Today was a good day…

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And because of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” – 1 Corinthians 1:30-31

Today was a special day not because of anything I did but because of what God did.  He is the reason for all things and He has purpose in all that He does and all occurs because of Him.  But today was special and He encouraged me and the others with me on this day in an extraordinary way.

Today is Thursday and it’s the day we go to Iowa City to the Emma Goldman Abortuary.  This is one of two clinics in Iowa City that take the lives of unborn children and snuff them out before their time.  They murder these little precious souls before they have an opportunity to see the light of day.  It is a sad day in that respect.

Today was extraordinary not because lives were saved, although God has His purposes in those lives regardless of how long they live.  Nothing surprised God today and nothing is out of the reach of His Sovereign arm and good pleasure.   He sits in the heavens and does as He pleases.  So nothing caught Him off guard today.  But He blessed us.  He blessed us with sweet fellowship and He blessed us with a common cause to proclaim His name and to make His name known to those that went inside the killing place, those that walked past and those that stood guard.

There was a new procedure in place today at Emma.  They, for the first time to my knowledge, had deathscorts.  What is a deathscort you ask?  It is a person hired to escort the women into and out of the “clinic”.  I suppose they are there to “protect” the men and women that go into the “clinic”.  They are there to help them along the road that leads to the termination of the small child that is safely snuggled in the womb of its mother.  At least for a short period of time.

The deathscorts are an obvious answer to the consistent presence of a small church that committed itself to doing abortion ministry on the streets of Iowa City.  Two weeks ago the Police were called and I had a nice conversation with the officer, and he told me he disagreed with us, but he was there to defend our right to do so if we are acting lawfully.

Apparently Emma has become more “concerned” that we are effecting their business and they need some help getting them in the door.  They know if they get them in the door the odds are much higher they will go through with it.  They are so nice to them in the clinic and so supportive and I’m sure they continue to carry this facade all the while removing the life inside of the mothers.  It’s sad and it’s tragic on so many levels.

Yet, the encouragement and the blessing that comes from the Lord even in such a place of horror is that God is still Sovereign.  As brother Todd engaged the deathscorts, I’m sure they had no idea how they would be confronted in their new job.  Todd delivered the good news of Christ with passion and urgency and told them that He and He alone can save them from their sins.  Even the sin of murder as they are complicit with what is going on inside of that place.  The nice Catholic woman that was present because of the 40 days of life had no idea what she was going to hear when we began to engage them and she was in complete shock as she scurried for the other side of the parking lot.  I tried to engage her in conversation later to tell her why we do this but she wanted nothing to do with it.  She was content to rub her beads and pray to the god that was not hearing her prayers.

The encouragement came from the angry kid that asked me if homosexuality was a sin and I said that God tells us it is and yes, I believe the Word of God.  The encouragement came from the conversation with Katy that had never heard the gospel before through her upbringing as a Catholic and had no idea how to get to heaven other than her own good works.  She was quickly exposed to the truth of her good works being filthy garments in the sight of a Holy God.

Encouragement came as we went downtown to openly proclaim Christ in the public square.  The crowds were huge and many that would never hear the truth of Christ’s love outside of an open air preacher being present.  The religious woman dressed in the garb of a clergy woman holding a sign that said “God loves all” and when I asked her if she could be wrong about that would only ignore me.

The encouragement kept coming and as we gave away 150 DVD’s of “The Biggest Question” in a short hour that many received with joy and many mocked as the Scriptures tell us they will.  It was all about Him and nothing about me and although I had the greatest uplifting I’ve had in a while I labored for Him and I put no confidence in my flesh.

As I exchanged some text messages with Todd later I said this to him.

“Well I’ve had many good days but this was special.  Not sure why maybe having you and your family.  A combination of the conversations and the deathscorts.  The rejection by the Catholic woman and the open air preaching.  It was all so good and so amazing.  Maybe I was just humbled that God would save a wretch like me and use me for His glory.  My cup runneth over…”

So much  more could be said about this day but here is the bottom line for me as an evangelist and as a Christian.  When a Christian fails to do evangelistic work, they lose out on the biggest blessing that God could possibly bestow upon them.  To suffer for the sake of Christ.  I never thought I was suffering for Him today but we were ridiculed, mocked and reviled by many today and I consider it pure joy as I encounter those that despise the Lord that I love.  He told me this would happen and because of this I was not surprised.

I write this today to encourage brothers and sisters that take to the streets.  I write this today to afflict those that are comfortable in their Christianity.  I write this today to encourage those that might be considering gospel ministry.  I hope that nothing in this speaks of me other than my wretchedness, but I belong to a great Savior and that is worth boasting about.

God bless.

Kevin

Evangelism and the Church – Part 2 – Practically Speaking

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“Preach abroad….It is the cooping yourselves up in rooms that has dampened the work of God, which never was and never will be carried out to any purpose without going into the highways and hedges and compelling men and women to come in.” – Jonathan Edwards

Let’s suppose I’ve convinced you in my last post that evangelism is biblical and it is something that Christians should do.  Let’s suppose, in some small way, I’ve encouraged you or your church to consider an attempt at evangelism outside the church walls.  Many will ask how do I do this?  I mean practically what does this look like?

First of all I want to begin with the confessions of a coward.  I didn’t start out with a burning passion to evangelize the lost in the way that God would have me do it.  I wanted to tell people about Christ, but to go out and do some of the things that I thought about when I really thought what it meant to be an evangelist was just not something I thought I’d ever do.  When I became a Christian evangelism was encouraged in our church and then a providential thing occurred.  Our Pastor was preaching through Romans and Chapter 10 was a watershed moment when it all became very clear.

For whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”  How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?  And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?  And how shall they hear without a preacher?  And how shall they preach unless they are sent?  As it is written:  “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!” – Romans 10:13-15

Do you see what Paul is saying here?

He is saying that unless someone gives the gospel to the lost they can’t be saved.  This is a remarkable statement and no matter how great of an example you are in your own personal holiness and character unless you actually speak the gospel to someone they won’t be saved.  So how can this be done?  We saw last time some of the methodology Jesus, His Disciples and the Apostle Paul utilized.  We can do many of these today and in no way is this a comprehensive list but this should give ideas for implementing evangelism into your life.

I must also briefly mention that Paul tells us that we should be sent.  We won’t explore this deeply in this article, but in short it is important to have the support and the oversight of a local church.  Many will do evangelism without it and I won’t go so far as to say it is sinful, but when we have the local church sending us there is a great deal of accountability and protection for the evangelist.

On to our list and this is in no particular order.

Sign Evangelism

Have a good sign made with a clear gospel message.  Something as simple as “Repent & Believe on Christ”.  There are many great biblical texts that will proclaim the gospel message to those that pass by.  Stand at a busy intersection holding the sign and offer a tract if it’s possible.  You will reach more people in an hour than most professing Christians would dare reach in a lifetime.

Walk the Streets

This is one of my favorite forms of evangelism.  If you go with one or two others and walk around your downtown area on a weekend evening or anytime there is traffic you can engage people on the street.  Pass tracts as you go and try to have gospel conversations.  Ask them questions like “do you have any thoughts about what will happen after you die?”  You will amazed how many doors this will open.

Bus Station Ministry

Another favorite place to have discussions.  I live in Iowa and it’s cold here in the winter so many people wait inside the bus station during these months.  Sitting down with people and passing them a tract and seeking a conversation is a great form of ministry.  There are many with time to talk and often a willingness to talk.

Jail Ministry

I’ve never done this, but have a friend that has encouraged me to do so.  You may have to get cleared by the jail first in order to be admitted but they generally have no hesitation to have the prisoner’s being given a Christian message.  Make sure you have bibles to take with you.  This may be an opportunity for an up and coming preacher to have an opportunity to preach.

Tracting

I believe gospel tracts to be one of the most efficient and expedient ways to get the gospel into the hands of many people.  One of the favorite ways to do this is to attend events where there are lots of people.  It can be a baseball game or a concert.  Standing on the street corner and passing  the good news to anyone that walks past.  You will need to learn to deal with rejection.  There is no need to take this personally, get used to it.  It is part of ministry.  A well written gospel tract will go places that you wouldn’t imagine.  Recently I had a woman send our church a message from Texas.  She had received a tract and was wondering if she could get more to pass out herself.

Open Air Preaching

I believe open air preaching to be one of the finest and purest forms of evangelism biblically speaking.   God has used this form of evangelism throughout the entirety of the Bible.  This requires a boldness and a love for people.  I also believe that an open air preacher should be vetted and approved by the Elders of the local church.  There are many rogue street preachers that do not preach an accurate message with love and compassion for the souls that hear.   When good open air preaching is accompanied by others that pass out tracts the preacher will have support and questions can be answered.  The open air preacher in many cases will naturally draw curiosity because of the unusualness of this in our culture.  This can be done on college campuses, sporting events, concerts or any place that numbers of people gather.  Regardless of where the preacher goes it is important that the message be clear and the gospel properly explained.

Abortion Ministry

Certainly one of the most difficult ministries.  This involves knowing what happens and how to combat the lies that will be told at these places.  There are many good resources online that can help if someone has an interest and I believe having the Elders of the church assist in getting an abortion ministry started is critical.  Having pre-abortion packets, gospel tracts and an open air preacher are all helpful resources.  Above all put on love and compassion for the souls that you will minister to.

 

I hope this is helpful, this list is in no way exhaustive.  The message of hope and salvation in Christ is a message that must be proclaimed.  If you are a believer it is an imperative and it is indicative of your relationship with Christ.  The Lord did not mince words on this topic.

 

Kevin