Gospel-Centered Pro-Life Podcast
Gospel-Centered Pro-Life Podcast

Episode 127 · 1 month ago

How To Stay Engaged on the Sidewalk

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Ministry in front of an abortion center can be intense. As we’ve talked about in the past the spiritual warfare can be overwhelming. However, there are times when ministry in front of the abortion center is boring and you don’t really feel like you’re having an impact. In this episode, we talk about how to stay engaged on the sidewalk even in those times when there’s not a lot of interactions.

We think about the rapture in theblast of the trumpet when Jesus Returns. But what if it's a boring dayon the sidewalk of an abortion center? Nothing's going on, you're thinking,Oh Gosh, why I'm even here, and all of a sudden you hearthe trumpet blast and Jesus Returns. We're better to be found right and standingin front of an abortion clar yeah, I mean can the with the sonof man when he returns? Will he found faith on the earth? Not? Will he find excitement and enthusiasm and you know somebody that can argue agood point with a pro board, but will he find faith? I AmYours, I am yours, I am yours. And Me, Lord,I am yours, I am yours. I'm welcome to the Gospel Center ProLife Podcast, a podcast designed to equip, encourage and challenge you in pro lifeministry and always were the focus on the Gospel. Stay tuned. Ifelt show passish, touch your heart, use me love. Hey, they'rewelcome to the Gospel centered pro life podcast. We are here with WHO? I'mhere with Daniel Parks, who, Yay, is back in Charlotte.Yes, happy to have him back and, as always, this subject which wasone that kind of arose from practical things we experienced while being out onthe sidewalk. One of those is is that there are many times when yousee nothing happening, no fruit, apparent, apparently no fruit you yourself or ina position where there's not many women coming in and out, no one'stalking to you. Frankly, it's boring. Yeah, and so how do westay engaged during those times? Because those times are going to come wherethere's not a parent action and I think...

...it is very we just we havelost people. I no doubt they've told me we've lost him because they're bored. Yeah, which kind of boggles my mind. But I think because Ido have the perspective of being out there for many years and it's never boringfor me, and I hope that we will give you an idea of strategiesin this podcast for how you can stay engage. So that really isn't thethought that comes in your mind. I'm so bored, right. Yeah,yeah, I mean most people are thinking about especially if you haven't ever beenout to an abortion center and you're thinking about going out there, your concernedprobably is like I'm going to be overwhelmed because they're going to be so muchstuff coming. There's going to be you hear US talking about these pro abortionpeople out there yelling at you. You maybe got the women coming into theabortion centering droves and you thinking that's going to overwhelm you. And all thisstuff is happening in certainly that can be the case. Yeah, but thereare also times when there's not a whole lot going on. Yeah, there'sno real interactions with anybody. Maybe the parking lot's kind of barely full,or maybe it's really I mean there are days where the parking lots really full, when there's just no engagement, no one stopping and talking right, noone's even cussing you out. Yeah, and so there are times when it'sjust there's a temptation at least, or you're just bored. You're just youfeel like you're just standing on a sidewalk in in front of a building andthere's not a whole lot of act that things happening. And you know,could be the position that your team has placed you. And we do havepositions that I guess are technically more boring. There just they're up the street carsmay or may not stop for the people, and so they will havelong periods of time of just zero interaction and they don't see a soul.So what what do we do? And I do want to make the pointthat first of all, we admit it's not easy. It is not easywhen you're not in getting any kind of...

...traction, you're not getting any engagementwith anyone. And and all of us want to be heroes, I thinkbottom line, we do. We want to be a hero before God,we want to be used by God and and we want to be where theaction is. And I just I want to say it is okay to desirethat. But what do you do when, in the article that I put out, I said when, when the sidewalk ministry in your area is moreof a slog than a jog, in other words, it's just it?And there are some whole areas sometimes, I mean there are some of oursidewalk missionaries that really are in a very quiet, small abortion center where it'shard to reach the women. Yeah, and they really do have minimal interaction. Yeah, I'll tell you, sometimes it's well, for me at least, it's easier when it is loud and rock us out there and I'm gettingyelled at by pro boards. Then when there's nothing going on, yeah,and I'm up the street holding a sign or offering literature and there's no engagement, it's like yeah, for me that that's a time of testing. Itis, and by God's grace of pass the test, I've learned to befaithful. I'm not sure how practical we're going to get in this, butI'll get real practical right now, okay, and just say sometimes I'll put myair pods in and I'll listen to some preaching, I'll listen to theword of God and I'll pray. Yeah, now I'll keep my eyes open,of course, when I'm praying and I'm ready. If there's somebody that'sgoing to stop and take my information, I've got it in hand. I'mready to go. And I think the main point of this, of thisarticle and of this podcast episode is going to be to they focused and reallyyou being there is obedience to the Lord and it's important that you're there.You're holding up a standard of truth,...

...you're shining a light in a darkplace, even if there's not a lot of activity there, and the momentthat someone approaches you or that someone who needed to hear your word. Whenthey're there and you're there and you engage with them, it is all worthevery moment of of no interaction. I will tell very briefly story that justhappened where woman's was called me and was very upset, in fact suicidal postaboard of and said that had there been anyone on the sidewalk when she wentto kill her baby in an abortion, she would not have and and nowshe deeply, deeply regretted it. And that story went. It was sosad, but it really pointed out to me the necessity of us being thereand if we're not there through the boring moments as well or the less excitingmoments as well, we might not be there when women like that show up. And then who is going to speak on behalf of of her, ofher baby, and Pointer Back to God? So some of the practical things Ido, because you're right, Daniel, this is more almost like the philosophicalunderpinnings of how you endure ministry when a whole lot is in going on. But one of the practical things I do I also pray. I Ialso will read scripture on my either on my iphone or I'll I've got myBible sometimes with me, not always. But one of the other things Ido is I pace, I walk back and forth, and that keeps memoving, just the fact that I'm moving. First of all, it saves myback. It hurts to stand still for three hours and I think that'strue of not only old people but also but also very young and it's stillhurt your back. So I'm always doing something and and I'm trying to focuson God at God while doing that.

But that does help me. Thathelps me rather than just standing there, yeah, waiting for something to happen. But I do think, looking biblically, is there anyone in the Bible thatwe could look at who had a ministry that maybe could be described asnot a whole lot of action happening and kind of boring and in some ways, the Ministry of Jeremiah? Yeah, it fits the built. So Jeremiahministered for forty years and saw almost no fruit. Yeah, almost none.He spoke to people who ignored him or they did do things exciting like throwhim into assister and and, you know, and and wait for him to likedrown in the mud or or starve to death. So there were momentsthat were, I guess, exciting for him, but a large part ofhis ministry was just speaking to people who ignored him. Yeah, who didn'tlisten to him. Yeah, proclaiming the Truth and not really getting a responsefrom the people. Yeah, now I'll say all the Bible tells us,and Second Corinthians five or seven, we walk by faith and not by sight. Yeah, great, first a lot of times we want to see theresults of what we're doing. We want to see that their interactions. Thinkwas John Wesley, great revivalist preacher in England who actually even came to America, who said he would much rather someone be cursing him, spitting at himand throwing things at him, because at least he knows that they hear whathe's saying. Yeah, then someone to ignore him. And I think that'sthe same for us as we're out there on the sidewalk. But we haveto remember, and I'm going to say this and I hope for you guyslistening it, it actually will sting a little bit, okay, because it'sintended to you're not out there for you right, you're not out there tofeel needed. You're not out there to feel important, you're not out therejust to engage people. You're out there...

...because God called you to be outthere. If indeed he did call you to be out there, and Ibelieve that that he did, if you're out there, yeah, and sothink of it in those terms. Let that sting you a little bit.You're not there for you. You're important, you're made in the image of God, you're Christian, you belong to him, you're important to the LordRight, but at the end of the day, you're not out there becauseyou're important. You're out there because God called you to be out there.Out there to shine a light, and I just want to inject also justa little bit of faith. Maybe this, hopefully this, will help you.I think it will. Again, we walk by faith and not bysight, and if we believe, and I do believe that, as believers, we are a city set on a hill, we are a light.Jesus said, you're the light of the world. You have a light thatyou're shining whether whether people are looking at that light or not, or appearto be looking at that light or not, you're still shining a light. You'restanding there in faith believing that God is honoring what you're doing. Listen, faithfulness is tested not when it's fun and exciting. Faithfulness is is testedwhen it's not fun and it's not exciting, when things are kind of boring.Right. Faith is tested when we're in the desert, we're in thevalley, our faithfulness to the Lord and what he's called us to. Butagain, I want to encourage in your faith that, even though you don'tthink anything's happening out there on the sidewalk. A story that I share oftentimes isa story of a friend of mine who, in this was I meanprobably I think twelve years ago or something, as I remember, but a friendof mine. We were it was one of those kind of boring dayswith not a whole lot was going on on the sidewalk and a friend ofmine named Brett just to at it. He was going to pace the sidewalkand just pray. And this brother knows how to pray and say he's notjust praying like quietly to himself, although if you do that that's fine.I think it's past that that he's prying out loud. He's pretty but there'sno outward nothing happening right, nothing really going on. Right. Well,we find out, like I don't know...

...how, how many weeks or solater, that actually a young lady inside of that abortion center was in thewaiting room and she peeked out of the blinds. I don't know if yousometimes, if you look at the abortion center on Latrobe and you look atthe blind sometimes you'll see the blinds come open. You'll see just like alittle gap in the blinds got I've recognized that now. Back then I didn't, but you paying attention to that. But apparently she did that look throughthose blinds. She saw him out there on the sidewalk praying and that's whatencouraged her to choose life. She said, I knew that guy was praying forme and for my baby, and she chose life. She got connectedin some way. I don't know all the INS and outs of the story. That was one of those kind of boring days and he just decide,you know what, I'm out here, there's death going on in there,this is a dark place. I'm going to shine the light. I'm justgoing to pray. Right. So what was he doing? He was walkingby faith and not by sight. We could have packed it up and said, you know what, there's nobody's listening to us. Let's just knock thedust off off of our feet and let's just go on. Yeah, wedidn't do that that day, praise God. Yeah, we decided to. Hedecided to pray and to press and walk by faith. And I'll sayit's helpful again, practically speaking. This is why we say if you're goingto volunteer, it's good to have kind of a set time. If you'reorganizing teams on the sidewalks, good to have a set time. For usit's three hours, nine to twelve. I think it's really helpful because whenyou get into those boring times, at least you have a time. Okay, I'm going to be here until twelve o'clock, whether I see out resultsor not. And if you're maybe the team lead is given you a particularposition to stand in and it's a boring position. Press into that, befaithful, to stay that three hours, and I might even just intentionally putmy flesh in check by saying, okay, I'm supposed to be here till twelve, I'm going to stay till o one, right, just to tellmy flesh, yeah, you're in subjection to me. I'm going to stayby faith. So again this want encourage you guys. Like God's doing somestuff. You never know what God's doing behind the scenes. Like that storyI shared. There are women that come to the abortion center. They're drivingup to you know, wherever you're at...

...on that that road, you don'tsee it, you don't know about it, but they see you out there praying. They see you out there just bored out of your mind, maybelistening to some scripture, but you're out there praying. They see you andthey know why you're out there, and so they keep driving and you won'tfind out about that life that was saved and that mother, possibly who cameto the Lord. Maybe she went to church that next Sunday and got saved. Who knows? Yeah, again, we walk by faith and not bysight. Yeah, you won't find out about that story until you stand beforethe Lord. So encourage you guys. Be Faithful. God's called you there. It's not about you, it's about him, and it walk by faithin that here. Yeah. Yeah, so and and Jeremiah, when hewas clearly called by God. He's spoke with God and God said he wascalling him to this ministry and told them exactly what he was going to do. And Jeremiah even tried. He kind of fought it. He said,I tried to be silent, but then in that verse where he talks aboutbeing silent, he said it would in my heart. It becomes like aburning fire shut up in my bones. I'm weary of holding it in.So he did press through that and and speak anyway. And to your pointagain, just a couple of days ago a very similar thing happened. Wherewe've been out there, of course, sometimes totally ignored apparently, and andwe just continue to do our thing and a woman drove by and stopped whotold me that she has just over the many, many weeks that she hadbeen going to a chiropractor up the street. She had heard and seen these people, but she didn't know, she didn't even know what was an abortioncenter. She didn't know what it was all about. And said I'm justwondering what's going on here, because I've been wondering for weeks. I've seenyou guys out here for weeks and and so I told her and then Itold her, you know, one and four women have have had an abortionand here's here's some information that that you could share. If you ever knowsomeone in a and I'm playing pregnancy and she started crying and for thirty yearsshe had carried the secret of her own...

...abortion. This was the first timeshe had spoken to someone about an abortion she had thirty years ago, andI was able to point her on a path of healing. It's because wewere there and seeing. So sometimes it's just you showing up. Is thatis what God has called you to do, and then you know, give theresults to him. Yeah, another thing that that Jeremiah realized as ashe was ministering, when the fruit was seemingly absent, was that the whatyou what you said earlier. The absence of visible fruit is not surprising toGod and very may well may have a divine purpose. So so God himselftells Jeremiah and Jeremiah D and twenty seven. You shall speak all these words tothem, but they will not listen to you, and you shall callto them, but they will not answer you. He's warning Jeremiah. Yeah, but God, all his purposes, always prevail. He wasn't just doingthat, putting Jeremiah in front of people who would not listen just to frustrateJeremiah. There was a purpose in that. JEREMIA didn't discover what that was necessarilyuntil the end. But but there is a purpose, sometimes even insilence. Yeah, and even in the lack of the visible fruit. Yeah, absolutely. And again it kind of gets back to that principle of Jeremiah'scall in his ministry was not about him, right, it was about the Lord. I think of I think of Noah mmm, who God called tobuild the arc. And and of course we know that part of the story, but we don't realize that from the point that God called him to buildthat arc and again, a boat in the middle of a desert, henever seen rain, as we've seen rain, right. It never seen water inabundant yeah, and the time frame from when God called him to dothat to win it actually reigned was like a hundred and twenty years. Wow. And this man was called not just to be a builder of ships butactually a prophet, like he was prophesying...

...and warning the people that God's judgmentwas coming. And in the middle of the desert, watching a man builda boat. Yeah, and you can imagine the mockery that this guy's underand all this stuff, but for the most part people were just ignoring theguy. Yeah, but he did what he did because God called him todo it. He was faithful in it and God honored him and saved him, not just him but his family, from the judgment that was to come. Right, Bible says, I'm paraphrasing a little bit because I can't uotethe scripture exactly, but Jesus said, when the son of man returns,will he find faith on the earth? I want you to personalize that.When the son of man returned. Me Think about that. Okay, thisis this is cool to think about. We think about the the rapture andthe trumpet and the blast of the trumpet when when Jesus Returns. Okay,the exciting stuff. We can we can in the air with him, wecan debate about when all that takes place. But what if it's a boring dayon the sidewalk of an abortion center? Right, nothing's going on, you'rethinking, Oh Gosh, why I'm even here, and all of asudden you hear the trumpet blast, right, and Jesus returns. We're better tobe found right and standing in front of an abortion clear. Yeah,I mean can this with a son of man. When he returns, willhe find faith on the earth? Not. Will he find excitement and enthusiasm andyou know somebody that can argue a good point with a pro board,but will he find faith? and faith is tested out when we don't feellike it, when we don't we're not excited. It's really when faith istested. And certainly our faith can be tested in the fire of opposition andall that stuff, but some of the most difficult times of testing for meis when I'm bored, when I'm in the desert. Yeah, you know, Paul talks about US redeeming the time, and that's why I would give youguys this encouragement. If you're in...

...that scenario, get some podcasts.They can help you grow in the Lord. Some messages, some preaching, somethings that you can put on your air pods. Maybe this one.Yeah, yeah, maybe play our podcast. Why? You have there on thesubtle maybe now's the auld. That's right. You can get caught upon some some episodes of the podcast. Listening to the scriptures. Redeem thetime. But you think about that, if the Lord returns and you're thereon the sidewalk, you're not going to be sad that you are fade fillin that and I believe God's going to honor that in either way. Theeye of the Lord is in every place, like he sees you there on thesidewalk. He's with you there and in you're holding up the light ofwho he is. The truth of just your presence is holding of the truththat abortion is wrong. Yeah, to those who are going inside of thatplace. And I love that idea of redeeming the time because that goes rightinto one of the next things that I think is a key point that Jeremiahdiscovered is during that time of waiting, of apparent inaction, Jeremiah was toldto tell the people that they were to seek the welfare of their city whenthey were in exile, while they're waiting to return. Desperately. They allwant to return to to Jerusalem, and he's saying, but you're not,you're not going. You're not supposed to just sit back and wait doing nothing. Your to build your houses, bare children, Plant Gardens and seek thewelfare of the city. So He's saying just what your are saying during thattime, during the periods of waiting for the action to begin, redeem thattime, use that time wisely and seek the welfare of the place where youare planted. Yeah, so, whatever position you're in on that sidewalk,use that time as best as you can to fulfill what God has put youthere to do. There is a purpose for you and and use that timewisely. Yeah. Yeah, and you...

...can use that time if you're maybeyou're on a busier street just you're not getting a whole lot of interactions withthe abortion center, but there's a lot of people, foot traffic or whateverthat's coming by. Maybe get you stuck a tracks and just hand out someGospel tracks. I mean, certainly you're there because they're murdering babies inside ofthat building, so you don't want to lose your focus on what's going oninside of there, but if you've got some Gospel tracks you can hand out, hand out some Gospel tracks, take time to pray. Pray for thecourse, the people going into the abortion center, the people that work there. But even as cars are passing by, maybe you see one person you recognizethat car. Maybe they're they're the person that flips you off of everyday going to work or whatever. Maybe they're just somebody that God's put onyour heart to pray for. Pray for that person. Just take that timeto spend in prayer. Redeem that time as a lot of ways you canreading that time. Yeah, I will say this is something I wanted tomention earlier and just kind of get a little side track. Didn't mention it, but if you've been maybe your team lead is told you, Hey,I want you to hold this position. You know, I know in atone of the abortion clinics in southern California there's folks that minister on the Frontside of the parenthood building and then there's folks that minister around the backside,because people go in and out both both areas. Mostly they come out inthe back and in the front side and you know, maybe on the frontside there's not a whole lot of interactions at the end of the day.You know in most the interactions happen around the back. The temptation can be, even though you've been asked to be out in front, is like I'mbored here, so let me go around back. And for me, becausethat is a temptation for me, if I'm maybe up the street a littlebit on the trobe and there's action taking place down there, I want toI want to abandon that post, yeah, and go down where the action is. Often Times, though, as soon as I band in that post, as soon as I go around behind the build instead of in the frontof the building where I was asked to be, inevitably a car pulls up. I'm miss an interaction. Exactly what? Don't let that be you take takeme as an example not to follow.

Stay firm. Now, God hastaught me. Stay where you've been asked to be. Yeah, bethere, unless, of course, you got to go to the bathroom orsomething like that. Right, but be there. Be Faithful in that.You can. God will honor that. Yeah, especially if you're you knowyou've been asked to be there. It's they didn't ask you to stay inthat position just to be mean to you. It's because it's a necessary position.So stand firm and what your leadership is told you and asked you todo and with the Lord has called you to do, got to honor it. Yeah, that's great and and of course, one of the most famousverses and in Jeremiah, think it's in Jeremiah twenty nine, for I knowthe plans that I have for you to clears the Lord, plans for welfareand not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope, andI think we apply that often times to the people that were ministering to,but I think we also need to apply it to ourselves. God has aplan for us. In the position that we're at, we he has plannedthat are again to to work out his good purposes and the we should befaithful to trusting him that wherever he is placed us is where we're supposed tobe and something wonderful will happen if we remain true to that. I knowwhat I tell the people that go up the street. We often give thatexample here at the trope. That's maybe the boringest, yeah, and maybenot, but I actually like it. It's one of my favorites. ButI what I will tell them. As you may have not a single personstop. You may have zero interactions, but the one that does is goingto be critical because if someone stops up there, it often is a safeso maybe you're going to wait three months before it happens, but when ithappens it's a really important place for you to be. Yeah, absolutely.Does you know don't lose sight of that. Yeah, he's always there. Hereis another key point. That God is there, he's always working andhis plan will not fail. and One day the fruit of faithfulness will berevealed. You know, you said,...

...well, we walk by faith,not by sight. That is very true, but one day there will be sight. Yeah, one day it will be revealed and one day we're goingto find out that all those people that never spoke to us, that stillsaw us, that there was something planted in their life that later turned themtowards the Lord, so that there is a hope in a future also,and we will get to see, yeah, the the results of our faithfulness oneday. Yeah, absolutely, and I think kind of as we wrapthis up, another practical tip for you guys in the practical thing that youcan do is encourage each other. Yeah, because it can be so easy toget discouraged, and a way that we've encouraged the teams that are underus to do this is to create a social media group or some way ofcommunicating with each other where you can share scriptures, you can share encouragements and, you know, maybe you're you're at one of these kind of boring scenariosyou have some of these boring days you can see what God is doing andsome of the other days during the week or some of the other abortion centersin your city. It's a way for us to all stay connected in itand it's not easy always to remember because we deal with our own discouragement.It's not always easy to remember that we need to be encouraging each other becausewe want people to be encouraging to us right. But you know, sometimeswe're encouraged in our spirit is lifted. I can say that way when welift the spirits of others, when we encourage others, sometimes we're encouraged andyou know, we kind of create this culture within our sidewalk teams of encouragingeach other, of Hey, I see what you're doing, I see yourfaithfulness. God sees it, but I see it too and I'm blessed byit. Yeah, and you know, I'll say practically speaking and kind ofgive a shout out actually Elijah, who's over the window over abortion clinic,which is one of these abortion centers that's really boring here in Charlotte. It'sreally hard. It's high traffic area,...

...the building is far away from thesidewalk right and it's it's really hard to engage. They do have some engagementsfrom time to time, but it's really hard to sign. Ministry there isone of the most important. But I will say just that brother's faithfulness andbeing there for a long time really in Charlotte, that kind of has beenthe hidden the hidden place of darkness in our city. We all know aboutpretty see. Yeah, and we didn't really know that until we had aliesh out there. Yeah, I know you'd person centers kind of like youknow, it's the monstrosity, is the giant, it's the Goliath, it'smocking the children of Israel, right, like that story goes. The windowis kind of hidden over to the side. Yeah, and this brother has reallybeen faithful over the past couple of years being out there, being thatstandard, that that that light shining. And I'm telling you, I knowpractically, but also in faith, that there are babies, I don't knowhow many babies that are saved. Yeah, because of course the signs that areout there, but just his presence out there and the presence of theteam God's build a team, slowly but surely, out there on that sidewalk. Gosh, we're going to hear when we stand before the Lord. We'regoing to hear if babies that were saying. We're going to hear if people maybethey weren't even coming to the abortion clinic. Yeah, but we're justdriving by and never, never even knew it was an abortion clinic. Right. But women that are considering abortion, maybe they're on their way to theirjob or whatever, and they see elies out there, they see his teamout there, they see the signs that are out there and they turn awayfrom abortion before they even for they even really know that they were even planningon making an appointment exactly. And again, that's that's walking by faith and notby sight, and that brother doesn't he does it well, and sojust wanted to give a shout out to him because of that as a blessing. It's an encouragement for all of you guys across the country. You're there, maybe you're one of these abortion centers like latrobe, where it's crazy andyou're intimidated by that and that's getting a...

...little discouraging, or maybe kind ofthe opposite end of the spectrum, mirror, one of these abortion centers where,you know, maybe patients are just trickling in. There's not a wholelot of places or times where you can engage with the people going in whatGod has called you to. Be Faithful in it. God will honor it. Do it by faith and put it in God's hands and don't give up. I think the final lesson that all of us have to remember is don'tgive up. Don't don't quit because it's not the exciting, you know missionthat that you thought it would be, or for any reason. Don't giveup. Don't quit. Jeremiah did not, and in the end he he wasfaithful through all those years, and that that should be us as well. Don't, don't give up. Finish the race that God has called youto, no matter what. Yeah, Amen. Yeah. Well, guys, we appreciate you listening to this podcast episode. We'd appreciate if you wouldshare this episode. Maybe it will be an encouragement a challenge for someone.Maybe it's an encouragement and challenge for you and you know that someone else willbe blessed by it. Share it with your team, if you have asidewalk team where you serve and reach out to us if you have questions.Maybe have other subjects you'd like for us to cover. We'd love to tryto cover those subjects. You can reach me, Daniel at Love Life DotOrg. You can reach her, Vicky at Love Life Dot Org. Anduntil next time, God bless God, bless Y'all our love for love.Give me our love for gratitude. I know it will cost me my life. Nothing's too precious in some you.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (132)