My wife Elizabeth wondered if we should join Melanie and Tommy Waltz for a Friday night of street preaching. We’d been supporting them financially and with prayer for years, and we really had no more excuses. Now was the time to really put our faith out there and take some action. Tommy and Melanie were gentle with us and told us we didn’t have to do anything at all. We’d have dinner together and then go out and watch them do their thing.
We had a great time at dinner then went to McDonald’s to join with some other people and pray. When we prayed, it started getting real. We prayed for our message to the lost and for protection. When we got downtown, we walked around a bit to find a good spot – a place that was busy enough, but where Tommy could still be heard. Once the spot was decided on, Tommy started setting up his signs and stool. The next thing you know, he was up on that stool and started just belting it out in a voice that was loud, but not yelling, “Do you know what truth is?”
Truth doesn’t change no matter what we believe
A young man named José came up and engaged Tommy. I could tell he was asking honest probing questions. It became apparent to me that he really needed a one on one conversation and I felt the Holy Spirit’s prompting to talk with him. I don’t really know how it happened, but, one moment he began to walk off and the next thing I knew, he and I were in a discussion. I don’t even think he realized I was with Tommy at first – we were just talking.
Man, did we talk. I could totally relate to his questions since I had had the same ones! We talked about the fact that truth doesn’t change no matter what we believe. We talked about how the entire Bible supports itself from the Old through the New Testament. I shared my own testimony with him. (No one can argue with your own testimony… it’s yours!) We talked about creation, the universe, the micro universe and its complexities that point to a creator.
We must have talked for close to an hour. He walked away really thinking. I just wish I had given him a church invitation to come hear more of God’s word. I was so excited that when the conversation ended, I really didn’t know what to do. But, I can tell you this…. The words I was speaking were not my own! I remember in the middle of the conversation thinking to myself, these words are just pouring out and they can’t possibly be mine. It was the Holy Spirit guiding the conversation. It was amazing!
Why preach to those who are already saved?
After José left, I spoke with “Bea”. She was older lady who asked me why Tommy was talking to a group who said they were already saved? Why didn’t he focus more on the ones who say they aren’t? I asked her, “Well, are all the people who sit in church saved?” She nodded in understanding that, just because someone says they’re saved does not really mean they understand the Gospel and what it truly means to have a saving relationship with Christ.
I thought that Bea was saved, but then she never plugged into the body of Christ and was on hard times. When I asked her what church she went to, she said she hadn’t found one. I realized she was in a tough spot and shared with her about our church, Open Door.
She was homeless, I found out. That was tough. I didn’t really know what to do, so I did what the Spirit led me to do which was to hold her hands and ask if I could pray for her. So, we prayed. Right there on a street corner holding her hands in mine, we prayed for healing, safety, finding a church and growing closer to Christ. It was wonderful and I continue to pray for Bea. She may be saved, but she needs a church family. I told her that not only would others benefit from her testimony as I had, but she would be comforted and grow in a good church where she can grow in her faith as well.
Some people genuinely want to talk
The next thing I knew, my wife was asking me when we had to leave to be on time for the babysitter… it was 10:30pm! I think we were out there for 2 hours or more, but I don’t have any idea where the time went. Tommy and another brother, Sean, preached and were amazing. They kind of stirred things up to get people listening and wanting to talk and it just felt right to engage in conversation with those who genuinely wanted to talk. I had no intention of doing any of what I did that night But God had other plans for me on that Friday night and I just let Him use me.
Praise the Lord!
(Read Elizabeth Redd’s account of the night.)