'Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full"

Luke 14:23

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Broken Glass

A couple of weeks ago Jim and Carlin were preaching at Santa Rosa Junior College. A young and rather 'buff' man was approaching them screaming "Shut up; Shut up; Shut up; Sh-..." On the last 'Shut up' the glass full of beverage he was holding fell out of his hands and smashed on the ground. He looked down in disbelief and then - quite embarrassed - skirted away without further ado.

As wicked King Nebuchadnezzar said long ago, "Those who walk in pride, He is able to humble" (Daniel 4:37).

Ministry Update

[This one's for you Marie]

Its been so long since I have updated this blog that I actually forgot what it was called and I had to go to my 'links' page on Facebook to get the site address.

Part of the reason for the infrequent updates is laziness. Another part is that I am always questioning my motives. The words of Tozer continue to haunt me: "Promoting self under the guise of promoting Christ is currently so common as to excite little notice." Do I really maintain this blog for Christ's glory, or for my own? God knows.

Although the blogs have slowed down the preaching goes on. The Santa Rosa Jr. College devoted almost an entire newspaper to our ministry. We have been on several news stations and a friend just told me that our local newspaper reported that Santa Rosa will soon be clamping down and introducing new laws regarding public speech, most likely because of our ministry there. So much for the First Amendment.

Here is a story I want to tell you about: A young woman whom I will call 'Jane' was one of our most vehement opponents. I remember one time I was preaching and she stood right in front of me and stuck both of her middle fingers in my face. I remember looking in her eyes. They were so full of hate that I almost could not believe what I was seeing. If she could have ripped my heart out of my chest and stomped it to a pulp on the sidewalk she gladly would have.

For whatever reason the Lord put it on my heart to give her 20 dollars - just to bless her. So when we arrived at our spot the next week I saw her and realized that I didn't have any money on me. About a half hour later when Jim was preaching a man came up to me and said "God bless you guys" and handed me 20 dollars.

So I look up and who did I see but Jane. So I walked over to her and said, "Jane, you will never believe what happened to me. Someone gave me 20 dollars for preaching the gospel but I don't take money for preaching the gospel so I wanted to give it to you." Her jaw almost hit the ground.

About 10 minutes later I was back to preaching again and Jane and her friend walked by and made some evil comments like "Hey fool, thanks for the 20 bucks. We are going to get a big %$@#& hamburger with it."

What happened next was very interesting. For the rest of the night all her friends kept coming up to me saying things like, "Did you really give Jane 20 bucks?" They could not believe it - that a preacher was actually giving money away. Some of them were calling their friends and telling them, "Hey, remember those preachers? One of them gave Jane 20 bucks...can you believe that?"

Another very interesting thing happened. Jane softened towards me. Later that night she asked me for my e-mail and when I got home this is what I found:

"I don't believe in God anymore because of this: My Mom left me. My Dad left me. The only thing I had was my ex-boyfriend. I loved him. I actually loved him and I loved God. Then my ex tried to commit suicide multiple times. This led me down the wrong path and I tried to commit suicide as well. I always prayed for him. I read my Bible everyday. Then he turned on me. He told me I could go and die. So I tried, but it just left me broken and my heart literally died. I turned away from God. The only thing I had left was cutting. Yes I am a cutter and I can't open myself up to God. I have tried so hard to get Him back in my life but nothing happened so I gave up. The only reason I am telling you this is because I am so hurt and I just need someone to talk to...."

This is a very hurting young girl friends. Join me in praying for her...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sebastopol Farmer's Market

This was a strange day...the demonic activity was off the charts. Sebastopol is a new age community par excellence. Yoga, organic everything, patroli oil pancakes and more curry than you can shake a stick at.

Jim and I started preaching and the place just came unglued. Two (significantly) older women began exposing themselves and shaking violently. The youth covered us with profanities. I think everyone that saw us preach had something wicked to say.

I did something interesting for this preach. I was well aware of this community's 'spirit' so I preached nothing but the love, love, love of God for the first 15 minutes. Not one single word about sin, judgement, hell or anything of that nature. Guess what? They railed me as much as if I was reading Edwards' Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God right from the manuscript. Why cannot the modern church understand the most basic of all biblical doctrines: that man is naturally God's enemy and wants nothing of His grace and mercy until the Holy Spirit raises him from the dead through the New Birth.

A little later, a man who was a self proclaimed guru came over to me while I was preaching and started saying his mantra over me. I invited him to repent of his false religion. He lost all his inner peace then and started to put a hex on me. I told him it was pointless since I was indwelt by the Holy Spirit. He got so mad that he pulled my stool right out from under me and threw it away in the trash! Right in front of all his disciples too.

We preached for over an hour though and many chained souls heard the emancipation proclamation - the gospel of Jesus Christ!! Declare His Glory Among the Heathen!!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Santa Rosa Street Market (8.11.10)

It has been a while since I have posted anything. We continue to preach the gospel all over Sonoma County but I find it very difficult keeping the blog updated.

We saw many breakthroughs on 8.11.10. My friend Jay and I got to the market early to pray for the Lord's help in the work before us. As we were praying a young man named Forrest came over to us and said, "I see that you two have Bibles and are praying and I really feel like I need God in my life."

So we prayed with him. He would comment later that when we prayed he felt something happen inside of him. Jay asked him if he knew the Lord or understood the gospel. Forrest replied no to both questions.

As Jay took him through the gospel Forrest began to weep profusely. We directed him to the local gospel mission. Later he returned and was actually rebuking those who were mocking us! He later prayed with Jay. We believe firmly that he came to Christ that night. He began witnessing to many of the people around him.

We saw two other wonderful breakthroughs as well. We have received untold trouble from a man named Ray who heckles and mocks us every week for the entire time we preach. God has blessed us with the grace to always return blessings for his cursing. On this day, to our astonishment, he approached us literally trembling and said, "I have called you guys fools all this time but now I realize that I am the fool." Pray for him! He is close to coming to the Lord.

Perhaps the only mocker worse that Ray is a young skateboarder whose name I do not know. He hurls profanities at us for hours on end. While Carlin was preaching he began to weep harder that I have seen anyone weep in a long time - and that in front of all his friends. The Holy Spirit was powerfully with us on this evening. The personal conversations were incredibly powerful as well.

Friday, July 23, 2010

San Francisco Gay Pride (6-27-2010)

We set up at our normal location on Market and Powell and by 9 in the morning the city was more packed than it would have been at noon on a normal Saturday. A street preachers dream, to be sure.

At 10:30 the parade started. These 'Gay Pride' parades are traditionally opened by the self described motorcycle organization called Dykes on Bikes http://www.dykesonbikes.org/index.php. They ride their Harley's up and down the route and work the crowd up into an uncontrolled frenzy. The noise is deafening. All at once half a million crazed supporters start screaming at the top of their lungs. The spirit of rebellion that erupted was simply indescribable. I saw at that moment, perhaps for the first time in my life, why the Lake of Fire is absolutely necessary: it is the only possible thing, other than Grace, which can finally subdue the rebel's wicked heart.

After a couple of hours we wanted to move closer to the parade. We found a wonderful intersection that had been closed off to cars and began preaching there. Almost instantly we had several hundred people around us. The police came over quickly and asked us to move to the designated free speech area. We explained that if we were not breaking any laws then we would like to stay where we were.

To our astonishment they set up a free speech area around us. There we were, right in the middle of the Gay Pride Parade in San Francisco, preaching the gospel to thousands as the police surrounded us. Even with the protection it was a difficult venue. At one point someone hurled a rather large ice-coffee at Jim and I. It missed us and hit about four police officers square in the face. They were pissed and had the guy in a cruiser within 30 seconds.

We preached from that spot for several hours. Finally, about an hour after the parade ended we had to move as they reopened the intersection for traffic.

Jim suggested that we jump up on the nearest street corner and start preaching again. Within a minute we had another several hundred people around us - this time though the police had gone bye-bye. Things got ugly quick and soon Jim and I were covered in water, spit, fruit juice and whatever else they could hurl at us. At last a police officer demanded that we move on so we went back to Market and Powell.

One of the coolest things I experienced that day was a sweet man named Gerald. He was probably in his mid-fifties and when I was preaching he came up to me and told me that he had come to the Lord at the SF Gay Pride Parade over ten years ago!!! I asked him how. He explained that the Holy Spirit just simply convicted him of his sin, opened his eyes and showed him Jesus. I gave him the biggest hug I knew how. What a merciful God!!

We heard estimates that there were nearly a million people out celebrating sin that day in San Francisco and yet only about 5 street preachers...would you pray about joining us next year?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Santa Rosa Street Market (7-7-10)

Santa Rosa closes off an entire street every Wednesday during the summer and thousands of people flock to eat, drink and be merry.

We initially went down to the free speech area but there was not a lot of foot traffic so we walked back up to the main intersection where generally everyone enters. When we got there we were not sure where we should set up so we stopped and prayed. We then noticed that people were forced to wait on the corner for several minutes before the light changed and they could cross, so we set up there.

I started preaching first - simply lifting up Christ, explaining to the people His infinite glory. Soon we had a crowd. A young man jumped up on a trash can and started contradicting everything I was saying so I jumped up on the one right beside him and preached even louder. I noticed at the last second someone running behind me and towards me and I knew that they were going to take a shot at me so I was able to sort of jump right as he made contact and landed safely. Praise God!

I jumped right back on my stool and began preaching again. Soon we had about a hundred people around us. Most of them were youth - extremely rebellious youth. Many of them boasted about being either homosexual or bisexual and were clearly all soundly bound in their lives of sin.

I noticed that as some of them railed us they were actually crying indicating some profound conflict going on within them. One objected, "you have made three of my friends cry." I assured them that if they run to Jesus He would wash all their tears away in so many words.

When Jim was preaching there was a young man named Edgardo behind him visibly distraught. I asked him what was wrong - the sum of it was he came under conviction. I prayed for him and trust that something profound had happened in his life just then.

At the peak there was probably 200 people around us. I noticed one woman standing in the middle of the crowd crying as I was preaching. Later she introduced herself. She said that she has two grandchildren who were so lost - just like the kids we were preaching to. She was so sad that they were generally rejecting the message of God's grace, etc.

This was one of the most glorious times preaching the gospel that I have ever had.

**Attention: If you live in the Santa Rosa area and you have a burden for youth please pray about coming out. There are hundreds of very troubled kids out there and they need Christ. As Jim and I preach there are literally dozens of one-on-one opportunities to explain the gospel to these precious souls.***

Please pray for this ministry in particular - the spiritual warfare at this street market was more intense then I have ever seen. Examples of spiritual warfare included:

1) One 'local church leader' going around to the kids contradicting most of what we said.

2) Massive opposition form the homosexuals in the community.

3) Physical confrontations.

4) Hundreds of youth bound by Satan.

5) The leader of the Street Fair trying to run us off (even in the free speech area).

6) A young man claiming that we were not really from God because were we not healing anyone. This man some how found a big piece of cardboard and wrote in huge letters - HEALING MINISTRY. He was then praying for people to get healed - for example, one young man in a wheel chair. I could never figure out if he was serious or not but it was most certainly demonic.

Another interesting note - although many of the youth were 'outraged' at us, almost everyone of them stayed and listened for the full 2 hours!! Awesome!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Bay to Breakers

Jim preaching to naked men; telling them that they must repent....
Jim is holding his Bible just in the right spot...

Market & Powell (6-12-10)

I cannot remember a more glorious day preaching the gospel. The Lord was with us in wonderful ways. Here are some pictures....

From this spot we can reach about 5000 people an hour with the gospel...
Market and Powell is a global village with visitors from all around the world...
After 4 hours of preaching the fellas were hungry...

Jim boldly preaching the gospel as the homosexual banner blows in the background..
This man attacked Jim and broke his camera and then went after him with a chain...

Monday, May 31, 2010

San Francisco Carnival (5-30-10)

Here is a sample of Jim preaching at the San Francisco "Carnival." We were blessed to share the gospel with over 20k people this day.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Phoenix Petaluma (4-30-10)

This was to be my first time street-preaching in my hometown so I was a bit apprehensive to say the least. The Phoenix is a local "punk emporium where teens with angsty [sic] expressions, tattoos, and drooping ear gauges rule the mosh pit" (this is the description I got off the website). In other words; its a den of iniquity.

I felt somewhat relieved that Jim was leading the way as he has preached there many times. On one occasion (by some divine miracle) he was actually granted permission by the owner to preach the gospel during the intermission of a Punk concert. He got about 20 seconds into the 'sermon' before the crowd began shouting, "We love Satan! We love Satan! We love Satan!" Now Jim and the owner of the Phoenix have a rather tenuous relationship...

As our time approached I became very nervous. This was a "Rap" concert so my imagination was running away with me over what might happen. Around 5 PM I noticed that I had missed a call from Jim on my phone. He had left a message saying that he would not be able to make it down in time and that he was sorry.Oh well, I guess it was not meant to be. There was no possible way I would go down there alone - not to a rap concert. (My wife was adamant about that.) Then my heart started pounding, "What about all the people who have prayed for this? Should I go Lord?" Immediately I knew what the answer was, now I just had to bring my will into conformity.

That was no easy task and I paced the house for over an hour, praying that the Lord would give me the courage to go. The courage never came so I had to go without it and trust that the Lord would supply what was lacking when it was needed.

It was packed outside with about 500 of Sonoma County's youth. I stood up on my chair right at the front of the line and preached the gospel for about an hour.

It was quite a scene. They mocked and railed me for the entire time. It mattered little - Christ was making His appeal through this poor preacher - begging them to flee from their sin into the arms of the Savior. They continued to mock and rail and spit and sin as I continued to preach and plead and rebuke and warn. It was a glorious night! I can't wait to go back!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Bay to Breakers (5-16-10)

Bay to Breakers is the 14th most-run (and the 4th longest run) road race in the world. It annually draws over one-hundred thousand participants and thus we thought it would be a great venue to preach at.

We set up towards the end of the race in beautiful Presidio Park. This would allow us to preach at the ‘after parties’ as well. Not only had I done a bit of research on the race, but I had also grown up watching the Boston Marathon and so I thought I knew what to expect.

The first runners passed us around 8:20AM. They were clearly world class athletes. We began preaching: “Flee from your sin, run to Jesus, etc.” After about 15 minutes the packs of runners became thicker and thicker until all I could see for the next three and a half hours was a sea of humanity coming towards me.

This wasn’t the Boston Marathon. Many of the runners were naked. About half were in costumes – a great percentage of them of an extremely perverted nature. It seems that San Fran-sick-o can turn even a road race into a bath of iniquity.

Whenever a naked runner would pass (and this was every 30 seconds) I would say “Oh save yourselves from this wicked and perverse generation!” The other runners would become so angry. How dare I “judge” them! “Go back to %@#*& church” was their constant request. If you are wondering, “why were they not arrested for public nudity?” your guess is as good as mine.

The after party was unreal. I have never seen sin more openly displayed. Jim got up on the chair first: “Repent, the kingdom of heaven is near!” That drew a crowd. There was about 100 people around us and about 1000 in the immediate vicinity. They were all hostile.

Two or three police officers were looking on. Nude people were walking by. Drugs were everywhere. It was anarchy.

Jim preached for about 15 minutes then I took my turn. By the time I was done there was now a small crowd around us becoming more and more hostile. “Repent, turn from your sin, flee to the Savior.” They were outraged. Sinners love their sin you know. I was sexually assaulted twice while I was preaching and that in plain view of the police.

By now there were about seven officers around us. Jim got up to preach again. The crowd got thicker and more hostile. A cop came over to me, “tell your partner that he’s got 10 minutes. We are here to protect you but this thing is getting out of hand.” I said, “Could you give us twenty minutes? We are not breaking any laws.” He agreed initially but then he started to panic. “I don’t want this turning onto a riot. Get that guy off the chair and get out of here.” By the time Jim was done there was around a dozen police called over. All for us. Thank you Jesus for the protection!

If the Bay to Breakers website is correct we preached the gospel to around 100k people that day. Praise the Lord!

Market & Powell (Various Dates)

Jim and I have been out to Market and Powell in downtown San Francisco every Sunday since the last post. As you can see I am way behind in updating the blog and do not have the time to catch up. We leave every Sunday at 1:30 PM and preach for approximately 4 hours.

We estimate from our spot that around four thousand people an hour hear the gospel from our mouths; that's around 80,000 people since my last post. If you would like to join us in this ministry we would love to have you!!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Market and Powell 4/10/10

Jim and I took turns preaching. When I am preaching Jim usually walks around the trolley line speaking to people on a more personal level and when Jim preaches I usually pray and look to see if I can spot anyone who is obviously being touched by the Word.

At one point Jim was preaching and he was becoming more and more in earnest - pleading with sinners to come to the Savior. The spiritual warfare was beginning to heat up. A group of young girls were cusing him out and yelling at him to shut up. To the left of him there was that homeless man that I ran into a few weeks before that holds up that sign "why lie, I need a beer." He looks exactly like Gandalf from the Lord of the Rings movies. The demon possessed man from the last time was back as well, swilling vodka from Gandalf's bottle and contradicting everything that Jim was saying; spitting at him , etc. The warfare was getting really intense.

Many in the crowd were shouting at Jim, "Shut up and give that guy money for beer," and stuff like that. I noticed a couple of police officers standing across the plaza. I went over to them and told them that a couple of guys were swilling vodka in public.

Once Gandalf realized that I was probably the one who ratted him out he became like a bear robbed of her cubs. He was screaming bloody murder. Next to me was another guy, well dressed, who claimed to be a Federal Officer. He demanded that we move at least 10 feet away while the police officers finished with the homeless guys. When I asked to see his badge he got upset and then changed stories. Now he was a famous preacher from Tennessee and insisted that us street preachers were the scum of the earth.

I was reeling. People shouting at us from the trolley line, homeless guys threatening our lives, a schizophrenic manic demanding that we leave. The devil was emptying out his bag of tricks.

While all this was transpiring I noticed a young African-American man standing about five feet away from Jim; just staring at him. I asked him his name; he told me Caleb. I said, "Caleb, why are you standing here listening to this guy? What's going on inside of you?" "I don't know" he replied. I asked him, "are you a Christian?" "I don't know," he said. I asked him, "have you been born again?" He shook his head, "no." I said, "do you want to be?" He said that he did.

I walked him through the gospel, gave him a Bible and told him to read the Gospel of John. The Holy Spirit had clearly arrested him through the preaching of the Word. As he walked away he said, "what just happened to me?"

Then I knew why all hell was breaking loose; Caleb was being inwardly called to Christ and whenever this happens the devil rails and yet the gates of hell cannot prevail. Christus victor!!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Market and Powell 3-28-10

I was very excited for this particular day because another street preacher from the area (Jim) was going to join me as well as a young man named Christian who helps Jim in his ministry.

The streets were packed as the weather was beautiful. I sent my usual text message with trembling hand to a few of my prayer partners and then began preaching.

I preached alone for about 45 minutes before Jim and Christian showed up. Soon after I began I noticed a small, older, African-American gentleman standing about 10 feet in front of me saying “Amen, glory to God” after just about every proposition I laid down.

I would later learn his name was William – an old preacher from Harlem, NY. He had relocated out here and is now an associate minister at a church in the city. He was a tremendous blessing to us. There is nothing quite like a godly old black man. Several times he prayed for me and for my preaching and when he stopped and I looked up tears were running down his cheeks. What a precious saint of God!

Scoffers abounded. As I was declaring, “Jesus is the only way to heaven,” a middle-eastern, rich and sophisticated ‘Muslim’ reminded me of Muhammad – ‘God’s Prophet,’ so he said. I replied, “That pretender is in the grave where his bones still lay; but Jesus has risen from the dead!” Then I looked at the crowd and said, “Jesus does not stand in a line of peers with Muhammad or Buddha; He is utterly peerless!”

Another very sophisticated San Franciscan woman told me to…well, you can probably guess; and then spit at me. Also the homeless were out in droves contradicting my every word.

By the time Jim and Christian arrived I was taking a break and talking with William. We then all prayed together and I began preaching again. I felt renewed in strength with the coming of the brothers even though my voice was beginning to strain.

As I was preaching a man (I forget his name) came up to me. He was covered with tattoos all over his arms and neck. I leaned over to hear what he had to say. He said, “I have been listening to you preach and I need to get saved, what do I do?” I then looked him in the eyes and figured he was playing with me and then he said again, “What should I do?”

I pointed over at Jim who had just arrived not 5 minutes earlier and said, “Go talk to that man right there.” Jim walked him through the gospel and the man came to the Jesus right then. Once I could tell what happened I shouted out, “Oh how much joy there is in the presence of angles over one sinner who repents!!!” Jim told me later that the man had AIDS and was just released from prison, and, interestingly, he did not ask us for a dime.

Jim then started preaching. It was so awesome to hear him. He is truly anointed of God for this work. A while back – by some divine miracle – he received permission to preach the gospel during the intermission of a local Punk Rock concert. Needless to say the audience was not pleased – nor was the owner of the theatre (what did he think preaching the gospel meant!?) and Jim eventually exited under the chants “We love Satan, we love Satan, we love Satan!” I feel honored to labor with such a man.

Anyway, at one point when we were all gathered in a huddle praying (me, Christian, William and Jim) this very large and extremely muscular homeless man was standing next to us trying to interrupt our prayers with some demonic ‘speech.’ It absolutely sent chills down my spine. Once we stopped praying I looked right at him and said, “Sir, you have an unclean spirit – you need Jesus Christ.” He railed me with a dozen profanities.

When Jim got up to start preaching this man began to get fairly physical with him; grabbing the hand that held his Bible and whatnot. Jim then said, “Sir we are going to pray for you right now.” So all four of us gathered together and began to pray that the evil spirit would leave that man. As we did he began to shake violently and then he let out this scream that I can only describe as a cry of the dammed. My spine turned to ice. He then began to speak in a voice that was clearly not his own. The demon never left him. He walks the streets in torment. Please pray for him.

As our voices started to go hoarse William was kind enough to go to the store and get us cough drops and water. What a blessing from God that brother was.

Christian (Jim’s assistant) had been street preaching with Jim many times but had actually never preached. Whenever Jim would suggest that he give it a try I would watch as all the blood rushed out of his face and it looked as if he was going to vomit. Finally the gentle prodding of Jim prevailed and Christian mounted the chair.

I was on the opposite side of the plaza and in between myself and him were hundreds of people. When he started preaching he sounded like a scared 19 year old boy (which he was). But then the power of God came on him and he began to preach with such strength that I could hear him clear as a bell from across the plaza. He was bold as a lion! Would to God that he would raise up ten thousand young men like Christian!!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Market & Powell 3-14-10

I have been off for two weeks. Last week I was absolutely exhausted from a 3 day pastor's conference in Los Angeles and the week before I was preaching in my church building. Therefore I could not wait to get back on the streets!

It was a beautiful Sunday and San Francisco was packed. When I got to the plaza one of the first things I noticed was a nicely dressed African-American gentleman addressing a crowd of people lined up to buy the cable car tickets. I snuck over to see what he was saying because if he was already preaching I would simply ask if I could join him and we could have ministered together.

It became apparent that he was not preaching at all but rather threatening all the white people there with something like eternal destruction and longing for the day when the black man would take over the human race "to eternity," as he put it. Anyway, it was going to be very difficult to commence preaching with him around.

As I set up my chair I noticed that he jumped the wire that kept people away from where the cable cars terminated and then started again. He was pronouncing eternal destruction on all white people.

This was becoming a problem so I called my prayer partner for this ministry and we took it before the Lord. Satan was trying to kill the preaching before it even started. We prayed in full faith and by the time I had opened my eyes and had gotten myself situated my angry friend was in handcuffs and being escorted away by San Francisco's finest. The preaching could now begin.

Some of the questions I am already starting to get (and sometimes a bit cynically) is "what fruit is this all bearing?" and "is any one getting saved?" and "where will they go to church if they do get saved?" I am totally and absolutely satisfied to leave these answers ultimately in the hands of the Lord but I can say a few things now.

First of all, Christ is being preached. The Son is being proclaimed in one of the most godless cities in the world. The sole reason why I wanted to start this ministry was not in order that people may get saved - the fire in my bones was not for the souls of men but rather for the glory of the Son. I simply had to declare His glory among the heathen.

Since I have started this ministry though, my love for the lost has grown tremendously and the Lord has enlarged my heart to plead with them for their souls. I really want men to come to Christ. First for His glory, but also for their salvation.

Next; are people getting saved? In the modern sense that has come to mean "are people making decisions for Christ." No, no one is making a decision for Christ and I have not led anyone through 'the sinners prayer' (whatever that is). But the real question is: when I am preaching is the Holy Spirit regenerating the hearts of men? Are people getting born again? Are they being spiritually raised from the dead? Is their heart of stone being changed to a heart of flesh? Are they becoming new creations? My best guess under the Lord is yes, some are. I see some of their faces and I know something is happening but exactly what only God knows and honestly I don't really want to know. I am content to wait for the Last Day.

Finally, where will they go to church? Well, for most Christians all the problems begin when they start going to church. When we are born again we realize that we 'are' the church. Once we start 'going' to church things typically go down hill fast! I am confident that if someone has the Trinity dwelling in them because they have become born again; that this same God that sets the course for the stars and the boundaries for the ocean can lead a man where He wants him to go.

For about the first half hour a drunk homeless man with a sign that said "Why lie, I need a beer," was railing on me with every profanity in the book. As usual, mockers make for better preachers. "You see this drunkard enslaved to his sin? Don't judge him because of his ratty clothes - you are all just as much a slave to your sins as he is to his and therefore you need a Savior and boy have I got a Savior for you!"

I saw something very interesting happen several times this day. Men with their families who reject the message feel very uncomfortable. I then beg them, that if they don't want the Savior please don't bar their children from Him. As they stew in their self-righteousness I remind them that if I could show their wives what they toy with in their minds all day they would no longer be married. I don't say things like this to be cute but rather in the hope that they will become convicted of their sin.

Many teenagers were before me - and though their parents mocked they listened and I am sure some were being touched by the Lord. I locked eyes with one young man and said "come to Him, you need Jesus, come to Him, He will not cast you away." He nodded in quiet agreement. Pray for that young man!!!

I had two dear brothers standing beside me almost the whole time. City evangelists who were content to simply encourage me the whole time I preached and pass out their tracts. I love these brothers even though I have never met them. I had a profound sense that they were my people - that it was people like these I want to be around the most. One was a homeless man and the other was a older Hispanic man who wore a hair net and a trench coat. Quite a character and boy what a sweet, Jesus-loving spirit. Oh how God's people look so much different than we would suppose! Oh what great reversals on the Last Day!

As I was walking back to the bus I felt like the most blessed human being on the face of the earth.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Market and Powell 2-21-10

Winter is rainy season in Northern California and thus many days are technically 'out of season' for preaching the gospel on the streets. But Paul commanded Timothy to be ready to preach the gospel both, "in season and out of season" (2 Timothy 4:2). Oh how foolish of me to have even toyed with the idea of staying home because of the rain!

That was the first lesson I learned this week - that this is a rain or shine ministry! Rain it did and at times very hard but there were still hundreds of people on the streets and it was two glorious hours of preaching the gospel to the lost of San Francisco.

About 15 minutes into my preaching two police officers came over to me and said that they had received a noise complaint from one of the businesses. I said, "OK, so what does that mean?" The officer told me that if they called again and filed a complaint they he would cite me and I would have to appear in court before a judge.

Needless to say I was taken back. I stood on my chair for a couple of minutes and prayed and then I started preaching again. I told the crowd, "The police told me that if they got another complaint then they would cite me and that I would have to go to court; but your souls are more important to me than an appearance in court so I will continue to preach to you until they take me away." They never came back.

I felt great freedom and boldness for the entire 2 hours. Oh how glorious it is to preach Jesus Christ crucified to the masses! When it would start raining hard I would say, "See, the Bible is true for Scripture says that God causes the rain to fall on the just and unjust alike and here it is raining on the wickedest city in the world!"

I do call people wicked - not to simply insult them, but so I can hold forth a Savior to them - one that they will hopefully see a need for. I tell them that they are vile sinners and when they scoff I soberly remind them that if I could project the thoughts they have toyed with just over the last 24 hours on one of these buildings surrounding them for all to see then they would run in shame; then I ask them, "What will then it be like when you appear before an infinitely holy God, when He sifts out your heart before His judgment seat?" Flee from the wrath - run to Jesus!!

There was much opposition today. For example, a huge homeless (?) man stood before me and stared in my eyes; he was breathing fire and we were almost nose to nose. People looked on with great interest wondering if they were going to witness a real-life murder. He clearly could have snapped me in half like a twig. The Lord gave me great boldness and I continued to preach to the people right over his head (he was almost as tall as me and I was standing on a chair). He finally got frustrated and moved across the plaza and started shouted contradictions to everything I said with a plethora of profanities. After 5 minutes he gave up and I had the plaza all to myself again.

When it came time to end I stepped off my chair and walked over to the hundred or so people waiting to catch the trolley who were listening to me preach. I said to them, "Thank you for listening, the next time I see you will be at the Judgement, turn from your sin, flee to Christ, run to the Lamb....."

Monday, February 8, 2010

Market and Powell (2-8-10)

Beyond question – that hardest part about street preaching is the several minutes before you actually open your mouth. You wonder where God is, where your boldness is, where your love for sinners is. You wonder why you are there – what compelled you to go in the first place. You look out upon hundreds of people – realizing full well that what you are about to say will anger many if not all of them.

Hell is angry. The devil – self deceived as he is – still believes that he has a claim to the very piece of real estate on which you stand. Moreover, your prideful flesh is revolting and reminds you second by second that not only are you about to be made a fool of but that you are breaking fallen Adam’s first commandment: “Self-preservation is the only way to salvation.” Without doubt these are some of the loneliest and most confused moments a Christian can endure.

The cure for all of this is not more prayer or a frantic call home but rather to simply begin lifting up the name of Jesus – a thousand things get set right in just those first few seconds of proclaiming the King.

The fact that I was strengthened to preach for nearly 2 hours was a divine intervention in itself. I have been sick with a horrible bout of the flu. I thought for sure that my 12 hours sleep the night before would send it away for good but when I woke I felt like a truck had run me down. If it was not for my dear brother Todd going with me I most likely would have stayed home. The Lord continually revived me during that time and I consider it somewhat of a miracle.

Several wonderful things transpired today. First of all I realized that my preaching becomes strongest and boldest when I am being heckled and ridiculed. One young man walked over to me and said, "You are insane. Jesus is dead, he has been in the grave for 2000 thousand years." Oh what a boon this was to my preaching. Jesus – dead! Hah! For the next 15 minutes I preached almost nothing but His resurrection.

The Muslim man that confronted me a couple weeks ago was back. This again gave me special boldness to proclaim Jesus’ superiority over Muhammad. The founder of Islam never healed anyone, he never forgave his enemies, he never rose from the dead – Jesus did all these things and it is a privilege to declare this among the masses.

Like a couple weeks ago – many people stopped and pondered the message. Many people also stopped to video tape me – as a circus clown undoubtedly – but who knows where those video tapes will end up.

Todd was a great help to me – please pray that the Lord would raise up many men like him to help me in this ministry. Pray for those several thousand that heard the word today; that would come to our glorious Savior!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Market and Powell (1-24-10)

A couple of days before I went back into the city to preach I sent a prayer request to several friends that read:

1) That I would have the spiritual and physical stamina to preach for two hours. Open air preaching is exhausting in these two areas; I have discovered.

2) That I would have the precious anointing of the Holy Spirit, without which, all preaching is in vain.

3) That the enemy will be bound.

These prayers were abundantly answered as I experienced 2 of the most wonderful hours of my life. It is impossible to ‘unpack’ all that happened. I find that when preaching the gospel in SF, the experiences that Scripture says we will have in the Christian life (joy, power, weakness, persecution, blessing enemies, rebuking unclean spirits, dealing w/ warfare, encouraging the saints, seeing the glory of God, etc.) are all somehow wonderfully compressed into those two hours. Instead I will share ‘clips’ from my preaching and some brief anecdotes.

- Right when I started preaching a man came over and told me to shut the #&%$ up. A minute later he walked back and said the same thing – only this time with the accompanying finger gesture. I said with all my heart “God bless you sir, God bless you.”

- It is so wonderful to look people in the eye as they walk by and say to them all “Oh He can make you clean. He can wash you white as snow. If you come to Jesus He will not cast you away. He’ll take you! Repent and come to Him!”

- A “sophisticated San Franciscan” came over to me (holding his daughters hand) and said “I am so sick of people like you. I am an atheist and nobody here is even listening to you!” I said, “Well clearly you are listening to me sir.” I called to the whole plaza, “Oh look at this atheist – so mad at the God he doesn’t believe in.” He walked away and shouted “They ought to lock you up and throw away the key.” I replied, “Oh praise God then I will preach the gospel in prison.” He did this all in front of his daughter so I gave him and all the fathers who were there a hard word and told them that if they die and go to hell they would plead with God to send a preacher to their children to beg them not to go there.

- Several young people stopped to listen and were visibly being touched be the Lord. I begged one of them (a young – apparently homosexual – man) to come to Jesus. Oh how the Lord was making His case through me for that young man: “Oh come to the Savior, He won’t cast you out, He saved me and I was a worse sinner than you! Oh turn from your sin and run to Jesus.” Please pray for that young man.

- A Muslim man did not like what I what I had to say and with a hard glare stared at me and said “assalamu alaikum.” While this greeting literally means “may you remain safe from pain, sorrow or harm" it was clear by the way he was staring that this was far from his sentiments towards me. The Lord gave me great boldness to declare “Muhammad says ‘kill your enemies’ but Jesus says ‘Love your enemies;’ and ‘Muhammad died and was buried and lays in his grave to this day but Jesus rose from the dead.”

In all these things, beloved, the Lord was so faithful – so faithful. There is so much more to report; so much more, but I trust that this gives you a flavor.

San Francisco does not belong to Satan; it does not belong to demons, Democrats or even Republicans. It belongs to Jesus Christ and it is ours to declare His glory among the heathen.

Market and Powell (1-17-10)

I had much to learn about how the SF bus system works. I missed my first bus from San Rafael but the Lord had other plans.

As I waited to get on I noticed there were several men all dressed in grey sweat pants/shirts. I sat down next to one of them. He told me that he (and the rest of them) had just been released from San Quentin prison. I asked him permission to share the gospel with him and he warmly accepted. His name is John.

I got off at the wrong stop and thus it took me 1/2 hour to get to Market and Powell where I would be preaching. When I got there I was profoundly scared. One of the first people I laid eyes on was an older Samoan man with a Bible in his hand talking to people about the Lord. I asked him if I could preach in the square without getting arrested. He was sweating profusely and he had tears in his eyes from pleading with sinners to come to Christ. He said in very broken English “You preach wherever you want! You not be scared of anyone! You tell people the word of God! Come here and I pray for you.”

When I got to the corner my hands were shaking profusely. I set up my chair, sat down and sent my wife and friend a text: “In the center of SF. Hundreds of people. Very scared. Starting to preach now. Please pray.”

Honestly, even a week later I don’t remember much. It was wonderful and God poured out his grace but, I think since it was my first time, it was very much an outer-body experience.

I estimate about 4000 people heard the gospel that day and for that I am grateful. Demons definitely showed up. One man went to kick me and by God’s grace he hit my chair instead. He actually said “Ouch” and limped away.

For the three days following all hell was unleashed on my soul as I experienced the malice of the enemy in a way I had never before. He was shooting his darts at my heart and yet the lies contained enough truth to get me to bite and I wallowed in misery for 3 days.

I reached out for prayer and the Lord gave me a powerful dream that gently and yet firmly warned me not to play games with my heart and to not give the devil even an inch of a foothold or he could destroy me.