Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Great Heart Changer!

This is the last encounter I had at the 2011 Paso Robles Wine Festival. I feel so sorry for this lady. There are times that I come away from a witness encounter like this and feel rather hopeless. This lady’s idolatry has so clouded the true character and nature of GOD that I say, “Lord, how can she be saved? I’m not getting through to her!”

The Word GOD tells us that Christ responded to a similar question and said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God” (Luke 18:27). Here our Lord Jesus is speaking of The Great Heart Changer.

No matter how earnest you might plead with a person, no matter how theologically sound you might be, no matter if you’re able to answers every question someone might bring up in a witnessing encounter - you and I cannot change the hearts of man. We cannot even convict the conscience of man (John 16:18).

I was greatly encouraged by a short tract that I read by J.C. Ryle. He said, “…they seem as hard and insensible as the nether mill-stone! But we remember the Holy Spirit, and what He has done. We remember the Holy Spirit, and consider that He has not changed. He can come down like fire and melt the hardest hearts; He can convert the worst man or woman among our hearers, and mold their whole character into a new shape. And so we preach on. We hope, because of the Holy Spirit.”

I also found this short C.H. Spurgeon audio that I pray will be an encouragement to you dear Christian soldier.

Grace Gems

Keep heralding Christ crucified to those who are hard-hearted. There is hope for them not because of our preaching but because of The Great Heart Changer.



Saturday, June 4, 2011

A Police Officer's Idolitry

This was our second stop around the perimeter of the fence at the Paso Robles Wine Festival. Brother Jeff addressed another group of people sitting in the shade behind the fence.

Make note that Brother Jeff is not "shouting." He is speaking with a gentle but firm tone. In spite of the fact that we were standing on public property (the middle of the street), and in spite of the gentle tone Jeff used in addressing these people, we were contacted by city law enforcement upon the request of event organizers because of a complaint of our volume.

It was quite aggravating to be honest. It seems that over the last four years that I've been involved in street preaching, police are shutting us down more and more. Why? In this case Officer Bigelow indicates we were not breaking any laws but that we just needed to leave the immediate area (the festival area which consisted of all the sidewalks and streets outside of the fenced off areas) if we were going to continue to preach.

If we chose to continue to preach in the area and in the manner we were, we could/would be arrested for "trespassing" and/or "public disturbance." I personally wasn't ready to die on this hill and go to jail -- especially since we had the option of continuing to reach people around the festival via tracting and 1-2-1 conversation.

Maybe we should have continued. Maybe our freedoms are being taken away because there isn’t enough of us challenging the law and taking these cases to court. I don’t have answers for what we should or shouldn’t do in instances like this. If you have an opinion, please let me know.

As you’ll see I did challenge the officer and asked to speak with his supervisor. In my mind I thought, “Why did you ask to talk with his supervisor?” I can't tell you even now what I planned on doing or even saying to Officer Bigelow’s supervisor. I knew we were fighting a loosing battle – we were done preaching there and speaking to his supervisor wasn’t going to change anything. But one good thing did come out of it. We had to wait for Officer Bigelow’s supervisor for approximately twenty-five minutes – giving us time to witness to Officer Rick.

In retrospect, it seems to me that the Holy Spirit orchestrated all of this for the glory of GOD (as always) and maybe even for the benefit of Officer Rick. Brother Jeff took Officer Rick through a few of the Ten Commandments. But Officer Rick didn’t seem to be humbled at all. Even though he admitted to breaking the Law of God, he figured since he confesses it in prayer – all is well and he’ll just continue to try to be a good person. But what you’ll hear come from Officer Rick (loud and clear) is his idolatry. His "god" isn't the God of the Bible.

One point of clarification I would like to make here. I responded to one of Officer Rick’s question about what GOD does or doesn’t do with young children who die. After watching the video, I wasn't very clear.

According to GOD’s nature He is absolutely merciful, gracious and kind. But according to nature of every human being, even children, no matter their age or level of understanding of GOD’s salvation plan, are sinners, deserving of death and Hell.

IF GOD RECEIVES AN INFANT OR YOUNG CHILD INTO HEAVEN IT WILL BE BY GRACE ALONE, THROUGH FAITH ALONE AND IN CHRIST ALONE. If God grants eternal life, forgives sins, and credits the righteousness of Christ to the account of a child, it will NOT be because the child is "innocent" and deserves it. I wish I would have made that clear as I responded to Officer Rick.

In the end officer Rick makes it clear that he despises the character and nature of the GOD of the Bible. Officer Rick seemed to have remained hard-hearted. I’ve thought about and prayed for Officer Rick many times since this encounter. My heart breaks for him and his family. If he remains in his sins, he is storing up for himself wrath in the day of wrath (Romans 2:4-9).

On the other hand there is much hope! I was very encouraged by this encounter because it may be that GOD will use is to save Officer Rick and set him free from the bondage of his sin. All this didn't happen by accident. GOD saved a wretch like me when I was dead in my sins and trespasses. I too was an idolater and He saved me in spite of who I was. Please pray that Christ would save Officer Rick to the praise of GOD’s glorious grace.

Don't forget to come back later and watch my last video encounter I had and the Paso Robles Wine Festival. Find out what the lady in this video means when she says, "I think of myself as a hollow 'L'."

Part 1

Part 2

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Preaching to the Poor, Brokenhearted Captives

And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. Luke 4:17-19 (KJV)

Brother Jeff, Brother Ben and I attended the 2011 Paso Robles Wine Festival. It was a beautiful sunny day and the park was full of people. I didn’t capture any footage of the size of the crowd within the event. I estimate there were no less than 800-1,000 people.

When we drove up to the event and saw the crowd gathered there, we were delighted. But we would soon find out that wouldn't even be able to get to them - at least in the manner we had planned.

We planned to enter the park and distribute Gospel tracts and engage people in 1-2-1 conversation – then finish the day out preaching on the streets near the event. However, the city had installed a temporary fence around the perimeter of the park. Needless to say our “plan” was altered by our Sovereign GOD.

Instead, you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that."
James 4:15 (NASB)

As you'll see, our plan was quickly abandoned and we started out the day preaching to the poor, brokenhearted captives through the fence. This entailed lifting up our voices so that people would hear the Good News. But lifting up our voices with the full counsel of GOD came with a price – being noticed by the wine festival organizers and ultimately city law enforcement.

Oh no!

But even this worked out to the glory of GOD. What follows is our initial effort reaching the people behind the fence with the Gospel.

Don’t miss my next blog entry because right after my preaching in this video, Bother Jeff preaches and the Holy Spirit orchestrates an a really cool encounter with an individual who was there to shut down our preaching.