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

Luke 14:23

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.