For New Year’s Eve I had made plans to return to Bourbon Street with the people of Raven Street Church. All week long there had been a battle in me over whether or not I was going to return. My time there the previous week had been very difficult and I struggled all week with feeling inadequate for such a work. My natural temperament is reserved and quiet, so such a hostile environment left me feeling quite out of my element and unable to minister to anyone. The experience was humbling, as I very clearly saw my own weakness. It was a crushing (and necessary) blow to pride. One that kept me down for most of the week. I could hardly bear to think of returning to experience such a paralyzing ineffectiveness again. And yet……..at the same time I felt so strongly compelled to go. Thus the battle.
Friday afternoon I sat at my table feeling desperate to hear something from God regarding all of this. I opened my Bible to the place I had left off reading – 2 Corinthians 3 and almost immediately the Lord brought peace to my heart through His Word….
And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God,who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away,how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels.For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious. Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech–
The last portion caught my attention because it addressed my need – “Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech–” I looked up the word hope and found it to mean a confident expectation based on solid certainty. I searched the previous verses to find out what this solid certainty is that created a confidence that led to great boldness – “the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory”. Something clicked, and a truth that I had already known became much more solidly established in my heart – the message that we bring is a glorious message. Because of our wonderful Christ and His wonderful gospel, we can be very bold because of our confidence that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation…regardless of the weakness of the messenger.
I felt as though 10,000 pounds had been lifted from my heart. With great thankfulness to the Lord I rejoiced in the peace that washed over me concerning the trip to Bourbon Street the next night.
To be continued…..
I was a new believer (saved just over one year) and I was driving to work. There on the corner at the intersection of two busy streets I saw him standing. It was not a place where you would expect someone to be standing because there were no sidewalks and no foot traffic in that area. Thus he stood out. I wondered what he was doing there and as I drove nearer I could tell that he was saying something so I put my window down so I could hear. And what I heard was the sound of the gospel being preached. I was so moved that I cried the rest of the way to work.
Others saw him that morning and labeled him as some crazy man. My eyes had seen something different. I’ve never forgotten him. It was a very short time later that I had the opportunity to be involved in street ministry here in Baton Rouge and also in downtown New Orleans. It’s been over 10 years ago, but the memories of those times are precious. As I have been reflecting over this time in my life recently, one thing that I remember so clearly is that all of life was centered on Jesus, and in a very natural kind of way because we were daily sharing the gospel. There was no need to continually turn the heart back to Jesus, because it dwelt there.
I love Jesus, and I want my life to be lived before Him in such a way that He is glorified in it. Maybe it’s inherent in my personality type (or maybe just the fallen nature of man) but even such a spiritual desire has led me to selfishness. A spiritual selfishness that is always looking inward in self examination, many times to the exclusion of looking upward and outward. But God has begun to stir my heart concerning these things….and I am looking upward and looking outward and waiting to see what He will do.