Many people have wondered over the years about different things relating to Street Church like fines, arrests, bylaw officers, crown prosecutors, lawyers, court appearances, etc. Different stories emerged, biased and false reporting from the media, different interpretations, confusing perspectives, you name it. It seems that there are as many differing opinions, of what we do, as there are church communities that talk about us. There is no question that what has happened with Street Church over the years has been thought provoking, challenging and controversial.
So I thought it would be important, once again, to answer the question, "What is Street Church really all about?" The answer is very simple, we, at Street Church, are still about the same thing that we were from the very beginning, preaching the gospel.
In addition to preaching and ministering, God, through the years, was putting a heavy burden on our hearts to become a voice for those who either don’t have a voice, are not able to stand up for themselves, for those who are bullied, threatened, intimidated or those who are simply afraid to speak out. He made us that voice! A conscience in a wicked and adulterous generation.
We are living in a cowardly society, where there are so many wimpy leaders, that are not willing to stand up for what’s right, whether they be in the church or political arena, playing the political correctness "game", which is pure garbage. When a society has gotten to the point that a man who is convicted, in his heart, is not able to voice his deeply held convictions, we have lost our way. It is important that he be able to speak about,c yes controversial, yet never the less important, subjects such as corruption, abuse of power, favouritism, homosexuality, abortion, adultery, fornication, divorce and others (yes, you heard me, I say they are all an abomination to God).
I know that I would have a very easy life if I would not speak about such things. In other words, if I chose not to rock the boat. Definitely, like other charitable ministries, that take care of the poor, I would even, perhaps, receive medals or plaques, and like them I would also receive funding from the government as a reward for keeping quiet and being a "good citizen". I am not kidding you I was offered by a gentleman that he would raise a few million dollars for Street Church if I would "shut up" and become politically correct. I also received an offer to be a pastor of a big denomination with a stable monthly salary, and the promise of a great and fast career. I even had an offer from the politicians, that if I would just keep my mouth shut, I would receive a building for the ministry. So why not? Why not be like everyone else? For the "greater good" right? We can hush about certain issues, or so we are told.
Why not sell out? I ask you, what kind of a man, in his own mind, filled with the Spirit of the Living God would sell his soul for a meal, popularity, pieces of silver, prestige and belongings? It would be like the "Christian" parents who take their children out to partake in the "Halloween" festival, this gory bloody show that serves no purpose except to glorify death and evil, encouraging them to sell their soul for a few pieces of candy or so called "Christmas festivities" that in these days are so commercialized that have very little, if anything, to do with Jesus Christ. Christmas is not about shopping or the Christmas Tree, for those who choose to celebrate the birth of Christ at this time of the year, it should be about the birth of the risen saviour, about Jesus, about Him, not about us.
Let me be clear, if we want fun, I am not against it, let’s have fun. If we want candies and sweets for our kids, it’s fine. Of course there is balance in everything. But why dress and walk like zombies and death?
Oops, I just ticked some of you off. Well, perhaps not, but the point is why not engage in conversation? Why not challenge the status quo? Why not voice your opinion? Is that so terrible?
Going back to mission of Street Church, Jesus said, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation." That means all creation. That means going. Where ever we may find ourselves; in the courts, in police custody, before politicians or the homeless, the message has to stay the same, "God loves them all". We have to see each of these encounters as another opportunity to tell others, about the salvation message of Jesus Christ. It’s a God given chance and we need to take it as such.
When we bring the church to the streets, into the open, and when we bring the Ten Commandments as a reminder that there is an ultimate law, that there is ultimate truth, when the name of Jesus is being lifted high for all to see, the message is clear, "God is still on the throne, everyone will stand before Him, there is mercy and grace, there is judgement and condemnation, there is a heaven AND a hell, Jesus is coming to judge the living and the dead, whether a person likes it or not." This is a church, what else should we preach? Street Church is a place for everyone who is willing to come, the rich and the poor, the prostitute and the business man. God called us to be at the gates of the city to proclaim His truth and His righteousness, regardless of who likes it, or who doesn’t.
Part of God’s commandments is to feed the poor and the take care of the downtrodden, to clothe the naked and to give hope to those who long ago lost it. This is a church where thousands are fed, prayed for and ministered to. But even all of this is not even as important as the fact that at the gates of our city, the name that is above all names, Jesus Christ, is being lifted in front of our enemies, and that God Himself prepares a table of bounty for all to see that there is no one like Him.
Some time ago, I had a prostitute that came to our tables to receive food, and when I was sharing with her that she doesn’t have to die in the lifestyle that she is living now, she replied, "I am not here to listen to you talk about ‘your’ Jesus, I am here for food", and this was my chance to become like many others around me, showing my compassion, understanding and "grace" (political correctness). After all, she came for what? For food right? And my responsibility is supposed to be to "extend the love of God" and feed her and to then send her on her way. But that’s where the problem is. "On her way" means where? Back to a life of hell, as a prostitute! Is that love? I simply do not believe that, that is what God raised and called a church to do. To show compassion, without giving "true life" is hypocrisy. It is simply saying that I care for your belly, but I don’t care about your soul, and eternal life.
I remember one time when I was sitting with a director of a huge "Christian" organization, and when we were talking, she told me that the organization that she represents feeds millions of people. That spurred on my curiosity. "Oh, I said, then we are in the same business. Please tell me, how are you sharing about Jesus with people?" She replied, "We don’t do things that way. In some countries we are not even allowed to let anyone know about Jesus Christ. It’s against their laws." My eyes opened and I replied, that "we, after all, are NOT in the same business. I refuse to feed anyone unless he knows it’s not me that is feeding him, but rather Jesus Himself. Because to Him belongs all the glory." The lady was really ticked off. When I finished saying that the truth of the matter is that when you refuse to tell them about the life that Jesus gives, you are technically sending all of those millions of people to hell with a smile on your face, and their filled belly, she would not talk to me.
Was that proper and politically correct? Did I hurt her feelings? If that’s the case, I can live with it. Let me remind you that we have a purpose on this earth to tell everyone that Jesus has risen and that the tomb is empty. When I replied to the prostitute, she was not happy either. I said, "I am not here merely to feed you, because tomorrow you will be hungry again. I am here for something far more important, to tell you that your life can be changed and that your tomorrow can look different than your today. That without Jesus Christ and repentance, you will perish in your sins, and suffer the consequences of your actions." Surprisingly, she swallowed that pretty well. I finished my preaching, she got her food, and hopefully the seed of life that she received, one day, will bring forth righteous fruit in her life.
You see, Jesus is the only truth, the only way and the only source of life. Everything starts and ends with Him, and we as believers should know that by heart. At Street Church, we pray, we worship, we feed, we clothe, we bless and we do our best to bring glory to the King of kings and Lord of lords, Jesus Christ. Take it, or leave it, that’s your choice, we have chosen not to be silent. How can we? He publicly suffered and died for us, how much more should we be willing to lay down our lives for Him? Jesus said it plainly, Mark 8:38 – "If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels."
May you be blessed and challenged into acting on behalf of your King and saviour Jesus Christ.