This coming Saturday, the 21st, I will be working in Venice Beach with a youth group from Faith Community Church, Palmdale, CA, and I hope to meet some other friends there in ministry. Dan Hubbard and I will be getting together to see the cart he has built for the new ministry to Long Beach, CA, to prostitutes and homosexuals, and we are hoping and praying to get that started the end of this month! I will also be out in West Hollywood, hopefully, with Robin, as well as doing some singing and visiting two churches who have donated witnessing materials (apologetic videos and devotionals for people with H.I.V.) while I am there. We also hope to meet with the pastor from First Baptist, Long Beach, CA, to work with him in our new ministry in Long Beach and meet new and old friends who work with us in the ministry of evangelism in service and prayer.
Pictures from July 7-8 are posted here http://lightingtheway.blogspot.com/2007/07/pictures-from-last-weekend-gods-heart.html, with a short written summary of our day in ministry on Saturday, July 7th, here: http://lightingtheway.blogspot.com/2007/07/ltw-update-today-alongside-central-park.html, along with added resources for the table posted here: http://lightingtheway.blogspot.com/2007/07/ltw-update-nyc-praising-god-for-his-new.html
Last Thursday I had the joy of working with a youth group from Grace Community Church at the booth, and pictures from our day together are posted here: http://lightingtheway.blogspot.com/2007/07/nyc-booth-working-with-youth-from-grace.html
Update from Saturday, July 14:
Pictures of our day are posted on the blog at http://lightingtheway.blogspot.com/2007/07/yesterday-at-gods-heart-to-central-park.html
Carlos came back to the table today, but this time he was smiling! Last week, he took a Bible in Spanish and read it all afternoon, sitting quietly behind our booth. When I tried talking to him last weekend, he never had much to say. Today, he was like a different person. He approached the table with a big smile and gave me a hug and said in his broken English, “I am not alone. Jesus will help me.” He had been reading his Bible, and he said he had never read the book of “Juan” before. No one had ever told him how to be saved. He also communicated to us that he had read all of the tracts we gave him in Spanish for Catholics. He hugged my mother and me and said, “Thank you.” He explained that now, when he gets worried, he starts to read the Bible. He pointed up to heaven and said, “Mi Amigo.” It was sweet.
I smile as I report such news. I am not sure if he is saved yet, though he said he prayed to accept Jesus. Only God really knows whether he has truly been saved, but I am certain that God is at work in this man’s life, and he is showing an appetite for the Word of God that could only come supernaturally. He seems to be understanding the Bible, too, which also cannot happen without the aid of the Holy Spirit (Romans 3:11). We praise God for this testimony!
Emmanuel stopped by the booth and asked, “Do you remember me? Don’t you remember, I am the guy from Haiti…you sang me the song in Creole?” I answered, “Of course, I remember you, Emmanuel.” He had read all of the tracts we had given him for Catholics and told us that he had never been told before how to be saved. He took more materials. I asked him if he was sure he was a Christian, accepting Jesus by faith—by the merit of Jesus and the work Jesus did on the cross and no work of his own. He said, “Yes.” He spoke with Doug for a long time, and my mother and I prayed for him tonight. He is such a nice man; he is doing construction on a sky scraper at Columbus Circle. I did not pray with him today, but I told him how to be saved. I often feel that I should not pressure people to pray a “prayer for salvation” but continue to let the Holy Spirit lead and give HIM room to move on the hearts of people, so that everything can be done in His timing and not my own. After all, I am only part of the work He has predestined to do in an individual’s life—predestined before the foundation of the world.
Sam came back who is a liberal Episcopalian. He saw me and reported, “I liked your literature. I read it all.” Stephen Bennett was with us today, and Stephen Bennett used to be a homosexual before God saved him. He gave a little of his testimony to Sam, but Sam was true to his liberalism and said he was “not against gays” and did not believe in sin and did not even want to take Stephen’s tract. It was obvious that he just did not understand and is not saved. He told us last week that he does not believe in sin or Satan. At least, he read our literature against Gnosticism and came back warmly, and I am sure that God will hold him accountable for the Gospel we have presented to him. Tonight I prayed that God would show mercy on him, because it is sad to think of him spending all of eternity in hell. I hope the Lord will open his heart to understanding.
Jan worked with us today, and she is a former lesbian with a dramatic testimony of how God save her. God let her pray with a Russian to receive Jesus. She was so sweet as she shared the Gospel with people, handing out a lot of devotionals to kids. Later in the day, she confessed to me that she can hardly walk due to arthritis, and I was so thankful that she had come out to work with us and walk around distributing the devotionals for kids with her legs in pain. She could hardly make it back to the car, and I prayed for her as she had to stop and take breaks on the way back to the parking garage. She said that she plans on coming out again, despite her arthritis.
Doug spoke with many Jews, and one lady in particular was open as she took several books in Hebrew.
Stephen had a chance to share his testimony with people all day. He picked up his tract entitled “I Was Gay,” and he offered it to the people who approached the booth explaining, “This is my story of how Jesus saved me from homosexuality.” It was powerful. One woman came up and replied, “I believe it. I am a believer…” She continued, “I was dating a guy recently, and we just broke up, because he told me he was gay.” She was encouraged from Stephen’s testimony and took his music CD and tract. I prayed tonight that she would be in touch with him as she heals from this past relationship. Stephen explains in his materials that sin is sin, and we, as Christians, are called to pure lives free from fornication and homosexuality.
I often explain to people that purity has always distinguished God’s people from pagans, and when we are not living pure lives, not only will we be disciplined by God, but we will not enjoy our sin! We have the Holy Spirit living inside us, and we are God’s property. We won’t fit in this world no matter if we lead pure lives or not, so we might as well cling to God and realize that sin can offer us nothing as His chosen people. I have often told God in prayer that anything outside of His perfect will for my life in purity is a lie, and a lie has no place in Him. I am thankful to lead a pure life as a single person for Him, because I feel it is just as important as anything I could ever do or say for Him—I cannot abide in Him apart from purity. I praise Him for keeping me close and “low”, as He continues to draw me near as a single person for His glory. Years ago, He told me, “Let Me be everything to you.” I praise Him for wanting to be everything to me and teaching me the deep joys of such a life in Him!
One woman approached who was married to a Mormon; her father was Jewish, and her mother was Catholic! She had studied religion, only to be told by one of her professors that Jesus would come back by 2018. I asked her where that was found in the Bible, and she had no answer. I told her that I would have taken her professor to Acts 1:7 and Matthew 24:36. She took our materials for Mormons and Catholics and Jews!
One really nice Jewish man came up to discuss the “big bang.” He said, “The big bang had to be caused by God, but who is God?” I smiled. I told him that God was more than just “energy”, that the God of the Bible was moral, which explained our moral capacity as people, pointing out Romans 1, telling him that sinners are in rebellion from a moral God when they chose their own way…We talked about the faith required to be an evolutionist… We talked a little about how the world would end, and I asked, “Do you know what the Bible says about how this world will end?” He said, “No.” I said, “The Bible says that God will destroy this world with fire.” (2 Peter 3:10). He said, “So that explains global warming!” We both laughed. I told him that this world is not my home, but that God has a new heaven and a new earth prepared for His own. He said he would see me again, and he kept saying strangely as a Jew, “I am just so glad you all are here. NYC needs this.” He continued, “I can’t take anything today; I have just come to talk. I was over there just watching you a long time before I approached, and I have never seen anything like this here.” I told him that I hoped he would return, and he said he would bring his wife by. He said, “Her father is a Rabbi. I am sure it would make for interesting conversation, between the three of us.”
I enjoyed talking today to a Central Park security guard who gave me his cell phone, and he told me not to hesitate to call if I ever needed him. I knew it was God protecting us. This nice man said out of the blue, “I have been thinking about the Sabbath. How do we keep it holy?” I told him that God came to give us rest and peace in Jesus, and that Sabbath means rest. I read him Romans 14:5-6, and I told him we have freedom in this area as Christians, because Jesus came to give us rest, and I pointed out Hebrews 4, about “God’s rest” for His people, and how it is a state of being in His peace….I said, “I appreciate you bringing this up, because I stay tired a lot with so much work to do, and it is important for me to stay in God’s rest in the midst of a hurried schedule!” I smiled and said, “One thing is for certain, sin can offer us none of this rest. This rest comes only from a close relationship with God.” He smiled and commented, “I like that. I knew it had to mean something other than the hundreds of laws the Jewish people have to keep.” I told him that rest and peace in Jesus is abundant and free, and holy, and pure. He told Doug and I to be sure to call if we ever have any problem with anyone, and he will be right there to help.
Every day I am reminded that God’s heart has come to Central Park through the light of His word. “The counsel of the Lord standeth forever, the thoughts of His heart to all generations.” Psalm 33:11. “But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord, God, that I may declare all Thy works.” Psalm 73:28.