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

Luke 14:23

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Ventura College (4-26-11)

I got to the school around 10:30 AM and went right to the campus police center to see if they had a free speech area.

Officer Castro told me that the whole campus was a free speech zone and thus I walked away very excited at what appeared to be an open door to proclaim Christ to a lot of people.

After about forty minutes of scattered prayer, jittery Scripture reading and serious heart- searching; students started pouring out of their classes and thus I started to preach.

I started with 'the cross as the foolishness and weakness of God' (1 Cor. 1:18-25). By God's grace I immediately felt the glory of the text and began to preach in earnest. After about ten minutes a gentleman came over and told me that I could not, in fact, preach on the campus. I explained that I had already checked in with campus police and that I had received a green light from them. He then said that he was the vice president of the college and thus I would have to listen to him and stop preaching. I told him that I would be happy to if an officer asked me to.

As the VP walked away I could tell he was torn. He would walk away to the police center and then stop and walk back towards me. He did this a couple of times. Finally he came back with Officer Castro. The officer explained to me that although I was not doing anything wrong I should go to the 'Civic Center' office and register with them.

I did not really understand what that meant but I was happy to comply. I went to the office, spoke with Elouise and explained that I was told to see her about formally registering to speak on campus. It turns out that this whole goose-chase was about renting the amphitheater right across from where I was already preaching on the quad. She explained that I would need to fill out the lengthy application, pay the fee and show proof of a million dollar insurance bond. They would let me know in two weeks if I was approved! Things were starting to get complicated.

I went back to see Officer Castro and explained that there must have been some misunderstanding; I did not want to rent the amphitheater and put on a show. I simply wanted to preach the gospel. I asked him plainly if it was against the law to do so. He said it was not, but that 'some people' were having a problem with it.

I went right back to my spot. A couple of Christians asked me what I would be preaching on now. I told them 'Christ the Good Shepherd.' They stood by me. The campus came alive. Christians were giving support, others were starting to jeer, several hundred were listening. The gospel was going forth. It was glorious.

A small crowd had gathered around me. One of them was a young man with a red shirt and a tennis racket. He asked me, 'how do I get my sin forgiven?' I explained to him the gospel. He wanted more clarification and then asked, 'but how do I actually experience this forgiveness?'

I told him to go cry to God for mercy. He asked me how he would know if he received it. I explained to him that he would know....'you can't be raised from the dead spiritually and not know it young man.' The Christians standing around me encouraged him. I pray that the Jesus brought this sheep home.

Finally Officer Castro called me over. It was getting too hot for him. The whole time I was preaching I saw him across the quad on his phone. He said that he was getting too many calls and thus it would be best if I stopped. I agreed. We shook hands and I departed. Here's what I learned:

1) The First Amendment, glorious as it is, means next to nothing. Open doors to preach the gospel are from God - period.

2) Although I have preached the gospel alone on many occasions, I have never actually been alone. The Lord has always sent Christians beside me to encourage me and help me. I am so grateful for this.

3) Preaching Christ must flow out of a heart of worship. I feel the glory of Christ when I preach, but I must feel it so much more. His glory must absorb and control the preacher.

4) When Christians proclaim the gospel they have the full resources of God at their disposal: "All authority in heaven in earth has been given to me....go."

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Market and Powell & Union Square (4-16-11)

I have been publicly declaring the gospel now for about fifteen months and if there was ever a day that I wish I could somehow put into a bottle and save, it would have been this Saturday in San Francisco. I am aware of how selfish that sounds. The gospel is all about the glory of God and the salvation of souls - period. And yet the sheer joy I receive from declaring Christ to the masses is so overwhelming that at times that I am tempted to feel guilty. Yesterday was one of those days.

We got to the city around noon and set up camp at Market and Powell. The preaching went like this: "Good afternoon San Francisco. We have come here today to tell you the good news about Jesus Christ, for that is what the word 'gospel' means, literally, 'glad tidings of great joy' and as I am preaching this gospel to you, you should be struck with a sense of the glory of it; it's freeness; it's grace; it's accessibility to even the worst of sinners. And as I preach, what should flood your mind are words like 'liberty' and 'emancipation' and 'forgiveness;' but, if instead, words like 'religion' or 'condemnation' or 'judgment' are coming to your mind as I am preaching, then you are not hearing me nor the gospel correctly."

I then went on to explain to them the desperate condition of man, his depravity, and how great that depravity is, especially when compared to the utter perfections of Christ. Then onto the glory of God in the person of Christ. The glory of His character, His miracles, His patient dealings with sinners; His glory before Pilate; His glory before the Sanhedrin; the glory of His cross; the glory of His words on the cross 'It is finished;' the infinite glory of His resurrection and subsequent ascension to the right hand of the throne of God. The glory of His gracious promises "whoever comes to me I will never cast out" (maybe my favorite), etc., etc.. Then I implore the people with everything in me, 'come to the Savior, fly to Him...He will not cast you out, etc."

Even as I write these words I pant for a street corner to herald them from! Oh what a message we have church! Arise and declare His glory among the heathen!!

Jim preaching at Union Square

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Market & Powell (4-9-11)

We had a glorious day preaching the gospel yesterday. I have included a video and a few pictures below to give you a better idea of where exactly we preach. When I see how ideal the location is - it becomes clear to me that the Lord had planned on Market and Powell being a very special crossroads for proclaiming the message of salvation.

Over to the left is a 'Forever 21' flag. We preach under that most weeks.

Steve preaching to the trolly line and to all those who pass by.

About ten thousand people can hear the gospel from us on a busy Saturday.

I opened up my last preach of the day saying, "San Francisico, I am now taking the Lord at His word. Jesus said that if He be lifted up He will draw men and woman to Himself...so here goes...." The greatest joy I have (or close to it) is proclaimg this Jesus to the masses.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

...And Now A Word From One Of Our Sponsors:

To call George Whitefield the greatest Christian since the Apostle Paul would hardly be hyperbole. Here is what he says about street preaching:

"Let the love of Jesus constrain you to go out into the highways and hedges to compel poor sinners to come in. Some may say, 'This is not proceeding with a zeal according to knowledge;' but I am persuaded ... the Gospel must be propagated in the same manner as it was first established, by itinerant preaching. Go on, dear sir, go on and follow your glorious Master without the camp, bearing His reproach. Never fear the scourge of the tongue, or the threatenings that are daily breathed out against the Lord, and against His Christ. Suffer we must. Perhaps, we may sing in a prison, and have our feet in the stocks; but faith in Jesus turns a prison into a palace, and makes a bed of flames become a bed of feathers."

Monday, April 4, 2011

What Would Happen If....

Some really good questions and answers about what would happen if solid preachers once again hit the streets...

Well, This Is Refreshing.....

Some rare, positive comments on street preaching by a well respected scholar.