Saturday, March 2, 2013

How to Do Street Work

(Note: For the last  18 years it has been my joy and honour to preach the glorious gospel  of the Lord Jesus Christ in public on the streets of America.  This post is taken from an email I sent to a fellow street preacher a couple of years back who was hosting an internet discussion as to whether or not it was appropriate   to call people names while preaching to them. This was my response.)

Well Larry, I thought I would weigh in on this topic, but I didn't want to do it as a comment to the video since, in my opinion, this is very much an 'inner family discussion'. I've been on the streets for 14 years now, and I've seen a lot of things come and go and I have seen a trend towards name-calling. I used to preach with a guy that would call out things like "hey you in the red shirt, your girlfriend is dressed like a whore". Now not only is he deviating from the gospel, and the protection that comes with it, but he was actually putting the rest of us at risk by not being scriptural. Several of us confronted him about his and he believed that we were being” too soft on sin” and if we had “any backbone” we'd do it his way.  That's kind of the point, isn’t it? It was his way. The Bible says there is a “way that seemeth right unto a man but the end thereof is the ways of death”.  I don’t do it, but then again, I offer very little commentary at all when I preach. You can’t hope to preach any harder than God does, and that book contains plenty of rebuke without me having to offer up commentary or use worldly terms to address the situation. I believe that God's words have power as opposed to mine, so I really do try to just stick to verses. This also keeps me from saying something stupid or unscriptural, which I am fully capable of doing.   I will tell you what I do when I’m on the street.
  When I preach at the queer pride parades, I tell them that "he that hath the Son hath life, but he that hath not the Son hath not life, but the wrath of God abideth on him." I tell them that "the eyes of the Lord are in every place beholding the evil and the good." I tell them that "God has appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness” and “judge the secrets of all men”. I tell them they are “condemned already”. I tell them “ I saw the dead small and great stand before God… and whosoever’s name was not written in the Lambs Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire”  where  “the fire is not quenched, and their worm dieth not” and that he smoke of their torment “ ascendeth up forever and ever”. I tell them God will return with “flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ”. I tell them that their only hope is to repent of their wickedness and of their fornications and of their whoremongering and trust in the shed blood of Jesus Christ, the same one who said “ I am the way, and  the truth and the life, and no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” I tell them the Bible says that “whosoever cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out.” I tell them “how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation.” At no point in those verses or any of the others I use to I feel the need to tell them that they are ‘filthy homos’ and ‘perverts’, though they are.
  Amazingly I use those same verses just about everywhere I go, because the need is the same everywhere I go. I use those verses in the rich part of town, and in the ghetto. I used those verses on the strip in Vegas, in the squares of Savannah, and on San Marco Blvd in Jacksonville. And what I’ve found is that when I offer verses as opposed to commentary, the heathen are quiet. They will either leave or sit their silently as Gods word nails them to the floor.  When I offer up commentary, the heathen rage. And why shouldn’t they? After all, the Bible says “Where the word of a king is, there is power: and who may say unto him, What doest thou?”.
  Now, I do feel that occasionally God will give a street preacher liberty to address a situation happening right in front of them, but once again, you are constrained by the approaches found in scripture. I’ll give you an example or two. One night I was in San Diego preaching outside an adult bookstore. So in addition to salvation verses, I let the patrons know that it was “the will of God that ye should abstain from fornication” and that “the eyes of the LORD are in every place” and that Jesus said “whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart”. I threw in a verse or two about whoremongers, and the reaction I got was that these ‘men’ would not or could not look me in the eye as they left. You see, “the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” That book will do far more by using its words than I can with mine.  One night, also in San Diego, I had some sodomites who had told me they were saved and even knew a few verses. So I continued preaching and they felt ‘led’ to stand beside me and cheer me on. Normally I wouldn’t mind but the sodomite condition of these men would be obvious to anyone that came by, so I just jumped over to Romans 1 and read about those “the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.  And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;  Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,…”  Their ‘enthusiasm’ for my ‘ministry’ quickly died down and before I could get to verse 30 they were nowhere to be found.
  Now, am I the authority on how to do street work? No, I’m still learning, but I am in subjection the Book, or try to be, and I try to do it the way the Book says do it. Hope that helps.

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