Saturday, April 12, 2014

WIFELY INCENTIVE

I came home from work this afternoon and was headed for a well deserved nap. But Kim had other ideas for me: head out to Westboro with her, a cross, some tracts and stand on our regular corner for an hour and a half. Before I could say, "But, dear, I just finished driving for eight hours and ...", we were in the car and on our way. It was a blur. I'm still trying to figure out how all that transpired.

So there at our busy intersection we stood like fools, as usual. Lots of cars, lots of pedestrians, lots of looks, lots of tracts rejected, lots of tracts taken, our "VICTORY" cross doing its work drawing many a person's attention from all around.

And as people stood on the corner waiting for their light to turn green, Kim proclaimed the gospel by means of quoting key gospel verses well enough for all to hear. On the way back to our car, Kim tagged every parked car and utility pole with a gospel tract.

I don't think there is a fire extinguisher big enough to put out the fire that burns in my wife's heart for the Lord, the gospel and the lost. But, then again, why would anybody even think of trying to do such a thing? How does one go about putting a chokehold on the work of the Holy Spirit in a believer's heart?

I consider it a wonderful privilege to serve the Lord in bringing the saving gospel Jesus Christ to the streets on a regular basis. And I consider it a wonderful blessing to be able to spend my time doing so with someone who is not only my gospel giving partner, but my partner in life, as well.

Ya, I'm pooped. Maybe after I fall asleep for the night I'll dream of having that nap I was hoping to have and kill two birds with one stone.


Thank you, Lord. Thank you.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

CROSS AT THE CORNER

Kim and I had another wonderful Sunday morning doing simple evangelism at our favourite intersection in the Westboro part of Ottawa where people were out in droves hitting their favourite coffee shops and "bistros" in the warmish spring weather. (It's a trendy part of town so the word "restaurant" is so un-apropos.)

Kim stood with the cross which bore the words "CHRIST IS LORD" as we are called to exalt the name of Jesus and this one of the ways in which we do so. As she did that, I was busy handing out our AYR gospel tracts to the multitudes as they passed by. Thankfully, more people accepted them today than most times we have been there.

There is an apostate Anglican church (not all are) near where we stand and some from that church passed by and refused a tract saying, "I'm OK, I've just been to church!". To which I responded, "Yes, but are you saved?". They said, "I hope so." I then stretched out my hand with the tract and said, "Please, here, take this and you can find out for sure." And they took them. 

In the times when people would stand at the corner in front of us waiting for the light to turn green, Kim and I would take turns doing "stop-light-preaching" and quoting gospel Scripture to them before they were able to cross. So by one way or another, the cross, the tract, or our preaching, many people received the gospel that morning in Westboro in part or in whole. 


We'll be back next Sunday and then, the week after, as we do every year, we'll have a team of people with crosses and tracts on every corner for Easter Sunday. Looking forward to that day! 

Glory to God!

Monday, March 24, 2014

ALL IN A DAY'S GOSPEL WORK

I am so grateful for the opportunities the Lord gives me to share the gospel with fellow workers. With 1800 drivers on staff, there are plenty to share with. 

Twice last week on separate occasions, I was able to take a half hour (after shift) each to sit and chat with a couple of other drivers. In both cases I used the tragic bus/accident scenario that suddenly took the lives of a fellow colleague of ours and 5 passengers last September. I purposely use this with fellow drivers as it hits close to home with them. 

I told them that 30 seconds before the bus and train accidentally collided at a crossing, these 6 people, who were just going through their daily life routine, did not know they only had 30 seconds left to live. They agreed it could have been them on that bus. They admitted that, like the victims, their lives could be snuffed out like a candle without warning at any time. 

From there, the law and the gospel was presented and talked about. 

It so happened that in both cases, with both men coming from a Roman Catholic background (one fallen away and one practicing) they were taken aback by hearing about the substitutionary work of Christ of the cross for sinners. 

Like me when, by God's grace, the gospel first made sense to me 14 years ago, they never had heard it succinctly explained to them that Jesus literally suffered and died in the place of sinners whose faith is in Him. Adam's sin imputed onto us and our sin imputed on to Christ. Jesus took the wrath of God for our sin upon Himself and justice was paid for us in our place. Our sin debt was paid in full and God's wrath against our sin was appeased, opening the door for mercy, grace and redemption for us by the work of Jesus and not by anything we could have ever done that would have sufficed.

"The gift of salvation offered to us by God is free for the taking", I explained. "There is no price to pay. There is nothing you can do to earn your way to God and heaven. Salvation is a free gift of God! Confess that you are a sinner in need of a Saviour and trust in Christ alone for your once-and-for-all forgiveness and eternal life with Him and all redeemed is guaranteed after you die, whenever that might be!"

Both expressed gratitude in me taking the time to speak to them of these things and give them something to think about. Finally, they each went home with an 'Are You Ready' gospel tract. 

This Wednesday, Lord willing, I will have breakfast with a another fellow driver who was in my training class 8 years ago. I've already begun the conversation about faith matters and we are going to talk more of it. Have gospel, will proclaim it. 

If you fear sharing your faith with fellow co-workers, for whatever reason, ask the Lord of the harvest to help you overcome these fears. Carefully plan how and when would be the best time to talk with them. DO NOT do this on company time! Coffee breaks, at lunch or out for a walk, etc., or plan a convenient time and place for both of you to meet outside the workplace. If you heart is in the right place, The Lord will provide the opportunity to share your faith with your co-workers.  

Glory to God for trusting broken vessels like us to proclaim His glorious gospel message to the world! It's what we are here to do.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

IT'S ALL CHINESE TO ME

Unless you know Chinese you won't understand a word said in this short video. But have a peek anyway just to appreciate the dedication and work of a devoted Christian brother from Canada who lives in Taichung, Taiwan.


I have a hard enough time communicating the gospel in English so I can imagine the challenges he must face communicating it in a difficult foreign language such as Mandarin. But, thankfully, the Holy Spirit speaks through those who are called to proclaim the gospel in the open air.

Brother Blaine Seman, who along with his gospel giving partner and, coincidentally, his wife :), Ingrid, are faithful to bring the Good News to the people of their city where they both work and live. Glory to God for such faithful servants of Christ, bearing a passion for the gospel truth and compassion for the lost in a land and tongue not their own.

Friday, March 14, 2014

CROSSING THE CORNER

Last Sunday, Kim and I had a wonderful morning on our first outreach together for this year. Yes, a sure sign that spring is just around the corner!

Given our home church meeting does not gather until 2:00pm, we had ample time to stand together side by side with our crosses and hand out gospel tracts to passersby at the corner of a busy neighbourhood intersection. Also, as people waited in front of us waiting to cross at the green light, we took turns quoting gospel verses from Scripture. 

Hundreds of cars and many buses passed by us in the hour and a half we stood there, side by side, with all passing eyes on the crosses...and the fools holding them. Most refused the tracts though many took them and some even went out of their way to receive one. These crosses certainly do their job in attracting people's curiosity.

One professing Christian woman stopped by with her 10 year old son to encourage us only to be more encouraged by us as we shared our faith and testimony with her. She confessed that though she believes she is saved, there is an element regarding her faith that she feels is missing but can't quite pinpoint it. My suspicion is that she is a false convert. We exchanged email addresses as she said she was happy to meet us and will be in touch with us soon. I hope she keeps her word. 

Kim and I are thinking about making this a weekly thing at this corner. It was cold but soon it will be warm. When that happens, this ritzy area of town will be swarming with pedestrians on their way to Sunday brunch in one of many bistros and fancy cafes. 

For Kim and I, this is one of our favourite ways of spending quality time with each other and serve the Lord at the same time. We are looking forward to serving Him together and with others who might join us in this year's gospel outreach efforts here in Ottawa. 


"And he has committed us to the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us." - 2 Cor 5:20

Monday, March 10, 2014

A GIFT FOR MOM

Yesterday was my dear mother's birthday. She died four years ago but had she still been alive, she would have turned 85 years old yesterday. 

My mother was a devout Roman Catholic all her life but I heard her confess many times that she was not a "saint" (in the Roman Catholic church's erroneous application of the word). Among other things like attending mass and every Catholic event under the sun, she faithfully attended a women's "Prayer and Share" meeting every Wednesday with the same group of women for 25 years until she was not able to attend them anymore due to her failing health.

Out of anyone in my family, she was the most accepting and quizative to my sharing the gospel, the one in the Bible, not the one she was used to hearing which was a mix of teachings and traditions, all man-made, that kept her from the assurance of salvation that comes through true repentance and faith in Christ alone. 

My mother enjoyed our gospel conversations but the main hurdle she found real hard to jump over was the doctrine of "free grace"; that all she had to do to be eternally saved from the wrath of God for her sins (and she knew she was a sinner) was to turn from her sin and trust in Christ alone for the 'once-and-for-all' forgiveness of them; to be granted and guaranteed eternal life in Heaven. She found it hard to believe that salvation was a free gift offered to her by God and that there was no possibility of her being even able to pay for it. 

I insisted, by Jesus' words in John 3:3, that she had to be born again, born of the Spirit. She insisted, however, that she had to go to mass, pray the rosary, pray to Mary, pray to certain saints and be as good a "Catholic" person as possible. Out of her desire and need to do good works, as it turned out, she literally wasted thousands of dollars per year donating money to a myriad of scam artist organizations posing as authentic "Christian" organizations supposedly helping the poor and stuff. They took advantage of her kind heart and stole her money she gladly handed over under false pretence. 

My mother just could not accept the biblical fact that there was NOTHING she could do to earn her place in heaven and that all her sin (past, present and future) was paid for on the cross; that because of His love for His people, Jesus voluntarily stood in her place and received upon Himself the full wrath of God for her sins as though He was guilty of committing them. She could not trust that Jesus purchased, with His own blood, the required righteousness she needed for being made right with God. 

She would not accept this truth, that is, until two months before she died. My mother suffered from dementia in her last years and she lived in a nursing home. There were days when she was incoherent and not able to remember anything. Then there were other days when she was coherent and able to remember things and even hold meaningful conversations. On this one day in November of 2009, I got her on "a good day".

I shared the gospel with her again as I had done many times before and we got talking about the things of God, including salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone. As before, she asked me many questions. With every answer I quoted Scripture, God's word, instead of my opinion. 

At one point she went silent on me, staring at the floor. I thought she might have slipped out of coherency mode. But then, suddenly, she began to weep. With her arthritic hands covering her face, she wept and confessed to me that she knew she was not right with God. She knew she did not completely trust Jesus as her Lord and her Saviour. She knew she was a sinner and was in need of forgiveness from God and not through a priest. She even confessed that all her years of attending her 'Prayer and Share' meetings was just for show. She said that for her, they were nothing more than a time of social gathering and fun. 

I told here with great urgency that she needed to be made right with God. She asked how. I told her how. I asked her if she wanted me to pray with her. She thought about it but she refused my offer saying, "No thank you, I'll pray to God after you leave." She expressed her gratefulness for my being there and sharing with her the things of God regarding salvation. 

That would be the last time I had a coherent conversation with my mother. In the following two months before she died, I visited her and though I tried to remind her, she was not able to recollect or make sense of the gospel conversation we had that day in November. 

On the evening of Jan 6, 2010, I received a phone call from her nursing home recommending that I come right away. My mother's body had begun to shut down. She was dying. 

Kim and I rushed over. I knelt beside her bed. She was conscious but unable to speak. I held her hand. I asked her, "Mom, do you know what is happening to you?" She slowly nodded her head. "Mom,", I continued, "are you alright with God?" She offered me a slow wink of one eye and a very crooked grin. It was all she could muster up. "Would you like me to pray for you?" She gave me the go ahead nod. 

I held her, she closed her eyes and I prayed my heart out. Oh, I prayed my heart out believing that she was in her last coherent stage and that she was fully aware of how close she was to meeting her Saviour face to face. I prayed believing that she had made her peace with God. Maybe alone with Him that evening I last shared the gospel with her or maybe even on her deathbed. I'm not sure. 

After Kim and I spent some time with her, I told her how much I loved her and kissed her goodbye. She died early the next morning.

I have good reason to believe that my mother is in heaven. I believe she is in heaven but not because she was a good person, not because she was Roman Catholic, not because she went to mass all her life, not because she went on religious retreat weekends, not because she went to charismatic prayer meetings, not because she attended 'Prayer and Share' for 25 years, not because she prayed the rosary, prayed to Mary, prayed to "saints" and did all kinds of charitable good works.

My mother is in heaven because of one thing and one thing alone: in the hearing of the true gospel, even that late in her life, God opened up her heart and mind to believe in the gospel. God heard her cry for mercy and by His love and grace, He granted her the gifts of repentance and faith in Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness of her sins, granting her eternal life with Him and all those who in the past (and will in the future) have repented and placed their faith in Jesus, the Lord, for their salvation. My mother humbly received the "free gift" of salvation that God had offered her with no need to pay for any of it. 

My mother is not celebrating her birthday in heaven today. She is fully immersed in glorifying and serving God in ways and in depths that none of us can even imagine and she is enjoying her eternal rewards. She is fully enjoying being in the company of Jesus. 

By the grace of God, in gratefulness for saving a wretch like me and granting me the privilege, joy and opportunity to share the biblical gospel with my mother, I am very much looking forward to seeing her there one day.

Glory and thanks be to our gracious Lord who saved us!

"It is by grace you have been saved through faith - and this not of yourselves, it is a free gift of God - not by works, so that none can boast." - Ephesians 2:8-9

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever would believe in Him would not perish but have everlasting life." - John 3:16


"Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for the wrath of God remains upon him." - John 3:36

Saturday, March 8, 2014

BACK ON TRACT

It's been a long winter and spring is just around the corner. Time to get back on the streets on a more regular basis for the purpose of sowing gospel seeds. 

I actually had an hour of free time this afternoon and decided to redeem that time for my Redeemer. Kim was hoping to join me but was not able to this afternoon. I chose to stand with my AYR cross and hand out tracts downtown in the heart of, what is now officialLy known as, "Gay Village" - not to provoke, as some might misjudge my motive as being but, rather, to give hope. And by God's grace, hope went out into many hands and eventually, I pray, into their hearts.

The AYR cross is always effective in stirring curiosity in the minds of those who see it. The co-ordinating AYR gospel tract I made (with a photo of the very cross I'm holding on the front of it and containing the bare-bones gospel message on the back) makes for an easy grab for those walking by as I hold them out face up. Passersby see that the tract co-ordinates with the cross and they take them. I handed a good number of tracts to passersby in the hour I stood there. 

At separate times, two photographers asked if they could take photos of me holding the cross and handing out tracts. I told them they could so long as they took a tract to which they agreed and did. (I told them they were free to do so even if they didn't take one.) I got into a bit of a photo conversation with one of them after telling him I was a veteran photojournalist.

 Lastly, the Lord gave me two opportunities to verbally share the gospel with two people who stopped to ask, "Am I ready for what?" One was an local artist who refused a tract at first but after talking with him, he took one. The other was a Roman Catholic lady who opened up asking, "Do you ever pray to Michael the Archangel?" You know where that led to and I shared the gospel with her for over 20 minutes.

Aaahhh, it's been a long and cold winter. It's good to be out on the streets again with the gospel for periods of time longer than two minutes. And it's only going to get better...and busier. 


Bring it on LORD! It's a privilege and a joy to serve You.

Monday, February 24, 2014

THE PREACHER'S GUARD

There are times in the course of open air preaching sessions when a heckler will want to do more than just heckle. Sometimes, he will try to do all he can to get into the preacher's face, up close and personal. 

The heckler's purpose is to maximize the opportunity to distract the preacher and hopefully put a stop to the preaching of the gospel through mockery and intimidation, sometimes even to the point of getting physical.

Enter the preacher's guard.

The preacher's guard has two duties to fulfill, one or the other or both.

One: to stand as a wall between the offending party and the preacher so the preacher can continue preaching.

Two: to distract the heckler from his 'too-close-for-comfort' heckling by engaging the heckler in a conversation, hopefully being able to convey the gospel message at the same time. Meanwhile, the preacher continues to preach.

A fine example of such an encounter took place in New York City a few weeks ago during the SuperBowl Outreach 2014 where street preacher Robert Gray was approached by a heckler who was mockingly trying to shut down the preaching and then tried to place himself nose to nose with Robert.

A fellow team member slides in between the heckler and the preacher and is later led aside into a debate with other team members present, taking him away from Robert and allowing him to continue heralding the gospel with minimum distraction.



Special thanks to brother John Barros who did a great job capturing this video.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

FOR THE SAKE OF THE (REAL) GOSPEL

The United Church of Canada preaches a different and, therefore dangerous, gospel. A quick glance at their national website into what they believe in comparison to what the Bible teaches will prove that. 

They are the largest Protestant denomination in the country but just another of the many denominations under the umbrella of "Christianity" that falls way short of gospel truth, making it no gospel at all, thus, showing it to be false in it's claim to being truly Christian.

If one were to narrow it down,the UCC preaches not much more than a social gospel in place of the saving gospel. A gospel that does nothing for the soul of the lost other than maintain it on the road to damnation instead of salvation through Jesus Christ. Their creed sounds good to the ear but upon simple examination it falls short of the gospel truth and that to the membership's eternal peril.


Today, United churches in Canada, including here in Ottawa, paid homage to Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. They gathered in their church buildings to celebrate and give honour to a man, not Christ. A man who did much in the way of societal good, agreed, but a mortal man nonetheless. That is not what the assembly meetings of the ekklesia were designed for.

In light of that, I woke up this morning feeling compelled to be at the entrance door of one of the local United Church buildings armed with a load of 'Are You Ready' gospel tracts in hopes of getting the message of what the gospel is truly all about into the hands, hearts and minds of at least some of the attendees of their worship (man) service.

By the time I got there, the church was already almost full to the brim but the Lord was gracious to allow me to hand out my gospel tracts to the last 100 people to arrive in the span of about 30 minutes. 

May God grant even but one of the receivers to be convicted of his or her sin and their need for forgiveness and salvation by the only means God provided, the details of which are found in His word, the Holy Bible. May their eyes be opened to the difference of what the UCC's gospel proclaims and that of the biblical truth.

Biblical Christians NEED to be where the unknowingly deceived gather in attempt to do whatever to reach them with the saving gospel truth. If an organization like the UCC proclaims one thing and God proclaims another, it is always best to side with what God says, no matter how good another gospel may sound.


"But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed." - Galatians 1:8

Sunday, December 15, 2013

SUB-ZERO PROCLAMATION

Like most, we don't have much free time before Christmas. That means there is not much time to go out to proclaim the gospel to the throngs of downtown Christmas shoppers.

Nothing stops them from shopping, even -30C (-22F) weather (windchill factor included). We figured that if they can make the effort to do what they had to do despite the frigid cold, then we should make the effort to do what we are called to do despite the same.

So, with what opportunity we had today, before a predicted major storm hits the city, we headed out to stand at one of the main entrances to the largest shopping mall in Ottawa, the Rideau Centre, to proclaim the good news of the kingdom and be a witness for the very One they sing about at Christmas time but do not know Him nor bow down to Him nor understand and believe the reason why He came to earth in the first place. Yet, the gospel laced Christmas carols they will sing with flourishing voice.

Jesus said of people like them, "These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me." - Matthew 15:8

Kim began our session by stepping up "on the box" to read, what the accompanying music is very popular at this time of year, the whole text from Handel's Messiah, which is, of course, ALL Scripture, ALL God's word. With that I stood beside her with our "Christ Is Lord" cross and handed out some gospel tracts to passersby. Not many mind you as people were walking quickly to get out of the cold and carrying parcels as they walked by us at the entrance to the mall.

When Kim was done, we crossed the street (at the request of security guards) where I got up to preach the gospel for the better part of 40 minutes. During that time, two separate hecklers (one of them who started when Kim was up) tried to shout me down but Kim called both of them over the side to speak with them.

They took her up on her invite and, for the duration of my preaching, she helped them understand the reason why we were there, spoke intelligently and respectfully with them regarding matters of faith and, of course, shared the gospel with them for over an hour. Don't forget, it's freezing out there so this must have been something worthwhile to them to put up with the cold and converse with her. 

Long story short, they both ended up thanking her and shaking her hand before they left, one of them with a gospel tract in his pocket. With Kim's help, I was able to clearly preach the gospel and the true meaning of Christmas without further interruption.

Our time and effort were blessed by the Lord. We lasted two full hours out there before we had to pack it in and head to the warmth of our home. Our 2 cameras, however, each only lasted 10 minutes before they froze up and died. Funerals to be announced tomorrow. 


To those who prayed for us, thank you. Lord willing, we'll be at it again next weekend.