Night Before Street Witnessing

Friday night he had taken about a half-hour in prayer: “Lord I am doing this as an offering. Not because you need my input in particular. There are many others. But I sense an urging to represent your Son out there in the everyday, and in the midst of bustling people without any thought of Church. I truly believe that Jesus is most worthy of common respectful discussion in the open streets; not just behind the bricks and mortar of a church. This is the way I will present Him. Conversational. No direct scripture reading. I will have to speak a little slower than normal. The loud speaker distorts things.

I will tell people that I am not out there plugging any particular church. I realize that I might be mistaken for a Jehovah’s Witness or a Mormon. They seem to be the only ones systematically on the streets. Pity. They have no idea who your Son is. They are earning big blue stars on a big glitzy tally board somewhere. Grace is entirely foreign to them.

I will abbreviate a testimony, and will move right into one of the fascinating stories of Jesus’ kindness and authority by the Sea of Galilee. I desire to show your nobility, courage, compassion and courtesy, Jesus. They have all heard about the blood and gore of Calvary; about the prospect of Hell which results from their basic disinterest as well as from their known wrongdoings. I want to show how you could always identify with the hurt, awkwardness and loneliness, and then offer just the right solution. The people out there will be encountering nothing but strangers who do not want to engage or to consider anyone else’s pain. Society is getting just that blunt and dispassionate.

But you Lord, never change. Send a few tomorrow morning who are ready to make contact.

Doug Blair, Waterloo, ON

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Open, Ready, Respectful Ears

She was mopping the floor. She was listening to the drive-through ear-phones. She was pouring my coffee at the counter. Pretty young attendant with a lively expression.

I was the only customer inside at such an early hour. I told her about the glorious movie I had just seen. Heaven Is For Real, based on the best-selling book of true experiences of a young Nebraska pastor’s family. A four year old son had almost died in surgery and had been given visions of heaven and Jesus and the saints.

The young lady perked right up and said that “she would have to go and see it”.

I went to my table with lap-top and she kept passing by with comments and pleasant exchange. Still no other customers. Thank you Holy Ghost!

I gave a very straight-forward explanation of salvation, of Jesus’ talk with Nicodemus, and of a loving God “cutting us lots of slack” and of the convincing influence of the Holy Spirit. The words just flowed. She told me about other “religious” family members who were insisting that she make it out to Church with her two kids. This was going to be a large challenge. We got into the difference between Churchianity and Christianity. She smiled as the concept hit home. Perhaps not the Jesus she had heard about to date.

Friends be on the look-out for opportunities. I speak often about being “surprised by ministry”. It’s just that easy when the Spirit sets it up for a searching heart.

Be gentle. Lots of eye contact. Be plain and straight in your language. Angels somewhere are singing.

Doug Blair, Waterloo, ON

Today’s Slant

Here’s how I am feeling about the posting process these days. I sent this to Bill over at Unshakable Hope. The man is an inspiration. I intend to treat him as if there is absolutely no personal handicap. His brilliance is often the brilliance of Christ through yet another vessel of clay.

My remark was as follows:

Bill you are part of the reason I blog. Someone who keeps an open ear for additional insight; who remains teachable. That is not to say that I see myself as “teacher” and the readers as “pupils”. I have often said to Anthony Gomez (Salvoes in Faith) that we are all fellow travelers exploring a beach and discovering, quite by Providence, beautiful seashells. We share this interest and delight and the gracious Lord feeds such hunger and curiosity. “Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.” Today I discover; tomorrow it’s you.

One other comment. Perhaps you feel a compunction to reply to every comment. Don’t do this. It may become banter. Singing to the choir. Better you pour your time and remarkable technology into another hum-dinger of a message…or just simply how you are feeling as one of the members of today’s flock…Doug

Anthony knows something about my change in momentum in blogging. I am under no tight time-table. It is very possible to go on long after the speaker has finished his message. That becomes only an insult to the listeners.

Has there been a lot of production over the past 5 years? Yep.

Four blogs on Wordsmith. Three on BlogSpot. Two sites on Google. One Channel on You Tube. Two Facebook accounts. Participation on three poetry forums. Over seventy-five faith booklets at issuu.com/dewane.

I have said it folks. I have nailed my position in Christ soundly to the wall. I will not sing to the choir anymore. If blogging cannot be proved to be a mighty instrument of testimony to the un-saved, then I am moving on to something else with a creative and spiritual legacy well recorded.

And how much of this has really been for me, anyway? Every blogger seeking to walk as Jesus walked must ask such nasty questions..Doug

Bono Singin’ the Holy City

I remember working a shift at the grocery store. About this time of year. Hints of spring.

The store manager had the habit of playing streamed in music that usually repeated a cycle every ten songs. But this day the selection seemed strangely different. And then came Bono singing “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for”. I felt a chill up my back and wondered if any of the customers noticed anything odd about my demeanour. Here was an Irish pop star singing about the New Jerusalem; singing that nothing else would satisfy the longings of his soul.

But the people seemed to be going about their business of milk, cheese, meats and pastries oblivious to the world’s one great heart cry over this piped-in music. I was near tears. The whispers of the Holy Spirit so very evident.

This morning I was reading from Ephesians chapter three where Paul delights in the great mystery, just then in his age coming to be understood, as Jews and Gentiles found harmony and comfort honestly for the first time in loyalty to the risen Messiah Jesus. That mystery in the Church transcends the awkwardness of Jew and Gentile. It extends to a whole world, all tribes and tongues.

That world right now is percolating toward intense troubles. Bono knows this and gives freely of his largesse to the hungry, thirsty, unwell and lonely. He is living out the mandate of Matthew 25. He has chastised presidents and prime ministers for their comfortable words not being followed up with sacrificial deeds and helps.

He is still looking, neck craning, for that City. And he is acting; and the most amazing of assemblies are catching on.

Persistent Little Song

 

Sincerity and Truth tour the noisy marketplace. They speak meekly; some say weakly. But the marketplace does hold wounded little ones desperately searching for something genuine, unselfish, kind, restful. They hear the music of Sincerity and Truth and they are drawn as if by a comforting magnet. Perhaps some portion of the song is a surprise or somewhat unvarnished, but no matter. And these two messengers know that their commission is to be out in such thoroughfares, rubbing elbows with the hurting and confused, smiling, listening, affirming and confidently naming the Name of Jesus. The song is strange but life-giving.

 

Doug Blair, Waterloo, ON

Fellow Travelers

The Easter message read again:
“He died to save us from our sins.”
Remembering the entombed Lord;
Remembering the angel’s word:
“He is not here.”

The liturgy, the songs, the same.
The season filled with practiced mirth.
But how my heart craved something real!
Not traditions with crowd appeal.
Was Christ alive?

Perhaps, if I engaged in work,
To bless the church with my small skills?
A sense of worthiness to gain,
A right to bear his holy name;
Would this fulfill?

But then, I saw Church Treasurer,
Just back from taking morning’s count;
With fretful gazing at the clock,
With painful bearing Pastor’s talk.
No real joy there.

And so, I left at twelve fifteen,
Politely saying no to tea.
How quickly Bibles put away!
How quickly plans consumed their day!
Was this Christ’s Church?

…Another day, upon the bus,
The same thoughts came to haunt my mind.
Christ’s parables, mere wistful breath?
Cruel Calvary, a pointless death?
Or was there more?

Just then, the man across the aisle,
Put down his book, and looked at me.
As if that time were just for us,
He asked: “Do you know Jesus?”
His face was bright.

I stammered: “Yes…I go to church.”
My soul was screaming deep within.
He talked of sin in each man’s heart;
How Christ endured the scapegoat’s part.
“Had I been saved?”

I asked him simply, “Saved from what?”
Not having often thought of Hell.
Then oh what joy! The truth revealed!
Through Christ’s blood, God saw my sins healed,
If I would call!

And so, dear friend, I had right there
A revelation of God’s love,
Which sent His only Son to death;
To spill His blood, to spend His breath,
To pay sin’s price.

He spoke of child-like faith to call
A new Spirit into my heart.
And showed me how this Gospel plan
Cured Adam’s Fall for peace with man.
“Would I repent?”

In all this talk of sin’s great cost,
I saw the reason for my fuss.
God’s Spirit had been probing me,
And wooing me, and showing me.
I would be lost!

My stop arrived; friend got off too.
And led me in a simple prayer.
Forgiveness was accomplished there.
And in my heart I KNEW Christ’s care.
I found my Lord!

From that encounter much has changed.
I found a church of Bible truth.
There is a sense of victory there;
Of zealous praise, of family prayer.
Now Jesus lives!

And in such mercy given me,
There is new life of peace and hope.
I know the reason for my search,
To rest in Christ and not just church.
He is my all.

And so, I have this choice for you.
To show you Christ, to help you through.
Perhaps you sense the Spirit’s power.
Drawing, urging: “Make this your hour!”
He waits for you.

A span of time which can’t be told,
Hangs in the balance of this choice.
I speak to your eternal soul:
Be saved, be cleansed, be His, be whole!
All else is loss.

There is no time, no moment when
You’re fitter to be born again,
Than when you see His blood’s bless’d flow
As all you need to trust or know
To set you free.

Yes, free from all the guilt and pain
Of hurtful deeds you might have done.
Or even worse, of years’ disdain
For what you cost God’s precious Son.
Please, come to Him!

And find that life has just begun
With challenges ‘til now unknown;
In partnership with God’s brave Son,
His servant ‘til the race is run.
And you reach Home!

MATTHEW 11: 28, 29, 30
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Doug Blair, Waterloo, ON

Catch and Release

I thought I got your point

And made it wholly mine

Observed the dangling lure

The shimmering ten-pound line.

I gulped the mouthful quick

And felt it cut inside

Got more than I had planned

Now in for quite a ride.

The hook had other plans

And some might work me ill

A smarty, no not me

A sharp and chastening pill.

That world’s a biggun yes?

And I see but a shade

And all too quickly guess

At things that Wisdom made.

What’s that… I feel a shift

And lesser now the pain

Pass on this humbling gift

And spit it out again.