The month of May was full of encouragement mingled with trials for Christ Community Church. In my previous updates, I asked for prayer for an outreach we would be doing every Monday for each of the five weeks of May. We were going into the streets to share the gospel and hand out tracts with a full-time evangelist named Kirk Hubick. At the end of the five weeks, there were two things apparent that the Lord was doing.
First, He was putting a spirit of receptiveness and seriousness into the hearts of those with whom we had the opportunity to share. Many times the tracts were earnestly considered, where in the past they were simply thrown out. The people appeared to have a genuine concern for their spiritual condition and the God they had offended. Of course, neither of those things indicate conversion, but it seems the water of our prayers started softening the soil of their hearts. This was not just evident in the Monday outreach, but also in day-to-day opportunities and religious conversations. Pray that the Lord will continue to increase this here in Fredericton, and that it would not come to nothing.
The second thing the Lord did was to increase our boldness collectively. Our church is quite small, but most of the people decided to come out into the streets and share the gospel. The evangelist was encouraged, and told us that aside from his own church, it was the highest turnout he had ever seen.
As good as that is, I ask that you would pray that all the wonderful evangelistic work already done would not hinder a spirit of ongoing evangelism among the people. It is easy for us to think that because we have done an “outreach” we have now filled our evangelism quota or gotten it out of the way, or that the only time it is appropriate is when we set special time aside to go and do it. For most Christians, the gospel will come up in regular conversation, and I pray that the congregation here would not lose sight of that, and that the Lord would continue to give a Spirit of boldness as people draw near to Him.
Also, please pray that obnoxious zeal may not be mistaken for boldness, but that love and compassion would color all our words to the perishing. There have been a few times where I have had to speak to people about this. There is nothing honoring to God when we berate people, are yelled at in return, and call it persecution. When the Lord was reviled, and did not revile in return, it was not because he had to bite his tongue. He loved the people, and because he loved them, he endured their insults patiently. Please pray that the Lord would further cultivate this kind of spirit among us – a spirit that would rather sacrifice for their enemies than beat them in a verbal tussle.
We were blessed mid-way through the month by having brothers Mack Tomlinson and Michael Durham came to stay with us in New Brunswick for a week. We were all so thankful they could come, and Brother Tomlinson addressed the attitude that must influence our evangelism, how it is one of mercy and compassion; it was an answer to prayer and greatly appreciated.
One other thing the Lord has been doing is increasing a spirit of prayerfulness in his people. We have been led to start a monthly Saturday night prayer meeting (in addition to our weekly prayer and bible study) and we had our first this May. It was encouraging to see so many come out and pray. We prayed together for the lost, for one another, and for the glory and reverence of God to be known in the city of Fredericton.
We thank God for you all, for your support, and for your prayers. There is a small flock here who is very grateful, for all that the Lord is doing through your financial help, through the people who are coming to teach and exhort us, and through your prayerfulness. The effects of our combined prayers are tangible, and they are not going un-heard or un-answered.