Wednesday, December 26, 2007
As I consider what has happened over 2008 (so far) it seems like a wonderful whirlwind. God has led me by His Holy Spirit to do some things I could only previously dreamed of. I have, by God's strength publicly preached, prayed, worshipped, led people to Jesus and proclaimed His name in about 7 Irish towns or cities (above photo is me in Cork in August) and 3 in England. About 18 months prior I had done none of this even though I knew my Lord and Saviour. So what is the difference? I can only put it down to one thing that is the call of God. It started when I believed God was calling me to nightime evangelism in Dublin, having no clue of how, where or when and with a sizeable amount of fear and trepidation about violance and vomit on the streets.
On the balcony of Trinity church in Abbey street after one Sunday meeting I got talking to Derek and Decaln who informed me of a group of christians who went out on Fridays at 11pm on Grafton Street and held large yellow "John 3"7" signs. I went the first night, a balmy summer night and met the people and took a sign myself. What amazed me was that very soon strangers were approaching and asking questons like "What is John 3:7", " What does it mean to be Born again?" and countless other questions (right up to 2am and beynd) about Jesus and the gospel. I was blessed to share my faith and I knew God used me as a blesssing to speak the word of life to others.
Back in the late 1980's when I first met Jesus I did a lot of "street work" but we often, infact nearly always coldly approached people with Gospel tracts, surveys or questions with a view to explaining the cross which on a few occasions we got as far as. This new "method" amazed me as each encounter was started by the enquirer! A few months later I met up again with my old evangelist friend and veteran street preacher Ollie. He had recently employed a new method of outreach by way of holding up a small but highly visible sign saying "JESUS". Red letters on white measuring only about 6 inches wide but visible from about 25 metres away or more. I joined Him one day in this mad adventure and I was instantly astounded by the impact of this method. He is the name above all names and we are called to lift him higher but I never thought that God would have me do this literally! The effect on the passers by was awesome. It caused a reaction in almost everyone. Most looked with amazement and stared, some turned their face away ( like in Isaiah 52!), some called out snearing comments (inspired by guess who!), some asked "What are you doing?" and some shook our hands with a big smile and blessing! The oppertunities to witness about the cross were ever more numerous than the "John 3:7" led to.
God led me to hold up this Jesus sign over the Woman's mini Maraton in Dublin and over the Dublin City Marathon and the exiting masses from the All-Ireland football final on Jones Road outside Croke Park. I believe it is both a prophetic act to lift up HIs name in this land and a practical method to start discussions about the cross. Various people in different places in UK and Europe are doing this now and the results, though mostly difficult to measure, are amazing. I have heard of whole offices discussing Jesus all day long as a result of a saint boldly holding up "the name".
During the year I bought a portable stool so that on a crowded stret I could be head and shoulders above the crowd with the sign or preaching. At the end of the year God brought me into contact with another street preacher in Dublin called John and I believe that 2008 has much in store with regards to co-labouring with him.
My passion for the Church in Ireland is that they "Wake up" and bring the gospel message back central to their focus. Let us never take our eyes off Jesus and in so doing our eyes will never be off the lost for whom He came and died and sent HIs Holy Spirit to empower us to reach!! Pentectostals or charismatics have this odd idea that since they were baptised in the Holy Spirit they "have it all now" and can just limp on for the rest of their life on earth.. My Bible tells me different. It tells me that the same crowd who received the Baptism or infilling to overflowing of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2 got it again in Acts 4 when they prayed. I now pray for a fresh infilling of the Holy SPirit EACH time I go out for Him....and guess what...He is faithful to that prayer. Have a great 08. Ant
Monday, December 17, 2007
Christmas brings many different emotions to different people. For many it brings stress, loneliness and depression but for the blood bought born again child of God it brings a reminder of the arrival of our wonderful saviour on the planet! Pagan worship of Mother and Chid which originated in Babylon and spread to the world says that the mother is supreme and the child is helpless. This is the picture of Christmas that many religious people adopt...God love them.. but Jesus was different. He was and is the living word...who is God and existed at the creation and is therefore the only one ever older than HIs mother!! The devil knew the threat to his kingdom caused by the birth of Bethleham's babe...so much so that he ordered the bloody and cruel murder of the infants in a demonic and desperate attempt to kill Him before he could lay down his Holy life for the unholy lost. Which camp are you in? Which master do you serve? Whose goodness are you relying on yours or His?
The picture is the "Massacre of the innocents" by Rubens. Remember that if the enemy was so enraged something very Godly and powerful must have been going on in this birth!
Sunday, December 09, 2007
"How can I get Born Again?" I was asked by the chap in his thirties. Maurice had been preaching for about 20 minutes at this stage and my friend was rooted to the spot listening outside Dunnes Stores on Grafton Street on a damp Saturday afternoon 3 weeks before Christmas. "You apologize to God for your behavior and surrender all to Him, believing that when He died at Calvary He carried your sin and punishment and that He rose from the grave". As we prayed heaven opened up God smiled and another hell bound soul took a 180 degree turn into the arms of God. When I met him the next day he was a different man. Joy had replaced a heavy despair. Hope was bursting out of his words and life had entered him. What a joy to be an ambassador for Jesus. God united me on the street with John Ahern of All Nations Church, Maurice from Dundalk and Dorcas from Every Nation Church. Jesus unites us and the enemy aint too happy when not only my friend but 4 others had their names entered into the book of life and had their reservations in hell cancelled. To God be all the glory!!
Saturday, December 01, 2007
God's got a problem. He loves you and wants a RELATIONSHIP with you. He doesn't want you in Hell but with Him now and forever in Heaven. Problem is this: He is Holy and Heaven is a holy place yet you are NOT holy! You may be a decent bloke or gal but the judge is not your ma but perfectly Holy Creator God. Are you that good? He wants you in heaven yet its an impossibility. The last unholy person in heaven (Lucifer) got turfed out and took a whole third of the angels with him when he was cast down to earth...Hmmm...don't think God's going to soften the rules for you after that episode.
The solution was to have His perfect Son Jesus come on earth, live a sinless life (demonstrating His holy kingdom) and then die in your place. Now you can come to God (today) not in your own "Goodness" but HIs! Turn around, Humble yourself, say "God you're right, I'm wrong, forgive me" Believe that Jesus died AND ROSE AGAIN for you and Confess "Jesus you are my Lord (number one)". Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord (Jesus) shall be saved!
Photo is of Oliver in Galway, Autumn 2007