“The Servants of the Lord” Part 12: “…to other cities also…”

The Lord began to open other doors of ministry also. I had followed the advice that we always gave to others, and my family and I had begun attending a Spirit-filled Baptist Church. I knew that God had called me to preach in addition to the one-on-one witnessing.

I began to go with a gentleman from the Church and assist in some nursing home ministry and I had prayed and asked the Lord to help me learn to play the guitar.

We had gone to the State Fair of Texas, handing out thousands of tracts and had seen hundreds come to know Christ as their savior. Bro. Tony had put together some Gospel Singings in the park, where the groups would sing and we would go out to the people and witness one-on-one.

He had even arranged for us to have a soul-winning crusade in the football stadium in Lewisville, TX. However; my life, family, and ministry were about to experience a dramatic change. Bro. Tony had been invited to bring a soul-winning team to Weatherford, TX and teach soul winning to a group of hungry Christians. I did not realize that this was the beginning of a new chapter in our lives.

My wife Glenda had begun to go out with me and witness on the streets and in the parks whenever she was able: taking care of our precious 3 year old daughter was a full time job.

My guitar playing had improved to the point that I would take my guitar to the nursing home and sing for the residents before I would bring the message from the Word of God. Even my daughter had begun to learn and sing some of the songs with me.

However, they would not be able to go to Weatherford: we were going to be there for a week, holding soul-winning classes in the early evening and then taking people out on the streets to witness at night.

When we arrived in Weatherford, we stayed in a two-story building near the downtown square that was being used to store spare beds and other nursing home equipment. After settling in, we went across the street to arrive early at the meeting hall for the first soul-winning meeting.

Having lived in Dallas for most of my life, I was accustomed to getting someplace early to beat the traffic and get a good seat, but as the time approached for the meeting to begin, not a single person had showed up. I found out small towns are much different than big cities.

Wondering what kind of response we were going to have, I was pleasantly surprised when 5 minutes before the start of the meeting, the doors opened and the meeting room filled up with people from most of the different churches in the area, all hungry to hear how they could reach the young people of Weatherford.

It seemed that Weatherford had the same problem that a lot of small towns have: with little recreation, theatres, entertainment, or activity; the teens and young adults had begun to spend their evenings driving up and down the main thoroughfare, stopping and gathering in the parking lots of closed businesses; drinking, smoking, playing loud music, and generally causing a loud ruckus.

The difference between this situation and something similar you might find in the city, was that on Sunday morning you could find most of this “wild bunch” sitting in church pews, but their evening activities decried their professed Christianity.

Although everyone that came to the meeting displayed a great desire to find out how to reach these young people, one Pastor seemed to stand out from the rest.

Bro. Sonny pastored a community church outside of town, and had already begun to reach the youth by having a regular Youth Night with singing, games, and preaching. He would even drive into town to pick up any young person that wanted to come.

At this first meeting, Bro. Tony presented a stirring message from the Scriptures about winning souls, and we shared about the wonderful outpouring of God’s Spirit and the harvest we were witnessing in Dallas. Then Bro. Tony told the congregation that if they would come back the next night, he would tell them how to reach the young people of Weatherford.

The next night, even more people showed up at the meeting, and after going over the Scriptures contained in our Gospel tract, and how to use them to lead someone to Christ, he said “Here’s how we do it. We just go.

We put one foot in front of the other and just go. Most Christians will never lead someone to Christ because they never go. This is your opportunity to go: come and follow me.” And with that, we divided up into groups of two or three, headed out the door, and down the street.

The Lord had already spoken and showed me a particular way to witness to these young people in Weatherford.

When I would approach them about Christ, and they would say “Oh yes, I already belong to such-and-such church”, then I was to say: “Let me ask you one question. If you were to die right now while I’m standing here talking to you; If your heart was to stop beating just like this (and the Lord showed me to snap my fingers), and you found yourself standing in front of God Almighty, would He say ‘Well done thou good and faithful servant, enter into the presence of the Lord.’? Would he find your name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, or are you not sure?”

More times than not, they would reply, “I’m not sure.” Then I would say, “The Bible says ‘I write these things that ye may KNOW that ye have eternal life.’ Would you like to pray this prayer with me and be born again, and know that you have eternal life with God and have a home in Heaven?”

Many bowed their heads in prayer, and we saw hundreds of young people that week come to know Christ as their Savior. After prayer, I would always ask “How about now? Do you now know for a fact that you are saved and that Jesus came inside your heart?” Without a doubt, the answer would always be “Yes!”

Truly we were seeing the fulfillment of the Scripture in Romans 10:9- “That if thou shalt confess WITH THY MOUTH the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”

When we returned to Dallas, I went to visit my Mom and share with her all the things that we had witnessed God do in Weatherford. As I was telling her about the way that I would witness to the young people there, she began to gently sob. “Are you alright, Mom?” I asked. She said, “I don’t know for sure that I would go to heaven if I died.”

Now my Mom was one of the most righteous people that I knew. She was what we call in the south a “straight laced, die hard, dyed in the wool Baptist”: no drinking, no swearing, no smoking, and no gambling.

I can’t remember how many times I heard her say, “They gambled for Jesus clothes.” And now this good, righteous lady was telling me that she was unsure of her salvation.

The Bible says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” Without faith, there is no salvation.

God has provided for us to know that we are saved: when His Spirit comes and lives inside of us, it becomes a point in time to which we can look back to and know that we were born again.

“Well Mom”, I said, “we can pray and you can know for certain that you will go to heaven when you die. Would you like to pray?” She said “Yes”, and she prayed out loud, asked Christ to come into her heart, and was gloriously saved.

I had the honor of standing by her bedside years later when she walked into the arms of our Lord Jesus Christ.

(To be continued…)

Next: “Whom the Lord calls, He justifies”

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“The Servants of the Lord” Part 10: “The Lord working with them…”

There was even a time when the Lord led me into an empty parking garage. As Bro. Tony and I were walking down the sidewalk; suddenly the Holy Spirit said, “Turn here.”

Without thinking, I immediately turned to the right and found myself walking into a downtown-parking garage. Where are you going?” Tony asked. “I don’t know” I replied, halfway laughing. “The Holy Spirit said to turn in here.”

About that time, a door opened and a gentleman walked into the garage. He looked at me with a surprised expression as I walked toward him saying, “Excuse me sir, but do you know that Jesus loves you?”

I assumed that he was the attendant as he glanced nervously at another man that was standing in the doorway behind him. The Holy Spirit was giving me the words to say: “Don’t worry about him; you’re not going to get into any trouble talking to me. God sent me in here to tell you that He loves you.”

“He sent His only Son to die for you, to forgive you of your sins and save you.” The man in the doorway stood reverently silent as I continued to share the Gospel with this gentleman and lead him in a prayer of salvation. I left him looking at the Gospel tract that I had placed in his hand.

We met people in the big city of Dallas, in the heart of the “Bible-belt”, that actually did not know who Jesus was other than just a word they used when they swore. We met people who had never heard the phrase “born again”, although Jesus said in the Gospel of John that this is the ultimate requirement for any man to see the Kingdom of God.

As I was crossing through a busy crosswalk one day, a gentleman in a suit was approaching me and the Holy Spirit said “him”. I quickly handed out a Gospel tract as we passed and said “Sir, do you know Jesus loves you?” He glanced at the tract as he reached the sidewalk, turned and said, “What did you say?”  I hurried back to where he stood and I said, “Do you know that Jesus loves you?”

He said with a smile, “I sure do. I’m a Presbyter of the Presbyterian Church here downtown.” My natural instinct was to say “Wonderful” and go my way, but instead I heard myself saying, “That’s great! Have you been born again?”

He said, “I don’t know what you mean. What do you mean by born again?”

I shared with him what the Bible says about being born again: Jesus said that you must be born of the “water and the spirit”. That when you are born again the Spirit of God comes and lives inside you; that the Bible says “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” You must invite Jesus in. Jesus said, “I stand at the door and knock. If any man opens unto me, I will come into him…”

I said “Would you like to pray with me now and ask Jesus to come and live inside of you through His Holy Spirit and be born again?”

He said “Yes”, and there, on a downtown sidewalk in one of the busiest cities of the world; out in plain sight of everyone, possibly even members of his own congregation, this humble leader of the church prayed out loud and asked Jesus to come into his heart and be born again.

We began to go out at night as well as in the day. The first night we went out, we decided to go downtown and start at the Greyhound Bus Terminal. As we parked and walked toward the terminal, the others that came along that night all went inside to witness to the passengers waiting for their buses; but the Holy Spirit was directing me toward the area in the terminal where the buses were loaded and unloaded.

As I rounded a parked bus, I saw three men in work uniforms sitting on the dock talking to each other. I handed each one of them a tract and began to tell them of the love of Christ, when suddenly one of them got an unusual look on his face as he spoke up and said “You’re not going to believe this, but not over ten minutes ago I put my girlfriend on a bus going out of town, and her last words to me were “I’m going to pray for you that you get saved tonight.”

I said “God heard her prayer and He sent me in here to pray with you; so that you can be saved and her prayer be answered. The other people that I’m with went inside, but God sent me out here to you because He loves you and wants to save you now.”

I explained the Scriptures to him that were printed in the Gospel tract, we prayed together, and he received Christ.

After witnessing to others, we left from there and made our way over to the area of downtown where the clubs and bars are located, as we wanted to be there when they closed at 2:00 A.M. and the patrons begin to leave.

(To be continued…)

Next: “With signs and wonders and with divers miracles…”

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“The Servants of the Lord” Part 9: “And they went forth everywhere…”

Not long after this, Bro. Tony and I had gone downtown to hand out tracts as usual.

We would often stand at Akard and Elm, handing out tracts to the lunch crowd as they hurried about their business, rarely actually praying with anyone to receive Christ, but content to know that we were sowing seeds for the harvest.

Oftentimes, after the crowd had dispersed, many of our tracts ended up on the ground and we would retrieve what we could.

On this particular day, the Lord put something in my heart, and I turned to Bro. Tony and said, “You know brother, as I read the Bible, the disciples were constantly going: they went, they didn’t just stay in one place, and the Lord confirmed His word with signs following (Mark 16:20). Instead of standing here in one spot, let’s start walking and see what the Lord does.” 

We started walking and instead of handing tracts out to everyone we saw, we would approach people as the Holy Spirit would lead us, and begin to talk to them on a one-to-one basis.

After several hours, and after walking around much of downtown Dallas, we realized that we had prayed with over 30 people to receive Christ in their hearts. We were ecstatic as we headed back to the Outreach Center.

From that day forward, we never stayed still, but we went. It became miraculous the way that the Holy Spirit would lead us. Some days, we would walk together and some days we would split up and then meet back together at a certain time.

We began to see 50, 60, sometimes over 70 people come to Christ after just a few hours of walking around downtown. God was truly bringing in a harvest of souls.

We began to see many miraculous conversions as well: drug addicts, prostitutes, alcoholics, and religious folk: anyone whose heart the Holy Spirit had prepared to receive the Gospel. As we became more sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit, He began to lead us into places and to people that we would never think to go to.

It might be a lady all alone, having her lunch break, reading a book under a shade tree: the Holy Spirit would say “Go to her, she’s the one.” and instead of being afraid of a stranger approaching her alone, she would accept the tract and the good news of Jesus and pray on the spot to accept Christ into her heart.

Or perhaps, a group of people sitting at a bus stop. Once, the Lord had it all arranged for one individual sitting there. As I approached the bus stop, I came to the first person and said “Hi. Do you know that Jesus loves you?” “Oh my, yes” he replied, “I go to the Baptist church.” “Great!” I said, “Praise the Lord!”

As I spoke to each individual in order, they each one replied similarly. They all knew the Lord, had been born again, and each attended church. The only difference was that each one belonged to a different denomination.

My reply was the same for every person: “Great! Praise the Lord!”

As I came to the last one and began to speak to him, he stopped me and said, “Wait. Before you say another word, I want to ask you a question. I listened as you spoke to each of these people, and each one told you that they attended a different type of church, and yet you said, “Praise the Lord” to everyone. Why is that?”

I replied, “Because there’s only going to be one heaven. It doesn’t matter what denomination or church you belong to, what matters is whether you have been born again and have asked Jesus Christ to come into your heart and save your soul. He will write your name in the Lamb’s Book of Life and give you eternal life with Him.

How about you, have you been born again?” “No” he said, “But if that’s the kind of God you serve, then I want to be.” He bowed his head and asked Christ into his heart while everyone at the bus stop looked on.

(To be continued…)

Next: “The Lord working with them…”

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