we can know
Almost 10 years ago, a guy tried to kill me on a lonely highway somewhere in the Yukon Territory as I was riding a bicycle and preaching the Gospel to the top of Alaska. I was discouraged and ready to quit, parked at a gas station in the cold rain, and then went inside to buy a coffee from a girl with blue hair. As I came out, a truck driver who had seen the Christian flag attached to my bicycle flapping in the wind approached and asked if he could pray over me. He saw the discouragement. I left there edified and eventually made it to Prudhoe Bay. Six months later, I was hitchhiking all over Bolivia with this brother and preaching the Gospel, from Santa Cruz to Sucre to Potosi to La Paz to Lago Titicaca. Some years after that, he parked his rig in my front yard and lodged for the night. About two weeks ago, along a 3,900-mile preaching tour in the Northeast, we lodged in his home in Ontario and went out preaching together in Toronto. God orchestrates amazing fruit and amazing fellowship out of the most unexpected and seemingly insignificant of circumstances.
There are no coincidences in the Christian life, none. And this is confirmed by what the Scriptures tell believers they can KNOW:
We can know the truth and therefore preach it with authority. Jesus said to his disciples, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).
We can know that all things work together for good to them that love God (Romans 8:28). No accidents, no coincidences.
We can know that if our earthly tabernacles are dissolved, we have an eternal building of God, not made with hands (II Corinthians 5:1).
We can know that we have eternal life (I John 5:13).
And because we can know these things, the trials and tribulations of our faith are far more precious than gold (I Peter 1:7) and yield “the peaceable fruit of righteousness” (Hebrews 12:11). I praise God for the attempt on my life up in the Yukon many years ago. It still yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness and Christian fellowship that stands the test of time.
I am grateful for the prayers and support that traveled with me these past three weeks. It was a 3,900-mile preaching circuit that involved 12 college campuses; 16 shopping malls; and open-air evangelism in big cities, Toronto subways, at Niagara Falls, and amidst the thousands who descended upon Salem, Massachusetts on Halloween to celebrate witchcraft and the devil’s day. And in all of this, the Lord was good to put lost sheep from the House of Israel into our path. Numerous Hebrew/English Bibles and New Testaments went into the hands of such who heard a Gentile give testimony concerning the Jewish Messiah.
It was also my great privilege to travel and preach alongside faithful men who take the Gospel to the streets and the college campuses on a regular basis. What America needs is PREACHERS who preach against sin, not Presidents and politicians who promise things they cannot deliver apart from national repentance. Praise God for the faithful preachers out there who labor tirelessly both day and night.
One of my fondest memories along this journey was amidst the chaos that was the Halloween Festival in Salem, Massachusetts. I wouldn’t dare repeat some of the mockeries and the blasphemies I heard that day concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. In the madness, notwithstanding, I actually had some great conversations. A young man took a Bible; a pastor from Brazil who spoke no English was stunned by the reactions to the name of Jesus he saw with his own eyes; some Christians thanked us for standing in the gap; and it was fun to give out Spanish tracts to those who would never disrespect a preacher as does wicked whitey. Late in the afternoon, as a brother from a local Baptist church was preaching, the roar of the crowd grew loud. Out in the middle of it all, I suddenly found myself giving bold testimony of the God of Abraham and the Jewish Messiah to a secular Jewish couple from New York. They thanked me and took a Tanakh and a New Testament. Someone actually captured this Where’s Waldo moment. Can you find the crazy street preacher sharing with lost sheep from the House of Israel in the middle of Gentile bedlam?
Here are a few other captured moments:
On the last day of this journey, I preached with two good brothers on a public sidewalk that abuts the private campus of Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA. The crowd grew quite large, and there was plenty of blasphemy. I was the last one to preach, and that last message brought my part in this tale to a fitting conclusion. In the crowd was a young woman who boasted of being Jewish and a young man wearing a colorful kippah. I shut my ears off to the howling and gnashing of the Gentile crowd and addressed these two, looking them in the eyes: “Please understand that we are friends of Israel and the Jewish people, and it is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that we declare today, the God of Israel and the Messiah of Israel.” I then preached the Gospel as if these two were my only audience. They actually stopped laughing with the crowd and listened; the young man with the kippah even hung his head, as if in shame. It was powerful, and I trust the Lord used it.
Shortly thereafter, I shared a few last moments of fellowship over good Sheetz coffee with my preaching buddies and then headed for the house. During that lonely drive, I received an email from a Gentile student who had been listening and took a Gospel tract as I addressed the two Jewish students at Dickinson College. He wrote:
I thoroughly enjoyed listening to your beliefs and reasoning, even if I may not agree with all of them, but am honestly shocked by the way my fellow students treated you. Nobody should be treated with such disgust simply for their religious beliefs. I from time to time admittedly struggle with my faith as a Christian, as I am but only a fallible human after all, but your words of resilience in the face of hours of disrespect today were of great inspiration to me and showed me that believing in Christ is much more than just a weekly trip to church . . . Thank you for coming here to our campus and being an inspiration to us fellow Christians. Like a true follower of Christ, you stood strong in the face of vast opposition and professed your beliefs unapologetically. I believe I speak for more than just myself when I say that it was truly inspiring.
When I finally pulled into my driveway, it had been 3,900 miles. The Lord is good! Thanks for your prayers and support.
In a few short weeks, I’ll be heading over to Nepal to help conduct a local church team and to assist the Trents in bringing their 2018 labors to a strong conclusion. Tickets are real expensive right now, and we could use your help. Thanks in advance.
I did get an interesting note from Eric just the other day from somewhere near Pokhara in Nepal.
Hey brother, we gave out some tracts to two Israelis we found in Majhikuna today. And while we were out there, we ran into a guy named Andy from Boston. This was the FOURTH time we had met him: twice in Leh, once in Thamel, and now out at Majhikuna! How does that happen? Anyway, he saw us riding our scooter so he pulled up on his bike and we pulled off to the side. This time I had an English New Testament on me, so I gave it to him. He was really happy. It’s absolutely crazy to run into that guy again way out here. I knew God wanted me to get a Bible in his hands.
Soon thereafter, Andy wrote to Eric concerning that Bible: “Thank you. I need all the help I can get, and this was actually perfect timing for me. You have no idea.” Please pray for this young man.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. The great thing about Jewish ministry is that it puts one in the path of a whole slough of Gentiles that need to hear the Gospel of the Jewish Messiah. And what compels us to preach that Gospel is what we can know: not a hope-so salvation, a KNOW-SO SALVATION.
Jesse Boyd, Colporter