Sunday, September 28, 2008

Preaching with a Scattered Brain! :-)

This Saturday afternoon was another interesting one for evangelism at Fort Myers Beach (SW Florida). The day before, I’d gotten some new serious medical news, so was a little distracted and struggling in my own head. Honestly, I didn’t feel like going, but we went anyway. Just two of us this week, Bobby & I.

As usual, I forgot to write notes on a bunch of folks I talked to & some others I wrote names but now can’t remember the conversation (what happens at 40 anyway?). I’ll tell you a little about the ones I have both. J

Early on, we met a British family (now living in NJ). She was pretty defensive & they both so badly wanted everyone to respect everyone else’s beliefs but NOT question her own assessment of God, death and eternity. The husband was a geologist so got going about the geological evidence for zillions of years…seemed to think a bit when I suggested that he was telling me he believed that in the beginning there was an explosion out of nowhere with no energy and not matter from no place in nothing and out of that mystery explosion all this incredible order came….who had the blind faith? We warned them of the coming Day of Judgment & bid them a good day.

Bob & I talked to a young man Zach & his girlfriend Rochelle (Zach’s mother hanging around). Rochelle had a Christian background but no real understanding of the Gospel, of God as Judge & of the wrath of God. Zach began to be quite concerned & thoughtful as we explained to him his guilt & the coming Great & Terrible Day of the Lord. You could see in his face that he’d always considered himself a good person but not saw for the first time that he was in trouble.

I met an older couple (Norm & Judy) sitting on a bench, he wearing a prosthetic leg. I pointed to the prosthetic leg & commented, “There must be a good story behind that!”. Norm told me he was working on a scaffold, when it collapsed, severing his leg….he’d not been able to work since, but was thankful to be alive. I asked Norm what would have happened if he’d died. Really gently & kindly (with a smile) & walked Norm through the commandments and with a soft-voice explained the wrath of a Holy & Just God & then the Gospel. Pray for Norm & Judy, they seemed to have never understood the Gospel before.

I have been amazed too how someone can CLEARLY hear the message of the Gospel preached, the New Birth explained & immediately when questioned on how to be born again, answer something like Baptism or some other thing. It’s good sometimes to check with the hearer to see if the truth is getting through to them.

Rob & his girlfriend were sitting on a park bench. I began to talk to them; Rob began to proclaim he’d not lied (she corrected him). We had an extensive conversation & I found that Rob had spent years as a caretaker of an evangelical church & was sickened with the focus on money and the hypocrisy….he knew far more of the scripture than he first let-on. We did talk about false religion vs. what was going to happen when he died and stood before God, his creator.

Later as I was getting ready to preach, I talked to three drunk young-men, two laughed and jeered while their friend was walked through the Law, showing His guilt. The young-man I was talking to professed to be not concerned….figured he was guilty & going to Hell, so ‘party on’. I told him there was good-news, but until he was concerned why would I explain it to him. I gave him a “Are You Good Enough To Go To Heaven” tract, had him tuck it in his pocket, instructing him to read it in the morning when he sobered up.

My mind was a little muddled up & I was pacing back and forth, fearful to get up and preach. My brother Bobby was so compassionate for my situation that he simply began introducing me to those standing around as his friend that was about to get up and preach & that they should pay attention and listen. No pressure or anything! J

I got up and preached; it was just after a rain so very small crowd…..but it only takes one to hear the Gospel, right? A woman working on a T-shirt shop across the square listen for most of the time we preached, two men from the ice cream shop kept coming out to listen in between serving customers & several working in the pizza shop in front of us stood and listen (plus those coming and going, sitting eating ice cream and so on). After we’d preached for about a half-hour Bob and I sat together praying…..a woman from the pizza shop walked past and made a point of speaking to us, wishing us a good night….she’d listened for quite a while….God is an amazing God…we’d almost not preached, because of my scattered brain and ‘cause there were so few people right after the rain.

I’d really appreciate your prayers this week; I’m undergoing some medical treatments all week that could have side-affects. I’m to be traveling to the Bahamas all next week as an evangelist trainer & need to be ready to lead teams on the street….please pray.


P.S. Listen to our preaching at

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Went to JAIL!

This past week, I finally was able to obtain approval to minister in the local county jail. Friday night was my first time.

Ministering at the jail is TOTALLY different than on the streets. Clipping on our I.D. badges, we checked in, handed over our car keys & began to make our way through the many security doors. The area we were bound for, was the stockade. These are single-level buildings with cells holding many men each, each block opening through a barred open-door to a covered outdoor area. We chose two sections and asked if they’d had ‘church’ this week yet (they hadn’t). The guard allowed five men from each cell out for ministry. The ten prisoners, Bobby & I all sat on the asphalt yard, opened our Bibles and began.

More than half the men had their own Bibles (issued by the prison chaplain) & followed along. I am learning, so am working with Bob; can that man preach! He is totally in his element with these men...Bob has such a love for them. No singing or fancy intro, just opening Bibles and expounding the Word of God...not feel-good messages like most churches preach, but serious theology; explaining the New Birth, God’s Sovereignty & the signs of being truly Born Again. The men ask some questions. I then preach for a shorter time. I began by asking how many had a Christian background (about three-quarters did); I then asked how many had been born again....about half of those said they were. I asked if one of them could quickly explain to me how to be born again; answers ranged from being baptised to asking for forgiveness....but all missed the scriptural mark. It’s helpful to have the chance to get a gauge of the understanding of your hearers. I was then able to back-up and preach the Gospel, showing sin, righteousness, judgment (the courtroom example was really close to all their hearts) & showing how God MUST do justice & cannot let the guilty go. Then explaining the Cross, substitutionary atonement & the call to Repentance & Faith once more.

How many of you complain when you have to sit on your padded pews while your pastor preaches long....say almost an hour? I looked at the clock when we left, we’d preached for two hours. Those men sat on the hard (&damp) asphalt yard, in the humid Florida evening & paid attention for two hours & no complaints. Most of them thanked us for coming, asked for specific prayer & lined-up to be let back into their cells.

Partly because we were talking to a group, & partly because of the situation (i.e. jail) I found it more difficult to try and establish where people were in their spiritual walk. Some talk well, but it’s hard to forget that you are talking to them in jail. I don’t have any idea how they ended up there (& am not allowed to ask) so it’s somewhat hard to reconcile the two.

Over all, the opportunity to minister in the jail was a real blessing; I’m looking forward to going back.


P.S. Love to hear your comments & emails! Check out the podcast of our street preaching at

British Catholic, Hardened Teens & Seven Deadly Sins.

Now that September is here, the crowds are thickening at the beach, some of the street-performers are coming back; more people to talk to.

Yesterday Bobby struck-up a conversation with a Brit named Tom. Tom professes to be a Roman Catholic & is sure he’s going to Heaven. As Bob and I talked with Tom, he got a bit agitated (probably my fault). Tom asserted that while he ‘believed’ the Bible some of it just didn’t make sense; like Creation, the Flood/Ark & so on. He simply said he didn’t believe ‘every word of the Bible’. You can (I’m sure) see the illogical nature of this philosophy; can one simply pick and choose what to believe or reject in God’s itself it claims to ALL be true, so if some is false then why would one assert that else is true? Asserting that to be Roman Catholic was just as Christian as any other Christian, I reminded Tom of the official ruling of his church, that if one believes he can be justified before God, by Faith Alone, in Christ Alone, as revealed in Scripture Alone; the church classifies him as Anathema (cursed). I contrasted this with the orthodox teachings of scripture & implored Tom to be sure he was right.

Later, Bobby & I talked to a small crowd of youth (mostly girls and around thirteen years old). We were amazed (though we shouldn’t have been) of their calloused view of God, scripture, death & eternity. A number were mocking of the Gospel, but a couple were asking questions, but simply of how to avoid Hell & not showing real conviction of sin. Over & over we began to answer questions, but the askers were repeatedly distracted by something....anything rather than listen to the truth.

Three young-men began to walk past me, when I noticed that tattooed on the chest of one were the ‘seven deadly sins’ ( Now that’s an opening for the Gospel if I’ve ever seen one. I began talking with them men, asking them if they’d ever committed any of those sins & transitioning to the Ten Commandments. As usual, I asked if they considered themselves good people; they did. Wow is Proverbs 20:6 ever accurate, “Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?”. I showed them their specific sin before the Law of God & they began to experience some discomfort. When talking of Judgment & the Great & Terrible Day of the Lord, two of the three got upset & walked off. One man (Donavan) stayed to hear the Gospel...pray for him.
I passed out tracts to a couple who stopped, read them and came back to thank me. It turned out that they are from Wisconsin (where Bobby’s from). I called Bobby over and we visited with them about the call to evangelism & each Christian’s responsibility to witness to the Lost, for the Glory of Christ. They expressed a concern; they’ve a friend who’s dying & are trying to figure out how to explain the Gospel to him. I directed them to for help. Pray that they will become active for the Gospel & that God will strengthen them in witnessing to their dying friend.

After preaching in jail on Friday night & working hard to get our ‘floating-home’ ready to move onto, we only stayed ‘till about 7:30 & didn’t Open Air Preach.
We appreciate your prayers for strength, energy (seems lacking these days), protection (spiritual & physical) & encouragement. Please email and/or leave your comments on this blog....very encouraging!