Rick Garland Preaching in Phoenix

14 11 2017

This is a video of Rick preaching at the Downtown Phoenix campus of Arizona State University.


Not Just for the Lost

23 02 2016

In our minds we often head out to share the Gospel with the lost. Our tracts, conversations and preaching are typically aimed in that direction. The problem is that we neglect to see things from God’s perspective. Sometimes while He is using His Word in the hearts of the lost He may also be using it to bless the church itself. I’m trying to learn from this experience not to be so one dimensional in my street preaching because a nearby believer may need the word as much as the lost.

We were out today ministering at the bus station in Downtown Bakersfield. It was our first time expanding to a morning outreach there and it was a blessed time. We gave away two Bible’s and about 25 tracts. There were only a few people around when each of the preachers started but crowds formed during the preaching and many listened to the Gospel.

One man who was in a wheelchair listened to my friend Gerry preach and spoke to Gerry after that. He professed to be a believer and appeared very edified by hearing the Word of God preached. He was also encouraged by seeing people out sharing their faith publicly. Long story short he took a stack of tracts from Gerry and the two of them went into the bus station to pass them out.

He came back during my sermon and not only listened but encouraged us after the fact. I guess the point is that we should go out to preach not just to sow the seed among the lost but to perhaps edify and encourage other believers on whom the Word falls. Say a prayer for Michael who seemed not only sincere in his profession of faith but eager himself to help in the work of the Gospel.

Sovereignty and Street Evangelism

22 02 2016

Some days are dull and seemingly ineffective in the work of street evangelism. This is a perception but not a truth. The truth is that no ministry ever, anywhere is ineffective. Sometimes you plant, sometimes you water, sometimes you see increase, and other times you are just plowing the soil but all of it is Gospel work. Two passages have demonstrated to me the truth of God’s sovereignty in the work of evangelism.

“So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11)

I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” (1 Corinthians 3:6-9)

The reason we feel evangelism is unproductive during those times when increase isn’t being given is because we can’t see the invisible work that God is doing in people. We can only see the results and I think we look too much for those and fail to realize that God is doing a work according to His own good pleasure unseen to our eyes. There are however times where the invisible work of God is made visible to our eyes.

These are times not only of encouragement to us personally but times that encourage our faith and help us trust a little bit more. Such a thing happened the week before we left for Super Bowl Outreach. Our attempts at sharing the Gospel seemed frustrating that week to say the least.

We were supposed to go out Thursday night but it seemed not to come together for any of us so we agreed to go Friday night. On Friday I was having a bad day and didn’t feel at all like going out but we did anyway. A good crowd formed while my friend Gerry was preaching and I noticed a lady (who I later found out was named Marci) walked up from inside the bus terminal and began watching seriously.

I noticed she began to cry and then I noticed she walked over to my wife Amy who was nearby passing out tracts. They spoke for probably a good 30 minutes. Gerry finished and I began preaching and they were still talking. About 15 minutes into my sermon Marci walked back over and began listening again, crying off and on.

After the preaching was done she walked up and introduced herself. She was a professing believer but admitted she had not been living her claim. She was in a troubled marriage with an unbeliever and was going through a difficult time. We answered several questions for her before praying for her but it was what she said after the prayer that really convicted my heart about how I view ministry.

She told u how glad she was that we were here on this particular night because of problems at home which drove her out of the house and to the bus station. I recalled how we were supposed to be out the night before but plans had fallen apart. She told us as well that she usually went to the other bus station on the Southwest side of town not the Downtown station. She wasn’t sure why she had gotten off when she did until he heard our preaching.

To me it was lesson learned. When things don’t come together as planned it may not be Satan working against you but God working for someone else in particular. In this case  us coming a day later and her getting off at the wrong station turned out to be the Lord’s doing and it truly was marvelous in our eyes.

The Gospel and Opposition

28 01 2016

Last week while evangelizing in Downtown Bakersfield we experienced a first, a Black Hebrew Israelite.He opposed our preaching and became loud. It seemed to draw a few more people around to hear the preaching and thus furthered our goal. Security for the bus station stepped in and moved him away from us. He stood just down the street for the remainder of our time but I noticed he was still listening to the Word as it was preached.

Often times those who oppose the preaching of the Gospel will without realizing it draw more people around to hear it. I have also seen people share Gospel tracts online for the purpose of mocking them without giving thought to the fact that they are spreading the message they claim to hate. God seems to use even those who oppose Him for the purpose of spreading His fame to all people.

Don’t fret when people oppose your method or message. Jesus was opposed, the apostles were opposed, in fact Jesus promised we would be opposed but remember God is sovereign even over sinners. When the Jews opposed Jesus they actually were God’s instrument to sacrifice His Son and thus bring salvation. When they opposed the apostles in the early chapters of Acts it only served to spread them throughout the Roman Empire and it says they went everywhere preaching the Gospel.

When opposition arises take heart! God may be spreading His message farther than you or I could take it ourselves. It was the opposition to Stephen (his stoning) that greatly impacted Saul of Tarsus thus leading to his conversion. God is sovereign and even in opposition He is triumphing.

Fool’s For Christ

19 06 2012

“And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.” Luke 12:4-5

So often we fail to take stands that will make us stand out or be labeled as fanatics. We are afraid of what our friends, co-workers, and family might say. Jesus gives us a warning of the only person we need to fear. The worst anyone can do is kill you but then they lose power. I stood not too long ago on a busy street corner with a 4 foot tall cross that asked passersby “Are You Ready?” to face God on judgment day. In a town of 300,000 plus one person to drive by and see me was my boss. I felt afraid more then ever of the consequences of looking like a fool and yet this verse was one of the first that came to mind. This was a decision point for me. Would I bear Christ’s standard regardless of the cost and my own image? Yes, Yes, a thousand times YES! I was willing to say with the apostle Paul “we are fool’s for Christ’s sake.” Don’t let fear of others keep you from being a witness for Christ. Those you fear will one day be cast into the lake of fire, let that be your fear.

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