Welcome to our June E-Tools Newsletter! This monthly TCC field report also includes helpful outreach resources to encourage and equip you to more faithfully share the Gospel with all the loved ones in your life as we witness for Christ in Canada together.
ANOTHER GOSPEL OUTREACH “GLORY STORY”
By Edin Azabagic
During my life as a non-Christian I held a few different worldviews, until God in His mercy made me born again through the Gospel of Christ.
As I grew in my Christian faith, I learned that I am a part of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). If the sole reason for my salvation was to escape the wrath of God for the sins I have committed against Him, I would have been saved 15 minutes before my death! However, by being saved in my early thirties, I understood that the reason for my salvation would be for the Gospel of Christ to be proclaimed through me to other people who need Jesus.
Being a part of The Cross Current and the Gospel Outreach Team of Harvest Bible Chapel London has enabled me to be a participant in the Great Commission in ways I would not have ever imagined. This became glaringly obvious recently during one of the Friday night outreaches just last month.
A Spectacle of Depravity
On this particular night, our team was stationed at the gates of Victoria Park, proclaiming the Gospel and passing tracts to people attending the local festival. It did not take too long for some of the passers-by to start objecting to the Word of God being proclaimed.
As I took over the public proclamation of the Gospel from another brother, the objections intensified and progressively degenerated in a spectacle of depravity. The absurdity of denying God finally culminated in an attempt by a non-Christian to take over the spot on which I was standing. At that point, my preaching had to stop.
After a short while, Cory McKenna continued witnessing to the crowd who gathered. However, the whole setting quickly became dangerous for those of us that were ministering to the lost. Threats of physical violence started being uttered against us, demands for video recordings to stop were shouted and the whole situation started being very unsafe. Later, after we have finished our outreach, it became obvious that the level of the hostility to the truths of the Christian faith we were publicly proclaiming was unprecedented.
Deteriorating Cultural Conditions
I have been a part of the GO team for over a year and half, and as I started recollecting my experience, it became obvious that the conditions in which we proclaim the Gospel deteriorated substantially in a very short time. This is not happening just in London, Ontario. Based on the recent video recordings of other evangelists throughout the North America, opposition to the Gospel on the streets appears to be intensifying.
Click on the pic to the left or here to watch Edin in action on Friday, July 21st. Warning: this video contains profanity. Viewer discretion is advised.
As Christians, we have to recognize that we are at war. This war is largely invisible for most Christians, however, the people on the streets are voicing what other non-Christians are thinking (but not really saying out of politeness).
How long will this non-Christian politeness last before the gloves come of for all of those that profess Christ as Lord? I don’t know. Before that happens, maybe we as Christians could get into a mindset which previously, through God’s power, was able to revolutionize the world. This mindset of a revolutionary, one that stand for the Gospel in spite of the opposition, is the mindset that believes that God is able to bring a revival for our city, province and the nation.
While some Christians would describe this idea as extreme, the Bible describes it as normal. Psalm 22:27 says: “All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you”.
Will I continue to be a part of the Great Commission, despite of what might happen? Yes! As Paul said in the Philippians 1:21 – “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain”. Only through God’s grace, can I take this stand as a good and faithful soldier of Jesus Christ. Are you willing to enlist?
Edin Azabagic serves as a trainer and researcher with The Cross Current and Gospel Outreach Team leader with Harvest Bible Chapel London. Born in Bosnia, Edin left his home country in 1995 due to war and came to Canada, where he was soon saved. He holds an undergraduate degree in Philosophy from Western University and is planning to earn a Masters in Theology in the New Year. Edin and his wife Anita have four young children together – two boys and two girls.
A BIBLICAL BATTLE PLAN FOR FAITHFUL STREET MINISTRY
By Cory McKenna
The Cross Current (TCC) equips local missionaries to preach the Gospel specifically in the context of our increasingly complex North American culture.
TCC’s training is based on the ministry demonstrated by Paul the Apostle. As an evangelist to the Gentiles, Paul has been appropriately called the “man of three worlds” – an expert in the Scriptures, false beliefs, and rights of Roman citizenship.
This “tripod” of training expertise enabled Paul to be a fruitful and faithful witness predominantly in the context of a Greek (Acts 17) culture, much like ours today.
First, street ministers need to accurately apply the Scriptures. As a Jew, Hebrew of Hebrews, and former Pharisee (Philippians 3:5), Paul was masterful in his handling of Scripture in both evangelism and discipleship. As faith and regeneration come only by God’s sovereign grace through hearing His Word (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 10:17; 1 Peter 1:23), street ministers must resist the pull towards pragmatism and “culturally relevant” preaching by constantly placing their trust in the power of the foolish preaching of the cross.
Second, street ministers need to biblically defend against false belief systems. As a Greek thinker, Paul demonstrated exceptional dexterity in boldly confronting the false belief systems of his day with the truth of Christ, yet always doing so with sensitivity and diplomacy (Acts 17). As ones called to bear witness to exclusive Truth amidst an academically charged culture steeped in philosophical/religious pluralism, street ministers must develop an appropriate balance of both presuppositional and evidential apologetics.
Preaching Christ in Canada, eh?
Granted, while the first two aforementioned Pauline “worlds” are hopefully very obvious to today’s street ministers, it’s been my experience that the third is rarely (if ever) explored. And that is that street ministers must know how to legally leverage their rights as citizens. In several instances, Scripture testifies to how Paul’s timely appeal of his Roman citizenship not only spared him further persecution, but also furthered His God-given mission of evangelizing the Gentiles (Acts 16:37; 22:25). Undoubtedly, this vital component of Paul’s public preaching ministry is the most often overlooked.
As a Canadian citizen, I am obviously most familiar with the guidelines found in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. While I will be speaking from my experience with the laws of my nation, I trust that the following guidelines will serve invaluable for anyone serious about faithfully preaching the Gospel on the streets of your own:
1) Understand that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms only protects you against GOVERNMENT ACTION. In other words, it protects you against a police officer if he stops a preacher from expressing a biblical message, but NOT against one’s employer.
2) Understand that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is not absolute. Section 1 of the Charter guarantees things like freedom of expression and religion only to the extent that it doesn’t interfere with the smooth running of society. (The exact wording is: “…subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society”.)
3) Understand that one’s section 2(b) freedom of expression is content neutral but may involve form restrictions (by way of municipal by-laws). That the freedom of expression is “content neutral” means that a court will not be prejudiced against any expression based on its meaning. However, the law may state how and when you are to express your views. For example, a government agent cannot say to you: “You are forbidden to mention the name of Jesus in a public place”. But that agent may say to you: “You are forbidden to use a bull horn in a residential neighborhood between the hours of 7pm and 7am”.
4) Understand that Section 319 of the Canadian Criminal Code legislates against hate speech. Generally, “hate speech” occurs in two scenarios: (1) something is uttered in a public place that incites hatred against any identifiable group that leads to a breach of the peace or (2) a statement is uttered, other than in a private conversation, that willfully promotes hatred against an identifiable group. An identifiable group means any section of the public distinguished by colour, race, religion, ethnic origin or sexual orientation.
5) Understand what the “form restrictions” are in your jurisdiction by reviewing your city’s municipal by-laws. These by-laws outline the form restrictions on one’s freedom to express their views, religious or otherwise. Only where these by-laws effectively eliminate one’s ability to be heard will legal remedies (like a Charter challenge) be necessary.
6) Understand that litigating the matter will not be worth the cost unless there is evidence of deep and systemic discrimination. Only consult a lawyer as a last resort, and after you have attempted to use the legally mandated means.
7) Finally, it is recommended that those street ministers who preach and equip others to preach on a regular basis have access to a dedicated Christian lawyer who fully supports your public proclamation of the Gospel. Christian Legal Fellowship is one such trusted source for credible legal council.
Good soldiers aim to please
In closing, I charge all street ministers with the same charge Paul extended to a young preacher named Timothy: “Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.” (2 Timothy 2:3-4)
As soldiers of Jesus Christ, we have not been called to be on parade on the streets of our nations, we have been called to pray and preach on the streets our nations.
So hit your knees…do your homework…and then “go”. And by God’s grace, we will prove to be good soldiers who joyfully share in suffering as we bring glory and pleasure to the precious One who enlisted us.
Get equipped to equip others in your church with TCC
AN ENCOURAGEMENT TO ENLIST
TCC Extreme Team Missions (XTM’s) are local missions day trips into major urban centres for the specific purpose of preaching the Gospel through high volume tracting, one-to-one street witnessing, and open air preaching.
XTM’s allow participants to fully leverage the local missions experience of The Cross Current and receive personal mentoring from some of the most experienced evangelists and open-air preachers in Canada.
Not only will XTM’s catalyze your own personal life and witness for Jesus Christ, but these events also provide the team equipping experience you need to continue championing the cause of the Gospel in your own local church.
We cordially encourage you and your church to enlist in one or both of our Extreme Team Missions to Niagara Falls this summer on July 13th and August 24th.
Here are a just a few words of encouragement from past Extreme Team Missionaries:
Our purpose in life is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. I encourage you to be part of an Extreme Team Mission because there’s nothing that glorifies God like sharing your faith with unbelievers and seeing sinners come to faith in Jesus Christ. ~ Ryan P., Wyoming
I was extremely encouraged by the Extreme Team Mission and thank God for allowing me to be a part of such an amazing day. I was blessed by the fellowship and unity shared within the body of Christ. From the early morning prayer before the throne with tears to preaching in the open air for the first time it was an all around great day! ~ Dave J., Oakville
Extreme Team Missions facilitate the opportunity for God’s Word to do a work in us and in others. I now know that evangelism is easy! Not only on the streets, but in my relationships at home as well. ~ Brad Y., London
TCC Extreme Team Missions will equip, build up, and encourage your entire team to preach the Gospel together anywhere. ~ Andrew S., Muskoka
Click on the pic to the left or here to watch a brief Extreme Team Missions promo
Read the lead story for one of last year’s Extreme Team Missions
Enlist in an Extreme Team Mission with The Cross Current
Aliens. Little green men, lights in the sky, people abducted, and other weirdness. What’s going on Canada?
Let’s continue partnering together to keep our prayer pulse for TCC and the Church in Canada strong!
There are four specific petitions that we humbly request that you, your family, and your church continue lifting up to the Lord on our behalf related to our ministry calendar in July and throughout the rest of the year:
As mentoring evangelists to lead their own local church witnessing teams is a huge part of fulfilling our mission, please pray that the Lord will help us faithfully coordinate and complete our two Extreme Team Missions to Niagara Falls on July 13th and August 24th.
As helping churches “normalize” sharing the Gospel with lost loved ones is a top priority for our ministry to pastors, please pray for the overall fruitfulness of our upcoming training times in local churches.
As equipping evangelists within local churches is the heartbeat of The Cross Current, please pray that the Lord will help us receive all the support we need to host more Church Champions Training Retreats.
As outreach radio expansion is one of our major objectives for 2013, please pray that the Lord helps us equip and release additional TCC radio representatives as more partner churches and radio stations embrace the partnership opportunities associated with our outreach broadcast.
Canada needs Christ! Please pray that God will speak to the hearts of more and more supporters who will financially support our work of equipping by example pastors, Christians, and their churches to share the Gospel in Canada.
We thank God for you, your church, and our partnership in His Gospel!
For His Glory Alone,
The Cross Current Team