Saturday, October 31, 2009
October 31, 1999
The day of my second birth!!
I'll Never Forget It
Challenged for a second time by those who loved me enough to encourage me (fight with me) to sit through a sermon I did not want to hear, in a church I did not want to be in. In the middle of the sermon, the gospel being faithfully preached, it happened.
No fireworks. No cartwheels. No cheers.
Just a very sudden and sheer, sheer conviction of who I was standing before a thrice Holy God, my Creator and Judge, without Christ. For the first time in my 44 years, my eyes were miraculously opened and I saw myself as God had always seen me: a vile creature of a man, dripping in all my sin, full of self-righteousness and deserving of eternal punishment in hell.
The 'Good Person Mask' I had been wearing all my life fell off my face that Hallowe'en day. The Holy Spirit exposed to me who and what I truly was in the eyes of God and what I had done to deserve His eternal wrath.
I hated God.
I worshipped idols.
I cursed with God's name.
I made no time for Him.
I dishonored my parents.
I was a murderer at heart.
I was an adulterer.
I was a thief.
I was a liar.
I was a covetor.
At that moment, I knew something had happened inside me. I knew God did something in my heart. It had been dead but he made it come alive! He had turned it from a heart of stone and into a heart of flesh!
I went home. Went upstairs. Went into my room. Shut the door. Fell flat on my face. I pleaded with God to forgive me for all that I had done to violate His laws and save me. I pleaded for Christ to be my one and only Lord and Savior.
GOD WAS GRACIOUS TO SAVE ME!!!!
JESUS SUFFERED AND DIED FOR ME!!!
MY SINS WERE PAID FOR!!!
I WAS SET FREE!!!
And so began my new journey. Life for me, from then on, was going to be a bed of roses. At least, so I thought. Little did I know what how much dross I carried that still needed to be burned off and the hardship it would bring in the process.
Life has been far from perfect in the course of my last 10 years. Up and down I went. Even with the blessing of joy in knowing that I was a child of God, fully forgiven, immersed in His Word, in Christian fellowship, with a sense of calling to witness, I found myself struggling with certain sins I had only pretended I had conquered.
Days of blessing, nights of discipline. Lightness of heart, darkness of soul.
But God was merciful. A time had come when He, finally, delivered me from my particular sins that kept me from fully loving Him, fully serving Him with all my heart and being all that I could have been to those I loved. I had learned my lessons, as usual, the hard way.
"But where sin abounded, grace abounded all the more" (Romans 5:20)
Still imperfect to this day,and that until glory, yet, I have been richly blessed. And God is still so patient with me, so kind to me and He continues to help me grow in this process called "sanctification" one day at a time.
GOD saved me! GOD SAVED me! GOD SAVED ME!
How could that be?
Moreso, HOW CAN I KEEP QUIET ABOUT IT?
HOW CAN I WITHOLD THE GOOD NEWS OF GOD'S SAVING GRACE TO OTHERS WHO ARE AS LOST TODAY AS I WAS UP UNTIL A DECADE AGO??
God willing, there will be only one thing that will ever stop me from giving the gospel in the public square or anywhere else: my physical death.
Rejoice with me, my fellow Christians! Rejoice, NOT because of me, but because of what CHRIST did for me! Because of what He has done for all of us on that terrible cross.
Celebrate by going out in the public square and proclaim Christ as your Savior and proclaim the gospel to the lost of this world! Give God the glory He deserves! Make everyday count for Him!
We'll celebrate later when we are all together in Heaven at the great wedding feast of Christ and His bride, whom He made beautiful!
Until then, if given to me, I pray the next 10 years, and the rest of my time on earth, to be of greater devotion and service to the Lord of my life, the lover of my soul , my wonderful Savior, my kinsman Redeemer, my ever gracious and sovereign Father.
ALL GLORY TO GOD, forever and ever!
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
I will let you check it out for yourself on Proclaiming the Truth blog.
Vernon Costolo, of Huntington, West Virginia, applied his woodworking skills to the construction of a number of "Are You Ready" crosses for himself and his evangelism team.
He posted the step by step assembly guide on his blog the same day cross concept originator, Tony Miano, posted his step by step guide to constructing the kind of cross he carries.
If you are a "cross bearer", and you have not yet done so, make sure to get your name included on Tony's cross bearer list here at The Lawman Chronicles.
It will be interesting to find out how many street evangelists have implimented this wonderful concept into their gospel work on the street.
Great work, Vernon!
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
"PICTURE THIS" is a new short video feature that will appear from time to time on The Word Street Journal. It will combine selected short inspirational verses from God's Word with personal photographs from my files and a bit of music that will, hopefully, compliment the verses presented.
They should. All the photographs are of His amazing design and creation.
This first effort will give you an idea as to what to expect. Enjoy!
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Open air preaching can be a challenging thing at times.
Not everybody takes kindly to open air preachers as they preach the gospel of Jesus Christ in the public square. But how should the street preachers respond when they are approached, cursed at and challenged by hecklers, distractors and downright angry people?
The answer, I believe, lies in trusting the Spirit of God to see them through and emulating the very One they are preaching about. How?
Watch these two videos to see grace of God at work in two street preachers, Tony Miano of California and Rob-Roy Nelson of Arizona, who recently faced challenging situations with people who had every intent to try and shut them down as they calmly preached the gospel.
Take note of their grace laced demeanor and their determination to keep on preaching in a calm manner despite the tension raised by others. You can be sure onlookers on the sidelines were taking note. Did they see the Christ in the preacher that the preacher is preaching about?
I am grateful for these two great examples of preaching under pressure: how the preachers maintained their composure and focus, the different ways how they responded, or did not respond, to hecklers and how their perserverance paved the way for an important and impressive witness for Christ.
These videos have been valuable lessons for me. I pray they are for you as well.
Warning: please note that foul language is heard from the mouths of hecklers in both these videos. Viewer discretion is advised.
"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." (Proverbs 15:1)
Monday, October 12, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
On the cross is the question "Are You Ready".
If you are new to this concept, read here to see how it all began.
If you have read any of my witnessing reports regarding the use of the questioning cross, or that of any other blogging street evangelist who has utilized it and wrote of his own experience, then you have been made aware of how effective this tool can be in drawing the attention and curiosity of passersby.
For lack of a better analogy, the cross has proven to be a great "fishing rod".
The questioning cross still works as a general means of causing people to think when they see it being held up on a street corner as they pass by on the sidewalk or in their cars.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Note: I am no better a man than David Letterman. I do know, however, that at this moment and in the longrun, I am better off.
And that made possible ONLY by the grace of God, His turning my "heart of stone into a heart of flesh", by His gift of repentance given to me as well as faith in Jesus Christ, His Son, who paid for my own sins of adultery, among a vast multitude of other sins, by the shedding of His life's blood on the cross for me.
As happened to me, I pray Mr Letterman be brought down to a level of fully appreciating the severity of his crimes against God, His Creator and Judge, and that he humbly falls to his knees and cry out for mercy, repent and trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of all his sins.
It is only after, then, would he have something to smile about despite his sordid past.