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Steve and Connie...Open Air Campaigners Evangelism Update October 2016

Praise God.  We have been very busy lately in our Quad City area, as God has opened many doors to ministry.  We now have regular outreaches to 4 High Schools and 4 Colleges locally.  This is in addition to the many shelters, Awana programs, after school programs, assisted living church services, and addiction programs citywide.  We are also doing street ministry, which includes the weekly huge Farmers Market in downtown Davenport.

Thank you for your prayers.  We are also building teams throughout the Quad Cities for ministry and working with our church for churchwide outreaches, and upcoming mission trips nationally and world wide.

We recently did a ministry update and appeal on our website.  We would appreciate it if you would check it out.  HERE

The Mission Society we are members of (Open Air Campaigners) gives us great accountability, prayer support and resources.  They do not, however, support us financially in any way.  We have worked very hard over the years to self fund our ministry, but as we transition out of our secular jobs to full time ministry, we will need some to partner with us financially. We know that the Lord has commanded all of us to GO into the world and proclaim the Gospel to all creation.  We also know that some cannot do that physically, but can support some that do.   Your donations are tax deductible and are administered through Open Air Campaigners..HERE

""He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.  You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God."         2 Corinthians 9:10-11

We have given out thousands of Gospel tracts and hundreds of Bibles in just the last couple months.  Many have heard the Gospel and God is opening hearts and minds to the truth of salvation through His Son Jesus Christ. Many are responding to the call of God, as hearts are softened by the truth of salvation by one name only...Jesus Christ. What this country needs is the Lord, and not another politician.  May many be saved by God, for God, and for His Glory!

Please join us in prayer or in person for upcoming planned outreaches in October
10/11     Western Illinois University QC Moline, Illinois
10/11     Davenport Central Iowa High
10/12     Rock Island Illinois High School
10/13     Bring Bibles to School outreach to 2 local High Schools
10/13     Christian Care Mens Shelter
10/14     180 ZONE ministry  evening service
10/17     Blackhawk College Moline Illinois outreach
10/18     Western Illinois Macomb
10/19     Augustana College Rock Island Illinois
10/20     Timothy House of Hope
10/25     Davenport Central High School
10/26     Rock Island High School
10/27     University of Iowa outreach
10/29     Bettendorf Halloween Parade
10/29     Rock Island Fright Night downtown
10/30     Reformation Sunday at First Baptist Church Bettendorf

Others to be added as the Lord provides

Doing a Gospel message at the Salvation Army after school program in Moline, Illinois
Preaching the gospel with the Sketchboard at the Timothy House of Hope.  Our TITANIC message.  Will you be LOST or SAVED?
Connie preaching the Gospel to the Kids
Above pictures are Connie reading scripture in the open air at the Farmers Market.  I am praying with someone who wanted counseling at the Farmers Market outreach.  Bottom picture is how God brought a group of Muslims to Blackhawk college to pick someone up.  I got the chance to give them a clear and extended Gospel message.  They all took Arabic Bibles of the Gospel of Luke, and said they would consider the message.  Their brother eventually came out, who thanked God for this opportunity, as he is a born again believer himself.
Thank you and God bless
Steve and Connie Johnson
Romans 1:16

 

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Connie and I have noticed this more and more lately. We hear this all the time. “I just don’t have the gift of evangelism”.   Hearing this is so discouraging because nowhere in the Bible is evangelism described as a gift. Yes, there are some who have an extra burden to “equip the Saints”, as described in Ephesians 4:11-12, but this is an office in the church like the Pastor/Teacher. These Evangelists are present in a healthy church to EQUIP THE SAINTS to evangelize. We are all called to be His witnesses to everyone we meet (Acts 1:8).   Jesus said that we are ALL called to go! Matthew 28:19 says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations”! All authority was given to Jesus(vs 18) and He commands us to GO! If this was specifically targeted at just the disciples, Jesus would have said it was just for them, and the church would have died out after they died. We do not need a special leading from the Holy Spirit to evangelize, as we already commanded by the Lord Jesus as described in this passage, and many others. Sure, we need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit in leading us to speak a certain way with someone, or to go somewhere he wants us to go. Even Jesus said in John 4, that He MUST go through Samaria on His journey North from Jerusalem to Galilee. We must follow our Lord Jesus’ example to be intentional, for if we are not, we will never follow through in our evangelism efforts. We cannot ignore Jesus’ promise in John 4 that the fields are white for harvest! We should not wait for some time in the future to do this. Jesus explains in John 4:35 “Do not say there are yet 4 months, then comes the harvest. Look I tell you, lift up your eyes and see that the fields are white for harvest!” So let’s not delay, as God commands us all to go NOW. Today is the day of Salvation!

 

Another thing we hear a lot, is this; “I just need to be friends with everyone, and when they see the way we live, they will ask me about God”, or “you cannot share the Gospel with someone unless they give you/ or you earn the right to”. Excuse me? We have the right because we are “ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us”(2 Cor 5:20). Jesus earned the right we have to share the Gospel for us. We are just broken vessels “jars of clay” that the Bible describes in which we have a treasure in, so show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not us. This is all about God and not us, by the way. This is the truth and not our opinion. If we had the cure for the terminal eternal disease they have, and we do not give it to them, we certainly do not love them. Yes, we proclaim the Gospel out of brokenness for the lost and with compassion and joy, but without guilt or the need of some artificial approval of the lost person, who is headed to an eternity in hell without Christ. We follow the example of our Lord as described in John 4. He was intentional and got connected with the woman at the well right away. He developed a relationship with her right away in a few minutes. Nowhere in the Bible does it say we need to build some kind of long term relationship with someone before being able to share the Gospel. I am sorry, but although not necessarily a bad idea, almost all the time this is just an excuse for not evangelizing anyone. Yes, we can make some friends, and it might lead to a Gospel conversation in the future, but they could die tomorrow and be in hell for eternity. How much of a friend are we, if we put that day off into some possible distant future, when they could die tomorrow? If we truly loved that person, we would tell them the truth right away and then be friends with them. I am sorry, but putting off this conversation just makes it more difficult if you have befriended someone, and then springing the truth of the Gospel on them might even break this relationship, which most people are not willing to do. Really, if you think about it, if you really loved this person and did not warn them of the consequences of a life without Christ if they died without Him, they would wonder why you took so long. If you really believed it, you would have told them right away, and they would be rightly offended.

 

Another thing we hear is that evangelism is all relational.   Does it bother any of these people that say this that around 85% of all evangelism in the Bible is done in a lovingly “confrontational” way among strangers? Yes, there is nothing wrong with relationships, and God can use this, but mostly it is an excuse to not share the Gospel, in my opinion. This can be an excuse not to hand a Gospel tract out to someone, as they do not have some kind of relationship with them. In Acts 8:26-40, Phillip called out to the Ethiopian Eunuch(who he did not have a relationship with), if he had any questions on what he was reading. No relationship. No follow up. We are commissioned to plant the seeds of the Gospel. It is about God and not about us. Let’s quit making excuses and be what God wants us to be…sold out people for Him who want to know Him more, and make Him known. To the glory of God.

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Praise God, we are getting crazy busy as God is opening many doors of ministry here in the Quad Cities. The following is a list of the many opportunities for the Gospel to be proclaimed, and we are privileged, and overwhelmed by all of them. God is good.

A list of many of the outreaches we are now doing.
-Regular outreaches at Davenport Central High, Bettendorf High, Rock Island High, and occasionally to Alleman Catholic High.
-Regular Gospel outreaches to Augustana College, and Western Illinois Quad Cities, and Blackhawk College in Moline, Illinois.
-Monthly outreaches to Manor Care Assisted Living, Christian Care Mens Shelter, Timothy House Shelter in Davenport.
-Semi regular outreaches to various Awana programs, Sunday Schools, Salvation Army after school programs.
-This is in addition to our regular Farmers Market Prayer Stand on Saturday mornings at the Freight House in Davenport.
-When I can, I go to the University of Iowa and Western Illinois in Macomb, IL.
-We regularly partner with our local church (First Baptist Bettendorf), to hand out Gospel tracts at parades and local events.
-We have taught an Evangelism class at our church and are planning to teach Sketchboard Gospel painting to the many people in the Quad Cities that have expressed a desire to learn.
-We also have a possible opportunity to partner with a ministry in town called "Quest for Christ", which is an after school program in many of the public elementary schools in the Iowa Quad Cities.
-We will be doing our Sketchboard Gospel programs with a ministry in town called 180 Zone, which serves people in crisis and also operates a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility.
-We have a regular commitment to join with many ministries and churches in Colorado, as I was there all of last August (outreach in the park with Mesa Hills Bible Church, outreaches to Palmer High School and the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, and 2 festivals at booths in Buena Vista and Leadville).
-Upcoming evangelism outreach in Kingston Jamaica with the local OAC missionaries.

Most of our evangelism efforts use a Sketchboard to paint a Gospel message. It causes much interaction, and God has blessed it. We have handed out thousands of Gospel tracts and many hundreds of Bibles to those who ask for them.

So.... Could you partner with us at some level? We ask that you pray for us, the ministry, and those that hear the Gospel preached. We will send you a regular prayer list if you will let us know you desire to be a prayer partner. We also ask that you join us if possible. And for some of you, if the Lord leads, we ask if you could partner with us financially. We have worked hard all our lives in secular jobs, and now it seems that we need to be in full time ministry. We have intentionally done as much as possible to be as self sufficient as we can, but expenses come up that we would need help on. For instance, we bought a ministry van for $1000, and it is very helpful. But travel expenses, insurance and maintenance on an older vehicle can be expensive. Additionally, we regularly purchase Bibles, Gospel tracts, and Sketchboard supplies. Lastly, the biggie is health care, and because I am not a full time employee any longer, we must pay for our own premiums, deductibles and out of pocket expenses. And we are not getting any younger. 🙂

We are full time missionaries with Open Air Campaigners, which is an international mission society approved and accredited by ECFA. Your donations are tax deductible and can be easily set up from this link. http://www.oacusa.org/staff-johnson.php
A monthly commitment of any amount, even $10, would be very helpful to the ministry and to getting the Gospel message preached to a lost and dying world, and especially to the Quad Cities.

Thank you and God bless.
Steve and Connie
Romans 1:16

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I recently joined with a faithful Christian brother, who visits the local Mosque here almost every week to talk to the Muslims who attend.  They were very gracious to us, and we ate dinner with probably 100 of them who were having a weekly potluck (Yum...Middle Eastern Food).  My buddy (Steve), brought his Bible with him, and also had a Quran.  It was great to be able to discuss what the Bible had to say about different issues, and all the men at our table listened to what we had to say.

One of the topics that came up was whether things were getting better in the world or not.  The Muslims thought things were definitely getting better, as we do not have a major world war going on right now.  We discussed how the Bible describes the "Last Days", and how things are definitely not getting better.

These last days are described in 2 Timothy 3:1-5.      "But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,  heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.  Having the appearance of Godliness, but denying its power".   Sounds pretty familiar, doesn't it?  

Pray for our outreach to these people.  They are very gracious and I appreciate them allowing us to meet with them and discuss the Bible.  My prayer for them is that they would reject their works based religion and trust in Christ, who is the only way to be saved.  Jesus said...   "If you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins"(John 8:24).

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Connie and I attended the Intelligent Faith Conference here in Bettendorf, Iowa last week.  I appreciated the work of our local Creation Society here that put it on.  The speakers were Jim Warner Wallace, John Stewart, and Eric Hovind.  They all did a great job, and we were encouraged and learned a few things.  BUT......  the speakers seemed to infer that making a case for the resurrection; Christ as God; man has a soul; was what people needed to be saved. They seemed to infer that apologetics were equal to or can replace the Gospel.  I questioned Mr Wallace in the Q&A about this and he said that people can reject Christ after the Gospel is presented or an apologetic is made(which is besides the point).   His talks and his response confirmed my fears that they considered apologetics the Gospel.  Not good.

People can be convinced of the resurrection, the inerrancy of the Bible,  that Christ is God, but still not be saved.  They can be turned into Theists who have given a mental ascent to an apologetic, but still be unconverted.  These people would even possibly "pray a prayer" if coaxed, and be a false convert,  inoculated against the possibility of a true conversion.  Yes, someone could agree with your apologetic...but SO WHAT?  They still do not understand the reason for the cross, and the sacrifice of Christ.  They still consider themselves good.  There is no reason for them to repent, as they have not come under the conviction of the Holy Spirit, as the Gospel was never presented.  This is dangerous stuff, and the reason that most "evangelism" out there is doing more harm than good.

The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation..... Romans 1:16

Quote from Ravi Zacharias

"Apologetics is the seasoning, the Gospel is the main course. You do not want too much of the seasoning or it will make the main course insipid.

Apologetics does not dominate our message; it undergirds our message. Argument doesn’t save people, but it certainly clears the obstacles so they can take a direct look at the Cross.

Support the argument justifiably, but recognize it is Jesus Christ who you need to lift up, and it is the Holy Spirit who brings about change within the human heart. An argument may remove doubt, but only the Holy Spirit can convict of truth".

The link to the conference is HERE

 

 

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Lord willing, we are going to do a 6 week Evangelism Training class at our church, starting next month.  Everyone is invited to attend, even if you do not go to First Baptist in Bettendorf.  Simple...Biblical...Effective.

EVANGELISMTrainingFBB

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Alleman Catholic High seems to be the toughest "fishing hole" I have here in the Quad Cities.  Every time I go, either the police are called, the administration and priests come out and surround me, or parents come up and angrily tell me to leave. Most of the students took Gospel tracts and a few Bibles and I even got the usual  "Hail Satan" yells.  This High School is typical and needs the Gospel preached.....bad.  But yet, it is unique in that it is supposed to be a Christian place, and sorry to say, it isn't.  Now I am sure some kids that go there are saved, but judging by what I see and hear and the anger of the administration and parents, probably not to many of them are.

So today, I went and handed out Bibles for free and talked to any of the kids that stopped to chat.  As I handed one of the Bibles to one of the kids and we were chatting, a parent marched over to me and screamed at me to leave and stop "spooking" the kids.  I really thought this huge guy was gonna hit me.  We had a tense exchange about freedoms in the United States, and that he should be thanking me that I was there.  Needless to say, it did not go well, and this guy threatened me if I ever come back.

All over handing out Bibles......  A couple of kids came over and told me that they were sorry, and a Christian school should not be like that.

So it goes that a professing Christian High school here in town is my toughest place to evangelize. But I believe God keeps compelling me to continue going there, and I intend to be faithful.  Thanks for prayers.

 

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