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)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Trip to Mardi Gras Part 2

So as I mentioned in my last post, I finally arrived in New Orleans after driving 19 hours, 1,200 miles, through 7 states, all with 5 other people I had never met before (and who were going to Mardi Gras to party). A street-preacher driving partiers to their party...you can't script that!!

I departed from my new friends at the budget rental car return around noon on Friday. My preaching friends, from San Francisco, picked me up shortly thereafter. The weather in New Orleans was not warm and sunny, as I was hoping, but instead was cold, windy, and rainy. The high temp was around 38 deg...which is "warm" compared to 0 deg in Duluth but still not what I was hoping (but then again my trip wasn't really going as planned anyway). As you can imagine, after the long trip, I was pretty pooped (work, driving, driving, driving, driving, etc) I was awarded about 3 hours of "rest" time before we were heading to Bourbon street to preach.

My first impression of New Orleans....THIS PLACE IS A DUMP!! You can definitely see the impact the hurricanes have had on this place. Trash everywhere. Abandoned buildings/houses. It is by far the worst looking place I've ever been too. It was run down and beat up.

The place we were staying was a boarding house for homeless people, drug addicts, alcoholics, etc. It is self-funded by a group of Christians who want to share the Gospel with those types of people. It is called Jesus Miracle Power. Because they are self-funded, they can pick and choose who they want in and who they don't. To them, it's all about sharing the Gospel. The residents can stay as long as they want (room/board/food provided) but there are rules they must follow or they are asked to leave. Anyway, it is set up military style. Two houses with many rooms. Each room has 2-6 bunk style beds. I picked my bunk and tried to get some sleep but preachers were coming and going. Introducing themselves, etc. Not to mention these houses did not have insulation in them or heating. This was a major cold spell for them and my room was freezing. I'm pretty sure I didn't get any sleep-eye while waiting to go out preaching.

Example of the rooms where we stayed at Jesus Miracle Power

At around 5pm all the preachers met in the sanctuary for debriefing and prayer time. There was about 15 of us, from all over the country, with one mission...sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world. After prayer, we all jumped into our assigned vans, heading for Bourbon Street. Bourbon Street is a one-way street with bars, restaurants, and rental houses/apartments lining it. You can fit one maybe 2 cars on it. The people line the street for about 20 blocks or so, walking up and down, drinking, talking, partying, etc. Bourbon Street during the day and at night

For the first night, we all stayed together. Most preachers had banners, bullhorns, and video cameras. It was pretty neat when we walked onto Bourbon Street. There were a lot of people, most were drunk but we walked right into their "party" holding our massive signs.
We set up and began preaching using our bullhorns. If we didn't use bullhorns our voices would be gone within in hour because of how loud it was on Bourbon Street. The response we got was very typical to any other place I've preached. Some people loved that we were there, most hated it (John 7:7). But all that mattered to us is that the name of Jesus was exalted and we spoke truth into these people's lives. The bible tells us, "Open rebuke is better than secret love." (Proverbs 27:5). We spaced out a little which allowed several preachers to preach with bullhorns all at one time. We just faced different directions. We took turns preaching, passing out tracts, holding signs, and videotaping (you can see me videotaping another preacher in the above picture right of center).

The first night was pretty much what I expected. A lot of people and a lot of opportunities to share the Gospel. Even if we didn't preach, the people would come up to us and ask questions. This is one of the many reasons why I love using banners. So often we pray for opportunities to witness (or say something like "I'll just wait for God to bring me someone), when in reality we are called to GO OUT and tell the people. Sure, we get to share our faith in many different circumstances (like when God brings people to us by "chance" - like my road trip), but I have found much greater joy in actually being obedient to God's call to GO and lay it all out there for people to come to me. Don't get me wrong, I am always nervous but the Lord has never failed me. You GO and they'll COME!

The first night ended around midnight. We jumped back into our vans and headed back to "camp". Back at "camp" there is a guy named William. He is not a resident at the place, he is a helper. He is the cook and he cooked us three meals a day (and I'm not talking peanut butter and jelly)! He cooked us spaghetti, steak, ribs, roast beef...it was always a 3-5 course meal. Even when we came back at 1 or 2 in the morning, William was in the kitchen cooking food for the preachers. He would serve us individually and he would always ask us if we needed more. This was probably the best blessing about the whole trip. Little William doing his part to further the Kingdom of God. He's not a preacher. He's not a bible scholar. He's a servant of the Lord doing his part for the body of Christ. He was a true servant, laying down his life for the brethren. Of course we did not take advantage of him, but he would do anything he was asked to do, no complaints, always with a smile on his face. He was a true blessing and no doubt one of the main highlights of this trip. While we preached during the day, he would go into our rooms, make our beds and clean up. After about the 4th day, he even gave all of us a trash bag to put our individual clothes in. He then did our laundry, folded it, and returned it to us. NOW THAT'S SERVING THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND LOVING THE BRETHREN!

The hardest thing about preaching on Bourbon Street was the beads (you know, the things everyone wears around their neck). People wear them, not because of the woman, but because everyone else is wearing them. Really it is pretty stupid! But, these things were weapons for the people, and they used them. They would WHIP these things at us from the Balcony's above. Thankfully our banners offered us protection (and the fact that most people were too drunk to throw straight). I wore a baseball cap and this helped as well. Some preachers wore safety glasses which I would no doubt bring if I ever preach there again. By the end, the people began to whip them at us right in front of us. We'd be preaching and you'd keep your eye out for a flying bead necklace. Once again, praise the Lord that no one was seriously injured. A few red marks but that's about it.

By the time I finally went to sleep on Saturday it was past 3am (after preaching, eating, showering), I had been up for over 48 hours. I was exhausted but the Lord had blessed me abundantly!

Acts 20:22-24

And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Trip To Mardi Gras - Part 1

Many of you know that I recently went on a trip to New Orleans to preach at the Mardi Gras event. Below is a "brief" summary of how this trip started out. What should have taken me a few hours of flight time to arrive in New Orleans, turned out to be quiet the event. Something that only God could orchestrate.

It started out with me leaving the Duluth airport and arriving in the Twin Cities to catch my flight to New Orleans. The flight from Duluth to MSP went just as planned. I had a 2 hour layover in MSP. When it was time to board, I got in line. With about 10 people left to board, they stopped allowing people on the plane. They said the plane was maxed out in terms of weight (that's a new one)! They said we could not get on the plane even though we all had assigned seats...I was 20B. This, of course, upset many people because they were meeting people at the airport and wanted to start their Mardi Gras party early. Many of the people asked if the agents could take off their luggage to lower the weight of the plane so they could fly (and not their luggage), but the agents said they could not do it (that's a new one). I guess luggage is more important than people. Although I was a little annoyed by all of this, I just figured the Lord had other plans.

The next few hours were pretty touch and go as the agents tried to reroute us into New Orleans. It was a Thursday and the next direct flight to N.O. was not until Saturday. Time and again the agents were running into two problems. First off, because Mardi Gras draws hundreds of thousands of people each year, all the flights into New Orleans were booked. The other problem was that there was a huge storm around the area (Texas/Louisiana) and a lot of airports were closed. It seemed we all got booked on a flight to somewhere, only to get booted off no sooner because the flight was already booked. So after trying to find us flights, it was determined that there was nothing they could guarantee us. They could fly us into a closer airport but there was no guarantee a flight could get us into New Orleans. Everything was booked. We'd be left stranded, only closer. I was beginning to think my best option was simply to take a flight back up to Duluth, since I was only 2.5 hours away. I definitely was not going to wait until Saturday, which was not a guaranteed flight anyway, and I didn't see a reason to be stranded at another airport in some other state, close to N.O. but further from home.
As we were trying to figure out what to do a small group (5 other people) came up to me and asked if I wanted to join them in getting a rental car and driving to New Orleans. At first I thought it was a pretty stupid idea (I still think it might be) but I didn't see any other way of getting to N.O. So I called Tina and a group from Cry To God Ministries (several other street preachers I was meeting down there) and asked them to pray and let me know what they thought I should do. About 5 mins later they both called back and said, with great words of encouragement (seriously) GO! Let's be honest though, Tina was not super thrilled but she trusted my judgment (she later told me she didn't sleep a wink that night).
The other 5 people were all heading to Mardi Gras and picked a street preacher to go with them. I was wearing one of my TRUST JESUS shirts. I let them know the reason I was going down there, but I don't think they really understood what I was saying. So we all shook hands, introduced ourselves, headed to the Budget rental center and rented an SUV with 5 other people that I had never met before (nor had they ever met each other). A married couple from San Francisco. Two friends from LA and another lady from Calgary.

To say the least, the trip down was AWESOME. It was over 1,200 miles, 7 states, 19+ hours (of which I drove 14 hours) and what a great witnessing opportunity. I started out my trip (from Duluth) praying that the Lord would give me opportunities to minister on the way down...I never thought this is how He would answer this prayer (Isaiah 55:8-9). As I got into the SUV, I prayed the Lord would give me wisdom on what to say and when to say it. I felt at peace to keep quiet and let them ask me questions...which they did. One here and one there. By the end, they all knew my stance on Mardi Gras. They all knew my stance on sin, righteousness, and judgment. And most importantly, the all heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

By the time we got to the Budget rental in N.O., I had been awake for 33 hours straight. I woke up at 3am on Thursday to do my paper route job and we didn't arrive in N.O. until 12 noon on Friday. Praise the Lord though, I wasn't at all tired (ok maybe a little) when I was driving. I knew many people were praying for me!! However, I did feel the effects of not sleeping with a pretty good headache for a day and a half (it eventually was 52 hours without sleep by the time I was able to go to bed)

During our trip we hit a little bad weather about an hour from New Orleans but they were all thankful the preacher from northern MN was driving in the icy/snowy weather. NO WAY was I going to let California people drive in that weather! The people, thought not believers, asked me a lot of great questions about my faith in Jesus. They kept calling their friends and telling them either "Jesus is driving us to Mardi Gras" or "The preacher man is driving us to Mardi Gras". It was quiet the experience. It was amazing how I didn't even need to say a word, and yet they were amazed at my testimony and willingness to drive 19 hours to stand at the gates of hell, be ridiculed by drunkards, leave my family, and all for the Gospel. Sometimes the Gospel can be preached without words!! Several times at Mardi Gras, they searched me out to talk to me and show their friends the "preacher man" who drove them to Mardi Gras. I even interviewed them about our experience for Cry To God's weekly TV show.

But all "good" things must come to an end (except eternal life) and we eventually departed and went our ways. You don't spend 19 hours with strangers without leaving an impact on one another. We exchanged emails, phone numbers, and hugs before going on our way.

So there you have it. That is what my trip was like...at least the beginning of it anyway.....

At the Budget Rental in the MSP Airport before leaving on our trip (one of the members was taking the picture)

Isaiah 55:8-9

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.