Tag Archives: Don Mills

Day 19: I Blew It!

Exactly a month ago, I was at a bus stop talking to an elderly man about God. He told me that he’s not really into the Bible but that he’s got his own version of God (and that he’s quite comfortable with that). He was a kind man and quite fond of God’s kindness to him. Let me explain.

God’s kindness

He assured me that he’s on good terms with God. He told me about a couple of serious accidents that he endured and, with God’s help, fully recovered from. He acknowledged that it was God who kept him and helped him recover. As far as he was concerned, he didn’t need God’s mercy; God’s smile was upon him.

Time for me to speak

I listened to him for a while. And after he shared, I sensed the boldness of God to share some words from Jesus. I wanted to share what Jesus said about God being kind to the wicked. Indeed, God’s kindness is not a full proof indication that one is on good terms with God. So I told him, “You know what, everything you’re sharing makes me think of a passage of Scripture I read recently. It’s in Luke’s Gospel. Just one second. Let me find it.” (I pulled out my Bible and starting flipping around in Luke). I stood there searching and searching and searching. I keep telling him, I’m gonna find it; just one minute. This went on and on and on. No joke, I think at least 3 minutes passed! I felt like an idiot. I couldn’t find it! Where is that verse! The bus came. We said our good bye’s and that was it. I didn’t tell him anything!

I blew it!

I had the perfect chance to speak the Word of Christ into his life, but I didn’t have it memorized; and worse, I couldn’t find the address! I failed. This is especially bad because I had been struck by these words of Christ just beforehand and assumed I’d remember them! Bad assumption. So afterwards, I found the passage, and drilled it into my head, saying over and over (aloud), “Luke 6:35, 6:35, 6:35!”

In Luke 6:35, Jesus says of God, “he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.” Those are some pretty startling words to deal with. You should memorize this reference with me. Countless unbelievers appeal to God’s kindness to them as an indication that they are certainly in his good books. Well, though they may think this way, Jesus certainly doesn’t. God is kind to all. Assurance of being in his good books must be determined another way.

But the lesson to be learned here is this: memorize the reference!

Though I blew it, I know that man’s eternal welfare doesn’t hinge on my performance. May the Lord be kind to him with the loving-kindness of salvation.

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Day 18, by Yosef: Youth Encounter

Yosef, a faithful brother and member at Westminster Chapel, has been co-labouring with us in the gospel periodically this summer. It’s always a great joy to have him work with us. Below he shares about a really neat experience he had preaching the gospel to a bunch of teenagers at Shops at Don Mills. 

A group of five teenagers were hanging out by the mall. My heart went out for them and, excited, we approached them and asked, “Can I ask you guys an interesting question?” “Sure,” they replied. “What do you think happens after you die?” “Oh, you go to heaven!” replied the youngest of a group of Filipinos who, soon we would discover, were exposed to Catholicism. So we began digging together around their misconceptions, and asked, “Everyone?!” He answered, “Well, only those who are good.” From there, using Jesus’ interpretation of the commandments (Matthew 5), we took some time to show them that no one is good according to God’s standards.

While three of them were showing signs of interest and understanding, others remained silent, indicating they were either contemplative (maybe convicted) or simply disinterested. Overall, they seemed to show a partial understanding of what Jesus has done. They seemed ignorant to the deep offense of sin against a pure, blameless and holy Judge. After we thoroughly explained the gospel and challenged them to give their lives to Jesus – to which they responded with stifled faces – we decided to let them dwell on it. Rony and I left them with some tracks, played with their skateboards to show friendliness, and parted ways. Our prayers are that God would preserve the seed planted in these young people’s lives and give growth to their faith. May they, like us, be brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. Amen.

Day 13: Different Hearts

Closed

He was a white man. He looked around 60. I thought, “Oh boy, these are the type that often get annoyed when I try to speak. But, you never know!”

I started, “Hello sir, my name is Paul and this is my friend Ashar. We’re from the church just on the other side of those buildings over there. And we’re out talking to people about the Gospel. Do you have a religious background?”

With anger in his eyes, he shot back, “Religion. You want to talk about religion!” I knew this wouldn’t please him, but with a smile I gently replied, “Well, Jesus.” This just set him off. He responded by swearing at us and accused us of harassment.

By the grace of God, I remained calm and gently drew his attention to the fact that he was the one yelling and swearing at us. Then we walked away, but only to get another ear full of this man swearing and shouting at us and even saying, “I don’t care what you do, go sleep around with whoever you want; do what whatever you want, just don’t talk to me about religion!”

I wondered, “What happened to him in years gone by? What was his experience of Church? What kind of Christian exposure has he had? Why such intense hostility toward God?” His heart appeared to be as hard as the hardest rock could be! But Jesus is still mighty to soften and save. So we prayed for him.

Open 

Yet, not long after that experience, we crossed the road and found another man waiting for a bus. This man was likely in his 40’s, a Jamaican man, out doing some job hunting. He gladly heard the message of the Gospel. Not only that, he let a number of buses pass by simply to listen, learn and to ask questions. We had the Bible out and looked at some Scripture. He shared a bit of his story and seemed moved by the main theme of our conversation: Jesus came to save his people from their sins.

He was very thankful for what we shared and expressed serious interest in visiting our church. We prayed for the Lord to provide him with a job, but in such a way that it would be unmistakeably from above.

Different Hearts

Now, I’m not saying the Jamaican man is seeking God; I don’t know (even Herod wanted to meet Jesus and Felix gladly listened to Paul).  One thing was obvious however: he was more open to learning about Jesus than the other man.

The two men seemed so different; I mean, their hearts were different. One was intensely hostile to even speaking about God. Talking about God was like death to him! The other man had an appetite to learn more about Jesus. He seemed sincerely sobered by the truths that Jesus came for sinners and that forgiveness is gained by faith in Christ’s work alone.

So what?

Well, there are two things:

1) Don’t be discouraged by hostility. People’s hearts are in different conditions (just like their bodies!). Even if you meet a number of people who are hostile to the Gospel, take heart, there may be someone else right around the corner who is willing to listen. Keep fishing.

2) Pray for God to humble hearts. Think  of the soils that Jesus speaks about in Matthew 13. The only way for the seed of the Gospel to actually take root and bear fruit is when it’s cast on good soil. Good soil is a humble heart.

So, let’s press on in the work our Lord – To Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)

Use the Preached Word in Evangelism – 1 Peter 2:1-12

Julian recently preached a Christ exalting message on 1 Peter 2:1-12. In vv 4-8 we learned that everyone gets their identity in relation to Christ. If you believe, you are a living stone, rejected and vindicated (eventually), like Christ. If you do not believe, you reject the stone, or stumble by it. So, as Julian preached, “everyone gets their identity in relationship to him … even unbelievers are still defined in reference to Him.” Julian continued,  “what are you going to do with Jesus?”

Talking with a Skeptic: what are you going to do with Jesus?

My brother Joel asked the young man if he was up for talking about the Gospel while waiting for the bus. He said, “no, I don’t think it’s a good idea” (but with a smirk on his face). I asked,”why do you say that with a smile on your face.” He replied, “Look, my parents forced Catholicism on me …” and this led to a lengthy dialogue about Christ, truth, religion, false Christianity and faith. 

He had many objections and questions – he was quite skeptical of Christianity (and all religions), but he  was willing to listen.  One question struck me: What about you – why did you believe?” I thought hard and told him what happened: “I just found myself believing.” I went on to tell him not only that, but my faith is a reasonable trust. I talked about our need to deal with Jesus Christ. We talked about his resurrection; I argued that true Biblical Christianity best makes sense of the historical figure, Jesus Christ – he rose from the dead and we gotta deal with Him. 

I said, “In church, on Sunday, my pastor said that everyone will be judged by what they make of Christ. Everyone relates to Jesus Christ in some way. Even you, if you say you don’t want to even think about it and look into this, you are making a decision to NOT follow Christ. (He nodded in agreement). What will you do with Jesus? You really need to read the Bible to look into these things. If I wanted to learn about you, I’d go to your friends and family, people who know you best, not someone who lives hundreds of years after you – go to the source. Matthew, who wrote one the Gospels, spent three years with Jesus and he wrote about him.” He agreed that this was the logical way to learn about Jesus, but sadly, when I offered him literature (a little booklet of the Gospel of Luke called The Essential Jesus), he would not take it.

May the Lord use the truth that was spoken to draw him to Christ, especially the word my brother spoke to him: “whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16b). The man had asked us, “What happens to those who believe?”

A Word for Christians

If your faith is in Jesus Christ, you find your identity is in Christ, not your performance, gifts and service. You are defined by Christ, who He is and in the great salvation he has worked for you (His efforts, His performance, His rejection, His vindication = Him) … not the effectiveness or quality of your evangelistic efforts! Praise God that Christ “bore our sins in his body on the tree” (1 Pet 2:24), even our sin of not loving our neighbours by telling them the most important command/Goods News they need to hear. But let us remember: Jesus paid for these sins. There is no condemnation. None. Not even a hint! But oh that we would be holy as He is holy. Unlike OT Israel, may we obey our Saviour in our time of exile as we await the imperishable  inheritance God is keeping for us (1 Pet 1:4)! And may we do the very thing He created us to do: “proclaim the excellencies of him who called [us] out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1 Pet 2:9). May the “God of all grace” (1 Pet 5:10) give us much of His supply.

A Couple of Huge Questions

A.W. Tozer argued that what you think about God is the most important thing about you. I agree … and add that a good question  put to ourselves and to others is this: what do you think of Jesus Christ?

One Huge Question

This past Saturday I talked to a man who told me he was Hindu and Christian. He was a kind man. We had a good conversation. At one point I asked him, “What do you think of Jesus – who is he?” He replied, “I don’t know how to answer that.” I followed up, “What thoughts come to your mind when you think of him? How would you describe him?” He said one word: “Saviour.”

This opened the door for me to talk about Jesus as Saviour. I explained that very reason Jesus came was to save us from our sins (Mt 1:21). We entered into the treasures of Matthew 1. We focused on Jesus as the Son of David. He listened as I explained the promise of a son who would be given to David. We considered how this Son of David would rule and judge the world. This led us to think about the judgement.

Another Huge Question

Earlier in our discussion he expressed his opinion that God would accept him (if he were to die today). But he also confessed that he has sinned. So, at this point I asked him about judgement: “How do you believe you will receive the forgiveness of sins?” He answered, “I’ve never thought about that.”

At this point the Lord gave me the grace to teach about sin, guilt and the forgiveness of sins found in Christ work on the Cross … but suddenly his bus arrived and off he went. My last words were simply encouragements to read the Bible (to learn more). May the Lord quicken him to do so … and I hope he grapples with those questions all the way to Christ. No one can be a true follower of Jesus Christ and a Hindu at the same time.

Resurrecting the Blog

Whatever happened to that evangelism blog? Wasn’t it called Good News for Toronto … or something like that? It was, it still is; in fact, it has been resurrected!

My last post was in March of 2010 (yikes! … it was  year of Sabbath rest!). Lots has happened since. Caleb was born (Dec 4, 2010) – Georgie and I love him so much!!! Praise be to God for such kindness to us! I served as Pastor of Lakeview Baptist Church for a year! And well … lots of other stuff too.

Something really cool just happened a couple of weeks ago. My dear brothers and sisters at the Grace Fellowship Church plant in Don Mills hired me to help in the work of establishing the Church! Georgie and I have long-standing friendships with many of them so we are very humbled to receive this mercy – this opportunity to walk in the works that God has prepared for us here (Eph 2.10).

My beloved brother Julian Freeman has invited me to c0-labour with him in the Gospel! I am so thankful to God for him … and I am deeply humbled by this opportunity to assist him. I am so thankful for his friendship and the gift he is to me and to Christ’s Church. May God be pleased to use GFC Don Mills for the praise of his mercy! May God work through us to save many sinners – that they might taste and see that the Lord is good.

My first day on the streets spreading the Gospel of the kingdom was this past Saturday (Don Mills & Lawrence bus stops and surrounding area) … posts coming soon!