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!!!