Here’s this month’s Gone Fishin’ Newsletter.
Every month a team from our fellowship at Calvary Wellington heads out to our regular fishing hole, the Naenae Market and Hillary Court shops. There we share the Gospel to those in our immediate community.
Once a month I publish a simple newsletter that is distributed to the fellowship (or for anyone else who stumbles across this website), as a way of encouragement, and as a tool to equip us to be better evangelists.
You can read the last Field Report from 18/6/22/22 here.
This newsletter was released for publishing after the outreach on 16/7/22.
Gone Fishin’ Monthly Newsletter – July 2022
“Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”… “Therefore hear the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”’” (Matt 13:3-9,18-23).
I hope everyone is managing to stay warm and dry this week. Winter has hit us hard, but guess what? The Gospel is waterproof, so no excuses, OK!
Open Air, But No Real Care
Last time out, I came across a guy open-air preaching at the Naenae shops. In my report of the outreach, I promised I would tell you my thoughts regarding what happened, so here we go:
I normally don’t like standing in one place when doing one-on-one witnessing. I like to do circuits of the shops, trying to converse with anyone I pass.
Around the back of the shops, one of the team, Isaac, was conversing with a young man. Next to him was another guy with a microphone and loudspeaker, doing open-air preaching. They were from another ministry across town, and were doing open-air around the region. The young man was excited to talk, and we gave him some of our resources so he could see what we were up to as well. He was eager to tell me about what they do, and that maybe they could bring a team to our church.
I listened to the open-air guy for a while. He seemed to be coming from a ‘Jesus cured all my problems’ angle, which was a bit concerning for me. He was stating he was in a gang dealing drugs, but when he came to Jesus, everything changed. He talked for a long time, but however did not mention anything regarding law and Gospel. It was all grace. He was more or less saying “Jesus changed my life, and He can change yours too”.
I didn’t say anything at the time, as part of me was thinking that their hearts were in the right place, but just didn’t know how to do a Gospel presentation. I didn’t want to discourage them.
Later that afternoon I looked them up online. They seemed to be a ministry born from a ‘prophetic’ dream that one of their ‘Apostles’ had. The following below is verbatim from their website. I’ll let you read and decide for yourself if it sounds kosher or not:
“I was in a big white room and there was a big white door and it slammed behind me and it made me jump in bed, and all of a sudden I turned and looked ahead of me and there was a big white door at the end of this big white room. I couldn’t understand how I could still see the door because everything was white, but it had something written on the door, so I started walking towards the door and as I started to walk towards the door my steps appeared to be about 3-4 meters long so I was in front of the door in a split second and when I looked at the door it had a sign that read “[withheld] MINISTRY”. I’m looking at the sign and then I looked down and saw a chrome square, like they have on the doors to push! I went to touch the door and the door just automatically opened. Looking into the door, I saw white clouds; pure white clouds just floating around and I didn’t understand what I was seeing. Then a voice said to me “step in”, and I took one step in and all of a sudden, all these doors in the clouds just started flying open! I didn’t understand what it was all about at first!”
So I woke up and started praying and the Lord Jesus said to me
“If you lift up MY name, NO ONE else but Me, supernatural doors will open for you!
He was teaching me to be more obedient to him and to be more obedient to the Holy Spirit than to man!
And that was the End of the dream!”
And so ever since we’ve taken the name “[withheld] Ministry” on we’ve seen many miracles, peoples lives changed; we’ve even been invited to churches and we don’t even know the people but the Lord still loves them and has taught us through the scriptures that LOVE is the key to everything we do and JESUS is the source of it all.
Many men have many opinions of what they believe God to be, but the truth is Jesus IS the TRUTH!!
(John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by Me.)
So remember Jesus Christ is the ONLY Saviour and it’s only through HIM that you may be saved, no one else
It didn’t ring true to me – Jesus talking to ‘Apostles’ via prophetic dreams, resulting in ‘many miracles and life change.’ I’m not sure where the Gospel is in all of this, but there you go. I watched a few of their evangelistic videos, and mostly what I saw was lots of tears, people in public being prayed for, and being pronounced healed from their ailments. A few people being prayed for resulted in them falling backwards and being caught.
On videos where they had open-air preaching, I heard lots of pleading for people to give their hearts to Jesus. Lots of ways to pull at heart strings to con people to try Jesus out. Sadly, I heard no mention of the law, sin, or repentance.
I am reminded of a Ray Comfort analogy (paraphrased):
**A flight attendant gives a man a parachute to wear, saying it will improve his flight. The gentleman puts it on. But he looks around to see the rest of the plane laughing and making fun of him, and he notices that the fit is becoming too uncomfortable and restrictive every time he moves from his seat. During meal service the attendant accidentally spills hot coffee in his lap. He takes off the parachute and throws it away in disgust, and says “I tried the parachute. It didn’t improve my flight at all. There’s no way anyone will get me to wear one of them again!”
The flight attendant gives a parachute to a second gentleman. However, this time she tells him that the parachute is for the jump to come when the engines give out any time. He puts it on. It is restrictive and uncomfortable, and everyone laughs at him. The attendant spills hot coffee on his lap, but he doesn’t take the parachute off. Why would he? He didn’t put the parachute on for a good flight, so there’s no need to take it off. He still needs it to save him from death when it comes time to jump. If anything, the hot coffee makes him cling to the parachute harder, and look forward to the jump!.
Telling people that Jesus will improve their life on earth, is playing on people’s pride and greed. When life doesn’t go as planned, they get a cancer diagnosis, or if they are ridiculed for their faith, they will become disillusioned with God. After all, they were promised a good life if they tried Jesus, but all they got was heartache, ridicule, and suffering. They’ll say “I gave Jesus a go, and it didn’t work out. He didn’t make my life easier at all. In fact, it became worse! As far as I’m concerned, there’s no way I’m going to have anything to do with Him again!”.
On the other hand, telling people that they need to repent and place their faith in Christ now, otherwise they will end up facing God’s wrath in hell eternally – that makes the perspective different. When trials and persecution (which is promised to us), or the cancer diagnosis comes, they won’t abandon their faith or walk away from God. Why would they? They didn’t come to Christ for an easy life. This world is not their home. They came to Christ to avoid the wrath to come. In fact it should make them cling to Christ more, and welcome His return, knowing their fate is in His hands!**
The comparison of the message of this ministry, to the stony ground hearer in our verses above is shockingly obvious. The seed that lands on the stony ground cannot penetrate its roots into the soil, so the roots spread across the surface to look for sustenance. The plant shoots up quickly to draw warmth. This is fine for the short term. But the fierce sun will beat down on the plant. Normally a plant would draw water and sustenance from the soil via its’ roots. But the roots are also exposed to the scorching heat. So the roots wither up, causing the plant to shrivel and die.
Someone who is told “come to Jesus for a good life” is initially excited. They receive the message with joy, because they want a smooth ride in life, and as far as they have been told, Jesus can give it to them. They grow quickly, flourishing in the warmth of the knowledge that life will be sweet because Jesus said so. But the promised persecution will come, testing their faith; humiliation for being a believer, the cancer diagnosis…they will think “hang on a minute, this isn’t what I signed up for!”. Their faith is not rooted in the knowledge that Jesus has paid for all their sins, and there is no eternal confidence, because no one has told them they will have to give an account to God on Judgement Day. All they have been told is that Jesus will give them a good life. They will abandon their church in disgust, and shake their fist at God. As far as they are concerned, they never want to hear about God again.
How do I know all this? Because I meet these people all the time when street witnessing. They ‘gave Jesus a go’, but it didn’t work out for them. Due to bitterness, many are very resistant to the Gospel.
The good news is, I have the opportunity to present the real law and Gospel to them from scratch! If God chooses to soften their stony hearts, then they will hear a proper Gospel presentation – one that includes sin, death, judgement, but grace and mercy through repentance. If God has not softened their hearts, then they will not listen to anything I say anyway. It makes me angry that these ‘ministries’ do nothing but produce multitudes of false converts, that ultimately become bitter and disillusioned towards God. The eternal welfare of souls is of no interest to them.
My conclusion to this particular ministry is that this is a dangerous, unbiblical signs-and-wonders focused one, full of false apostles and prophets – definitely one for me to mark and avoid in future. And no, I will not be sharing their details to the Pastor for the purposes of getting them to speak in our fellowship! Should I come across them again, I will consider them the same as I would any unbeliever.
I’ll see you at my place this Saturday at 10am for prayer before heading out once again. We will be sharing the true Gospel – one that is not watered down. We won’t promise them anything that the scriptures haven’t already!
Witnessing Tip: Pragmatism is not a biblical concept!
Don’t take shortcuts in a Gospel conversation!
Each step is important to relay the message properly.
We don’t want to create another false convert!