[b]93 Yrs To Reach Fort Worth, TX[/b]
[i]August 19th, 2005[/i]
Though the Fort Worth Team is usually impressive in size, not to mention the countless other Churches who go there to witnessing, the truth is that we still need more people. The population of Fort Worth is 534,694. If we have 6 open-air meetings a week, with crowds of 20 people each meeting, thats 120 people reached in a week, 480 people reached a month, 5,760 people reached a year. At that rate it would take roughly 93 years to reach all of Fort Worth and thats only if the population never grew large, the people dont die off, and Jesus doesnt come back. Lets put this into tract terms. 200 tracts a week would be 800 people reached a month, 9,600 people reached a year. It would take between 55-56 years for all of Fort Worth, as it currently is, to be reached with gospel literature. And it takes the average person, statisticly, 7 times of hearing the gospel before they accept it.
That is only Fort Worth, TX which is a tiny percentage of the worlds population! We need laborers! Lord God I pray that you put urgency inside the heart of Christians to go and preach the gospel to our lost and damned generation!
This Friday night started when Tim Crawford came and picked Stephan Starnes and I up to go hit up the streets of downtown Fort Worth, TX. We arrived around 8:00pm in Sundance Square to hear the message of "repentance towards God and faith in Jesus Christ" (Acts 20:21) being preached by another brother named Alfrado who was with three other Christians. Two of them were older men I had never seen before, one of which I believe was a Pastor. They were standing on a busy corner with a new sound system they bought. Alfrado preached the Word uncompromisingly, but now with this new sound system his tone and manner was pleasant to listen to since he only needed to talk into the microphone. It's interesting that Alfrado had new sound equipment because a Pastor just recently bought Stephan a new "Anchor Audio Vox" to use while street preaching. We were excited about breaking the sound barrier with it and putting it to use for the gospel for the first time!
We arrived on a busy corner in front of a comedy club, ice cream store, and movie house, and set up shop. We set up the easel and displays, a table with free bibles, and the sound equipment with portable headset. I had preached for the first 15-20 minutes with a very nice attentive and inquiring crowd. There were some "almost hecklers" but primarily the crowd was enjoying the message of the new-birth and freedom in Christ. After the message many came up to shake my hand and tell me how they were blessed by it. We were off to a good start!
We started passing out tons of tracts and talking to people one2one. Two local college Christians showed up who had been out there before to help support us and to play guitar. They also invited us to go onto their college campus to evangelize. Stephan preached open-air and so did Tim Camp who also showed up on the scene. Tim at one point had a nice crowd, which turned out to be a youth group! So he shared with them why we were out there and how it is that we minister, using the Law before grace. We had a chance to pray over the youth leader and the youth group asking that God would use them and bless them for His purposes.
I had the chance to open-air again to a small crowd of teenagers. One of them, Denzel, went through the good test with me. He proved to be a lying, blasphemous, adulterer at heart. And the frosting on the cake was that he was self-righteous, because he said he was a good person. I shared with him Gods grace shown at the cross, and Gods power revealed through the new-birth.
After the open-air session two Christian teens came up to me to discuss how we should witness. The one I spoke with said he agreed we must preach on sin, judgments, hell, and also grace. But he thought if might be more effective if I shared the grace before the Law. I asked him if he could show me a biblical example of Jesus or anyone else giving grace before law. He could not. I opened up to Luke 18:18 and showed him how Jesus sometimes only gave Law and never gave grace. That is because Jesus used the principal of Law to the proud, and grace to the humble. He never would cast his pearls among swine, lest they trample the blood under foot. We ended up parting primarily on agreement which I thought was wonderful.
Around Midnight we were all tired and ready to wrap it up. But as soon as we had everything packed up, the streets flooded with people coming out of the movies and the comedy club. There were more people on the sidewalk then there had been all night! Just as I started realizing what was going on, Stephan already put the microphone in my hand and encouraged me to preach. I stood up and tried to address the crowd but didnt get much attention. A friend gave me some money to give away in trivia to get a crowd going which ended up being the spark to a bonfire!
How many of each animal did Moses take onto the ark? I asked. A crowd gathered and some said 2 of each animal. I quickly responded with Where did you go to Sunday school? Im sorry but thats wrong. Noah, not Moses, took animals unto the ark. The crowd thought it was funny and so we did a few more trivia questions until we go to the Good Test. Two men from England were visiting Fort Worth and one said he was a good person and would like to take the good test. It all went on from there.
After reasoning with him about sin, righteousness, and judgment to come (John 16:8, Acts 24:25) hecklers came from all over. Do you have to be born-again in this life or can it happen in the next? The bible is great at certain points, but also is wrong at others. What about other cultures and other religions? What if I do far more good things then I do bad things? The main objection from the crowd wasnt that regarding sin or judgment, but rather regarding salvation by grace through faith (Eph 2:8-9), and salvation in Christ alone (John 14:6). The mother of all learning is repetition and so I continued to stress the points that they rejected the most viciously, by quoting scriptures like Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6). And unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3).
The open-air meeting continued like this, with constant question and answers, for maybe an hour. Their was a cop car the pulled up and parked for about 30 minutes to listen and watch the meeting. Eventually I decided that it was becoming frivolous and I felt as though I was preaching to a brick wall so I handed it over to another Brother to wrap it up for me. We ended up back at the car at around 1:30am, after a prayer session, and didnt make it home until 2am or later.
Reflecting back on the last open-air meeting of the night, Acts 28:26-27 perfectly describes the condition of the crowd, "Hearing you will hear, and shall not understand; and seeing you will see, and not perceive; For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them."
Gods word will never return void. They heard enough of the same scriptures over and over again, that they hopefully have them memorized and stuck in their minds forever. But all in all tons of tracts were handed out, people went home with free bibles, and crowds of people heard the gospel.