Seattle Preaching Report – June 2014
The main reason for my trip to Seattle at this time was to see my son Matthew. Both my sons live in Juneau, Alaska. Matt was recently married and his wife Kate was supposed to accompany him on this trip. Kate couldn’t make it since she just started a new job. Hopefully I will meet her another time. I was able to spend an entire day with my son and his long-time friend Barney. We met for breakfast at Pike Place and then journeyed down the waterfront and decided to take a ferry to Bremerton. I’m sure I bored those guys to death as I took them on a long walk to a couple of places I lived when I was about 5 years old. We returned to Seattle for an early dinner and then attended a Seattle Mariners baseball game where they beat the Red Sox. We said our goodbyes outside the stadium as they were leaving for Juneau early the next morning.
On this trip I stayed with a friend I have known since 1970. Greg lives in an apartment in Snohomish, Washington which is about 30 miles Northeast of Seattle. It was easy access to the city using the extensive bus service here. We visited Greenlake in Seattle which is somewhat of a tradition since we both grew up in the area. I went off my diet, had some great quiet time with the Lord, and I saw a few other friends as well. I should mention that I visited Chaplain Ron and Linda Jinkens. They minister in the Snohomish County jail. I was mentored by Ron several years ago. It was great to see them and they also happen to know the group of street evangelists I met in Seattle. They particularly know Alice who is also a chaplain alongside the Jinkens.
Thank you to all who prayed for me and all who continue to support the Gospel through the ministry of public proclamation. I consider it a great honor to represent the King of Kings and would love to preach His Word even if everyone were already saved!
Preaching on Pike & Pine
Well of course I don’t go anywhere anymore without preaching on the streets. I was able to preach in Seattle on three separate days and once in Bellevue which is across the lake from Seattle. On the first day in Seattle I ended up preaching for about an hour and a half on the corner of 2nd & Pine. The police had a mobile command unit set up across the street and even though there were police coming and going I dug in here. The highlight on this corner was when a well-dressed man in an expensive car barely made it through the light and was stuck right in front of me for about a minute. I kept using the amp but spoke softly looking at him in the eyes as he turned to look at me. I said, Jesus died on the cross for sinners and he offers a free gift of salvation to you today. He looked back forward expressionless and then drove off as the traffic was moving again. I believe God will use the encounter to bring to this man’s remembrance what I said. I pray he would get saved.
After this I went 3 blocks down the street to the Westlake Center where I have preached many times in the past. This day I was stopped almost immediately by a young man who said he worked for the city and was saying I couldn’t use the amp. I waited until police arrived and then received my first ever written warning in eight years forbidding me to use amplification in this area. I stayed and preached without an amp for a while and then went to 2nd & Pike where I used the amp for about an hour with no problems finishing out the day.
Day Two in Seattle
Arriving early on the bus and coming down from the restroom at Westlake Center I ran into a group of about 4-5 Christians as they were holding Scripture signs, preaching, and passing out tracts. I introduced myself to Lisa and Trent. We visited and compared stories. We prayed together as I left to go preach on 3rd & Pike. They also invited me to a fellowship on the following Sunday which unfortunately I could not attend. I preached the entire time on 3rd & Pike. This was about two hours straight. Many people heard the Gospel as they passed by. I met a couple of brothers in the Lord (pictured in slideshow) that listened for a while and then I visited briefly with them. The crazy story of the day was a man I met named Roy. He came by and mumbled something and then a few minutes later came back by and told me that I was in a fantasy world by preaching about Jesus. He then proceeded to tell me that the Bible was a banking book and a legal document. He was in the process of suing the government for several million dollars using the Bible. He showed me his portfolio he had prepared (quite nice actually). I asked him if he thought what I was doing was stranger than what he was doing. With a straight face he said yes. Well he parted in peace when he agreed it was ok to have different opinions. Dave would be proud of how I dealt with this would be heckler.
Day Three in Seattle
Today I decided to try something new. I didn’t take my amp but instead I went from corner to corner preaching about 10-15 minutes on each corner using just my voice. I did this for several hours covering at least 10 heavily traveled sidewalks throughout the downtown area. I found this to be a great learning experience which I can’t now speak in detail.
I had just read in Psalm 89:22 that morning: The enemy shall not outwit him, Nor the son of wickedness afflict him. In the context God promises several things to King David. It didn’t register when I first read it, but re-reading it later that evening, it made perfect sense. I took this text and was able to apply it to what happened to me in the streets this particular day. God promises protection, wisdom, and favor to his servants and although persecution is the norm, this day I realized more than ever the favor God for us to preach the Gospel freely in our nation.
I had some strange encounters from several people. First a lady came up and tapped me on the shoulder saying what I needed to do right then was to stop preaching and pray for a woman she said was in distress in Sumner, a city over 50 miles away. She said that she was on her way there to help her. There were more details she gave but I don’t remember them. You are not suggesting I come with you are you? I asked. She hesitated but then said no, just pray. Then she walked off. I thought she would stay and pray with me. I called after her but she kept walking.
Next, a block away a young woman approached me. She looked so much like a woman I knew from my past sinful life that I called her by that name. She shook her head no, that it wasn’t her, but she still wanted my undivided attention. I kept preaching and handed her my Bible. She took it and then said I don’t want this, gave it back and walked off.
On the same corner a few minutes later a man who was visibly in bad shape came up and interrupted me to say that he loved the Lord and was glad I was there. He had an accent of some sort and it was hard to understand him. He eventually asked for some money so I gave him a couple of dollars and prayed for him. I then continued preaching but he came back and wanted more money to buy medicine. I wasn’t going to give him the $14.00 cash he said he needed for some cream for the sores on his face. I offered to go to the drug store and get it for him. He said ok but that I would have to go to Queen Anne. This is a couple of miles away. I inquired further and concluded it was bogus. He then stood across the street from me and was crying, “Please help me” This was very hard for me but I held my ground but felt bad the rest of the day.
Finally later that day a young man hollered something at me and then came charging right for me. I didn’t move but it look as though he was going to try knocking me over. I stayed put and he came so close that his left ear was about an inch from my mouth as I continued to preach. He got really mad and came back for me but someone who he was with scolded him saying, “Leave that guy alone”. You can see how the above scripture really was for that situation. The enemy did not outwit me because God did not allow it, nor did he allow the last guy to assault me. Awesome God!
This was the first time I preached in this city. With a population of 127,000 it has a decent downtown area. Bellevue is growing up with skyscrapers that can be seen from Seattle. Microsoft has a building there although their headquarters are in Redmond, a neighboring city. I got there early and went for a cup of coffee. There were 3 Starbucks in about a 2 block radius but I found the one with a bathroom. I got my coffee and went outside to have some last minute prayer and consultation with the Lord before preaching. A young man who worked there came up and asked what I was doing in town and I told him how I was a street preacher describing the Gospel to him at the same time. He listened with interest and then after that he went back inside. I think what caught his attention was when I said we serve the Lord out of a love relationship not a rigid duty like so many religions. His name is Wesley. Please pray for this divine appointment I had.
Ok now it was off to find a good corner. It is not uncommon for me to walk in circles around several blocks before deciding where to settle in. I sometimes come back to the same corner I had passed up the first time. Here are the criteria; it is preferred to preach where there are lots of people. I do not like to block a doorway or set up where my sound can easily go into a business. Nor do I setup where there is already a musician or some other attraction. I like to have the sound reflect off of something as well if possible, like another building. It is nice to have a backdrop so that no one can blindside you. This is not always possible.
I found the perfect corner that put me between several office buildings and a gauntlet of eateries. That’s right; if they want to eat they have to hear the Gospel on the way. It was a few blocks down from the transit center as well which always adds extra people to an area. To my surprise there were more people than I had anticipated. I started preaching right away about 11:45am. It was a good experience and no one called the police which astounded me since this is a ritzy area. Upon leaving Bellevue I had two businessmen ask me how it went. They were believers and one actually had attended UC Berkeley. He said that the public preaching had an effect on him way back then and encouraged me to continue in the ministry. You can’t end a day better than that!