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)

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Resolution: Wednesday April 30, 2008

Well, there has been a resolution in regards to the situation we encountered last Wednesday when we were asked to leave the Canal Park area by a federal employee of the Marine Museum (see last post for details). The last week I have been EXTREMELY busy contacting the City Engineer (basically she develops/lays out the street plans, right-of-ways, property ownership, etc), LT of the Duluth Police Dept., the City Attorney, and a Lawyer from Mount of Olives Baptist Church.

My first personal mission was to locate the City of Duluth Ordinances (found on the website...the internet is down right amazing!). I wanted to find out the exact ordinances for what I wanted to do. I suggest if anyone is planning on going out witnessing in their town, look over your city ordinances so you are familiar with them. I have a copy of the appropriate ones in regards to our purpose. I will carry this with me whenever we go out, just in case.

My first plan of attack with the city was to contact the City Engineer and find out IF the Canal Park/Marine Museum area was indeed Federal Land, off-limits to us. The City Engineer was VERY helpful to me in the past when we were trying to figure out where we could and could not stand in regards to the UMD campus. In fact, I thought it to be almost "weird" how helpful she was in the past.

So when I first contacted her, I explained the situation and asked if she would be willing to let me know exactly where the federal land is located and where the city land is located. I told her I didn't want to break any laws, but I wanted to be proactive for my rights. She said, and I quote, "You are doing more than that....you're spreading the WORD OF GOD. What could be better than that?" My heart about dropped! She's a believer!! The importance of that is HUGE! Everyone and anyone goes to her to determine land ownerships, public right-of-ways, etc. Now, she was not biased in terms of where was legal and/or illegal for us to stand, but it does help that she was FOR our cause and not against it. I knew she wouldn't try selling some "you can't stand there" message because she was NOT a believer. It gave me a sense of confidence to know a believer was working for us. God is so good!

My next step was to contact the Duluth Police Dept. and inquire as to my rights within that area. I sent out an email. The next day I received an email response informing me that my email was forwarded to the Chief of Police. Wow, that's big time! It doesn't get any higher than that! A few hours after receiving that email, I got a call from the LT of the Duluth Police Dept. letting me know he had received my email and is looking into the land ownership etc...VIA THE CITY ENGINEER! Oh really! God is so good!

To make a long story short, the City Engineer was AMAZING. We corresponded over several emails and a few phone calls. She sent me aerial photos of the area, plat book maps showing land ownership, and even contacted the City Attorney and LT of the Police Dept. When it was all said and done, she went above and beyond my expectations. Maybe that is what is required of her by the City, but I can't help to think that just maybe, she did a little extra work for us for the cause of Jesus Christ. God is so good!

We now have aerial maps of the area showing where we can legally stand. In fact, if I had stood only a few feet from my original position, I would have been perfectly legal...which is good. The place where we are going to stand is the BEST place to stand in that park area. It's a funnel that will bring thousands upon thousands of people past our signs, voices, and tracts in the next several months. God is so good!

After determining where I could stand, my next plan of attack was to contact the City Attorney and the LT of police to determine what I could legally do (hold the sign, pass out tracts, open-air preach, etc). When I contacted the City Attorney, he was well aware of who I was because the City Engineer had already contacted him. He went right into what I could and could not do. Instead of giving me legal mumbo jumbo, he spoke very clearly in regards to what my legal rights were. In the end, what we wanted to do is EXACTLY what we CAN do! In terms of our legal right of free-speech, YES, God HAS blessed the USA. God is so good!

I am still waiting on a response from the LT, however in an email I received from him last week, he explained our behavior is well within our legal rights. He also said he determines where we can legally stand based on the City Engineers plans. Oh really! God is so good!

So to say the least, I am VERY CONFIDENT when and if someone approaches me asking me to leave "their" property. I am also very confident if a police officer approaches me asking me to leave. I have all the necessary documents from the City Attorney, City Engineer, and LT of police stating that what I intend to do and where I intend to do it is WELL within my legal rights.

We MUST fight for our rights. Think of the hundreds of thousands of soldiers who have fought and died so we can exercise our freedom. We should take advantage of this (with thanksgiving) as a christian. I find myself so mad/shameful at times when I am "scared" to proclaim the gospel. Yet, some 18 yr. old kid is willing to hold his ground FOR HIS COUNTRY AND FELLOW SOLDIERS, while being fired upon by the enemy knowing that he may die doing it. And we think we are "brave" when we pass out a tract!

May God give us the boldness to exercise our free-speech, proclaiming the gospel to a lost and unregenerate nation where persecution is almost non-existent.

Acts 4:29-31
Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus." And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Street Preaching Wednesday, April 23

Yesterday found us outside enjoying the BEAUTIFUL day the Lord had made! It was sunny, 65 deg with a slight breeze. We started out at our usual location, the Holiday Center Bus Station on Superior St. We were very surprised how few people were on the streets since it was so nice out. Josh busted out his newly made hat, which brought A LOT of attention as we walked into our position. I made mention to him several times that he might have to take it off because it might cause an accident! Drivers had serious rubber neck as they drove by. Josh's hat is a GREAT idea to exalt the name of Christ in such a self-absorbed, sexually-orientated, money-hungry, wicked generation we live in today. The hat is made out of a construction hard hat, with approx 7" x 4" acrylic panels on the front/back/and both sides. It's like a small "walking" billboard! The front says "FEAR GOD". The back: "YOU DESERVE HELL". One side says: BELIEVE JESUS. The other says: "STOP SINNING". It is very impressive looking and many people found themselves reading it as we went by (I can just hear the "seeds" being dispersed!). Nice work Josh.

We stayed at the bus station for a little over an hour with no real conversation from anyone. As always, people found themselves reading the sign, some several times over. But the Lord was not leading anyone to talk to us thus far. Right before we left, we did have a young lady ask if she could take our picture. I asked her what she thought of the sign and she said she disagreed with it. She said she was a born-again christian but that what we were doing was NOT loving. She believes it is better to "show God's love" rather than warn people about the seriousness of Hell and God's Wrath. She said she works inside a store with many unbelieving employers who are turned off by our sign. Basically she said what we were doing was unloving and not working. I have two comments about that: 1. Warning people about their plight before God is the most living thing I can think of. Would it be "unloving" to tell a blind man they are about to fall off a 300 ft. cliff? 2. If what we are doing is "unloving" and "not working", I wonder how she interprets what Jesus said, Paul said, etc. Jesus talked more about Hell than any other New Testament writer! We talked with her for a while trying to explain our "case" before her. We also found out she goes to the Vineyard Church (we are finding most of the people we talk to from this church use the "show God's love" rather than speak God's truth type of evangelism). I think, however, in the end we were able to get through to her to AT LEAST see our way is not incorrect but just not her "style", if there are other "styles".

Being that we were not having many conversations and it was so nice out, we decided to pack up and move to Canal Park by the Marine Museum. I took the sign, and Josh took his hat. He walked around the area for an hour or more while I stood with the sign. I had a few people encourage me, one conversation with a crying drunk who said "I've only had a couple drinks" (that's what they all say!), and a conversation with a "New Testament" christian who believes we MUST be baptized in order to be saved.

As I was talking to the "New Testament" christian (there is an endless # of title's to put before "christians" today...will it ever stop! What about...I'm a BIBLICAL CHRISTIAN! Why can't that stand alone today?). Anyway, as I was talking to the New Testament christian, a park official from the Marine Museum approached me and said I could not be out here with that sign. She said we were soliciting, we were on Federal Land, and that we needed to leave. She was very polite and we asked her several questions. She didn't seem real solid in her stance, but I wasn't solid in my stance against her either, so I informed her we would plan on talking to the Police to see if she was right or if we were right. We talked with an officer at the Duluth Police Dept. who seemed to side with us and our rights to be on the public sidewalk, since we were NOT soliciting by definition. We then went back to the Marine Museum to talk with the lady explaining the conflicting views between her and the Police Dept. She informed us the city workers were "ignorant" of the Federal laws. I explained we were just trying to be proactive about this and making sure what the laws are. She then pulled the "you know if you are christians you are not being very christian-like", or something to that degree. I can ASSURE you, I was very calm, collective, polite, and kind. All I wanted to know is what the Laws were. When I told her I planned on looking further into this matter, her demeanor changed and she seemed to get very "annoyed" and "defensive". She took us to her supervisor, who was not in, but gave us his contact information. I have contacted the Police Dept. and have been informed my questions were being sent to the Chief of Police for further "investigation". Chief of Police, WOW, that's BIG TIME!

So to say the least, it was another "exciting" day on the streets. Some might think it would be best to just leave the area and not try to "contend" for our rights. Some might think our actions to speak up and try to "force the issue" might be a stumbling block to the Federal Employee or others. I disagree with this. First off, I am to obey my authorities IF they are in the right. If my rights are being violated, then I want to fight for my rights. Think of the hundreds of thousands of men and women who have died to preserve our rights. I want to be proactive for my rights SO I CAN BE PROACTIVE FOR THE GOSPEL. Satan will do whatever he can to prevent the Gospel from going forth. If the law says I cannot be down in that area, I will abide by that. But, if I am in my right to be there but the Marine Museum would rather me not, I will chose to focus on my rights. The area we are at is a HUGE tourist area, with many hundreds of thousands of people filtering through their during the summer.

Please keep this situation in prayer. I think we as christians would want this area to be accessible to us to share the Gospel with the multitudes.

Act 4:17-20
"But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name [Jesus]." So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard."

Monday, April 21, 2008

Street Preaching Friday April 18, 2008

SYesterday we had three of us out (Steve, Josh, and Erik Larson). The day started with me trying to talk to a self-proclaimed "satanist", to say the least, the conversation didn't last long he wanted no part of me or what I believed. I asked him why he was a "satanist", and he said, "Because God has never done anything to me and satan has done a lot". WOW...that was probably one of the best answers I've gotten from someone when I asked them why they believe what they believe. However, he was in no mood to talk, and so I left him alone against the wall (about 15 feet from us). Throughout the day we had approx. 12 conversations or encounters with people about our sign. Some were lengthy discussions, others were very short. However, two really stood out to me as GREAT conversations (this might be biased because they were "my" conversations).

Josh stepped out in faith to talk to a gentleman who "seemed" interested in our sign. Josh walked over to him and I heard a small dialogue between them. From my perspective Josh had a very confused look on his face and at one time attempted to call me over but the gentleman declined me coming over. After a few short minutes, Josh walked back to our area with a strange look on his face. Before he could tell me what the guy said, the guy came over and said one of the weirdest, demonic things I've ever heard come from someones mouth. I know you are probably interested in what it was, but for the sake of our ears, I'll spare you...let me just say I have NEVER heard such a comment come from someones mouth, nor do I think I ever will. IT WAS WEIRD! Praise God for Josh's boldness!

We talked to a couple we had encountered the day before. We asked if they did any thinking about what we discussed with them . They said they had and even humorously said they would be willing to hold our sign for us. I actually might take them up on the offer. I even made mention to pay them to hold the sign....imagine the conversations they will hear, how many times they will hear the gospel, if they hold the sign for a few hours for $20! I'm sure we'll see them again.

One couple came up to Erik and asked if we had any bibles they could have, without hesitation Erik gave them his bible (eventually we spared Erik's bible and gave them one of Josh's).

A word of encouragement/exhortation/suggestion: Just because someone says they like your sign, "God bless", "keep up the good work", "I'm a christian"...etc, DOES NOT MEAN YOU SHOULD ASSUME THEY ARE A CHRISTIAN. What I mean is this. We have many people throughout the day who will commend us for spreading the word, "preaching", etc. However, at times I think "oh, they are a christian, I probable don't need to talk to them". We need to talk to these people too. According to Jesus, "Many will say to me on that day 'Lord, Lord' and I'll say to them, 'Depart from Me, I NEVER knew you". My point: don't just assume someone is a christian because they tell you they are. Talk to them. Ask them about the sign, ask them when they got "saved" and "how did that happen", ask them how their "walk with the Lord" is doing, ask them if they need any prayer, etc. A little "prodding" and there will be times you will find that the person is just a self-professing christian with no "fruit" to accompany their proclamation. They are deceived and therefore need to repent and believe just like an "unbeliever".

An example of the above happened yesterday when a girl approached us, thanked us for being out there, said she like her sign, and adamantly said she was a born-again christian, "been one my whole life". She left and later walked by us again, so I approached her again because we suspected she wasn't a christian. As I talked to her for the next half-hour or so, I learned she has been addicted to drugs (on and off) her whole life, her mother (who she told us was a "strong" christian) was an alcoholic and drug-addict, and she admitted to me that if she died today she would go to hell. Now that doesn't fit her earlier statements of being a "born-again" christian. I really tried to be honest with her letting her know I was concerned for and her salvation. I didn't tell her she wasn't saved, but I let her know in so many FIRM words that I have no assurance that she IS saved. Be honest with people...it's called loving your neighbor as yourself. I prayed with her, got her contact information so Tina could call her, and went back to my "sign guys".

The "sign guys" were talking with a Dad and his daughter who were both christians. All of us were very encouraged by talking with this man. In fact, he stayed with us, talked to people, for several hours. So much so that he got a parking ticked because his meter ran out! He lives in Ladysmith, WI and connected with one guy he talked to. He will be staying on contact with that gentleman, and I think Erik too. PRAISE GOD!

Now, remember the self-proclaimed "satan-worshipper" I tried to talk to earlier in the day? Well, he never left the wall (about 15 ft. away from us) for over an hour. He just sat there (within listening distance sometimes but FOR SURE within the distance of reading the sign over and over again). I only gave him an occasional thought as I saw him standing over by the wall. We were approached by 2 guys who passed out some "rave" fliers to us. As we were talking to them, the "satanist" came into our circle and said (with his mohawk), "Yeah, I've got a question for you....how come YOU believe there IS a God?".....BINGO! Now, what better question can someone ask you...EVER! At this point I was like a kid in a candy store. I thought, "did he really just ask me that question", "is this the same guy who over an hour ago told me to 'bug off' and now he is SINCERELY asking me 'why do you believe in God'?, to say the least, I WAS PUMPED! I engaged in conversation with him about the creation/creator (God), the miracle of life, healing, etc, my testimony, and our moral conscience of knowing right from wrong. I think I could write a book about this conversation because we covered everything from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22! HE KEPT ASKING QUESTIONS. He wasn't rude, he wasn't being sarcastic, he was just being sincere. I listened to his beliefs and he listened to mine. At one point I told him, "you know you are a hypocrite", he said, "why is that"..i said "because you call yourself a satanist but you do not believe the bible"..he said, "yeah"...i said, "the only reason you know anything about "satan" is FROM THE BIBLE and the bible says satan came to kill, steal, and destroy, why aren't you trying to kill me?"...he said, "well i don't believe all the bible nor do I believe all the satanic bible"....AH HA (I thought) he's doubting his "faith"...I said "well why would you be a professing satanist IF you don't COMPLETELY believe the book that confirms your god's existence"...he didn't have an answer. Don't be afraid to challenge people's way of thinking, reasoning, etc. Often times I like to try to get the person to doubt what and why they believe what they believe. If you can get someone to doubt what they believe, you can often times get them to AT LEAST consider what you believe (the very fact that you are so confident about your belief, will give them doubts about their lack of faith in what they believe). So the conversation went on and on and on. He kept saying, "I have one more question" about 10 times! IT WAS GREAT. He had a lot of great questions and hopefully I was able to give him the BIBLICAL answers. When it was all said and done, WE BOTH thanked each other for a great conversation and he admitted he "really learned a lot from" me. We exchanged contact information and I plan on emailing him very soon. His name is Tim, please pray for him.

As the day went on, we had a gentleman come up to us who in the end, was a born-again christian. HE WAS SUPER ENCOURAGED BY US, as we were by him as we talked with him. He wants to fellowship with us, do bible-study with us, and come out on the streets with us. He is on fire for the Lord and wants to be around other christians who have the same passion. His name is Vincent, please pray for him and us.

As we were packing up to leave and walking away, a group of about 5 girls stopped us and said, "hey what's that sign mean"...i thought, "are you kidding me, that's the second best question a person can ask you (#1 is 'why do you believe in God'), this sign thing is AWESOME!"....i said to them, "why don't you tell me what it says to you"...not much was said by them but one of them said something about "how can anyone know God since on one as seen him"...just then in the back of the group was a little, tiny girl (maybe 20ish yrs old) with 2 lip rings, dyed hair, and (would you believe it) a self-proclaimed SATANIST..she said (rather loudly) "how can you prove there is a God if you can't see him"....i thought, "i'm really beginning to like these satanists!", so I started in with the creation/creator, miracle of life, my testimony, and our moral conscience of right and wrong. It actually started to get a little heated because she ADAMANTLY hated God because, according to her, she was "raped, molested, and abused" by her father yet when she prayed to God that he would stop, he never did. She assumed there wasn't a God, or at least if there was one she hated him for not answering her prayer. She said she hated God for it and hated her father for it. Now understand this, I am not into sugar-coating things nor am I trying to "be nice" for the sake of being nice. I care about one thing: telling this girl the truth whether she likes it or not. Now of course we do this out of love for God and love for people and we do this in as loving way as possible AND we all might have different ideas about what "a loving way" is. So I said to her...."I'm sorry your dad did that to you, that's terrible, BUT that is a really selfish thing for you to do. You hate God because he seemingly didn't answer your prayer? You were asking God to take care of you for selfish reasons, AND since He didn't, you chose not to believe in Him and/or hate Him for it? How about the fact that he has given you life, the world to look at, the very eyes to see, nose to smell, tongue to talk and taste...and the list can go on. You see, you hated God before God didn't answer that prayer. You hated Him because he chose to reject Him from the very beginning. The bible says we know God exists by the simple creation (universe, earth, people, etc) YET we reject Him none-the-less. Even if God would have made your father stop doing those things, you still would have found other reasons to reject God (i remember listing some reasons)...I then told her this, "remember what your dad did to you when you were younger. he had a craving for sex and took it out on you. now here you are dancing naked in front of a bunch of men all for the money. they can't touch you. they want to but they can't. you flaunt yourself in front of them, rub yourself on them, and do anything and everything that you can to turn them on only so they will give you money. did you ever think that just maybe you are throwing full on a fire"..she said, "what do you mean".. i said, "do you think that just maybe some of these guys go home, all turned on wanting sex but couldn't get it from you, they are going to release that tension one way or another..i guarantee it. so they go home with a 'heated-fire' continued to burn (maybe even greater) by you and then do the same thing your dad did to you? did you ever ONCE think about those girls when you were trying to turn these guys on for money? did you ever think that maybe just ONCE the money you made that night was money used to get turned on, go home, and molest/rape someone?"...IT'S HARD BUT IT'S THE TRUTH! We live in a wicked, wicked, world. Sin is everywhere and we NEED to confront it head on. Call sin what sin is...DISGUSTING and an Abhorrence to God!

At this point her friends had left and it was just her and I. She seemed to understand what I was saying and said..."i'm not a good person...no one is...i'm a stripper!"...i said, "that contradicts what you said earlier (earlier she said she didn't think there was a "right" and "wrong" or a "good and "bad"), why would you call yourself "bad" if you don't think anything can be bad or good"...she said, "things are only 'bad' or 'good' if you think they are...i said, "so your father thought it was good to rape/molest a girl between 3-14, was he right?"...she didn't answer...i said "OF COURSE NOT, no one thinks raping/molesting a kid is ok. ma'am i am really sorry what your dad did to you, but the least of your worries should be about your dad and what he did. You are not a bad person because you are a stripper, you are a bad person because you've rejected God over and over again. You are an enemy of God and God is your enemy."...she, just like the other satanist, started asking some REALLY GOOD QUESTIONS. We basically went from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22. I'm telling you people, don't' be afraid to be hard, firm, direct, and to the point. I always hear people say, "I wish people would just be honest with me, I hate when they sugar-coat things"...YEAH..."treat your neighbor as you would yourself!" I want people to be direct and honest with me (if what they say makes sense and it's not just their opinion with no factual evidence), so I try to do the same (it's not always easy but I find people are way more receptive to talking if you are just honest, people can see a phony from miles away!). As we continued to talk I asked her this question, "since I've been talking to you about God, your sin, His wrath, His judgment to come, your destination if you died today, etc, are you the least bit concerned IF what I say is true?"...she said, "yes"...AAAAHHHH BINGO...I then said, "do you think God would just create all people just to send them to hell?....she said, "no"...neither do I because the Bible tells me so"...I then shared with her the story of Jesus. I wish you all could have been there when I read John 3:16 to her, "FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, THAT WHOSOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM SHALL NOT PERISH BUT HAVE ETERNAL LIFE". As I quoted that scripture to her I looked her right in the eye. For the first time in our conversation, I saw something in her. SHE WAS LISTENING! Her eyes began to well up, she took a deep swallow (the kind you take to keep from crying)...I read that verse over and over again (probably 3-4 times)...and continued with the FULL gospel message. She never cried, but I saw it in her. She heard, I believe, for the first time...THE GOSPEL! It was amazing. We went from being heated to being cordial. She was honest. I was honest. I asked her if she had any questions..she said "no". I let her know that I would do ANYTHING to help her out within my power BUT I was sure to give her mine and tina's name, and she gave us her name and number. We shook hands and went our separate ways. I called Tina and gave Tina the girl's contact information. Tina called her cell phone and left a message. Please pray for her, her name is Nicole.

As we were leaving and walking up the hill, we ran into one more guy. His name is Scott. At first I thought he was being sincere. He talked to Erik for a while and then just broke down crying, about his wife, kids, job, life, drinking, etc. He said he wanted to get on his knees and pray, which at first I thought was a good idea. But as we knelt down, I smelt alcohol like never before. In fact, even today I still get a whiff of it in my nose...it makes me sick. Before we knelt down I did not think the guy was drunk, BUT HE WAS. We decided not to pray with him because I felt he, just like Nicole, wanted God to make his life better (fix the marriage, get the kids back, stop the drinking, etc). This may sound harsh but God is not interested in how your personal affairs are going IF you are not a christian. All God cares about IF you are not a christian is IF you will repent and believe to become a christian. And if you do, there is NO GUARANTEE your life is going to get "better" as you see it. We could have prayed with him (and maybe we should have) but what if God didn't "fix" those things and now we might have a guy who "hates God" because God didn't make "his life all better"? Erik suggested we get the guys contact info, write him a letter, and meet up with him when he is sober. VERY GOOD WISDOM, ERIK!

So that was Day 2! Another day on the streets of Duluth, MN.