Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Yet Another Preacher Is Born

This past Sunday was another great afternoon of ministry at the San Juan Capistrano train station.
Sam joined us for the first time and was a tract-passing-out-machine!
He was handing out gospel tracts to anybody who would take one. He was able to have a conversation with a man who Dave and I had spoken with the week before. Louie was still holding to his theory that Hell doesn't exist. Sam was able to reason with him that just because he doesn't believe the train is coming, that doesn't make that belief true. This left Louie with something else to think about. I pray that Louie will continue to come and speak with us on Sundays.
My friend Bob from the Gideons also joined us. Bob's passion to share the gospel with the lost is always a huge encouragement!
Tracy was able to give a bible and CD to a girl who had heard me preaching. This girl was really convicted by what she heard (I had read Joshua 24 and then used that text to preach the gospel). The girl told Tracy that she wanted to read the book of John like I suggested. She started reading it right there!
Fema was able to have several conversations in Spanish and was proclaiming the gospel with the boldness of a lion!
While I was talking with Johnny, the guitar player who hangs out at the train station, I could hear Pat preaching!! I turned around and there was Pat up on the box! Tracy later told me that Pat just walked up to the box and said "I suppose I should preach", and then stepped right up and preached a beautiful gospel message to those who were waiting for the next train!! I was only able to record part of the message and then the batteries in my recorder died, but here it is for your edification. I pray that this will encourage and bless you as it does me. Way to go Pat!

Click here if you do not see the embedded audio player.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

First Time Out With The "Are You Ready" Cross

Yesterday was my first time out standing on a street corner with the "Are You Ready" cross.
I got home from work, loaded the cross into the trunk of my car and drove to the corner of Ortega and Camino Capistrano in San Juan Capistrano. I sat in the Starbucks across from the corner and read my bible while enjoying a tasty iced latte. After reading several chapters I began to pray that the Lord would bless my time out with the cross. I had no idea how this was going to go and was nervous! In fact, I may have been even more nervous than the first time I open-air preached! I "tweeted" a quick update to twitter asking for my brothers and sisters in Christ to pray for me and then headed back to my car to get the cross and my evangelism backpack. I got the cross out of the trunk, hoisted it up and began to walk toward the corner. I said hello to a couple who were hanging out on a park bench and they just stared as I walked past. As I walked down the sidewalk toward the street corner I could see drivers looking up at the "Are You Ready" message on the cross. I crossed the street and turned and faced the traffic and felt very conscious of the eyes that were now staring at me and the cross. I continued to pray that the Lord would use the "Are You Ready" message to cause people to think about eternity. I was also praying that the Lord would confirm to me that this "method" of evangelism is valid.

During the first several minutes I experienced a full range of responses from the motorists who drove by. Some stared at the "Are You Ready" message, some honked, some nodded, some gave an enthusiastic thumbs-up, some shook their heads, and some laughed at me (nobody hollered or cursed at me and I was very thankful for that!). I thought about Tony Miano saying that he experienced a new level of identifying with Christ in holding the cross for all to see and I too experienced this new sense of identification with my Saviour.

Then it happened! I caught the eye of a young man waiting to cross the street. His eyes were riveted on the cross. When he got a walk signal and began crossing, I could tell that he was headed my way. I said hello and asked how he was doing. This began an amazing witnessing encounter that was an answer to my prayers. I was wondering if holding the cross on the corner was effective and the Lord brought this young man along to answer that prayer. Rather than type out the conversation here I'll just let you hear for yourself. I pray that this will be an encouragement to you as it was for me. Also, please pray for this young man. He was very open to the gospel and I believe that he will read the bible I gave to him. I look forward to seeing him in town again to follow up on our conversation. Here's the audio:

Click here if you do not see the embedded audio player.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Preacher Is Born

This past Sunday afternoon at the San Juan Capistrano train station was an afternoon of firsts.
It was the first time out for my newly built "Are You Ready" cross.
It was the first time I had witnessed to somebody who is intoxicated.
But, the biggest first by far was when Dave broke the sound barrier and stepped up onto the box and preached for the first time!!
The day before, at the Huntington Beach Pier, I challenged Dave to write out a gospel message on a sheet of paper and simply read it aloud at the train station. He took me up on my challenge and preached a beautiful gospel message. It was an honor to be there for this first! Dave, job well done my brother!

We will be back at the San Juan Capistrano station again this Sunday from 12pm-1pm so come join us if you are able. I know you will be blessed!

Here's the video of Dave's open air gospel message:

Click here if you don't see the embedded video.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Are You Ready?

It is two o'clock in the morning and a sound startles you out of your sleep. You jump out of bed and notice the heavy smell of smoke in the air. Fearing the worst you start yelling for your wife and kids to get up and get out of the house.
The family is now gathered on the front lawn together in their PJ's and you realize that it is not your house that is on fire... it is the neighbor's house.
You can see the flames through the first story windows and thick black smoke is billowing out of an open window. You see both cars in the driveway and you notice that there are no lights on and it is obvious that they are still in the house, most likely still asleep.
You must now decide what you will do - quickly! Will you stay there, grab a lawn chair and watch as the house is consumed in flames?
Will you simply call 911 and step back as a spectator?
Or, will you run over to that house and start pounding on the door and making as much noise as you can to awaken your neighbor?
You realize that, as a loving neighbor, you really only have one choice, so you start running toward their house. How many methods do you have at your disposal to awaken them? You can holler, knock, pound, ring the doorbell, pound the walls, bring out a bullhorn -- whatever it takes!!

Every day 150,000 people die. The bible says that it is appointed for man to die once and after that the judgment. God's standard with which He will judge is His moral law, the ten commandments. If you have broken one you have broken them all. Ever lied? Stolen? Taken God's name in vain? Hated somebody (hatred is murder according to Jesus)? Lusted (lust is adultery according to Jesus)?
Face it, we have all broken God's laws and are deserving of Hell. You, me, our neighbors, those living in our communities... we are all in the same boat.
As born again Christians we know that there is hope however. God the Father sent His son, Jesus Christ. He was born of a virgin, was fully God and fully man, and lived a perfect sinless life that we could not live (He's God and we're not!). At the end of His earthly ministry He suffered (flogged, crucified, was more marred than any other) and died on the cross, taking the wrath of God upon Himself that we deserved.
We broke God's law but Jesus paid our fine in His life's blood.
The bible commands us to repent and put our trust in Jesus Christ alone for salvation. Turn from sin and turn toward God, put your trust in Jesus alone, and your fine is paid - in FULL. That is the good news of the gospel.

The flames are licking at the curtains. The smoke is billowing.
What tools do we have at our disposal to awaken those who are perishing in sin and don't even realize it? Gospel tracts? Preaching? One-to-one conversation? Letters? Email? Facebook? Twitter? Signs (good, biblical ones that is)? Banners?

Several months ago, a dear brother in Christ, Tony Miano, wrote a blog post about standing at a busy intersection in his neighborhood while holding a wooden cross with the simple question written on it, "Are You Ready?". As soon as I read his article I knew that I had to do the same.
Since he wrote that article others have also been stirred up to do the same (Paul Latour, Wayne Dawg).
The testimonies keep rolling in from these faithful heralds of the gospel. People will walk up to them and ask them what "Are You Ready" means and this provides the opportunity to share the gospel message with those who may not get to hear it any other way.

I have built my cross (see the pictures below) and am ready to deny myself, pick it up, and follow Jesus. To God alone be all the glory!
Please pray for me. Wednesday afternoon, before church, I will stand at the corner of Ortega and Camino Capistrano in San Juan Capistrano with the cross. I am nervous just thinking about it but the flames are licking at the curtains and I will do whatever it takes to wake some up.