After the man had received some practical help from us, I said with a smile:”don’t forget to thank God in your prayers tonight!”
He responded in a positive way so we chatted further about God and Jesus. He actually raised the question of repentance and we discussed what repentance and faith in God meant.
I gave him a booklet called “What Is a Real Christian?” and he read a couple of pages. He then said:”the question should be “WHY should I become a Christian?”
I gave him God’s view of sin: all sin – even theft of something from a friend – is primarily a sin against God. So God is the one you need to repent towards. Without repentance (a turning away from all known sin in your life) you will have to give an account of your sin on Judgment Day – and Jesus is the Judge. Becoming a Christian wipes the slate clean because your trust in Jesus and his ability to forgive your sin makes you a new person, hence “born again”. He had heard of “born again Christian” so I explained why we need to become born again, using the illustration of the TWO BUSES.
In this illustration all of life happens on the two buses. Bus #1 is the one we are all born on. Its destination is Hell and Satan or the Devil is the driver. The Bible tells us Hell was made for the Devil and his angels (actually demons). However, if we remain on Bus#1 we are headed for Satan’s destination, whether we realise it or not. We therefore need to get off Bus #1 and on to Bus #2. Bus#2 is driven by Jesus and His destination is Heaven. All mankind is under the power of sin and only Jesus can change our sin nature. This process is known as being “born again”. When we are born again (recognise our need of the Saviour Jesus as the only one who can forgive our sin and set us free from it) we are transferred onto Bus #2 whose destination is Heaven.
As he came up to us he said:”I’m a Communist”. He was from an East European country but wouldn’t tell us which one. We explained that we were Christians offering to pray for healing. His next comment was “I’m like (doubting) Thomas” We persuaded him to have a seat and almost immediately I felt the presence of God on us. The lady I was with sensed the same. I could feel the Father’s love for this man and I gave him a few words that I believe were from God, showing this man God the Father’s heart for him.
He had pain in the lower back so we laid hands on him, but he noticed no immediate difference. We prayed again and this time he felt the area that was painful diminish in size. He kept saying he had to go for an appointment. Before he went he gave me his mobile phone number and asked to be informed when we would be out on the streets again, so he could come and see us. We gave him a “Why Jesus? booklet to take away.
He’s now a grandfather, but his early days were horrendous. Abused physically and sexually by his father, he grew up confused, angry and feeling unloved.
No surprise therefore that he spent a total of 20 years in prison, five of them for armed robbery. He went down the drugs route, ending up on crack cocaine.
man behind bars
Now he’s moved on and slowly getting a sense of perspective and that it wasn’t all his fault. Thankfully he treated his children and grandchildren in a more loving way.
I told him that I knew someone who loves him as he is, and has always loved him. I shared about God, Jesus, sin and repentance. He told me he recently went to church. I told him about the church I attended, and he said: “that’s near where I live”. He couldn’t come this week, but might be able to come next Sunday. He took away a gospel tract.
A group of us from Church went into town sharing the good news today. I took some Million Pound notes with me as a conversation opener. In fact, while waiting for the bus to town I was chatting to a woman at the bus stop and gave her one. I said: “When you get home, give it to your husband and tell him you got this out of his bank account!” Some of the team also took one.
We also had envelopes with a (real) £5 note inside to give out with a little “This one’s on us!” leaflet inside. We gave them out outside coffee shops to those about to go in. Some people were a little suspicious about being blessed with a free gift, but they gladly accepted the money when they opened up! We told them we were from Clearspring Church, as it makes a surprising change for a church to give YOU money. As we all know, Churches usually WANT your money!
We also came across a homeless guy so we got him some food and drink from a nearby cafe. He knew the places around town that did free food, so we headed off. I had a long conversation with an 18 year old guy who is sitting A Level exams this year. He attended a local Catholic Church. He’d heard of “born again Christians” but didn’t really understand it. I took him through what Jesus said to Nicodemus in John’s Gospel Chapter 3. He said he was more scientifically minded, and found some things in the Bible hard to believe. I asked if he knew the pass mark for Heaven and he didn’t. He was amazed when I said “100%”, but when I explained how the imputed righteousness of Christ becomes ours as disciples, he began to see what I meant. The righteousness of Jesus becomes ours when we are born again of God’s spirit. “No-one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born again” – the words of Jesus in the Bible, John’s gospel Chapter 3 verse 3. I gave him my card as we left, and invited him to get in touch.
All in all, a good morning in town sharing Jesus and His love.
A guy I’ve known on the streets off and on for several years came in for food. Under the rules he had already received his full quota of food parcels (each parcel equates to 3 days of worth of food). As we chatted, he told me he was at the end of his rope. This was literally true, as two days before he had climbed up a local hill and put a noose round his neck. For whatever reason, he hadn’t gone through with killing himself. The good news was that he was booked into a rehab unit in a week’s time.
I put the manager in the picture and we gave him a further 3 days worth of food. As he left I gave him an evangelistic booklet “The Missing Peace”. I hope he reads it. He’s a likeable guy, but keeps falling by the wayside in terms of drink and drugs. With Jesus there is always hope while you have breath in your body.
Two women came in later on. As they were chatting to each other, one explained that her 3 kids were by two different men. The other woman replied she had 4 kids by 3 different men. What complicated lives people lead!
After a hectic weekend sharing Jesus with dozens of County Show visitors who came to our Christian Witness Tent (we offered free refreshments and a seat to rest), I was getting withdrawal symptoms a few days later.
I decided to get the bus into the next town (free, as I’m a Senior Citizen!). I went into the local park and noticed a woman writing on a park bench. Was it a suicide note – who knows? So I went and sat next to her and saw it was some kind of application form. She said hello and kept writing. After she left, I wandered back to the town centre, bought a snack and sat on a bench on the main street. On the bench were a holdall and a flask, but no-one with them. As I ate my snack the owner turned up. I chatted and discovered he was doing some painting nearby and was having a break while the paint dried.
I said to him “I’ve been looking after your belongings for you”. He replied: “God bless you!” I replied “He does!” He clearly wasn’t expecting that, so said “what did you say?” I explained I was a Christian and that God DID bless me all the time.
I asked if he was a man of faith. He replied, very honestly: “only when I’m desperate!” I gave him a Journey Into Life booklet and said: “the next time you’re desperate, have a read of this.” He thanked me and I left him to enjoy his break – tasty looking soup, to which he added a load of pepper from a shaker he carried with him.
Two of us went on the streets today, praying around the city. We went to the Court Buildings, the Cathedral, the City Council Building and the prison.
My companion picked up a Polish gospel tract as he came out this morning. Sure enough, we met a man walking his dog – he was Polish. His right hand was bandaged, damaged two days ago in an accident. We offered to pray for his hand, so while I did that my companion played with the guy’s dog. When I lapsed into praying in tongues, the Polish man said “I recognise that language” I said “what is it?” He replied “it’s Italian” I knew it wasn’t so I said: “no, it’s a heavenly language, not Italian”. After we prayed for him, we gave him the Polish tract and invited him to read it.
We carried on round the city, shedding a few tears as we prayed for those in power and authority over us, that justice and righteousness might prevail.