Friday, November 28, 2008

Pizza, Security, Bus, Taxi & Standers-by.

Good evening from the northern Bahamas. I am still amazed here by the freedom to approach people & discuss death, eternity and the Gospel of Jesus Christ….quite refreshing really, also heartbreaking to see so many religious people who don’t know the Gospel.

While I’ve planned to spend extensive time here, dedicated to preach on the streets, my plans have been thwarted. It seems that every day, something comes up that required a trip uptown or some other place. Some of you may not be familiar, but we live on a boat, one of the most fantastic places to live on earth…and staggeringly mechanically unreliable. The maintenance required (even though I’m not new to it) blows my mind. So…this means that often I’m off to some place or another for some fuse, bolt, screw, belt or something. The long and short of this, is that instead of having time to go to specific places to hand out tracts, start conversations of the Gospel & preach, I have been running all over the place….and hence talking to folks all over the place (not where I’d planned) of the Gospel….hmmm….maybe my God is allowing my boat to break, so I can meet these folks. J

Today I had to run uptown for four 5/16 stainless steel lag bolts. Sue and the kids decided to come along and do some Christmas shopping (thankfully, quite a challenge on this island). Along the way, I met a lot of people….some of which I remembered to make notes about, so I can tell you about them (I have the memory of an elephant….good, but short!). Just five-minutes after leaving our boat, we got out to the main road and were walking to a bus stop….looking out for a bus (i.e. local buses are mini-vans privately operated with official sanction). I saw what looked like a ‘bus’ and waved it down. When it slowed, I saw it had ‘taxi’ emblazoned on the side. I apologized and called out that we’re looking for a bus and waved him on. The driver, undeterred, asked where we were going. I explained that we were heading up (down) town. The driver pragmatically explained that we’d have much better luck catching a bus by Port Lucaya (the direction we were walking) & offered us a ride. I asked how much to which he replied that he wouldn’t charge us for the ride….we quickly hopped in.

Neil had a King James Bible on his dashboard (not uncommon at ALL here). I asked if he knew the author (I think he was originally confused with ‘King James’). Trying to become more clear, I become more specific “Almighty God”. He said he believed in God. I asked whether he was a Christian, he said he couldn’t say he was, but believed in God. We talked about God, sin, righteousness and judgment but arrived at the bus stop in Port Lucaya before we could get to the Good News. I asked if he knew what God had done, so he would not have to go to Hell….he wasn’t really clear. I gave him an “Are You Good Enough To Go To Heaven” tract, asked him to consider and left him.

As we ran across to the bus stop, a ‘bus’ pulled in, in front of the other couple sitting at the stop. I had been heading for the front bus at the stop, but as this bus pulled in, I saw the word “Downtown” labeled on the side….we hopped in. As we pulled away, the other bus driver came running onside yelling at our driver. As we drove downtown, at several stops or red lights, this driver (in his ‘bus’) pulled alongside and yelled threats to our driver; threatening to register a complaint (turns out his nickname is “Snake”)….seems he should have pulled in behind and not accepted passengers until the others were full and left the stop.

As we went, I was able to give tracts to a couple from the USA who were in the back of the bus and a couple locals heading home from work. Our bus driver, took us directly to the store we’d been heading for (beyond his usual route) and as I was paying our fare outside after my family and I’d disembarked, I walked to the front of the bus and asked about a pamphlet I’d seen the reflection of in the windscreen….something about how to be “Born Again”. It turns out that our driver….think his name was Michael Glenn Thompson (note middle name) is a fervent believer and disciple of Jesus Christ. He and I talked for quite a while. Initially, I questioned him of the Gospel; asking how to be saved. Eventually, he asked me to critique his answer (a mark of a humble believer). I was humbled at the opportunity to help instruct a faithful believer on presenting the Gospel. We talked for some time on the Gospel, doctrine and living as a Christian man, father and husband. Please pray for Michael, he seems to be a real brother, with a heart to serve our Lord!

Tonight, much of the rest of the day is a blur, though I talked to others, handed out tracts all over the place (even Sue was handing out tracts….Jacquie was handing out tracts to school girls in the seat behind her on one bus). One bus driver downtown (we rode his bus two times that day) talked with me for some time. We were at the main bus stop downtown, lots of people around & a rousing game of dominos echoing the background. I asked him about death & judgment…..coming to what was the standard God would judge him by, he was stumped. Another driver behind him began to quickly (& in thick island accent) quote the Ten Commandments. I was able to talk with this man for some time (with a big interruption in the middle) and explain the Gospel at length.

Tonight, my family must’ve been feeling both lazy flush….nobody wanted to cook (I sort of volunteered) and everyone seemed to want pizza. I remembered that there was a Dominos Pizza location nearby at Port Lucaya. I looked them up online and called to see about having a pizza, or two, delivered. The only phone we have here is via Skype (internet phone… I called on Skype and attempted or order pizza. I was asked for phone number….being my number was not Bahamian, it would not fit into their computer….they would NOT take my order, as they could not call me back on a local number. I later learned that they routinely call back and order to confirm and then the drivers call to confirm before delivery. Some of this is to eliminate prank calls, while it is also to minimize the risk of robbery (a real hazard).

My family protested at me traveling at night via bicycle to pickup pizza, but I protested and went (wearing a headband light…set on red, backwards and a flashlight in my hand) by bicycle to Port Lucaya. It must’ve been an hour and half ‘till my return. I arrived at Dominos, ordered my pizza (MUCH cheaper for pickup) and had to wait 15 or 20 minutes for cooking. I rode my bike around the corner and encountered a group of rather muscular men (plain clothes) with badges around their necks. One of them took me aside and told me that riding my bike on the market area was not allowed. I smiled and enlightened him that I was simply ordering a pizza for my family and picking it up….through this I ended up talking with one of the other men from the group, Sergio. The others walked off, while I talked with Sergio.

Sergio freely admitted that he was not a Christian, but believes in God…his face….not sure how to explain….some softening…a wince maybe when talking of God & the Day of Judgment. He and I talked for quite a long time….for a time he companions were calling after him….one came back to bring him a drink (the bag was leaking….I teased him a bit and found later it was Sergio’s boss). I was privileged to have had the opportunity to explain, at length, the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Sergio. Please pray for Sergio…he seems to be really concerned about his eternal destiny.

Initially I had asked Sergio whether it would be a problem if I Open Air preached in front of the market place. It seems that if no one complains loudly, I will be allowed to preach.

Leaving the marketplace, I passed by the taxi stand & found a lone-man standing where I’d seen him a half-hour before. I turned back and gave him a tract and talked with him of the Gospel…he was appreciative and took the tract.

I know not all of you can be here, but ALL of you are going about your daily lives, encountering people wherever you go…do you care that most of them are going to HELL without Jesus Christ?! You can warn them of the coming day of wrath. If you don’t know how, email me!

Your Brother-In-Christ,


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Devon, Phillip & Brown in the Bahamas

Today, my son Ben & I caught a ride downtown Freeport to pickup a special type of bolt for the alternator on our boat (i.e. floating home). Because we’ve not car, we were then on foot ‘till we caught a city bus home (note; ‘city bus’ in Freeport, means something that looks suspiciously like a minivan, with an inordinate number of seats inside….privately owned and seemingly quite efficient). So, after the hardware store, we were on foot for a hike to the post office. We were able to give out a few tracts along the way.

At the post office, I gave a tract to the postal clerk, who responded quite positively and professed faith in Jesus Christ. Leaving, I turned and handed a tract to a sharply dressed man, sitting on a folding chair just outside the main entrance. I pointed out to him the question on the back, “Will you go to Heaven?”….he figured he would. I asked (wondering if he might be a true believer) why? After sifting through lots of island-speak, his reasoning was that he was a good person…imagine that? Heard that before? We talked around this for a while & we finally arrived at the conclusion that God will judge all men by His standard of righteousness, illustrated in the Ten Commandments. I grinned at him (Devon) and asked if he cared to prove that? He agreed. Devon freely admitted that he’d broken each commandment, that he’d be found guilty on the Day of Judgment….but seemed totally unconcerned. It became clearer what he was thinking, when he said that all men have sinned….so, yes he’d broken God’s Laws, but was as good or better than most (in his own eyes). I began to use some practical examples to show Devon that this was unreasonable. I asked him if he was driving down the road, here on Grand Bahama, in a 45mph zone, at 60mph….figuring he was okay because everyone else was driving the same speed….when an officer pulled up behind him and turned on his lights and siren, would it be an acceptable excuse that others were speeding too? Devon agreed it would not be an acceptable excuse. I asked if one committed a serious crime here in the Bahamas & were not caught for years, would the judge, looking at all the evidence against him, let him go because he’d been a good citizen in the intervening time? He agreed “no”. I explained to Devon that if the judge did, he would be in dereliction of duty & an unjust judge. The Bible tells us that Jesus is the just judge of all the earth & that God will “by no means clear the guilty”.

We talked at length of the command of scripture to Repentance & Faith in Jesus Christ, with much explanation. Devon talked of his sick mother & how he was copying out scripture verses to give to her, so that she might be healed….quite a strange belief according to scripture. I asked where the scriptures instructed us to do that…he looked at me a little surprised and seemed to agree that maybe it did not. I told Devon that he need to sit and think of his sin (the thousands & thousands of offences he’d committed against a Holy & Just God) & of the amazing kindness of God (giving him life, a family, an amazing place to live & dying on the Cross of Calgary to pay for sin)….that this should break his heart “…godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” (2Cor.7:10).

Pray for Devon….he seems to actually be pondering these truths and eternity.

Hungry, my son and I walked down the road to Wendy’s (yes, fast food is invading de islands). When we were almost done eating, I stepped to the table behind us and gave million-dollar bill tracts to the two security guards that sat there….they were very receptive and open to conversation. Brown and Phillip both attend church regularly, but figured that to pray, attend church and be a good person will get one into heaven. They were quite forthcoming with admissions of guilt before the law & were quite attentive as I explained the Gospel in truth, showing the way of salvation. Phillip actually got out pen and paper and took notes, writing down scriptures we talked about to lookup and read at home. Please pray for these man…they now know the way of salvation, pray that God will bring them to repentance.

I’m enjoying the Bahamas & Bahamians….though some have actually been totally closed to the Gospel, most are quite receptive, but many are quite religious, but not born again.


Monday, November 24, 2008

Arsenio Is Concerned About Judgment

Arsenio is concerned about judgment

Today I rode a mile or so over to the Lucaya area. This area is home to numerous hotels and resorts, a straw market and many restaurants, bars and high-end tourist shops. This is an area with lots of pedestrian traffic.

I rode over and chatted briefly with Kelly, a local vendor and bright Christian (with open air preaching experience) & began to scout for a likely place to open air preach. There are many great places, but the challenge is that the whole market area is on private property, so I need to find a place on both public land and where there is lots of pedestrian traffic. I think I’ve found a place I’ll come back to.

I began to walk around & hand out tracts to start conversations. I gave some to a group of Asian folks sitting around with their computers playing. I have a couple to a couple Bahamians dressed in the uniform of kitchen staff, sitting in their car at the curb. Finally, I found a young man, sitting on a curb in front of a store, smoking a cigarette. Using a tract as an icebreaker, we began to talk of death and judgment.

I sat down on the curb beside Arsenio and talked of the Gospel long and slowly. Right off, he told me that he would not be going to Heaven, as he was a sinner….had broken the Ten Commandments (his words). We in great detail went through the Gospel. Arsenio said he’d been concerned and thinking of death, since his friend died at 22 years of age. We talked of how “it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment” (Heb.9:27ESV). This young man asked me an interesting question; he asked concerning a particularly heinous crime….if one committed that crime, would he “always be a sinner” meaning could God ever forgive him. I explained this at some length; using Jesus’ words from Mathew 5, that if you hate someone or call him a fool you are a murderer at heart….then explained imputed righteousness. Predictably, when I asked, “have you ever heard of imputed righteousness?” his face drew a blank. I explained like this: When you repent of your sin before God & put your total trust and faith in the saviour, when God gives you new life, the great exchange occurs. God takes your sin and credits it to Christ’s account, where he paid for your sin on the Cross of Calvary 2000 years ago & takes the Righteousness of Christ and credits it to your account. So….on THAT day, you will be seen as perfect, even though you are not now perfect, but because Christ’s righteousness is credited to your account.

Pray for Arsenio! I left him with some reading material, my email address and an invitation to a mid-week church service at one of the nearby resorts; I will be at with Pastor Eddie this coming Thursday.

I walked around and talked to a few others, handing out tracts. I walked by the taxi stand, where a row of benches is lined up….they were full of people. I took a chance pulling out a stack of tracts and very publicly offering one to the first person….she smiled and took it & so likewise, all those waiting for a taxi took a tract.

Please pray for the work here, pray that the Lord of the harvest will send more laborers into the harvest….maybe you?


P.S. Met a bright Christian man on the dock this afternoon. He's VERY clear on the Gospel & concerned about apostacy in the local church. I gave him a copy of the DVD's "Hell's Best Kept Secret" & "True & False Conversion" to watch (email me if you've not seen them). He might be convinced to come out and share the Gospel with me.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Gospel As You Go?

A couple of days back, my daughter Jacquie and I took a ride into downtown Freeport, Bahamas, for groceries, a haircut and a bit of an adventure of exploration of our new surroundings.

We were riding our bicycles and trying to remember to ride on the left side of the road; something that’s easier to remember when there’s lots of traffic, but harder to remember when winding through the back streets….’Go LEFT, young man, go LEFT’ is an axiom I’ve invented in fun to help remember this.

Rounding one corner, we came across a neighborhood park with a basketball court; the children (seeing we didn’t look local) began to call out to us and ask us questions. I handed one Million Dollar Tract over the fence, pointing out that it’s had a million dollar question on the back….we rode off to the sounds of one of the boys standing on top of some seats, reading the back of the gospel tract to the others in the park. Sometimes I hand out tracts to everyone & other times I leave just one; making it seem rare and more valuable. Interestingly, hours later when returning from downtown through the same area, the children spotted us as we rode down the street and ran after us for blocks, allowing me to hand out gospel tracts while still riding my bike, to eager hands. When’s the last time someone ran after you begging for a gospel tract?

We passed out a few tracts and talked to a couple people briefly. At the City Market supermarket, I handed a tract to a young man, a young teen….asking him about the million-dollar question. Stephan is a very polite and courteous young man. He took the tract I offered him and engaged me in conversation about the message on the back. He seemed to feel that if one attended church and lived like a good Christian, then one would get into Heaven. We talked in detail of the message of the Gospel, of the Law to bring knowledge of sin, of judgment….using an example of a man standing in front of a Bahamian judge, guilty of a violent crime and asking to be forgiven because one was sorry…he began to understand through this example that if a human judge could not perform his duty while letting a criminal go free, simply for asking for forgiveness, how much more a just and Holy God (Ex.34:7). Stephan, after seeing his guilt before God & see the coming judgment and wrath of God, admitted to ‘shaking’ in fear before God. Pray for this young man, that Satan would not be able to snatch the seed of the Gospel that was sown on his heart; that Stephan would repent and believe the Gospel.

At a fast-food restaurant, I handed out a million dollar bill tract to a man in line behind us. It caused quite a stir as a number of people came up to get one & began reading the Gospel message on the back.

On the way home, on a side-street, I spotted a small barber shop….eying the son, I figured I’d time for a haircut & to peddle back to our dock by sundown. Paying for my haircut & slipped a million dollar bill tract to the barber….he loved it. He began digging through his stuff to find one he’d been given once before….then discovered this one had a Gospel message on the back. Seeing the Gospel message, the barber excitedly asked for more, so he could hand them out (a professing Christian).

In front of the dock where we are currently docked, is a clubhouse, tennis court and park. Last night, elaborate decorations (lights, tent, catering, sound) were erected for a wedding celebration. Sue and I sat in our cockpit, enjoying the spectacle while quietly playing a card game to pass the evening. I looked up to see an apparently slightly drunk man walk near a tree in front of our boat and begin urinating on the lawn. I got a little excited but Sue wouldn’t let me holler at him. As he began to leave, I finally called out to him and pointed out the bathrooms. He didn’t hear me, so I walked down the dock to shore and explained….also explaining that my children play in that park…he was very apologetic. Something came over me & the conversation quickly steered to the Gospel, where we continued to talk for some time. He saw his guilt but figured that if one tried to live a good Christian life, that was what was required to be right with God. He began to see the truth as we talked further and admitted that his mother is praying for him and that numerous others (both Bahamians and foreigners) have been approaching him with the Gospel. We talked until the party was over and the packing-up began. Please pray for him (I’m omitting his name and identity as other who might know him may read this page). Pray that God will bring him conviction; I prayed with him before he left, that God would remove sleep and any peace in his life ‘till he repented before God and believed the Gospel.

There were others, but the point of today’s column is how many people you can confront with the truth of the Gospel, while going about regular life….this was NOT a day where I’d been going out on purpose to preach the Gospel (that’s tomorrow), but simply regular life. How many have you confronted with the truth of Sin, Righteousness & Judgment & the Gospel today?