By Karen Thompson
Forty Years of Sharing the Gospel
Well, the end time series on Symbols has come to an end. So that means it’s time for another palette cleanser, a special testimony to mark the end of a series and to get ready for a new subject. This week I wanted to share with you about a man named Nick. Nick is a street evangelist who has been witnessing to people about Jesus on the streets for nearly forty years. During those years, he’s shared the Gospel with literally thousands of people. He is passionate about sharing the Gospel of Jesus. In all the decades of sharing Jesus, he’s never slowed down in preaching the Gospel. He said, “Over the years, I’ve seen God perform many miracles, and I’ve never gotten used to it. It’s still thrilling!” The Bible says in Mark 16:20 that God confirms the preaching of His Word with signs following. Everywhere Nick goes preaching God’s Word, signs and wonders always show up. Here’s just a typical day in the life of a street evangelist. Enjoy.
A Bakery With the Sweet Presence of the Lord
One day as Nick was out sharing Jesus on the streets, he felt led to go to a familiar area on the corner of Nicollet and Lake. There’s a little bakery in that area that he likes to drop by to say hello to its owners. Years ago, Nick had shared the Gospel with them and they became born again. Since then, they’ve all become good friends, so he wanted to stop by the bakery to say hello while he was in the area. About the bakery, he said, “It’s an anointed place. It seems every time I go there, God does something really powerful.”
When Nick entered the bakery, he immediately noticed a man nearby. He said, “I could tell something was wrong. My heart went out to him and felt the Lord wanted me to share Jesus with him.” So Nick approached the man and introduced himself. “Hi, my name is Nick. I’m a pastor and I have some good news I’d like to share with you.” Nick learned his name was Louis. He began to share with Louis how God loved him and that He had a plan for his life. “It was obvious that he was on drugs,” Nick said, “so I decided to share with him my own personal testimony.” He shared how years ago, he had become an alcoholic at a very young age. He said, “Someone cared enough about me to tell me how much God loved me. But, at first, I didn’t appreciate what this man was telling me. So when he talked to me about Jesus, I was mean to him. I would mock him right to his face. But he didn’t stop. He kept telling me how much God loved me.” Nick told Louis, “God loves you just as much as He loves me.” He talked with Louis about the Lord for a while and when he asked him if he wanted to pray to receive Jesus, Louis said yes. “So I led him in a short prayer of salvation,” Nick said.
At that very moment, the bakery door opened and a man entered the bakery. Nick said, “When the man saw me, his eyes got really big, like he knew me. But I didn’t know him.” The man made a beeline straight to Nick. Smiling broadly he said, “Do you remember me?” Nick responded, “No, I don’t. I talk to thousands of people every year, so it’s hard to remember every person I talk to.”
His name was Gustavo. He said, “You approached me in a Kmart parking lot four years ago. At the time, I was homeless. I used to live under a bridge. It was the lowest point of my life.” Nick then realized the reason he didn’t remember him was because the homeless man he prayed with in the Kmart parking lot looked a lot different than the man standing before him. The man standing before him did not look homeless at all. In fact, he had the look of a very successful businessman.
Gustavo explained that alcohol was the reason he ended up living under a bridge. “Alcohol,” he said, “had ruined my life.” Alcohol addiction had so ravaged his life that he lost his job, his home, his vehicle. Everything. He became homeless and wandered the streets. His only care was where he could get his next drink. He ended up begging for handouts in order to support his addiction. “That’s the place where I was at when you approached me and began telling me about God and prayed with me to receive Jesus Christ.” From that moment, God delivered Gustavo from alcoholism.
He said, “After you prayed with me, I’ve never touched alcohol again! I was completely delivered! It was a miracle. I started going to Church right away.” He went on to tell Nick how God turned his life around. Not only was he gainfully employed, but he was the boss of his own very successful landscaping company. He was so successful that he was able to purchase his own home. After a while, he met a wonderful woman who also loved God and they got married. He wanted Nick to see just how successful he was, so he led him outside so he could show him his $45 thousand pickup truck! The whole of his life had been literally transformed. Together, Nick and Gustavo praised the Lord for delivering him from alcohol and turning his life around.
Nick then turned his attention back to Louis. He introduced Gustavo to Louis, and Gustavo immediately began sharing his testimony with him, how God has delivered him from alcohol addiction. He told Louis, “God will do the same for you.” Then after talking for a while, Gustavo decided to “pay it forward.” He told Louis that he was actually looking to hire somebody in his landscaping company and asked him if he wanted a job in his company working for him! In need of a job, Louis was overjoyed!
Another time when Nick came into the bakery to say hi to his friends, he saw a guy sitting at a table having coffee. Nick noticed that his whole body was shaking terribly with tremors. Nick said, “I knew the Lord wanted me to share Jesus with him.” He walked up to the man and struck up a conversation with him. He found out the man’s name was Samuel. “I told Samuel how much God loved him and that He had a plan for him.” Samuel was 51 years old. “I asked him, ‘When your life ends, do you know whether you’ll go to heaven or hell? Do you hope, think, or know for sure you will go to heaven?’” Samuel said, “I hope I will go to heaven.” Nick said, “The Bible says when your life ends, you can know for sure you will go to heaven. It’s a promise in God’s Word. Let me ask you this question. Do you believe Jesus died and rose again from the dead for you?” He said, “Yes, I do.” Nick continued, “Can I pray with you to receive the Lord in your heart?” He said “Yes,” so Nick led Samuel in a prayer of salvation.
After he prayed with Samuel for salvation, Nick asked him, “How long have you been shaking like that?” “For eighteen years,” he said. Nick said, “Jesus is our healer, brother. He can heal you. Would you like to be healed of that?” Samuel shook his head yes.
“His whole body was shaking,” said Nick. “I put my hands on top of Samuel’s hands and began to pray. ‘Father, in the name of Jesus, Your Word says to lay hands on the sick and they shall recover. By the stripes of Jesus, I ask that You heal Samuel’s body.’”
When Nick placed his hands on top of Samuels’ hands and began to pray, he said, “I felt the power of God flow out of me and into him.” But as soon as Nick began to pray, Samuel’s tremors got bigger and his hands started shaking even more. Nick wondered, What is going on? But that didn’t stop Nick from praying. He continued to pray in the spirit for Samuel, and he could feel the tremors starting to settle down. “When I was done praying, I took my hands off his hands. I was happy to see his body had stopped shaking altogether! Samuel held out his hands. They were no longer bobbing up and down like they had been. There was just a slight tremor in his thumbs. But as Samuel kept holding out his hands, even the tremors in his thumbs stopped. The shaking was gone! All of it! Samuel got really excited! Nick and Samuel both praised God for healing him. Samuel said, “I feel peace inside. I feel content.”
Nick asked Samuel, “In all the 18 years you’ve had this condition, have you ever stopped shaking? “No,” said Samuel, “never.” It was truly a miracle of God. Nick asked him if he had a church he attended. He said he did. So he told Samuel to call his pastor and tell him what Jesus had done for him and to give God the glory.
The experiences of Samuel, Gustavo, and Louis are all typical in the life of street evangelist Nick. They are typical because whenever Nick is out on the street preaching God’s Word, he knows the Lord will be faithful to confirm the preaching of the Word with signs and wonders following. However, there’s nothing typical about the signs and wonders. They are extraordinary!
A mother with her young child were walking down the sidewalk. They saw from far away a cloud of dust coming toward them. The cloud of dust got bigger and bigger. Finally it got close enough so the mother could see that underneath the dust cloud was an email. As the dusty email passed the mother and her child, they both began coughing from all the dust in the air. Before the email was out of ear range, the young child asked, “Mommy, why does that email have all that dust on it?” Oh dear… The email heard the child’s comment. He gasped and blushed a deep shade of red. He hung his head and quickly skittered down a back alley out of sight. The mother explained to her child, “Emails get dusty like that when they sit around all day. It’s the result of no one moving them forward.”
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