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And Why Stand We in Jeopardy Every Hour?

July 17, 2009
It’s truly awesome to finally have fellowship in the theater of street evangelism.  Going forth with a likeminded saint is considerably different than going out alone, however each method has its advantages. When one is alone, there’s a closeness with the Lord coupled with the ability to “turn on a dime” as it were, as the Spirit leads. For yesterdays outing in Elkhart (I always use a bike in Elkhart because the gathering places are somewhat scattered) I began just south of Island Park as is normal, but soon found myself in a part of the city which I had never ventured into before. Here I encountered an eternal soul named Jose whose wife had just left him. He was very discouraged, but also “very recieptive to the gospel.” During times when CR and I are together there’s the aspect of fellowship with another who has a heart for the eternal ones. Many situations, such as a venue where folks are crowded into a limited area, are easier to cover if two or more saints are working together.  Whether one is with a likeminded saint, or is venturing  into the gallery of souls alone, the words of life will never return void.
I Peter 4:11 “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever.”
CR is an answer to prayer in two ways. First, he was a longtime friend at AAM for whom prayer was made over an extended period of time. (Although it was circumstances outside of work that the Lord used to bring him to faith in Jesus) Secondly, I had prayed much for someone to come along who would be a fellow-laborer in taking the gospel into the streets. At nearly every church that I have visited, this method of evangelic endeavor never seems to be a serious consideration. I think that a large part of this is that many of us are “just too busy.”  I don’t get into the streets nearly as much as I would like to (all day every day) because of other obligations. Nonetheless, in the course of time, the Lord granted repentance and eternal life to one who would have a heart for this. CR is very conscious of what’s at stake and the need to reach the lost now. He has an incredible testimony and the Lord has allowed me a vantage point to witness the “before and after” pictures.
And so Tuesday, July 14, we met on the west side of the Arcadia Creek Events Center; a large park that sits at the northeast edge of the Kalamazoo downtown area. Our course took us south on Burdick street and then west toward Bronson park.  A short while into the afternoon, CR made a “thinking out loud” comment concerning the overwhelming scope of the pending disaster before us. So many priceless souls all around us who are not ready to enter eternity. At that moment, the title of this post entered my heart; however, not from the standpoint that the apostle Paul was coming from in I Corinthians 15:30. Every day, we rub shoulders with eternal souls who do not have a relationship with Jesus. They see us as we work in our yard, they greet us in the market place, and they watch us pass silently through the common spaces.  Lost boys and damsels in distress, tetering perilously on the edge of the stygian abyss. We offer a friendly “good morning” or ask “how’s it going?” and quickly head off to take care of our obligations.
As I write this, I’m once again hitting on an erea where I have fallen way short. As such this topic is causing examination and repentance on behalf of the one typing out these words.
“THEY STAND IN JEOPARDY EVERY HOUR!” With only a heartbeat between each of us and eternity, one who has not been born of the Spirit is in continual danger of waiting too long before believing on Jesus. It happens every second of every day. One moment they were carrying on with the predictable routine, oblivious to the approach of their final breath. Suddenly they find themselves in a place of everlasting torment from which there is no hope of reprieve. I fear that, for many of us, this doesn’t register too far beyond our statement of faith. We know it to be true, however, we don’t fathom the real-time tragedy that’s playing out all around us. We spend our days adding to our resumes and maintaining our kingdom. We speak home depot prophecies over our castle and continuously add to our collection of wood hay and stubble. We’re in church every time the doors are open (nothing wrong with this) we raise our hands and clap right on cue, (nothing wrong with raising our hands or clapping either) and we never ever miss the monthly prayer breakfast at Dennys. If we were required to wear a sign, ours would proclaim “Model Christian.”
Meanwhile, there are people who, at this very moment, are enjoying what will prove to be their final dinner, climbing into a vehicle from which they will never emerge, and setting an alarm clock to announce a moment that’s beyond their time. One thing that I continually ask the Lord for is clarity. Clarity in understanding just how great our salvation is. Clarity in understanding the shortness of our time in the theater of atoms. Clarity in grasping the concepts mentioned in this post. Not just as a package of theological confessions but a real grasping of what’s playing out before us every hour of every day while we’re casually sitting in front of whatever it is that we enjoy sitting in front of. If everyone who confesses Jesus as Savior understood the true gravity of this issue, we would be shouting it from the housetops day in and day out.
Well I should be going for now as it’s after 2:00 am. Next week, if there’s a continuance of things as they are, I should be back to work, however, it will be on first shift. This will limit the number of opportunities for getting into the streets, however, there are souls at AAM who need Jesus. Our mission field is before us 24/7, wherever there’s a soul hanging in the balance. I apolagize if this post seems overbearing; it’s just an attempt to address a pressing issue. An issue that I likewise must approach with greater diligence. I’ll close out with some familiar passages. Blessings always in Jesus name.
Jeremiah 1:17 “Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them.”
Matthew 9:37-38 “Then he saith unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;
Pray ye the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.”
II Timothy 2:4 “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”
II Timothy 4:2 “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
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JULY 17, 2009 UPDATE….The first link below falls into the catagory of things “hard to think about but necessary to prayerfully consider. The second link is an encouraging call to the saints to let go of every hinderance and enter a deeper place in the Lord:
NOT TO BE MORBID… (stirred not shaken)
GET RID OF THE STUFF (cindy in sd)
We are truly being called to a complete abandonment of confidence in the worlds systems (including those which we have dressed up to look christian) and a complete confidence in the Lord Jesus. To a place where we can say from the heart “To live is Christ and to die is gain. It’s incredible; the work that the Lord is doing in these times. 
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6 comments

  1. Streetwalking, that is what we jokingly call it in our group. We, at different times of the year will end up in Vegas, Reno, Southern Californina, wherever the Lord leads, and streetwalk. This post was convicting for me, it should be every hour of every day, not such a planned event. The title reminded me of Matthew 24:36 “”No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

    In the next 60 minutes we can be face to face with our Lord…while in the next 60 minutes, people will not because I didn’t take the time out of my own agenda to accomplish His purposes. I have confidence that He will use someone else to achieve His perfect plan, yet I will still give account. Time is short. This post, as always, spoke to me directly and helped me to focus on what is truly important…thank you.

    Blessings to you,
    Debs


  2. Wow! Challenging post, Timbob. I long for God to use me in this way, but I feel so inadequate. Still, you encourage me.

    I’ve done street evangelism before and never seen any lasting fruit (not that God didn’t generate any–but I didn’t see it). I think that, for us, the missing link was the discipleship process. We tried to get them to come to “our church,” which was a good church, but completely strange to the people we were talking to.

    Since you express interest in simple church, let me encourage you to pray that God will lead you to the “person of peace” (Lk 10:1-9, around whom you can build a gathering of pre-believers and believers. I’ve just been reading The Rabbit and the Elephant, which has some helpful practical information.

    Eager to hear more of what God is doing through you and your friend!

    Love, Cindy


  3. Hi Deb. It must be awesome to have a group who routinely travels to various cities. Back in the 1980s, our ship (I was in the navy at the time) was in New Orleans for Mardi Gras. While the world did its thing, something incredible was transpiring as well. There were saints from all over the country who came down there every year to present the gospel during this time. It was a time of incredible fellowship and of presenting the truth of new life in Jesus Christ.

    Today is a long time removed from that season. I sometimes feel completely on the shelf compared to times when I was less hindered by obligations. Some well meaning saints have told me “it’s just the season of life that you’re in” but that doesn’t help any. The seriousness of the issue makes void all of the reasons that one could use to try and justify spectating.

    The topic in this post hit me severely as I was thinking of all the opportunities that I’ve failed to take advantage of over the years.

    Thanks so much for taking time to comment. Blessings always in Jesus name.


  4. Hi Cindy in SD. I was wanting to become discouraged about the seeming lack of results here when I read about the incredible things taking place in Portland Oregon that Richard routinely writes about. http://rjperalta.wordpress.com I was quickly reminded to not compare the work in Portland with what I see happening in Elkhart or Kalamazoo.

    Pre-believers; this term got my attention. CR is a guy whom I’ve known since 2002. He was saved in November of 2008 and has since grown quickly. There may well be a fellowship made of folks who, at the present are still pre-believers. And I think that CR may well be a “johnny on the spot” when it comes to a gathering of saints.

    Thanks for the in put on this issue. Blessings always in Jesus name.


  5. Hi Timbob,

    Street evangelism can be a great method of witnessing and outreach, but there are really so many different ways that we can reach out to people. I recall a few years ago, we had a minister that came to the church where my husband was assisting at the time and taught a seminar on soul winning. His basic “method” if you want to call it that, kind of revolved around Matthew 5:16

    Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

    The minister told a story about how his wife was used to win a soul. One day this minister and his wife went to a restaurant in the town where they lived. They had a waitress named Marianne, and the minster’s wife struck up a conversation with her. Somewhere in the conversation it came up that Marianne’s mother, who lived in another city was sick. The minister and his wife promised that they would pray for Marianne’s mother, and they left the restaurant. The minster’s wife went back to the restaurant about a week later and looked up Marianne. She asked Marianne about her mother, and the mom was doing better. I think it was at this point that Marianne and the minister’s wife exchanged phone numbers. Over the next few weeks and months, the minister’s wife would call Marianne just to chat and see how she was doing. Sometimes she would stop in the restaurant to visit Marianne and sometimes bring her things. I believe she found a good deal once on a sweater and bought it for Marianne, because she thought the color would look nice on her. Finally, one day the minster’s wife found out where Marianne lived. One day this minister’s wife baked a bunch of pies and went over to Marianne’s house. She knocked on the door, and Marianne answered. She told Marianne that she had just gone crazy making pies and didn’t know what she was going to do with all of them and would Marianne please take as many as she would like. Marianne bit her lip as a tear began to roll down her face. She said to the minister’s wife – I have never met anyone like you. What is it about you that makes you so different? Is it your church? Up to this time, the minister’s wife had never said anything to her about church. Marianne ended up going to church with the minister’s wife and a short time later, she was baptized in Jesus’ name and filled with the Holy Ghost.

    You know, my heart smote me today, because I found out earlier through my neighbor that lives 2 doors down that the neighbor right next to me has been in the hospital for almost 3 weeks with respiratory failure. I had no idea. My husband and I could have been praying, we could have offered to help our family. Maybe if we weren’t so wrapped up in our own lives and spent more time talking with our neighbors and getting to know them, this opportunity would not have slipped through our hands. I believe there are opportunities all around us to help people if we’ll just ask the Lord to make us aware of them. If people can see that we genuinely care about them, this can really open a door to their hearts. Sorry to ramble on about this. I think the Lord is just dealing with me about this once again.

    Anyway, thanks for giving me some space to add my 2 cents worth.

    Blessings to you and your family,

    Carol


  6. Hi carol. You are correct in that there are opportunities all around us and the best testimony is letting our light shine before men. Street evangelism has a place, but it’s actually a relatively small place compared to the venues that we’re in every day. The workplace, home, market and our neighborhood. Here folks see our lives transpiring before them and if we’re in Christ, the light will be undeniable.

    As for opportunities missed, I’ve blown more appointments than I could ever count. Praise God for his mercy, but it’s still painful.

    Thanks so much for making a very good point here that I neglected to mention. Blessings always in Jesus name.



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