are not praying for your college student, especially those of you with daughters, you need to be praying hard. Simply for the fact, some  guys would like to “initiate” your little girls into the college experience.
One of my favorite current street preachers is a guy named Tony Miano. Tony is a former law officer.(Check out his facebook page or his blog: http://thelawmanchronicles.blogspot.com/ ). I remember how protective he was when one of his little girls accompanied him on a street evangelism day.
So back to my Saturday night…. I approached the hormonally charged college man and in front of the girls he was seducing, I said, “Hey, brother, Jesus loves you” and gave him a bible tract. I slowly walked on  down the sidewalk. I suddenly heard him scream from the top of his lungs, “I HATE GOD!” He was quite angry I(or should I say God place me in the girls and his path) broke his little “mack attack” on the girls.
About 15 minutes later after a bathroom brake at the Krystal, I walked back to the area. Low and behold, the girls were still there talking, minus the guy. Obviously, the girls were not impressed with the guy’s rant.  I talked to the girls, they were freshman and there first night on the town and away from family. I told them to be careful tonight and have an enjoyable evening. I gave them each a tract and told them, “Jesus loves you.”
The love the young man had for them was not the same love Jesus has for them. The young man had erotic intentions. Christ had a self-sacrificing love(most commonly referred in the Greek as “Agape” love).
I knew these girls had fathers or potentially had a “father figure” in their life and if a horny college man approached them with thoughts  of sleeping with them, those daddies would have grabbed the kid by the collar and gave him the right foot of christian fellowship on his butt.
I could obviously tell this kid had ill intentions towards those girls. Ive seen from doing street ministries around bars of many guys slipping a drug in a girls drink  so they could rape a woman. I believe God placed me at the right time to stop a potential victimization on a young college woman. I could have whooped the little kid, but God had a better and creative way to get the kid’s attention as well as the girls seeing how he responded to the presentation of the Gospel.
When you go out street witnessing, you will come into situations which may have a dual effect. The main one is the presentation of the God’s Word. The second may meet a immediate need or crime prevention.  Always start with prayer and asking for strength and guidance from the Holy Spirit when sharing the Gospel. Always end with prayer. God gave you the opportunity to plant a seed. It will be exciting to see the results of the planting of the seed when you get to Heaven. You may not see the result here on Earth, but God will reward you for your faithfulness to the Great Commission.

Jesus and his Agape love always wins, especially against a horny college boy.