OPEN AIR MINISTRIES-----Philadelphia
“How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? “ Romans 10:14-15
As John the Baptist was sent to prepare the way for the Lord Jesus Christ, it seems that God in His providence sent the Miami police into Liberty Square homes in Miami to prepare the area for a week of evangelism. I picked up a copy of the Miami Herald one afternoon to read the following: “Undercover officers made 31 narcotics arrests, 14 gambling arrests and four prostitutions arrests last Tuesday through Saturday in Liberty Square apartments in what was called Operation Perseverance. “ We began our first of six days of ministry in Liberty Square on Sunday afternoon. Each day approximately 60 adults and children heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. As our week came to an end, eight children made commitments to trust Jesus as their Lord and Savior. As I pondered our week of ministry in this housing development, I was reminded of how dangerous the inner city can be. This neighborhood had encountered 13 shootings in the past two months. I was also grateful for the protection of God over me as I have worked in many such neighborhoods over the last 28 years in Philly and other cities. D L Moody once said: “If we reach the cities, we will reach the nation. But if we fail in the cities, they will become a cesspool that will infect the entire country.”
The above quote makes me wonder whether we have failed as the Church of Jesus Christ in our inner cities as crime and poverty and other social ills prevail throughout our nation. In mid March, it was our privilege to work with a few
OAC evangelists in the city of Miami with Liberty University students who gave up their spring break vacation to serve Jesus. Each day, we worked in Liberty Square Village and then in the evenings it was off to reach out to the night life crowds enjoying the shops and restaurants of Lincoln Mall on South Beach. One of the cool things about being on the streets of Lincoln Mall is all of the international tourists that you are able to share the gospel with. I can remember sharing the gospel with folks from Germany, Argentina, Columbia and Saudi Arabia. Throughout our six days of ministry, we conducted 10 open air children’s meeting with 100 kids in attendance. Also, in the evenings, we conducted 49 open air meetings with about 1,100 people in attendance. It was an awesome week of proclaiming the gospel. The Lord blessed us with an awesome group of students who aggressively shared their faith each day.
We have spent a great deal of our time on college campuses this spring. On a recent day, Mark Johnson and I went to West Chester University and it started to rain. On days like this, you look at each other and say; “Now what?” Since we were already on campus, we grabbed our umbrellas and went out any way. At the least, we could speak to the students as they walked by. As I have seen numerous times in my life, the rain stopped and the Lord gave us great crowds and I was able to spend an hour sharing the gospel with a young man named Billy, along with a number of other people. On this particular day, a professor stopped by with the intent of embarrassing us in front of the students. He did not engage us in any rational dialog, but instead used various stereotypical terms to mock us. It is amazing to me in our present culture that if you mock someone and get a laugh or applause you somehow win the debate.
We traveled to Trenton, NJ one day to work with some of our fellow evangelists at The College of New Jersey. Unknown to us, there was a high school technological competition on on campus. The Lord used these students to build us large crowds all day. At one point it began to rain, and we moved our conversations underneath a roof by the student center and continued on sharing the gospel. Most of us had groups of three to four students who we dialoged with by answering their questions and transitioning into the gospel. I can still hear one man who stated in the beginning that he was an atheist say: “There has to be something out there.” Our secular educational system has a done a good job of pushing the anti-God theory of evolution on this generation. What a blessing it is to challenge this generation with the reality of God and How one can know Him through Jesus Christ.
About a week ago, Mark Johnson and I traveled to Kutztown University. The Lord blessed us with great interaction all day. It started off slow and the crowds built as the day progressed and the lord used the gay community. It seemed their plan to mock and harass us brought more and more people to listen to us. One gay young man got upset with me as I told him in the midst of our conversation that he would have to be willing to give up his lifestyle to have relationship with God. He later came back to defend me before his peers as the crowd began to get a little testy. He stated, “This man is a nice guy. Hear him out.” As we began to leave the campus, a police officer approached us and stated, “I appreciate how you try to interact with the students. Others come and they just yell at them.” Because of this encounter, we were able to share our testimony with this man. You never know who is watching you out there. Praise God for a witness above reproach on this day, which provided this Divine encounter.
Well, I’m off to a missions conference in Western PA. Thanks for being a part of our faithful prayer and support team. May God Continue to draw you closer to Jesus. God Bless You.
Outreach in Exuma at the National Regatta-April 24-28