Purpose Of This Ministry

The purpose of this ministry is found in 2 Corinthians 5:18-21:

Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

This ministry seeks to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ in everything. We are are not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ therefore we declare this Gospel in the highways and biways. We preach about sin, righteousness, and the coming judgment to a lost and dying world. Since Jesus' mission was to "seek and save that which was lost", this too is our mission, being empowered by the Holy Spirit whom He has given to all those who believe.

On this site you will find several resources we believe are honoring to our Lord. We hope these resources will help you take up your cross and follow Jesus - they have definitely helped us. We hope you find our site to be both a blessing and an encouragment.

I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. -Philemon 1:6

-Steve (theway1711@gmail.com)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Sinner Gets Saved

Oh how I love when a sinner gets saved. What a glorious thing when a person repents and puts their faith in Jesus Christ. It always reminds me of when I got saved in that hotel room on the night of March 4, 2004. Nothing compares to knowing you are forgiven!

A few months ago I received a phone call from one of the people who we fellowship with. His name is Michael. He has been very active in witnessing for Jesus and exposing the evil works of darkness, namely abortion. He grew up in what I would consider to be a very strong christian home. His mother spent a great deal of time with him (and his sister) teaching them the word of God. They were memorizing the book of Psalms at the age of 4 and 5! However, just knowing scripture, just going to church, and just because your parents are christian does not make YOU a christian. Michael would attest to that. Below is Michaels story, as I remember it.

Michael called me a few months ago. Here is how the conversation went (paraphrasing but pretty accurate).

Steve: Hello
Michael: Steve?
Steve: Hey Michael
Michael: Steve, Steve, I'm saved! I'm Saved! Steve I'm Saved! I got Saved today!
Steve: What?
Michael: Steve, I've been living a lie. I finally got on my knees asking God to save me from my sin. I feels great. I KNOW I got saved the other day. I've been living a lie.
Steve: Praise the Lord...that's awesome Michael. Welcome to the family!

Some people may have doubted Michael's conversation. In fact, I know some people who seem to think he was saved before and this was some sort of second revelation. I don't think so. Michael knows himself better than all of us. If he said he just got saved...then I'm confident he just got saved. It doesn't matter what his life was like before. It doesn't matter how many "good" things he did with the suffix "for Jesus". The man got down on his knees and cried out to God for mercy. He KNEW he wasn't saved and he KNEW Jesus was the only way.

Luke 5:31-32
Jesus answered and said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance."

Michael went on to explain to me that he and his sister were doing some chores. His sister decided to put in the Paul Washer sermon, Examine Yourself. Michael said he was listening to the sermon and great conviction started to come over him. He KNEW he wasn't saved. He then talked to his mother and shared his concern of his salvation with her. She didn't assume he was saved but rather she trusted in God's working power to convince Michael he was not saved and needed Jesus. They knelt on the ground (I think in their barn) and Michael cried out to God to save him. When he got up off his knees, Michael said he KNEW he was now saved from the wrath of God. His sins were forgiven at that moment. He was now a child of God, taken out of the dominion of darkness and brought into the glorious light of Jesus Christ. At that moment, Michael told his sister...oh what a marvelous time that must have been.

Since then, I have seen a pretty termendous change in Michael. The very next day, we met with him and his family in front of the abortion clinic. Michael was ON FIRE for Jesus. All he wanted to do was share his testimony and tell people about how Jesus Christ is the only way by which men can be saved. Jesus Christ is the only way to have your sins washed away. It was great to see such a new zeal in Michael. He was and is a new creation - set apart as an ambassador for Jesus Christ! To warn men of the terror that awaits them and how forgiveness of sins can save them from God's wrath.

Michael must have asked a half-dozen or more people that day, people just walking by:
If you died tonight, are you sure you would go to heaven and why?

Praise the Lord for saving Michael.

Let me ask you:
If you died tonight, are you ABSOLUTELY sure you are saved from God's eternal wrath? If so, why?

65-75% of americans believe themselves to be saved. A simply study of the scriptures reveals to us that this is not true. How do you know you are not one of them? Are you deceiving yourself like Michael was?

The most important question I can ask you is this:

Reader....ARE YOU SAVED?

1 John 2:4
He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

Matthew 7:21-23
"Not everyone who says to Me [Jesus], 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

10 Indictments Against the "church"

It's been a long while since I last posted anything. I have several postings I've been meaning to post but time has got the best of me.

I was recently given a sermon by Paul Washer called "10 Indictments". I do not know if an audio is available but if you click this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7wzfvYkCW0 you will be able to watch the sermon on YouTube. It is a 2 hour sermon BUT WELL WORTH IT!!

It is very powerful, convicting, and truthful (which is really all that matters). Many of us have the same "indictments" against the church as well. Confirmation is always nice.

Please find the time to listen to this, even if it takes you several days.

Hebrews 13:8
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

In today's churches (and social circles) we hear so much about God's love, mercy, and forgiveness. Although these characteristics about God are true, they are only half of the story. In fact, I would dare say those characteristics of God make very little sense if we do not understand (or know about) His wrath, anger, hate, and vengeance.

Several years ago I came across a sermon by Johnathan Edwards titled Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. It had been more than a year since I last listened and/or read this sermon, however recently I did both. I HIGHLY recommend this sermon. It might just change the way you think about Jesus.

To listen to the audio for this sermon (52 minutes) you can click on this link http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=11140523305. Otherwise if you prefer to read the text, click the link to the right of this entry titled Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God (text).

Although he quotes several scriptures, most of the sermon is biblical texts simply paraphrased. If you want specific references for some of his comments, let me know and I can send you a detailed sermon outline noting the references.

Please take the time to listen to and/or read the sermon Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. It is 52 minutes that will be well worth your time. I guarantee it will open your eyes to things the bible says about God that you may have never known before.

Do you know the real God of the bible?

2 Timothy 3:16-17
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Duluth News Tribune Articles

The Duluth News Tribune printed two articles about this ministry. Both of the "articles" come from the READER'S VIEWS (opinion section). The articles follow.

Article #1 Friday August 15, 2008
Thousands of visitors lined up to enjoy the three replica sailing ships in the Twin Ports as part of the weekend Maritime Festival. Duluth could take a bow.
But on every parade some rain may fall, apparently. One this occasion, a couple of religious zealots were on hand with their soapbox and their repent-or-perish placecard. They stood on the walkway beside the Baltimore ship.
If people were searching for a spiritual message, they would have attended a Franklin Graham festival. People who braved freeway traffic, parking and prices were unlikely to have interest in a doomsday message, brandished by zealots taking advantage of a crowd with nothing to do but wait and observe and joke.
Ironically, as an evangelical believer, I will say there was truth in the sermon for the day - but it was at the wrong time and place. My scriptures tell one the wisdom from above is gentle, easy to share and full of mercy. It didn't come across that way from these sidewalk dudes.
But in spite of them, the sun was shining.
Allan Taylor (Bloomington, MN)

Article #2 Sunday September 14, 2008
In response to the Aug. 15 letter "Religious zealots chose wrong place for message," the core word in zealot, of course, is zeal, defined in my dictionary as "intense enthusiasm for a cause or person; a passionate ardor."
So a couple people were at the tall ships event this summer enthusiastically sharing a passionate message to a crowd of people who they may never see again, with a saving message they may never hear again, hoping they may save a few who would otherwise be lost to eternal damnation. Kind of sounds like John the Baptist to me.
I pray the words of zealots, whether spoken near a ship or on a street corner, or wherever, fall on some open ears and open hearts. The Bible talks about letting those with eyes see, and ears hear. Let it be so.
Paula Odegaard (Hibbing, MN)

Saturday, September 13, 2008


It has been a long while since I last updated this blog. The last month or so has been very busy with ministry and life. We were trying to get out on the streets and attending the last of the summer events before the snow starts to fly here in Duluth...which by the way was this time last year!!

We ended the summer preaching at the: Bayfront Blues Fest, Lake Superior Dragon Boat Races, and the Gay Pride in Duluth/Superior. These were the main events we preached at, however there were also several weekdays we were out in Canal Park and/or the Holiday Center Bus Stop.

The Duluth News-Tribune had an article in the paper tallying the final spectator counts at each main event. The events we attended had the following numbers:

Maritime Festival: 125,000
Grandma's Marathon: 50,000
Duluth Air Show: 32,000
Bayfront Festival: 20,000
Gaypride Festival: 11,000 (highly speculative - it did not seem like nearly that many)

FinnFest: 7,000
Dragon Boat Festival: 7,000

Obviously God didn't reach all those people through us with the Gospel, but the total number comes to: 252,000 people...that's over a quarter-million people! PRAISE GOD! Not to mention the many times we made it out to the streets during the week or on a weekend with no event!

Mark 16:15
And He [Jesus] said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.

Praise God that He gave us the strength, boldness, time, and endurance to go to each of those events. To Him belong all the glory, honor, and praise!

The following is a quick recap of each event.

Bayfront is a 4 day event, with Friday, Saturday, and Sunday being the biggest days. We were able to preach for approx. 8 hours on the final 3 days. Steve, Josh, and Lori were the main "preachers" but Vincent came one day as well. We encountered the police the first day we were there and had to move off the premises to just outside the gates. This worked well for us because we set up in a great funnel area. Anyone coming into or leaving the park had to come by us, which offered us a great chance for conversations and open-air preaching. We did a little open-air preaching, but the majority was done via our signs. The crowds were pretty hostile towards us since a great majority of the people were drunk. By hostile I mean, they offered their 2-sec. conversation of obscenities, finger-gestures, and "I thought God was loving and forgiving." For those pastors out there, you might want to consider telling the WHOLE COUNSEL of God and educate the masses about the TRUE GOD.

Acts 20:26-27
Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.

This event was held in Superior, Wisconsin. It was our first preaching on "foreign" soil! The ministry has now traveled to 2 of the 50 states!! The neat thing about being in Superior is they do not have a sound ordinance, therefore we were able to use an electronic bullhorn to preach. What an experience! This event was a 2 day event, Friday and Saturday. We set up friday afternoon and started preaching using the bullhorn. We were able to reach people from a good distance away as they approached us. By the time they got to us, they received the Gospel and then some. We, of course, we pretty concerned about the volume we could get away with and how tolerant the police would be. There were 2 police officers, as well as a bike-cop, that gave us NO problem what-so-ever. They never even talked to us once about the bullhorn! It was great. We preached all day Saturday as well, and as usual, we were in an area that EVERYONE had to pass through to get to the event. The crowd was pretty tolerant at this event, but we did have the occasional mocker and finger-jester, as well as solid, biblical conversations. We have no pictures of this event because Josh bought a new camcorder and recorded most of the preaching. We plan on making a website in the distant future and the videos will be accessible through YouTube.

Mattgew 28:19-20
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

This was the event we were looking forward to all summer - I say that with much hesitancy. The majority of preaching videos we have seen involving homosexual events have pretty heated exchanges, some violence, and often times brings the Police on the scene. Minus the violence, preaching at the DSGP - GBLA was no difference for us.

GBLA day #1
It started with a mayor reception at the Depot. Steve, Josh, Lori and Michael were at the event. We immediately were approached by the police and they tried to keep us out of the event, but we were prepared. We showed them document from the necessary powers-that-be allowing us access to where we wanted to be. The day was pretty uneventful but we did have a few great conversation.s The picture above is me preaching to 2 homosexuals. Another picture is the sign Michael made for the event, Lori is helping him hold the sign so the homosexuals can read it. They were asking me a lot of questions, trying to contradict the word of God with their "experiences" and "philosophy" but in the end they heard the Gospel and the consequences if the continue to practice this life-style. God did a wonder by breaking up this event. Notice in the picture the rain downpour! Of course we wanted to preach to them but a large storm came through with damaging wind and rain. The concert was cut short, the event was cut short, and in the end the decorations that were set up got demolished. Notice the rainbow picture above. You can see the GBLA rainbow destroyed by the wind/rain but God's rainbow banner fly high above. Was He once again showing His mercy sinners?

Gen 9:12-16
And God said: This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud; and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth."

GBLA day #2
This was the BIG day for the GBLA event. It was an all-day festival at Bayfront Park. We got there about 10am and were immediately met by the police (2 of which were wearing GBLA ankle bracelets). They told us we were not allowed in the event. What followed was a 10-20 min dialogue between me and them. Josh taping it all. I had done my leg work contacting the necessary powers-that-be, I had more than enough Federal Court cases to show our rights, and letters from the Duluth City attorney. They did care about ANY of it. Finally, when they saw we were not budging and they had no lawful way of arresting us, they called their "superior", who I had talked to on Thursday at the Depot. Just before leaving however, one of the GBLA cops told Josh he could no longer tape the conversation at which point she grabbed Josh's camcorder, covering it up with her hands. She proceeded to say she would take the video and use it as evidence, calling it Disorderly Conduct for taping someone who wishes not to be taped. At that point, I showed her Federal Court Cases saying it is indeed LEGAL to tape ALL public officials (police being a public official). She did not care. Although it was pretty annoying to go through this process when we just came to preach, it is necessary so in the future we won't have these problems and our rights are being met. When the superior arrived, we discussed the situation, showed her where we wanted to stand, and got the OK from here. It was the BEST spot we could have asked for. Just off to the side of the main stage, yet behind the speakers so that the noise from the concert was not a problem

We set up one of our 4ft by 4ft signs. We started out in groups of 2 in two different locations, but it wasn't long before event security, not the police, started hassling Josh and Michael. So Lori and I packed up and went to Josh and Michael's area - which I described above. We did not have any more contact with the event "security" once all 4 of us were together.

The day was full of non-stop conversations. We got setup about 12pm and I was the last one to leave about 7:30. It was amazing how the homosexual community, esp. those who profess to be believers, twist the scriptures. I do not have the time to explain there interpretations, but it is as twisted as I've ever seen. We preached repentance and faith from start to finish. We told them the consequences of not repenting and not believing in Jesus. At times, there was up to 25 or more people gathered around us, asking questions, shouting obscenities, etc.

As the day wound down, as we were packing up to leave, I got into a great one-on-one conversation with a young girl. She had heard us preach several times throughout the day and apologized how the other homo's acted towards us. I let her know it's part of being a christian. She said she has never had a homosexual encounter and that she is struggling with what we were preaching and what she wants to do. She was crying and admitting she was very confused about her "feelings" and the biblical truth. I talked with her for well over an hour, having to call home to get a ride. In the end,she said she would consider what I said, but ultimately believes God will not punish her for her homosexual lifestyle if she chooses it. I ended telling her if the bible is true, she will forever burn in the lake of fire because the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God, but as long as she lives, there is always hope through repentance and faith. Please pray for Ashley.

Proverbs 24:25
But those who rebuke the wicked will have delight, And a good blessing will come upon them.

GBLA day #3
The final day of the gay fest was spent in Superior to preach at their parade and ended in Canal Park for general preaching. Being we were in Superior, WI again, the bullhorn was legal to use. We got to Superior around 11:30 before the noon start of the parade. We situated ourselves on a street corner where the parade turned, and preached REPENTANCE and FAITH for over an hour on the bullhorn. We warned ALL sinners, not just homosexuals, about the terror of the Lord and the forgiveness of sins through the Blood of Jesus Christ. Once again, the Police did not give us any problems. In fact a squad car pulled right up in front of us directing the traffic and the parade. He was within 20 yards of us. As the parade continued past him, the homosexuals were honking their horn at us, yelling, etc. to try and drawn out my preaching. I turned the bulhorn up as loud as it could go...and let me tell you...IT'S LOUD. The police never batted an eye towards us! PRAISE GOD!

During the parade, another gentleman, all by himself, was carrying two signs calling sinners to repentance and faith. He walked with the parade and through the crowds. May the Lord bless him for his boldness and faithfulness to call sinners to repent. We hope we have a chance to meet up with him again, unfortunately we did not get any contact information from him, just handshakes as he went by our preaching. We were able to engage in a few small conversations after the parade was over, which is always nice.

When the parade was done, we spent the rest of the day in canal park preaching to whoever would listen.

Acts 17:17
Therefore he reasoned in the synagogue...and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there.

I want to end with a quick thank you for all those who came out with us this summer. It isn't easy to do, but God gave you the strength and boldness to obey the great commission. I want to say thank to those who continued to pray for us while we were out battling. Just knowing others were praying for us, gives me strength...I thought about it on many occasions while preaching. I pray God would give all of us a desire to share the word more than we do, including us. The battle is raging all around us - preach the word, rebuke the wicked, call sinners to repentance. Now is not the time to become friends with someone just to get them to come to church. Now is the time to preach the word. There is no season for preaching. Preaching season is ALWAYS open (2 Timothy 4:2).

Now that fall has arrived, our efforts turn to the college campuses. As always, everyone is welcomed to join us. - even if it's just to be a "fly on the wall." Please consider helping us share the Gospel to the needed college communities. If nothing else, please continue to pray for the soldiers out on the battle field and those who "hear" our words. We, and they, need your prayers.

Proverbs 24:10-12
If you faint in the day of adversity, Your strength is small. Deliver those who are drawn toward death, And hold back those stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, "Surely we did not know this," Does not He who weighs the hearts consider it? He who keeps your soul, does He not know it? And will He not render to each man according to his deeds?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

2 year old Open-Air Preaches

We went down to Canal Park on Thursday to watch the Tall Ships come in. The crowd size just to watch the boats come in was insane. It was PACKED!

We found a good place to stand that gave us access to a funnel area. Again, the people had to walk by us. Josh and I did some open air preaching as the crowds funneled past us.
As the evening continued on, Tina and the girls joined up with us. Tina held the sign as Amariah began to "shout" (as best as a 2 yr. old can do) at those passing by: "stop sinning", "Trust Jesus", "Repent", "Jesus is God", "Obey Jesus". It was AWESOME! We have it on video tape and are hoping to make an educational video in the near future (jk). - but we do have it on video.

Proverbs 22:6
Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.

The Winandy's joined us as well. The spent the day up in Virgina, MN preaching against abortion and then headed down to meet up with us. It's nice to do battle with people who walk out their faith - PRAISE GOD! They stood on one end of the bridge (see picture above), we stood on the other. They managed to pass out all of our tracts. Leah was a machine! She was so thankful that she was able to preach the Gospel to 3 different people - something she said she had never done before - again PRAISE GOD. It's amazing how God blesses us when we step out in faith!

Ephesians 3:20
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us

At one point we were approached by a person from the Duluth bible church who was against our message, thinking repentance is NOT necessary for salvation. All of us managed to show her scripture and we were even helped by a few by-standers who were believers. The true Gospel was preached to that lady, although she wanted no part of it. She informed me that she was not going to "throw the pearl to the pigs" and walked off. Repentance not necessary????

Luke 13:3
"I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.

We had no idea what the next few days were going to be about, it was beyond what we could have imagined! THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE and we were right in the middle of the majority of them. I will post those days photos and comments tomorrow.

I'll give you a hint: "Jesus" got His picture on the front of the Duluth News Tribune!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Finn Fest NOT Sinn Fest

We spent last weekend out in front of the DECC during Finn Fest. The theme of the day is that the majority of people thought we were protesting and/or against the Finnish people. We were assured by many that the "fins are probably the most christian people you'll meet."

Ironically, we had many people upset with out message, some even flicking us off and/or swearing continually at us because of our message. I guess their idea of, "most christian people you'll ever meet" is not the same as mine. we were told many times as well, "this is Finn Fest not Sinn Fest..what are you doing here!?"

One lady emphatically told me I needed to read my bible more. She said this because she was so sure the Finns are "ok with God". I told here we were not out here because of the Finns but because I know what the bible says about men (in short: they are sinners in need of a savior). I asked her if she knew what the bible said about men. She paused and replied, "nothing!". And I need to read my bible more! The following scripture is just one of MANY scriptures that says just how bad/wicked men really are:

Rom 3:10-12

On a better note, we had many new faces join us this weekend. The Winandy family, Lori (becoming a regular), and Jesse and friends from Silver Bay.

One neat thing that happened this weekend is when Jesse came down from Silver Bay. We met him during Grandma's weekend and he (as well as us) were very excited to get together. This was our first chance. Jesse had just come back from California with Way of the Master learning about preaching and/or open-air preaching. As soon as we hooked up with him, we found a place for him and he started open-air preaching. Unfortunately I do not have any pictures, only video. We tried a few different spots before we found a VERY good spot where people had to stop and wait for traffic. We set up to the side and just behind where the people were gathered. Jesse stood on a tool-box, Josh manned a sign, and I recorded the preaching. It was GREAT! He only had about 30 seconds to share a message with them before they moved on, but many people heard a biblical message about sin, righteousness, and judgment. Open-air preaching in the marketplace! People HAD to hear!

Romans 10:17
Faith comes by hearing and hearing the word of God.

Jesse also had some friends with him who had a few young kids with them. These kids were PUMPED UP about passing out tracts. It seemed every few minutes they were begging Jesse for more tracts to pass out. They were passing out million-dollar tracts, so again, many more people God the message of sin, righteousness, and judgment. Way to go girls!!

Overall, it was a pretty laid-back, good weekend. Finn Fest recorded over 7,000 people, many of which we encountered in our three days of being out there. Just think, between the Air Show and Finn Fest over 40,000 people may have received the Gospel by mouth or the signs...40,000!

Romans 1:16
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes

Monday, July 21, 2008

Duluth Air Show - 32,000 People Get The Gospel

WOW, what an experience this past weekend! We spent all day (9am-5pm) Saturday and Sunday out at the Duluth Air Show. It was estimated that over 32,000 people attended the two day event...and most, if not all, of them had to walk past our signs.

We arrived on Saturday having no clue what we were going to do, where we were going to go, and how it was going to all work out. We trusted in God, but still, that doesn't always mean things are going to go smoothly. We had a newcomer with us for Saturday, Lori. We met her the day before (actually we had spoken with her months ago on the streets) when we stood outside the DECC to confront people with an anti-abortion message with some other pro-lifers (that was intense, but another story for another time).

Josh and Lori station themselves at one point and I stationed myself a short distance from them. We were in the only funnel area that almost all spectators had to go through. It was a PRIME spot to share the Gospel.

It wasn't long before we got set up along Stebner road that the Air Show authorities approached me telling us we needed to move (they thought we were protesting the war/show). After the "officer" said his piece, I informed him that Stebner Rd. was a public road and that the general rule is that the public right-of-way is within 10ft. of the curb. He said they had a permit for the area and that the road was no longer public. I then let him know that I had documentation from the City Engineer, City Attorney, and Federal Court Cases showing that we indeed did have the right to be there. I escorted him to Josh who had the documents. After a few minutes and a discussion with the head of security, they understood our rights and left us alone. In fact, they stopped several times to ensure we were doing alright, not being hassled, and offered us water and sun-screen. It's pays to be prepared!

The amount of people was amazing. I had no idea this event was going to attract so many people. We didn't have many conversations (people were focused on getting into the event) but it was evident that the majority of the 32,000 people were reading the signs. We received thumbs up, "amens", "praise the Lord", and an occasional passer by wondering what "church" we were with. We also had several middle-fingers, head-shakes, and "get a life" types of things. I would say in the end I had 2 very good conversations with what I suspected to be unbelievers who were curious in our message. As usual, I talked about sin, judgment, and the righteousness found in Jesus Christ.
We were also able to pass about close to 100 tracts on Sunday as well. All we did was stand near the gated walkway and hold out our home-made tracts. We trusted the Holy Spirit would prompt someone to take them from us...and they did! We almost ran out!

We also met a few other believers who were a big encouragement to us. This type of ministry can get pretty mind-draining and seem to almost non-fruitful at times. However, God seems to bring a "great cloud of witnesses" to us just when we need them. I am so thankful to those believers who stop and talk to us, offering us prayer and encouragement. Hopefully we will be in contact with some of them in the near future, esp. those residing in the Twin Cities.

The "highlight" of the two days came on Saturday. Around 3pm the weather turned pretty nasty and a light mist turned into a down pour. The masses of people coming out was astounding. Very few people came prepared for such inclimate weather. they left the gated area in mass and they ALL had to filter right past us, often times being slowed down (or stopped)by vehicle traffic and foot-traffic congestion. They were "forced" to read our message, sometimes for a second or third time. To say we got SOAKED would be an understatement (Just a little FYI, I was soaked down to my underwear!!). It was worth it though, the Gospel was preached via our signs. Lori was a AWESOME for her first time out with us. She stayed the whole day, endured the rain, wind, and cold kept her focus. It was great to see others willing to sacrifice their comfort level (and physical comfort) for the sake of Jesus Christ.

One "picture" I will forever have in my mind is when a large group (probably a few hundred) were stopped by a line of cars coming out of the parking lot. All I could see were hundreds of people, many cars, rain all around me, and Josh's sign exalting the name of Christ within them all. The line of people extended for several hundred yards...hundreds of them! I wish many more could have seen it.
Praise be to God!!

Proverbs 24:25
But those who rebuke the wicked will have delight, And a good blessing will come upon them.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Reggae Fest and beyond

We spent Saturday July 12 outside of the Bayfront Festival Park as the Reggae Fest was going on. Although there were hundreds of people that entered the gated area, we had very few conversations. We learned too late that our message should have been geared towards their beliefs, calling them to repentance, to turn to the TRUE God, and obey Jesus. Next year should be more fruitful because our message will meet them where they are at.

The neat thing about this fest, and the Duluth Side Walk days is that a Vincent has started showing some sincere interest in coming out with us. He joined us one whole day on the streets of Duluth for sidewalk days and joined us the whole day during Reggae Fest. He even put on one of our new sandwich boards when I left. He did a great job of calling some young kids on bikes to repentance, to no longer live in sin, and TRUE faith in Christ (see inserted picture).

A quick story:

Josh and Vincent were out on the boardwalk one afternoon. They were walking up and down the boardwalk with sandwich boards on. A couple approached them and thanked them. They said their daughter had either seen us out before and/or talked to us at one point. They said their daughter now FEARS GOD because of the message we were preaching. Now, I don't know if she is a professing christian and what exactly was talked about, but either way, FEARING GOD is a good thing.... A VERY GOOD THING. Praise God.

Proverbs 8:13
The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way

Proverbs 9:10
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

A Homosexual Fears God

We found ourselves on the sidewalks of Duluth the sidewalk days from July 9-11. It was a busy time, but the weather was not very cooperative. We did get out for two full days, but missed the last day. It seems the people were more interested in the material things of the world, than the preaching of the Gospel.

We did have a few different encounters with the Police again. We came across the Potato Chip man, who preceded to get in Josh's face AGAIN, call the cops, and lie about us. Sure enough, the police came and had no problem with what we were doing. Funny thing, the Potato Chip man never sticks around to tell his side of the story.

One meaningful conversation I had was with a homosexual I had talked to before. He is talked about in another post. He approached me and we began to talk about small matters. As I was talking to him, two young girls approached and began to talk to me about being judgmental, etc. As I explained to them about God's standard, judgment, sin, righteousness, and eternal hell-fire they did not seem to care at all. I explained to them that on the day of judgment, they'll remember this conversation and wished they were scared back then. Just then the homosexual spoke up and said to the girls..."you should be scared. I'm scared. The two things that scare me are God and his judgment. I'm a homosexual and if the bible is right, I'm in big trouble."

Now, whether or not the guy meant it is not up to me. All I know is that the last time I talked to him, all he was trying to do was prove that homosexuality is ok and God is fine with it. Seems he's speaking a little different tone now.

Proverbs 16:6
By the fear of the Lord, men depart from evil

The only other conversation that really stands out to me is a conversation Josh had with a person for the Duluth Bible Church. I got a call from Josh about an hour into his conversation with this guy. When I got there, the topic was about Romans 7 and whether Paul is describing himself BEFORE he was a converted or AFTER he was converted. As I listened to Josh debate with this guy, it seemed the gentleman wanted to hear nothing from Josh. This man was convinced that Romans 7 is describing Paul AFTER his conversion. He also insisted that one can never lose their salvation, even if they become an atheist for the majority of their life. As long as they believe one time, then they are saved. I began to dialogue with the gentleman, trying to show that Romans 7 is speaking about Paul BEFORE his conversion, but the gentleman would have nothing to do with what we said.

Although I see no biblical support for Romans 7 describing Paul AFTER his conversion (outside of it being written in the present tense), the thing that bothers me more than anything, is that many people use Romans 7 to justify their unholy living. They think something to the effect of, "If Paul couldn't do it, then neither can I." And they justify their sinful life, their lukewarmness, their friendship with the world, and the list can go on and on. Now I do not want to downplay God's mercy and grace, but God doesn't just call us to Repentance and Faith and then say, "well that's it, go and do what you please. You're going to fail habitually and repeatedly, but that's ok, I still love you." NO! Jesus called us to be perfect as His father in heaven is perfect. The bible is filled with exhortations to STOP SINNING. Peter tells us to perfect holiness in ourselves in the fear of God. Now, all of this is done through the Power of the Holy Spirit, but it WILL BE DONE none-the-less. For time and space sakes, I'll stop for now. Should anyone like to discuss Romans 7, please contact me so we can discuss exactly what Paul IS saying.

Galatians 5:16-25
This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Preaching on July 4th

On July 4th. We set up in front of the Bayfront Festival Park around 3ish. The first part of the day was spend in the Canal Park area. It was a LONG day to say the least. For the most part, the day started out pretty slow, with very little for conversations. There were literally thousands of people that passed by us and read our signs. We did have conversations here and there, but for the most part, the day was slow.

As the sun began to set, the crowd grew restless. Josh walked through the grounds area with his motorized hat on (where hundreds of people were sitting waiting for the fireworks to begin). I got some great film footage of the event. Many people were captivated by his hat and no doubt the message was read. We were thinking of leaving the area around 8:30 but thankfully Josh encouraged me to stay. From 8:30 until 10 (just before the fireworks began) we had many, many conversations. Two conversations stick out to me. One was with a young lady who was very displeased with our message, literally flicking me, josh, and the camera off. It lasted about 15 minutes and in the end, she knew what she needed to do to be right with God, however she had no interest in doing it.

The other conversation was with 3 young adults. The interesting thing about that conversation is that someone had preached to them the day before. Those people preached the law, sin, judgment, and hell to them. I too was preaching this to this small group, however the people seemed to be in fear of God's wrath and eternal judgment on the sinner while they listened to me. They said they didn't like what the person said to them the day before, and were turned off. The funny thing is, when they first approached me, one of the first comments out of their mouth was, "so we are all going to hell because we are all sinners?" WOW! She was not asking out of sarcasm, she was serious. I was able to share the word of God with them concerning God's standard, judgment, the lake of fire, and God's love and mercy for the sinner. No doubt it was one of the best conversations I have had. They were sincere and wanted more answers. They didn't question anything I had to say. I believe they were beginning to accept it by faith.

It's amazing how God often times rewards us when we are willing to go they extra mile. I am so thankful that Josh encouraged me to stay out. Had I not, I would have missed that opportunity with those three young adults.

We learned a lot about what to do next year at this event. Where to set up. When. How late to stay, etc. We are already looking forward to July 4th next year. It's a festival that is sure to attract the thousands, a great place to preach the Gospel.

Romans 10:17
Faith comes by hearing, and hearing the word of God

Hebrews 11:6
And without faith, it is impossible to please God

If faith comes by hearing (preaching is the context and not behind a pulpit) and without faith it is impossible to please God, do you think we should be preaching to the masses more?

Friday, June 27, 2008

5 Year Old Passes Out Tracts

Yesterday was a beautiful day, probably one of the (if not THE) nicest days of the year. Mild temps., little to no wind, and a small blanket of cloud cover to keep us from burning up.

It was an exciting day because two new people came out with us. Rob Skutevik and Nick Olson. They've been wanting to get out with us for some time, but job and other priorities seemed to be hindering them. So to say the least it was exciting to have them join us. Rob and I have done a lot of street-witnessing in the past together, so it was great to be in the battle with a tested warrior who I knew well. It didn't take long before Rob was back in prime-form battling for the Gospel. There is one picture in the slide show of him talking to a couple of people.

Another neat thing about yesterday is that Rob brought 3 of his kids with and for the most part they stayed around us to listen in on the conversations. At one point, I asked the girls if they wanted to hand out tracts, and little Gabbie (only 5 years old) was pumped. She was AWESOME! Very few people will take tracts from us, however put a cute little five year old girl in your path handing you a piece of paper...I don't think ANYONE can resist. And they didn't. She passed out about 10 tracts...more than most professing christians do in a lifetime!! Way to go Gabbie (see the inserted picture of Gabbie with the tracts).

Nick and Josh went to Little Angies while Rob and I stayed at Park Point. Rob and I were able to have a few good conversations with both believers and unbelievers. I believe seeds were sown and watered, and now God can do the increase.

Since Park Point was not as packed at it seemed, we decided to pack up and head to the Marine Museum area of Canal Park..and boy was that a good move! The canal park area was pretty packed.

I started with a conversation with several young christians on a mission trip. I asked them what I needed to do to be saved. Their response floored me because it was not the typical, "say this prayer", "ask Jesus into your heart", "admit you are a sinner", etc. Instead it was, to me, a very biblical response. In short, Repentance and Faith defined as a complete submission to Jesus, not just as your Savior BUT AS YOUR LORD. Believing in His death, burial, and resurrection and conforming your life to follow His will (i.e. obedience). And this was from a kid about 12 years old! Way to go youth leader!

I talked with the youth for about 20 or 30 mins during which time a professing believer approached and was questioning our method of evangelizing. I've written on this topic before, but let me mention again that "success" should not be measured on the response to our message, but rather if our message is biblical and if we are making disciples (in the long run - God saves them, we then make disciples). We MUST get over the idea that an "offensive" message is not productive. There is NO biblical support for such a statement.

Matthew 28:19-20
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

Mark 16:15
And He [Jesus] said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

Here is something we get from a lot of people in regards to our "offensive" message. They say something similar to, "This fear tactic, hellfire and brimstone preaching might work for some, but others it will just turn off". Now, please read that statement again. Notice what is bold. Do you see the self-deception in this statement. The person is literally saying that our method DOES work from some people, but that we shouldn't be doing it (that is generally what their main point is - stop your message/method it is turning people off). The problem with this thought is this. If our method/message DOES work from some people, what would come of those people if we stopped doing our method/message? What if we stopped just to reach the people that need a different method/message? Do you see the deception behind this? I don't doubt for one minute that these people are being sincere, but they really are not hearing what they are saying. If we stopped, those who NEED our message/method would not get it, therefore leaving them high and dry. If we started to reach the other people, could we not say that our "success" is just as comparable to our first approach - some people are "listening" and others are "not listening"? It's foolishness. Just preach the TRUE BIBLICAL message in a style that is supported by the prophets, Jesus, and the New Testament Church.

Mark 6:10-12
And He said to them, "Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave town. "Any place that does not receive you or listen to you, as you go out from there, shake the dust off the soles of your feet for a testimony against them." They went out and preached that men should repent.

I will stand on this truth...there is FAR MORE biblical references to open-air preaching, street-preaching, door-to-door preaching, and preaching judgment, sin, righteousness FIRST talking about the Love of God. Now, no doubt they are all tied together BUT the Love of God makes NO SENSE if we do not talk about the others first. I'll stick to what the biblical example is and when God brings me a relationship with a non-believer, I'll share the same message. There are far too many people who are not hearing the TRUE message because we as an evangelical church are failing in the Great Commission, relying on our "relationships" with unbelievers as a means to evangelize. By the way, what if you share the truth with your friend and they get offended...were you "successful"?

John 6:59-61
These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum. Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, "This is a hard saying; who can understand it?" When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, "Does this offend you?

The rest of the day was met with a few more good conversations. One in particular was as I was leaving. A girl by the name of Mandee approached me and was very excited about us being on the streets. She has a heart for street-ministry, was not offended by our method/message (meaning she thought it was right on), and stressed a desire to join us in the future. AMEN!

Ephesians 3:20
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think

Monday, June 23, 2008

Grandma's Marathon

This past weekend was a definite learning experience. There were literally thousands of people who stormed the city of Duluth for running, fun, and seemingly most of all drinking!

We went out on Friday from 11am - 8:45 pm and Saturday from 8am - 8pm. It was a long and grueling weekend. At this point I don't have the time nor space to explain all of our encounters.

Tina came out with us on Friday and mentioned that although we didn't have a single conversation in the first few hours, just about EVERYONE who passed by was reading the sign - the planting of seeds!

Matthew 13:3-8
Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: "Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

At one point, Tina left to go get some ice cream and when she came around the corner she was met with quiet a scene. I was engaged in a heated debate with a group of about 10+ homosexuals, some of which we had talked to on Tuesday. A few seemed to be mocking, but some were generally (seemingly) interested in what we had to say. The neat thing is that Tina was able to get much of the conversation on video, so be looking for that on the blog time in the future.

After the group dispersed, Josh was approached by two guys who, although "ok" with the message, did NOT like the method we were using. Very frustrating because there is little, if any, scriptural support to alter the method of "marketplace preaching" based on our culture today. These gentleman figured our method does not work in today's culture, trying to prove that by my conversation with the homosexuals. It seemed any "negative" response to our message was not a "success" to them. Hmmmmmmm

John 6:65-67
And He said, "Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father." From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more (see verse 60). Then Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also want to go away?"

As the day progressed we were in and out of small conversations. At one point the POTATO CHIP guy approached us, pulled out his cell phone, and preceded to call the police. His message to them (a few feet away from us) was that we were "scaring little kids and telling them they are going to hell." He also stated that he was a "christian" and was offended by this message. Remember, he's the guy that throws potato chips around us and calls us "pieces of sh%$". As he walked away he said, "That's it guys. You're done. You're outta here." About 20 min later the Police showed up, and as usual, had nothing really to say to us. They know we are in our rights, even if we were telling "little kids they are going to hell" (which we were not). We shook the police officers hand and he went on his way.

The rest of the evening was spent in some good conversations.

Saturday was a long, long day. As I stated earlier, we got there around 8am, set up, and stayed until about 8pm. Nick joined us for most of the day, and Sam came around 4pmish, Tina was with us from 8am until around noon. It was a great day with MANY great conversations (too many to go into). As usual, we were approached by all types of people, attitudes, and backgrounds.

Sam did an EXCELLENT job when he and I were "manning" a sign. He came out just to "observe" but got thrown into the fire as soon as we put the sign out. We were approached by a small group (8 people). Half came to me, half to him. We spent a good 20 or 30 mins with our groups talking about sin, righteousness, judgment, and the Gospel, as well as answering their questions. As Sam was finishing up, I noticed he was praying with one of the gentleman, and the guy seemed to appreciate it because he thanked Sam and shook his hand. NICE WORK!

One thing that stands out to me more than anything after this weekend is just how full of sin our world is. The atmosphere done in Canal Park was one of sex, music, and drinking. The majority of women were dressed with such provocative clothing. The drinking was non-stop from 9am until we left. The music that was being played was loud, with a theme of sex, heartaches, drinking, and "having fun". At one point I saw a couple (I don't know if they were married) go into a porta-potty and not come out for about 15min. When they did, they were both "adjusting" themselves. My guess is they were having sex, in "broad-daylight", as kids were walking around.

The evening, by a large majority of the public, was spent in front of Little Angies with a mass of people playing drinking games, taking shots, while to hardly dressed "DJ's" were calling on people to drink more and more. All the while, families were walking around and being subjected to this. Don't fool yourself, God is NOT blessing the U.S.A. like most people think He is. Our Judgment is coming!

In the end, the weekend was, I think, a huge success (if you mark "success" as planting and/or watering "seeds"). We have a lot to learn for next year in terms of our approach because although we planted many seeds, many more seeds could have been planted if we were more prepared. I was a little disappointed to the lack of response to my invitation to join us. Again, please don't let the fear of man, doubt, or our "method" scare you way. Do you love to talk about Jesus and what he has done for you? Trust me, you'll be able to do that AND THEN SOME if you come out on the streets!

2 Timothy 1:6-8
Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you...For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

4 Squad Cars

It's been a long time since I last posted a recent update of our street ministry. I was gone on vacation visiting family, but Josh and a few others remained faithful and spent a few days on the streets preaching the Gospel of salvation.

Yesterday was yet another day filled with many encounters. Josh, Steve, Val and Erik Larson came out to Canal Park from 4ish until 9:45.

It started with the same guy POTATO CHIP GUY from before, within minutes of us getting there, spreading potato chips all around us so the birds might poop on us. We tried to hold a conversation with him but all he did was swear at us (he told us he "loves Jesus").

I got into a pretty heated conversation with about 10+ homosexuals. I was approached by one that asked me, "If I'm a homosexual, am I going to hell?" I informed him it's sin that sends us to hell and homosexuality is one such sin. From that point on it was "fireworks" between him, me, and his buddies.

1 Corinthians 6:9
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God

Regardless of what else was said, the message of Repentance and Faith (the Gospel) was delivered. Now it's up to God to cause the seed to increase. Remember, our job is not to save people, it's to plant seeds and/or water. When/If God saves them, we are to make Disciples of Jesus out of them.

Matthew 28:19-20
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

At one point the potato chip man came out and got very loud, "violent", and had to be restrained by several people because he was getting very angry with Val. It got pretty hot and heated but Val did a great job keeping his cool, even "blessing" the man that hates our message so much.

Matthew 5:44
But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,

It wasn't long after that that 3 squad cars (a fourth came later) pulled up and questioned us. I guess the "manager" from Little Angies called saying we were loud, our sign was offensive, and we were "harassing" people as they walked by. Our sign may be offensive, but the other 2 are simply not true. We talked with the Police for about 20 mins. or so, and they concluded that we were well within our rights and left us alone. At one point, one of the homosexuals asked that I be arrested for being against his lifestyle and telling him he was going to go to hell if he continued to practice homosexuality. Go figure. He asked me...I told him...then he wants me arrested??

The day continued with many great conversations, questions, encouragement, anger, and curiosity. All those emotions/reactions come with the territory. Hopefully, as time goes on, we will be able to video these encounters and use them as a learning tool and encouragement. Many things can be learned from watching others proclaim the Gospel.

My final hour or more was spent "debating" with a dispensational christian (I hate debating with professing believers on the streets, I need to learn not to do it). I had this same type of encounter before with a dispensationlist, very frustrating, seemingly non-productive esp. in light of unbelievers standing around watching us "debate". In fact they were encouraged by one of the homosexuals to come up to us and talk to us. I wonder if Satan was involved in any of this? Josh had a long conversation with a non-believer and it seemed to go well. She said she planned on looking into the things we are preaching.

May God continue to use this ministry, how He sees fit and may He get ALL THE GLORY!

1 Peter 4:11
If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Repent or Perish...should Jesus have said that?

Well, I now have another revelation. Trying to update this blog is going to be a lot harder than I thought. With summer fast approaching and the weather beginning to warm up, we hope to be out on the streets nearly everyday. If our encounters last night are any indication of what the summer holds for us, then trying to relay the days events to you the reader will be next to impossible.

Last night was AWESOME! Josh, Val, Tina, and our girls were with me yesterday. Although Tina and the girls did their own thing, I have no doubt that Tina was praying for us and enjoying her time with the girls.

Val and I were manning the sign while Josh had to attend to some personal business. Just as I was setting up the sign, a guy approached me with a high-tech camera.
He asked me, "Would you be willing to flick off the camera for me."
I said, "No".
How about sticking your tongue out.
I'll smile for you if that works.
No that won't work. You need to do something that fits your sign.
What do you mean?
Well your sign looks stupid, so you need to look stupid too. I guess this will work. Both of you look like idiots. Thanks.

This guy obviously did not like our sign (he professed to be a christian - who doesn't?) however he kept mocking us, telling us we are "stupid" and "idiots". He was taking our picture constantly and did not want us to stay around. The funny thing is, he was drawing more attention to us then we were drawing to ourselves, probably the very thing he didn't want to do. It's great how God works! At one point he got so desperate to make us leave that he took some potato chips, crushed them up in his hands, and preceded to throw them around us. Why? In hopes the seagulls would fly around us and poop on us. They didn't and even if they did, we wouldn't have moved. Praise God that His name is exalted even by mockers who have no idea what they are doing is drawing more of a crowd to think about God.

Psa 37:12 The wicked plots against the just, And gnashes at him with his teeth.
Psa 37:13 The Lord laughs at him, For He sees that his day is coming.

One of the highlights about last night was that it was the first time we really got a chance to witness with Val. We meet Val a few weeks ago. He's a middle-aged gentleman who is originally from Russia (oh yes, he's got the Russian accent). He was born-again over 30 years ago in a Russian prison (awesome testimony), became a preacher, moved to the US over 16 years ago, and is now in the process of working with us. He used to open-air preach in Russia when the communist regime fell. So I was pretty excited when people started approaching us. I let him do the talking, it was time for me to be the student. I was very impressed with what he had to say. He didn't get caught up with the "rabbit trail" questions people were asking. He told them the truth, asked a few questions, and let the people go if they so desired. As he says, "You have to open your mouth. In the beginning was the Word..." His point (I think), "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17).

As the day began to close, we were approached by a group of believers. These believers, for the most part, were very negative towards our sign. They didn't understand why we would wear shirts that say, "Repent or Perish". I tried to explain to them that this is a very common theme throughout the entire bible. Not to mention, this is what Jesus said to the masses.

Mat 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

Luk 13:2 And Jesus answered and said to them, "Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things?
Luk 13:3 I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.
Luk 13:4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem?
Luk 13:5 I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish."

I may have stated this before, so please bear with me. I have NO PROBLEM with people thinking our sign/style of witnessing is not how they would do it and/or not the "best" way to do it. I DO have a problem with believers telling us our way is the WRONG way of doing it. For example, I do not think having a sign that says GOD LOVES YOU on it is the "best" way to get God's message out. However, I would not "argue" on the streets with them about it. I would encourage them in their endeavors and genuinely ask them how things are going. I would then hope to take them aside (when they are done) and talk about God's other side as well. Is their message biblical? Yes. Can God use it. Yes. Is it the best biblical message someone can come up with? That's debatable. I don't think so, but doing SOMETHING is better than doing NOTHING. Josh and I discussed this last night a little and he said, "I'd rather be preaching the right Gospel the wrong way, rather than the wrong gospel the right way." Amen to that.

Now, why did Josh say that? Well, while we were talking to these believers, a lady on a Harley bike rolled up and staring getting a little defensive about our sign. She was saying we were being judgmental (our sign has NOTHING about specific sins at all and nothing that could be considered judgmental in my opinion). Within the first few minutes she claims to be a homosexual christian...which is an oxymoron. Can a homosexual become a christian...ABSOLUTELY! Can a christian slip up at times and commit a homosexual sin, of course. Can a christian live as an unrepentant homosexual, who does not see homosexuality as a sin...no way! So the reason Josh made his statement about preaching a true gospel the wrong way (not talking about "love" and talking more about "judgment") is because the other believers who came up to us were "lovingly" telling this lady that it is ok to be a homosexual. I wasn't part of the conversation, but according to Josh they kept reassuring the lady that "we all sin" and "we all struggle with sin". How deceiving is that! That's true in a sense! But it's unbiblical to say it's OK to be a homosexual and still think you are going to heaven. If you think that, then how would you interpret the following scriptures.

Lev 20:13 If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.

1Co 6:9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites,
1Co 6:10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.

It's not about what the culture thinks, it's about what the bible says.

Let me add that as Josh was having his conversations with, I was having a GREAT conversation with two of the other believers that came up to me. We talked about a lot of topics, but the main point was me trying to explain to them why our sign says what it says, why we focus on judgment, wrath, hell, and stop sinning, more than God's love (although I think our sign is VERY loving). In the end, I think my point was clearly made and taken very well by the listening party. In fact they both seemed to understand where I was coming from and even considered coming out with us to hear more of what we say to people.

As the conversations ended, we started packing up. Just then a couple approached us both with a rather "happy" smile on their faces. We started up a conversation with them and shortly into the conversation we realized these people were very encouraged by our sign and style of witnessing. The guy, Sam, is the worship leader at a local church. His wife, Lesley, is part of the Pro-Life street witnessing organization. They to have been frustrated with the churches of today, the lack of zeal in most christians lives, and the lack of obedience to the word of God. It was a very encouraging way to end the day. In fact, we plan on meeting with them in the near future and discuss the vision God has laid on my heart. I am not the most optimistic person in the world, but this looks to be the start of a great relationship that God had ordained. Just when Tina and I, as well as Josh, were discussing the lack of people willing to fight the fight on the streets, God (in His timing) brings people to us. To encourage us and give us strength.

1Th 3:1 Therefore, when we could no longer endure it, we thought it good to be left in Athens alone,
1Th 3:2 and sent Timothy, our brother and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you and encourage you concerning your faith,
1Th 3:3 that no one should be shaken by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we are appointed to this.

Friday, May 23, 2008

From the Streets - Thursday May 22

I'm beginning to see that my posts, although different in wording, will often times be very similar in content. People's opinion towards our signs and/or message is becoming very similar. Some like it, others hate it, some reject it, others embrace it...but most are pretty indifferent to it. This mindset is actually helping me to rethink what needs to be put on our signs.

I have been doing some extensive reading in the book of Acts. Trying to find the "perfect" sign is driving me crazy. My wife and Josh are finding it pretty comical that I keep finding THE "perfect" sign. Only to have that "perfect" sign, superseded by another sign that is "THE" sign. It's a tough process. The more I study the book of Acts, the more I see the message which they preached was a message "relevant" to the people they were talking to. In short, they were preaching "Jesus as the Son of God" and "Jesus as the Christ" because this was VERY relevant to the Jewish people. If you read through the book of Acts, you will find that when Paul was confronted with people who had no (or very little) knowledge of the scriptures, he did not talk about Jesus as the Christ (see Acts 14:7-17; Acts 17:16-31) or the Jesus as "the Son of God". Why? Because those statements meant NOTHING to those people. They weren't waiting for the Messiah.

So what does that mean for today. A LOT! I am beginning to see that the people today, although they are well aware of the scriptures and the basic teachings of Jesus, they have no clue what it all means. To preach to people the "Jesus died for their sins", seems pretty pointless if they don't think what they are doing is sin. I am beginning to see that we MUST tell people what the bible calls sin. However, just telling people what the bible calls sin has no power to it if their sin has no consequences. Therefore, we must tell people about the consequences of their sin. The consequences of their sin is separation from God. However, telling people their consequence of their sin has no power to it if they don't see why "being separated from God" is important. I am staring to FIRMLY believe that one common theme throughout the bible is the declaration of GOD'S JUDGMENT ON ALL PEOPLE!

From Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21, we several common themes over and over again: There is only one God, God is loving, God is forgiving, God is jealous, God has mercy, God is angry with men and their sin yet He is patient with them however His patience does run out at times, and finally JUDGMENT! I have yet to do this study, but I would guess the idea of "the judgment of God/Day of the Lord" is found in most if not all of the books of the bible.

Just think about God's love toward us through Jesus Christ. This doesn't even make sense to us if we don't see a need for Jesus. The only reason for Jesus, was because their is going to be a judgment. This judgment, the judgment of every man, is THE key to understanding God's love, patience, forgiveness, etc. Without Judgment, Jesus is pointless. Their is no need for a sacrifice if there is not Judgment!

In the book of Acts, you only hear the apostles very few times talk about the judgment that is to come. However, that does not mean we should not be talking about it. Remember, the majority of people who the apostles were talking to (both Jews and Gentiles) had a good bit of scripture knowledge. Therefore, they were well aware of the final Judgment of God and the apostles need not mention it to them.

Same goes with specific sins. They did not need to preach to the people to turn from their "sexual immorality" because the odds were pretty good that the people were trying to obey God and His commandments. We know this because the scriptures say they were zealous to keep the law. The Jewish people "feared God" because they knew their was a judgment. Therefore, to be "saved" they tried to keep the Law. Their mistake was in not realizing the Law was to lead them to Christ (the Savior). However, today people are not trying to live "moral" lives as set forth in the bible. They are trying to live "moral" lives set forth by their own standards. That is why we need to hit our culture hard with what the bible calls sin. Many people we talk to on the streets claim to be christians, however they do not see many of the sins we preach as sin. We need to reason with them from the scriptures (just as Paul reasoned with the Jews using the scriptures that Jesus was the Christ) what God defines as sin.

Finally, one of the common themes I have found throughout the bible to be relevant to our preaching today, is the concept embedded in "Idolatry". Specifically, that throughout the Bible we see God wanting the lone worship of mankind to Himself, yet man is constantly doing things his way. Man thinks he knows what he needs to do to be saved. In short, man thinks he is God. Man thinks he makes the rules. Man thinks he can determine what is sin and what is not. What is sin for one person might not be for another. Most people today have a "tolerance" mindset. The idea of, "you can believe whatever you want, as long as it doesn't 'effect/hurt' other people." Obviously this is not what Jesus, Peter, Paul, etc taught. Jesus said He was THE ONLY WAY! We need to get back to this principal. There are NOT many ways to God. We need to preach to the people today that TOLERANCE IS NOT OK. Tina likes to say, "Tolerance is not Ok, Jesus is the only way." There are faults with that, but it's catchy none-the-less (and true). We need to preach Jesus not so much "as the Christ" but as THE ONLY GOD AND HIS WAY IS THE THE ONLY WAY! We are STEEPED in a society that teaches there are MANY ways to God. Again, it's the idea of tolerance - this America must repent of!

So, as of right now, (it might change as I continue in prayer and study) the three things that we need to be preaching to people are:
1. Judgment
2. What God calls sin
3. Jesus is the ONLY God and the ONLY way

Now obviously you include the message of the cross, forgiveness of sins, etc. We must include the Full Gospel, and a "half" Gospel does not make sense if there is no judgment, consequence of Sin, and the Authority and Deity of Jesus Christ.

John 14:6
Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father, except through Me."

Doesn't sound like "tolerance" to me!

Oh, by the way, we went out yesterday and had some very good conversations. God is always providing us with oppurtunities to share His truth. Be looking for a future post on my conversation with Mormons.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Street Preaching May 14, 2008

We went out yesterday evening from 3:30-8:30 down in the Canal Park area. It was an amazing "coincidence" that there just "happened" to be a scheduled air show in that area. So as the day progressed, the area around us was being flooded with people. Several hundred people were within reading distance of the sign.

The day started relatively "slow" in that we did not get much, if any conversations going. As always, there are those who walk by and give a "thumbs up" and there are those who walk by and shake their head and/or same some "nice" comment about our sign. Either way, BOTH are a blessing! The Holy Spirit does wonders in people we never see happening.

Our first conversation was really just a continuation conversation with a guy I had talked to last time out. His name is Art. He's a self-professing atheist, who seemingly hates ALL religions, thinks we are all deceived, and really hates us because we are "dumb enough to stand out here showing the world how foolish our 'god' is." He's a really nice guy! Actually, the conversations have been "good" in a sense. Although he thinks we are complete idiots, he also says how "nice" we are and he thinks we are pretty good guys, it's our beliefs he hates.

When he first came up to us, I told him how great it was to see him, with all these people around. I told him I would get the conversation going, he'd get mad and a little loud, and that would bring the crowd in. He ASSURED me that he wasn't going to talk to us and "help us out." An hour later he was still talking to us! You can't resist the Holy Spirit! Seemingly the conversation goes no where. He wants to argue against the existence of God, faith, etc. And is pretty defiant against any argument you present to him. I try my best not to get into "philosophical arguments" but it's hard. Josh is much better and staying within the scriptures, staying out of arguments, and letting the word of God do his thing.

Hebrews 4:12-13
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

As the day progressed and the air show ended, things started to pick up. While I was talking to a professing christian who despised our sign, Josh was having a conversation with another professing christian. Both of these gentleman, not associated with one another, believed a person could put their faith in Christ, renounce their faith, practice another religion yet still be saved because "at one time they trusted in Christ". WRONG ANSWER! What saith the scriptures:

1 John 5:13
These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.

Mark 13:13
...he who endures to the end shall be saved.

When these conversations were over it was about 7pm. I was pretty whopped from my conversation with the atheist and the professing christians. Several things about witnessing. It challenges your faith, it challenges your patience, it makes you really dig into the scriptures to see why you believe what you believe, and it is both mentally and physically draining.

We decided to pack up and head to the area in front of Little Angies, knowing that it is a hot spot for people eating, drinking, and hanging out. It wasn't long before we set up that people started to come and talk to us. The conversations were short, but the gospel message was presented. Josh was talking to a couple of girls while I was talking to a few skate boarders. As I finished my conversation, a lady pulled up in a car FURIOUS that our sign had the word "men" on it and not "women". I assured her it was only for scriptural faithfulness and the scripture we were referring to. It didn't matter to her. She believed men should not be in authority over women. Once she calmed down a bit, we discussed the issue a little and I learned she was a Chaplin at St. Mary's hospital. Although she said she believed the bible, every scripture I presented to her, she rejected and said, "oh, I don't believe that." I didn't give her my interpretation, I just read the scripture to her.

When I got done with my conversation, Josh was engaged with a man from Russia, Val, and the same two girls. Turns out Val is a believer who seems to be ON FIRE for Jesus. To make a long story short, he wants to get together with us, fellowship with us, and come out with us to open-air preach/street witness. We ended up talking with him for a while and discussed his conversion story, his fleeing from Russia to America, and our vision for the city of Duluth. At this point, we are very encouraged by his zeal and willingness to step into the battle for lost souls.

After a short conversation with two professing christians (one wearing a HOOTERS tank top, the other...well...I'm not sure if she was wearing ANY clothes) who pulled up to talk to us, we ended our conversations and went home.


Acts 18:9-10
Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, "Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city."