Grace and Truth

…all the words of this life…


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Jesus is Lord, Even of our City Streets

“If Jesus had preached the same message that ministers preach today, He would never have been crucified.” LR preaching(Leonard Ravenhill)

“What are you doing?”

“WHAT are you doing?”

The man was standing on my right hand side, and he was very, very close.  Yesterday morning I was preaching in the city.  It had been a great morning, with very little resistance to the gospel.  In fact, astonishingly, people had been quite open to it.  As soon as I’d started preaching some individuals had immediately come over to talk to the others and ask for tracts (I’ve never seen that before!).   But then this man: he couldn’t have been standing more than a foot away from me.  It made me uncomfortable.

What are you doing?” he said to me again.

“I will talk to you when I’m finished,” I said, momentarily pausing from preaching.  I could see that he wasn’t about to go anywhere soon.

I turned my back to him slightly and kept going, trying to ignore him.

I usually get nervous when I go to the streets, but I’ve never been afraid.  There is a difference.

Something the Lord has caused me to see is that when I am sent somewhere by the Holy Spirit, then I am going in the authority of Jesus Christ. I am going in His Name.  It is like an ambassador being sent from the US to another country.  He goes with the authority of the US and with the strength of the US behind him.  When we go out from Jesus’ presence into the world we go as His ambassador.  We go under His authority and we have the whole of Heaven behind us, supporting us, cheering us on.

“…and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him, who fills all in all.”

JESUS IS LORD!

There is nothing to fear when we walk with the King of kings, the Lord of Lords.

Back to that man standing close to me: as I spoke with him it became obvious there was a proud, religious spirit manifesting. (…”You don’t know the Bible….You don’t know Jesus….I know Jesus…I know Him better than anyone, better than He knows Himself…“) – and, yes, he actually said that.

The Holy Spirit was grieved by this and He had me take authority over the situation.  I had no choice but to tell him politely but firmly that his heart was not right, that he was wasting my time and that I was ending the conversation with him.  I walked away.  As Christians we are to show love to people but zero tolerance to Satan.

“I am well assured that I did far more good to my Lincolnshire parishioners by preaching three days on my father‟s tomb than I did by preaching three years in his pulpit.” John Wesley

Read more about street-preaching here

 

 

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Street-Preaching – Uh Why?

“I believe I never was more acceptable to my Master than when I was standing to teach those hearers in the open fields…I now preach to ten times more people than I would if I had been confined to the churches.” George Whitfield

ha love it We were there to street-preach before the concert began and set up the PA system. With wave upon wave of people coming across the street toward us and hundreds more pouring out from the train station behind us, it was crazy busy.  There were so many people that at one point I could hardly move.

It was too good an opportunity to pass up. I preached.

“Nobody cares!” someone screamed at me.

Who cares if nobody cares?  I certainly don’t.  My Lord Jesus told me to “Go”.   I kept preaching. I preached for as long as I could, until my voice started cracking and I had to stop for its sake.street preaching

Street-preaching – why? (I ask myself this when I’m feeling tired or lazy)

Because thousands of people, both old and young heard the gospel of Jesus Christ last night who perhaps wouldn’t have otherwise.

What if those people never once in their life ever stepped inside a Church?What if they never heard the gospel before they died?

Thank you my Jesus.


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An “Average” Christian Life – No Way!

I set up the PA system and started preaching before I lost my nerve.  Within seconds a demon-possessed man manifested and screamed an obscenity at me so bad that I cannot repeat it. Even though I’m regularly verbally abused on the street, I have never been called anything like that before.

I was momentarily stunned. flinders st

Not so much stunned at the man actually, but more that God had let that happen to me just as I had begun to preach.  He knew how weak I’d been this morning.  He knew I’d needed extra help.  I mean, I had asked Him for a special blessing today!

I recovered and kept preaching anyway.

After that incident, the time the two other ladies and I spent there was wonderful.  I really loved it.  God put two special young guys in my path who, underneath their bravado, were hungry for the truth.  We had amazing conversations.  I was asked by both of them (separately) :

“With so many religions out there, and so many gods, how do you know which one is the truth?”

How would you answer that?IMG_2606

It’s when I’m out there that I see that the ministry of the Holy Spirit is so very important.  We absolutely need Him when we are out there.  Without Him, we literally can do nothing.  But with Him we can do all things.  It is our real relationship with the LIVING God that counts when we are in the firing-line.  Religious platitudes, clichés and one-liners do NOT work.  Sinners see right through all that rubbish.

But…if you’ve been with Jesus…well, they can see that too.

Here’s what I learnt today:

I wanted God to make my way easy, I wanted Him to pave the way for me, after all, as I told Him, I was going out there for Him.

But He didn’t do that.  He doesn’t always give us what we want, but He does give us what we need. He lets us see the truth of the sinfulness of man; He lets us have confrontations with demons.  And in doing so He lets us see ourselves too.

In essence, He lets us see reality.

Why? Bwoman preacherecause that is where He is – in the midst of the dirty, the sinful, the demon-possessed, that is where He is working.

And that’s where He calls us to go with Him.

“ “I will make the place of my feet glorious”—among the poor, the devil-possessed, the mean, the decrepit, the selfish, the sinful, the misunderstood—that is where Jesus went, and that is exactly where he will take you if you are his disciple”. (Oswald Chambers)

He won’t drop rose petals on our path for us, He won’t pamper us and cater to our self-pity, our comfort, nor our convenience.  He lets us be confronted, shocked and disgusted.  And then He says:

“Even so….will you still follow Me?”


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594 of His Last 600 Sermons Wesley Preached on the Street

street preachingHere is a list of the “persecutions” that I have personally suffered whilst street-preaching:

  • Been called an “idiot” to my face
  • Been mocked and ridiculed
  • Been leered at
  • Been outright laughed at
  • Been screamed at to “shut-up”
  • Been heckled
  • Rude gestures made at me
  • Blasphemies and curses screamed at me
  • Having the cord of the PA system pulled out while I preach
  • People taking photos of their friends standing next to me
  • People trying to rip the microphone out of my hand
  • Another PA system turned up loud to drown me out
  • Man putting his arm around me

BIG DEAL

Maybe it will get worse, I don’t know.  Maybe if you went out you would be beat up or put in jail or worse, I don’t know that either.

But what I do know is that there is a whole generation out there going to hell.  HELL.

(Do you really believe it?)

And why are they going to hell? Largely because of:

  • Our fear of man
  • Our excuses
  • Our feebleness in following Christ
  • Our “ministries” and church mindsets
  • Our busy lives

Why are we just letting Satan do whatever he pleases?

And that IS what he is doing.  If you don’t believe me, go out there and see for yourself the kids on drugs, the alcoholics, the homeless people, the business people spending their lives coveting, the girls wearing hardly clothes for attention.  Go to your nearest city and just sit and observe.

Open your eyes and open your heart.

That man with tattoos on his face, Jesus died for him.

That kid wandering aimlessly, Jesus died for him too.

That young woman with skinny legs and a hole on the inside of her elbow, Jesus shed His blood for her too.

“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14)

You know, I’ve seen it with so many Christians, myself included.  We are so nice and polite.  We don’t want to offend people. “Best not to cause waves by shoving the gospel down people’s throats….”

And meanwhile the devil rubs his hands in glee and dances all over our craving to be accepted.

Jesus never told us to be gentle with the devil.  He never told us to accommodate him in any way or let him walk all over us.  No sir.

He did in fact say: “Behold I give you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy, nothing in any wise shall harm you.” Luke 10:19

One of the most powerful and effective forms of spiritual warfare is to preach the gospel.  Go to the sinners, don’t preach to the converted.  Get to where the sinners are and preach your heart out.

“Preaching is not a profession, it’s a passion” said Leonard Ravenhill.

Let’s get so full of the Holy Ghost fire that we are constrained by the love of Christ to take the good news of the Kingdom to the lost.

Let’s stop being cowardly, let’s stop being polite and comfortable, let’s meet the devil head on and give him something to worry about!

You can read more about what happened as I street-preached tonight here

Watch this for inspiration:

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Leonard+Ravenhill+Agony&Form=VQFRVP#view=detail&mid=87A580689D3A172D462B87A580689D3A172D462B

In Jesus name

Amen and Amen


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Are You Unbalanced?

As you know my Blog is called “Grace and Truth”.  The reason I called the blog this name is because God sovereignly told  me to.  He told me to start it, confirmed it with His Word (in Acts 5:20), and then told me what to call it – grace and truth.

“For the law was given through Moses but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” John 1:17

I find it an interesting observation though that even though grace and truth came through Jesus Christ, we, as His followers, tend to run with either one extreme or the other – that is:

  • Extreme grace – leading to both “greasy grace”, (or lawlessness) and also a lack of discernment of truth; or
  • Extreme truth – leading to hard-heartedness and legalism

Both of these extremes are wrong.  To run with a zealousness for truth, without love is just as wrong as disregarding truth for the sake of grace, mercy or love. But how easily we fall into one or the other!

scales

CH Spurgeon said: “…It is very easy, brethren, unless God gives us understanding, to preach up one precept to the neglect of another.  It is possible for a ministry and a teaching to be lopsided, and those who follow it may become rather the caricatures of Christianity than Christians harmoniously proportioned….Oh how easy it is to exaggerate a virtue until it becomes a vice.”

I have seen both of these extremes in Christians (and yes, that includes myself).  I will give you an example of how I have seen both of these Christian virtues in fact become a vice.

Truth with no Grace:       I am a street-preacher and love other street-preachers, but I have seen something that is a grievance to God.  It is when a preacher brings forth the hard truths of the Word of God from a heart that has not been broken for the sins of the people.  Preaching the truth about hell, sin, judgment and the Law will only be graced by the  Spirit of God when the Holy Spirit has utterly broken that preacher’s heart with compassion and mercy for the people before whom he/she stands.  You see, it comes down to responsibility.  As a preacher, once you enter into intercession for the people, you are taking responsibility for them, for their souls.  And it is impossible to stand before them without compassion and mercy once you have taken responsibility for their souls.  God will only bless those with His authority whom are willing to take responsibility for others. Authority and responsibility always go together (see Isaiah 53:10-12).  We must “speak the truth in love.” It is amazing that when we speak the truth in love, the real love of intercession, people will listen and respond to it.  So we see that the truth needs to be graced by His Spirit.

girl praying

Grace at the expense of Truth: I had been praying for a friend of mine whom was not a believer for two years.  I had interceded for her regularly and asked God for an opportunity to share the Gospel with her, which praise God, He did.  As soon as we began our conversation another Christian joined us and listened in.  My friend and I had a wonderful, Spirit-led conversation where I was able to share the gospel with her.  I was able to share everything with her, the Law, God’s judgment on sin, hell, and then of course the wonderful Gospel of grace of Jesus Christ who died on the cross to take the punishment for our sin, forgiveness, heaven and redemption.  I was so thrilled that the truth had been shared and that she had responded well.  However as soon as she had left, the other Christian reprimanded me for talking about sin, hell and judgment saying that all that I needed to talk about was the love of God.  And…I guess I could have, God is love, but really, it wouldn’t have been the whole truth….  Unfortunately there are hard truths in the Bible and, if we are wanting to be truly honest before God, they are unavoidable.  But the good news is, the hard truths are there for a reason… Paul says in Galations 3:24 that “the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith”.  The Law is there to expose sin and so to bring us to the knowledge of our sin and of our need of a Saviour.  It is by the  truth of the Law and God’s judgment of sin that we are led to Grace and justification by faith.

Notice how John describes Jesus:

“For the law was given through Moses but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” John 1:17

Jesus2

Jesus Christ, the perfect Son of God, through whom came grace and truth.  The divine mystery of Jesus, the Word made flesh, God incarnate in human flesh, can be difficult for our human minds to comprehend. But, I think it’s important to remember that it doesn’t come down to some sort of a mathematical equation.  A couple of points to note:

  • Jesus is both fully God and fully man at the same time, not 50% God and 50% man
  • By the same token, Jesus is also concurrently full of grace and full of truth.
  • Jesus is not half Law and half grace (and neither are we)

He came not to do away with the Law but to fulfill it.  And it was because He fulfilled God’s law perfectly and never sinned, that He was full of grace and love.  Yet it was also because He is full of grace that He could fulfill the Law perfectly.  Why? because “Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” (Romans 13:10)

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14 (emphasis mine).

anointing oil

And so we see that our Lord is the perfectly balanced One.  Just as the anointing oil of Exodus 30 was perfectly blended, mixed and mingled, with this much of myrrh and so much of cinnamon and that much of cassia etc, so it is with Jesus Christ.  So perfect in truth and grace.  Not leaning too much towards one or the other, never ceasing to be holy in order to be loving, always merciful and kind to sinners.  Nowhere do we see this better demonstrated than in His cross.

In the cross, God maintained the truth of His holiness and righteous anger towards sin, when His wrath was poured out on His Son, because of His grace, because He so loved the world.  Both truth and grace in the cross of our Lord and in His very person.

So why do we get it so wrong?  And what can we do about it?

There is only one way.  We need to remember that it is “Christ in you the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27):

  • Our only hope is to be so FULL of Him, of His Life, that He will simply live His life of grace and truth through us.

So:

  • We need to re-submit ourselves to God in a fresh consecration.  To offer ourselves as a living sacrifice to Him.
  • We need to confess any un-confessed sins to Him
  • We need to ask Him to re-fill us with His Spirit.
  • We need to be led in obedience by the Spirit of God in our day-to-day lives, small and big things.

 

“There is a way about the precepts: there is a chime about them in which every bell gives out its note and makes up a tune.  There is a mixture, so much of this and that and the other; and, if any ingredient were left out, the oil would have lost its perfect aroma.

So is there an anointing of the holy life in which there is precept upon precept skillfully mingled, delicately infused, gratefully blended, and grace given to keep each of these precepts.” (CH Spurgeon)

May God bless us all with an outpouring of His Life in this New Year!


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Once Upon a Moonlit Night…..

IMG_2719

Tonight was the first time I’ve been street preaching for a while.

Having recently lost two people I love within four days of each other, my life has obviously taken a rather different turn for a while.

But tonight I felt ready to go back out.  It’s funny how when you haven’t done something for a while, it suddenly becomes all big and scary.  All day I’ve been nervous about going into the city tonight.   The thought of going out there and shouting out a message that is generally unwelcome to most people made my stomach churn.   I thought of how I used to love going out there and couldn’t really remember why that was.

But I felt I should go, even though I didn’t really feel like it, if that makes sense.

I put my I-phone music on shuffle as I drove into the city.  I said to the Lord something I’ve never said before :

“Lord,” I said, “Whatever song randomly comes up first, I will take as a message from you.”  Sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures…

Franz Family “Wherever You Are” came on:

But the will of God won’t lead you,

Where the grace of God can’t keep you

You will never be out of His care,

Remember that the Lord’s already there….

Wherever you are,

Wherever you’re going

God is right there beside you, seeing and knowing

Wherever you go,

He already knows

What lies ahead

And what’s behind

You’ll always find He’s never too far from wherever you are.”

Wow. Ok thank you Jesus.

My usual 40 minute trip into the city took 1.5 hours tonight.  It was raining and there was heavy traffic.  But I felt there was something God had for me when I got there and so I sung and prayed.

However 1.5 hours later, trying to find a car spot, on the verge of tears, I almost turned around and went home.  I said to God,

“Please help me, I need this night to be easy Lord.”

After I’d parked the car I walked down to the station where we preach.  Standing at the corner waiting to cross the busy road, I realized I hadn’t been there for over 2 months.  I looked at our “spot” across the road and I felt like I was coming home.

…..An uncomfortable, dysfunctional home yes, but home nonetheless.

That surprised me.

I crossed the road and at that very moment a girl came over to me and asked me:

“What makes you come out here to do this?”

We had a beautiful conversation.  She was only 16 years old, and currently homeless – couch-surfing between her dad’s and a friend’s place.  And in the city at night, all by herself.  She looked as if she’d been through a rough time.  Yet she was so lovely and soft and tender still, still a child.  Poor kid.

I shared my testimony with her, how God set me free from a cult, from depression, from anxiety, from a hard and cold heart.  How He has changed me, how He loves me, and how He loves her.  I shared the precious gospel with her.  She got tears in her eyes and said that she hopes she has the strength to find Jesus too one day.  She said she was just so tired.

“You know what” I said, “You don’t need strength. Just come to Him as you are, He will not turn you away.  He said for all who are weary and heavy burdened to come to Him and He will give them rest.”

She asked me :

“How do I find Him..?”

We prayed together.

I cried for her on my way home, beautiful child that she is.  I felt His compassion for her.  How greatly He loves her and is calling her home.

And I remembered why it is that I love going out there.

But…I have two questions:

How many more of these kids are out there?

and

Who will go?”


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Day-time Street Preaching

Misc 051

Yesterday morning I went into the city to street preach with two other women.

Every kind of opposition was thrown against us beforehand to try to stop us from going, including the fact that my five year old son came down with a severe case of croup on Monday night and was still sick yesterday.  Praise God for mothers though, mine looked after Tom while I went into the city.  I was reminded of CT Studd’s words: ” ‘Preach the Word’ is the rod the Devil fears and hates”….

 

But we got there.  It was a completely different ballgame to open air preach during the daylight hours.  At night time there are a lot of homeless people, youth hanging out, as well as people going home from work and others out for the night.  During the day there were older people, there were high school students on excursions with their teachers, there were tourists and group outings.  I felt conspicuous setting up the PA on the little raised area at the front of the station.  During the day, there is nowhere to hide, no cover of darkness at all.  You are very much out there.

 

It was my friend W’s first time out on the streets.  She was a complete natural.  After the three of us prayed together she immediately started going over to the people sitting on the steps and handing out tracts.  I began to preach after a moment of panic wondering in my new PA was loud enough.  It was, as long as I held the mike pressed against my chin.

 

After a while I thought that it is easier preaching during the day because nobody screamed at me to “Shut up” or anything worse.  What a breeze. I saw people laughing and mocking of course but people were quite polite.  That is until I went over to a nicely dressed couple after I had preached, to talk to them and saw that the opposition was in fact there, bubbling away just as fierce, but hidden under a well-dressed facade.

 

“Your literalism is wrong,” he sneered at me, “everything you say is wrong.”

 

We talked for a little while.  it was one of the hardest conversations I’ve ever had.  I can honestly say I have rarely spoken to anyone who has been so bitter and angry.  And he used to be a pastor for 20 years.  Scary. As we parted, he still spitting venom at me, Holy Spirit gave me the words to say to him: “And yet, Jesus, knowing that you were going to reject Him, still died for you…”  He shook his head and walked away.

 

That was just one experience though.  We had a good time. The Word went out and seeds were sown through the preaching, conversations and hundreds of tracts that were handed out.  At one point as I was preaching, some high school students out on an excursion, gathered in front of me and listened, much to their teacher’s consternation.

 

I’d like to thank those who were praying for us.  I thank God for the Body of Christ.

 

As we left the city and were driving home, W said to me, “I feel my whole life was building up to this point.  I am a different person.”

 

The preaching of the Word not only changes others, it changes us.

Hallelujah.