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.