OPEN AIR MINISTRIES-----Philadelphia
“These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me”-Jesus
As I was walking along the Indy 500 parade route this past Saturday, a man handed me a business card with this message printed on the top. DZHENOU After a quick glance, I place it in my pocket and continued to pass out gospel tracts to the thousands of people lining the streets of Indianapolis. Later on, while our team took a break, I pulled out the business card to read DZHENOU. Did you figure it out? To my surprise, it was a gospel tract with a very pointed message on the back. It says, “Does He know you?” Many people claim to know Jesus, but the more important questionis; Does He know you? My good friend David Braun preaches a message entitled: Three Words That You Don’t Want To Hear. If you are married, you do not want to hear your spouse say, “It’s all over.” More importantly, when you stand before Jesus on Judgment Day, you do not want to hear Him say to you, “Depart from Me.” As Jesus continues, he states, “I never knew you; you who practice lawlessness.” We meet many people on the streets who profess Jesus as Lord, but they are fully involved in sinful practices. As Jesus stated, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father in Heaven.” Knowing the reality of Hell, we persuade men and women to turn off the road of destruction and follow Jesus.
In late April, I headed to the Island of Exuma in the Bahamas to share Jesus at the 59th Family Island Regatta at the invitation of Pastor Cedric Smith. I was joined by Mark Martin, David Cobb and Darrel Davis for 5 days of ministry proclaiming Jesus at their street festival. It seems as if all the world loves to party. Cedric told us that they begin to ship in the alcohol in February to stock it up for this event. We were also informed that nine months later a lot of regatta babies will be born. It is no surprise that drunkenness and sexual immorality go hand in hand.
Last year, the people were shocked by our presence as no one had ever witnessed at this event, but this year there was more opposition to our presence. On one night, Darrel and I were harassed and stalked by a drunken man. Pastor Cedric was verbally harassed and threatened to the point that we had to bring a police officer over to remove the man. As brother David said, “Last year we surprised the devil. This year he was ready for us.” Through the week, we gave out over 7,000 tracts and talked to countless people. It was a rough outreach with much spiritual warfare. The music was deafening and it pounded your body like a boxer. A few times, I had to move on, because it was giving me a headache. I even had a touch of food poisoning one night, but pressed on as best that I could by the grace of God. Pray for the Lord to bring revival on this island. There is a great battle going on for the souls of the people. The island has a great Christian heritage that is quickly slipping away as the people pursue the world and forsake Jesus. The church also needs to be consumed with an intense desire to fulfill the great commission.
On Memorial Day weekend, Frank Robertson and I traveled to Indianapolis to meet up with Mark Yoho and Marshall Kellet to share Jesus with the thousands of race fans that descend on this city for the Indy 500. Each year, we hand out tracts and witness before and after the Friday noon time ceremony to honor our countries fallen veterans. It was encouraging to hear a mother testify how the Lord has helped her through the struggle of losing her son in combat. Previously, Governor Mitch Daniels talked about the influence of his pastor on his family’s life as he honored the passing on of this member of the greatest generation our World War II Veterans. In a culture that continues to push the biblical God’s existence out of everyday life, I’m always amazed by God’s grace and mercy to give us as a nation a continuing revelation of His presence. God truly has an amazing Love. To paraphrase a quote from John Newton, “We are great sinners, but Jesus is a great savior.”
It was a hot weekend of outreach, as it seemed more like the Fourth of July than Memorial Day. It was even stuffy and humid in the evening with no breeze. We were so grateful to the Christian family who let us park in their yard at no cost. This blessing allowed us to refresh ourselves with cool water from the cooler in my truck. I was surprised by the receptivity to our tracts on the streets at night by the race track, as it’s been tough going the past few years. A former U.S. marine who was drunk and bitter harassed me for twenty minutes as to where was God during the war. I spent most of my time praying for this young man and keeping a slight distance away as he seemed close to violence. In God’s providence, a group of four men came by and took him away. A few minutes later, a man who had been standing nearby watching came up and took a tract stating, “Let me see what you’re about.”
Many people walk by us who profess Christ and some even stop to converse with us. They try to be nice to us, but are really in opposition as they state, “What’s wrong with having a little bit of fun?” What a powerful witness our brothers from No Greater Love ministry bring to the streets as they witness on the corners, parking lots and march up Georgetown Ave. with their cross and banners. The presence of a hundred Godly men spoils the fun of the party crowd as the Lord convicts them of their sin as they walk in darkness. I’m sure that those who worshiped the true God with their golden calf and revelry had fun until Moses showed up with God’s law and impending judgment. God‘s will is for people to be saved and then to be conformed to the image of Christ. The question is; “Am I glorifying God with my actions, not can I have fun?” At the end of the night, Jeremy approached me. Every time that I pointed out his sin, he would respond by saying, “What’s wrong with a little fun?” He was under great conviction, but on this night alcohol was his god. If only he knew the joy of knowing Jesus.
Earlier in the day, I met Page at the parade as I was holding Frank’s banner. She professed to be an atheist, but she was not too strong in her position. Like most atheists, her position is one of convenience as it allows her to live in sin. We talked for an hour about the gospel, even though her boyfriend tried to pull her away. As she finally parted, she stated, “You have not changed my mind.” That’s ok with me, because only God can convince her. I left her with the good seed of the gospel which can bring salvation into her life.
As our college campus ministry is over until the fall, we have been hard at work sowing the gospel seed in Philly. Dave Braun and I have been faithfully preaching by the Gallery Mall each week. It was sad to hear a couple of our friends who we have been ministering to share how they have slipped back into drugs. We encouraged them to confess and forsake their sin and press on in pursuing Jesus. Sam and another man told us how grateful that they were for the Bibles that they received and how their lives have changed. I was approached by another young man who reached out and said, “You spoke to me by the Dunkin Dounuts two years ago. The Lord has changed my life. Thanks so much and do not stop.”
Dave and I were at a bus top in Camden, NJ one day, when a young lady looked at me and asked, “What does it mean, when it says, ‘You fool, Today your souls is required of you?’” She had been reading a tract that I handed her called: This Was Your Life. As I took my time in sharing the gospel, she finally put herself phone away and with tears streaming down her face said, “I need this.” It’s not often that you see this kind of brokenness when you share the gospel. Her lifestyle of drugs had her living in a shelter and lost her the custody of her son. Although she has been clean for six months, she now has Jesus to walk with her through this life. Although we sow a lot of gospel seed, there are still those lost sheep out there waiting to be rescued. Jesus is a Great Savior!
High School Senior outreach
Ocean City, MD
June 11-16 20112