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

Luke 14:23

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.