I received the following encouraging response to last weeks journal from Carl G. If others out there are blessed by my journals, please let me know. I too can use encouragement at times.
Your Journal accounts are exceedingly exciting.....the BUSINESS of SOUL WINNING is always very exciting and extremely interesting and motivating to those who really KNOW Jesus.
Bro, have you read the most recent biography of William & Catherine Booth ? It's simply titled--WILLIAM & CATHERINE , by Trevor Yaxley, published by Bethany House.....hardcover, about 300 pages with notes.
This book will greatly stir the soul of any true soul winner...this couple were "wild & wooly" in their methods and innovations of the winning of the lost and the preaching of HOLINESS to the saved...GREAT BOOK ! I have read tons of bios, over the years, of all the great soul winners, and this book is one of the best ever.
If you are the friend of books, and would love to read this great one, let me know. I will purchase the book for you, at our local Mardel Christian Book Store and mail it to you. I may have to order it, through them, if they are sold out. But, if you want a copy just say the word.
Keep up the GOOD WORK Bro! When I read your words, concerning your work, I know that you are for real and not among the MANY FLAKES that one encounters, on the streets and campuses, who are simply playing games and impersonating the "Real McCoy ".
May 1st Chronicles 4:10 always be your portion, from our Great God, as you daily take your stand for the LORD JESUS on America's University Campuses....and else where.
This morning I waited for a young man named Damian who attends the Ultimate Life Church in Charlotte. He wanted to come along because he is interested in evangelism, and I had talked to him several times over the last two years about getting out on the front lines, down in the trenches. On the trip up to UNCC, I instructed him on what was going to happen, and why things happen when the gospel is preached. I explained about the division that the preaching invariably brings between Christ and the world. I explained about how the preaching actually causes people to open up and begin to pour out of their mouth all the filthiness of their heart.
Heb 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
By the time we arrived, he was prepared to what was about to happen. I started preaching at the tail end of the noon break, and was not able to gather a large crowd. Since the campus had been preached on all last week, I was anticipating that it would be hard to get any attention. I was correct. I gathered a small crowd which, as it turned out was a good thing.
The young lady in the yellow sweatshirt had been a regular heckler and Christian opposer all last week. In fact the crowd contained several who were mockers last week. As the day progressed, the crowd would sometimes get up to 20-25, but then it would drop back down to a core group.
The day was spent not in handling hecklers, but mostly in teaching. At one point later in the day, a little unruliness broke out when a Muslim (who would not admit to being a Muslim) continued to press the issue that God could not have a son. That is one of the basic tenets of this demonic religion. They can offer no rationale for the belief, and expect us to automatically go along with the absurd assertion. I argued that the God who created man and woman and CHILDREN most certainly could have a son. If not, and we were made in the image of God, where did he get the idea of children? If we are made in the image of God, and we can have children, then it is not a leap to believe God could have a Son.
During this time, Damian was in the thick of it, defending the faith against the pernicious lies of the "religion of peace". He actually lost his voice a little bit. I wonder if he realized just how close he had come to actually preaching.
I hope he can come out with me again. He survived his baptism of fire and only asked one question afterwards about calling people "bad names". When I pointed out where Jesus did just that, he understood and agreed it can be useful.
Today I went our alone and wondered what kind of response I would get. I started preaching for the noon break, but could not gather a crowd. They were apparently all preached out. I sat down in my chair to await the next break. Before very long, the girl in the yellow sweatshirt and another young man from the day before came up and sat down on the sidewalk. Then followed a most unusual day. I wound up teaching for about 6.5 hours. No heckling, no mocking, even from the mockers and hecklers. The crowd ranged from 7 or 8 up to about 25 at times. But all day long it was question and answer time.
It was amazing. Down through the years I would have to battle sometimes for weeks to overcome the opposition to get a crowd in this state - open and accepting. It has always been the theoretical goal of the confrontation to get a crowd to where they were malleable and open. Lately it has been getting easier and easier to achieve that state. I believe it is because as we draw closer to the Lord's return that the power of the enemy is being beaten down.
At one point, I asked the girl in yellow her name. She said "Lindsay". I said, "Lindsay, you say you are a Christian, but for the last several days, you have defended sin openly. Why do you defend sin?"
She said, "There are things I resist and don't do, but there are sooo many sins I can't imagine stopping them all."
I said. "Ahhhh, that's what your problem is! Your definition of sin is too expansive. You think things are sin that are not."
I proceeded to tell her that Jesus was tempted just as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, temptation is not a sin. I pointed out that if someone cuts you off in traffic, you might get angry, but it would not necessarily be sin. The Bible says in Eph 4:26: Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: So one can be angry and it is not sin. Of course whipping out your AK-47 and hosing down his car would be sin. Jesus showed anger on several occasions and it was not sin. A dieting woman may cheat and eat a piece of chocolate thus causing guilt, but she has not sinned against God. As I listed out other examples, her face began to light up.
I explained to her that God's law consists of 613 commandments, statues, and ordinances. We are not subject to the ceremonial law, which deals with the temple sacrifice, because Christ is our sacrifice. We are not subject to the dietary law because it was decided by the apostles that the gentiles would not be subject to them. We are not subject to the dress code laws for the same reason. The ceremonial, the dietary, the dress code all are part of the old covenant, which was supplanted in Christ Jesus.
But Jesus did uphold the remainder of the law, and the Christian is bound by the moral code. Things like sex with animals or dead people, same-gender sex, theft, lying, coveting, murder. Once you get past the parts of the law that are essentially applicable only to the Jews under the old covenant, you find that the moral code is narrow, focused, and very easy to keep. It is easy not to have sex with a dog or a corpse. I can resist very easily the temptation to steal, or to commit fornication, or adultery because those acts are repugnant to one who loves God with all the heart, mind, soul, and strength.
I explained that God is not glorified, nor is he pleased if we set up standards for sin that make us "stricter than God". The Bible says there is only one lawgiver: Jas 4:12 There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: We offend God when we judge His law to be too strict and refuse to judge. We also offend Him when we think that our standard is better than His and try to establish a stricter code. We need to be UP to the standard, but to NOT surpass it.
With that we became best friends. Gone was the resistance and the mocking. She understood that Jesus' commandment to "be perfect even as the father is perfect" is something that can be reached. From that point on, she actively defended me as being a nice guy and reasonable to her friends that passed by.
It was a breakthrough that would carry over to the next day as she influenced more and more people. I had an ally!
This morning I had an 8:00 am meeting with the pastor of Ultimate Life Church, Barry Harmon. I had asked for an opportunity to share my ministry with him with the hope that his church might be led to help support me. This is the home church of an early disciple of mine from the early 80's. Ivan Moore preached with me back during the time of a strong revival that swept through Penn State, just before I was forced to leave the ministry by a financial shortfall. Ivan has remained faithful to his commitment to revival and holiness. He is my host during the last few days in the South Carolina and North Carolina area. Ivan is a deacon of the church, and very active in all aspects of church life. I tend to puff up a little when I see such long lasting on-fire fruit from my early days.
We had a productive and encouraging time together as we shared our respective visions of what God wants to do through us. Since my ministry tends to be very controversial, I was able to share with Barry a lot of scripture that is the underlying foundation of the confrontational method. I also pointed out that the role of the street preacher differs from the pastor. The pastor's responsibility is to hold the flock together, to build them up in unity and love. But the street preacher has a different focus. Not unity but division. We are out there attempting to pull the sinners OUT OF THE WORLD, into the church. The division that the preaching produces, which Jesus said was His express purpose (Mt 10:34-35), is the means to placing an extreme choice before the world. Jesus places Himself apart and opposed to the world. To come to Him requires the forsaking of the world. In Mt 10 Jesus explained the extreme choice absolutely needed to follow Him:
Mt 10:37-39 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
It is all or nothing. ALL OR NOTHING. We all have come across people who are only wishy-washy in their commitment to Christ. They will not make it. They will be found unworthy of Jesus and be cast into Hell.
I believe that Pastor Harmon understood the different roles we have, and how they work together for the building up of the church. After the meeting, I proceeded on to UNCC again.
Today started out just like yesterday, except for the early part. I started out again with a bust in gathering a crowd at the 10:30 break, and sat down to await the next break. Like yesterday, before very long, a small crowd gathered consisting of several from the day before. What followed was a true anomaly from the preaching perspective. I never did preach. Instead, I TAUGHT for eight and one half hours - all day, up until almost 7:00 PM.
The day went by very fast, as I laid out the basics of salvation, sanctification, and holiness. There was NO opposition at all. I pontificated on theology, science, philosophy, and a smattering of politics. What a joy! Pure teaching to an open and receptive group. The size of the group varied up and down all day long. At times it got up to about 20, other times down to 5-6.
Toward the end of the day, a group of feminists came down the sidewalk in single file. At first it looked like they all were wearing Grecian robes. But on a closer look, they had white paper cutouts in front of them. They were commemorating 81 women who had died by violence in the state over the last year. They had a bell and they rang it slowly and recited each woman's name. I did not interfere with their memorial, and stepped back to take some pictures. See the fellow in the blue shirt labeled DAN? He was the highlight of my time on campus at UNCC.
He followed me apart from the gaggle of feminists, and engaged me in a conversation. He confided in me that he had been a pastor, but had gone through some difficult times and had almost lost his faith. He told me that hearing me preach a bold message with strong faith was like the Lord was restoring him. He was encouraged - my preaching was like the balm of Gilead for him. He and I seemed to have a strong and instant simpatico, as I have had many trials and tribulations myself. The trials were always to test my faith and my confession. No matter how bad things got, my faith survived and was able to hold onto my confession that God is good throughout it all.
We had a few minutes before he had to go away to study. We shared our visions for the church, and they were almost identical. Those of you who know me have heard me talk about the church as a financial organization not for the building of grander and grander edifices, but for the equipping of the saints. His vision is to start inner city churches which would buy dilapidated houses in the neighborhood, hire the people from that block, refurbish the houses, and share in the profits. The church would be repaid so it could do it over and over. By making itself the financial resource of the parishioners, the people are built up, trained in thrift and skills, and built up as fathers and husbands. His vision is to start churches, linked with financial resources, and companies that would share in the work.
I was gratified that I could share my vision of the church with someone who has that exact plan as his long term goal. I was also gratified in being able to contribute to a beaten up saint's recovery. If you think of Dan, pray for him for healing of the deep wounds he has suffered.
The next day I received this email:
I enjoyed getting to talk to you for a while yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon. (Just in case you don't remember, I'm the guy that used to be in ministry and got burnt, is coming through the healing process, and is hoping to start a network of businesses, churches, and neighborhood ministries in urban at-risk areas.)
I just wanted to let you know again how much I appreciate what you are doing. Hopefully, I'll get a chance to see you again sometime. I think that our contact is a part of what God is doing to restore me to useful service for him. So, thanks.
Continued blessings for all you do.
The last good thing that happened was that a small group of students were listening when a Muslim came into the discussion and started to plead the Muslim canned criticisms. A young lady, very modestly dressed took a stand for the faith, I asked her if she was a believer and she affirmed she was. "In fact," she said, "we all are believers". Another student piped up and said, "Yeah, we are going to have a Bible study then go out witnessing." They asked me if I would pray for them and I did. I prayed for boldness and for them not to fear those they witnessed to. They did a group hug and went off to battle.
I drove over to Athens Georgia this morning to preach at UGA. To my disappointment, the apathy was thick. I tried numerous times to gather a crowd, but to no avail. I did have some good conversations with a couple of students. One sat down and told me he was a thinker and an atheist. I thought to myself, "lets see how much of a thinker you are".
I asked him why he did not believe in God, and his response, as most atheists contend, was that he could not believe in something that has no proof. I said to him, I can prove it. That took him back, so he asked me how.
I explained to him that whenever I pray for weather, I get exactly what I ask for. Regardless of what I ask for I get it: good weather, storm, snow, tornado, earthquake, hail, hurricane, or drought. I explained to him that the proof is a statistical one. If every time I pray for weather, I get what I ask for, then statistically there is zero probability that the results are random. There is the probability of 1 that there is more at work than random weather forces at work.
I told him of one time I was preaching in Fort Collins Colorado. A gigantic storm brewed up over the Rockies that threatened to kill my plans to go down to Denver to see my daughter. I looked at the size of the storm. I began to pray, "Lord this thing is so huge. It is too big to send north of Fort Collins, and it is too big to send south of Denver. Lord, cut the storm in half. Send half north of Fort Collins and half south of Denver." The storm was supposed to hit on Friday, but Friday dawned partly cloudy and mild. I preached all day and then left for Denver. When I arrived in Denver at the home of some friends, I turned the TV on. The weather man was talking. As he shook his head, he said, "We can't explain this folks. We have never seen anything like it. We don't know what is going on, but half the storm is up in Utah, the other half is down in Texas."
The atheist grasped at straws and continued to assert that it was not a proof of God. I stressed that statistics is a part of science, which he resisted completely. "If mathematics is not an integral part of science, what is it then", I asked him. He started to wander far and wide with his hypothetical reasons why a statistical proof was not valid. "Where is you data base", he kept asking. I told him that the data from memory is just as valid as written data. He disagreed. So, I asked him that if I wrote it down, would he believe it then? Of course not.
Seeing I was not getting anywhere with that direction, I took a new tack. I asked him if he believed in evolution. When he affirmed he did, I asked him for evidence to support it. His classic atheist answer was that evolution had been proven over and over many times. I asked him for just one concrete fact proving evolution. He asked me if I believed in genes. I said, "Sure, I am especially fond of Levis".
He tried to argue that mutations are the proof of evolution. I pointed out to him that first off a mutation is 99.9999% of the time harmful, but even if a mutation were to be beneficial, in order for it to be passed down to offspring, thus entering the gene pool, the same mutation would have to occur in a female, at the exact same time, in the exact same location, who just happened to mate with the exact male with that mutation. The probability of a successful capture of a mutation into the gene pool was functionally zero. Much less than .000000000000000000000001 or 10-23.
With that he precipitously left. So much for being a thinker.
A bust. A ghost town. They were on Fall break. That would explain the severe lack of foot traffic. We ought to have a database listing this kind of information.
Dick Christiensen offered to give me a banner last week. I decided to burn the day and drive down to Atlanta to pick up the banner. It was a fruitful trip. Dick was a very gracious host. I spent the night and went out to preach on Saturday with Zach Baxter. Also, in addition to the banner, Dick gave me a Tom-Tom, and a deluxe car wash! It seems I get lost a lot. Plus my car was atrocious. Thanks Dick! You are the best. No more unplanned tours of strange cities.
Zach to the left, Me below (of course). Behold my new banner.
The high points of the day were: (1) I ate at The Varsity, celebrating 80 years of business, (2) I met another street preacher who knew Holy Hubert, preached with Jim Webber and Jeremiah Christian out on the left coast, and knew Jed. His name was....hmmm let me think (3) Two other preachers were also working the football game between Georgia Tech and Florida State. After the preach, I took Zach home and headed back to Rock Hill, SC.
See you next week.