Several months back, I posted a teaching and we have seen a wonderful response to the teaching and also a need for a followup.
Here it is:
Several months back, I posted a teaching and we have seen a wonderful response to the teaching and also a need for a followup.
Here it is:
November 24, 2012. Today I led a team of Christians to share the gospel with folks outside the Ohio State vs Michigan game. About 8 of us went to OSU’s campus from 8:45-11:45 am. I preached the entire time, while others passed out tracts or preached on another corner.
After watching the first three quarters of the game at home, 3 of us returned to campus to continue to share the gospel with the lost around 3:45pm. Considering we returned to the same corner, it was no surprise that several people asked, “Are you still here?” I love that we are recognized.
I decided to use Luke 2 as a springboard to some of my preaching today. I also read Psalm 34, Colossians 1, John 1, and 1 John 1 in the open air today, but I read the Christmas account numerous times. Click the preceding link to see whether it is ok for a Christian to celebrate Christmas.
Here is my attempt to embed one of the videos from preaching. It was essentially what is known as “stoplight” preaching, and so you will see me continuously repeat myself as I share the gospel with a new crowd every few minutes.
But toward the end of the video few things happen. For the first time in my preaching career, I was physically affected. A man comes up to me while I’m preaching and you hear him yell that I’m bad for Christianity. Then you can see him push me off my stool. This was the first time today that I was physically pushed from my stool. Although this man wasn’t very rough, you can even see that his own friends know what he did was wrong. Fast forward to the 13 minute mark to see when the more exciting action occurs.
Later that evening, at the corner of Lane Avenue and High Street I was again pushed from my stool. This time is was a much more aggressive push from a man who ran up to push me, so I saw it cominmg. I even braced myself for it and pushed back in an attempt to keep my balance. The significant part of the second encounter is that I was not preaching; I was simply reading the first chapter of 1 John. The simple public reading of God’s Word is enough to convict the hearts of men and draw out their hate – and, as I loudly pointed out to the man who “attacked me” as he ran away, public reading of God’s Word is enough to put men’s cowardice on display as well.
I do not entice people or say extreme things in order that I might elicit a reaction; I used to do that when I first started open air preaching. But today, on several occasions I used the opportunity afforded to me by the public display of evil and rebellion to call out sin. The filthy mouths of the women of Columbus, the hateful and blasphemous men, and the homosexual girls who put their affection for each other on display were not spared the public embarrassment they asked for with their behavior. They also were not spared an opportunity to hear of the forgiveness offered in Christ that I wished for them to receive.
Here is the video.
You will see in the background a woman standing with a couple of signs. These were pro-life signs which depicted an aborted baby and pro-life statements.
Near the end of the video, there is a time when people vocally protested the image on the anti-abortion sign. There are times in street preaching when calling out people for their sin and unrighteousness needs to be done in a dramatic fashion; clearly I believed this was one of those times.
For those of you who are concerned that I sounded “angry;” I was. I believe that I exhibited righteous anger against sin, and use language and a tone which was intended to bring conviction to evildoers and show defense for the innocent. Although I do not agree with the woman’s religious beliefs who held the sign, I agree with her belief that humans are worth protecting from conception, and I believe in she has a right to be there and to be treated with dignity. I watched this woman repeatedly yelled and cursed at, and even spit at once by a man. I am pleased that Christ gave me the courage and boldness to defend her as I loudly and boldly declared the men who committed these acts against her to be cowards. None of them returned to defend themselves.
I do appreciate the amazing amount of support that was given for this weekend. There were people who supplied food for the conference and prayer time we held at our church Friday night. A dear saint acted as a taxi for us throughout the day today; several others prepared lunch and supplied drinks for us between evangelistic trips; and my dear bride served people and cooked and cleaned for two straight days.
Most of all, my precious Lord and Savior Jesus Christ provided exceedingly and abundantly more than we could have asked. The answers to prayers were numerous. The appointments were divine; the fellowship was sweet; and the preaching was Christ-exalting, by His grace and power.
Here is the second video of the day:
September 1, 2012. The Redhawks of Miami University (not “The U”) are visiting Columbus to face off against Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes. The Tressel era is over. Memories of Appalachian State vs. That Team Up North swirl in my head. Hopefully, we’ll be ready to play.
But I had a different mission today than to watch football. Upon the urging of Bill Adams from Sports Fan Outreach International, and as a representative of Jesus Christ and Berean Baptist Church, I led a team of evangelists to the campus of The Ohio State University. After some back and forth, we finally agreed upon a time. Working around work schedules, we decided we’d arrive around 2:45, about 30 minutes before we’d expect the game to end, and stay until 6 or 7 to preach the gospel, distribute tracts and engage in one on one conversations.
My report below is intended to show you the surpassing power and love of God. His sovereignty, goodness and mercy were made manifest today in ways that are exceedingly and abundantly more than we could’ve hoped. Bear with my details and general wordiness, and try to enjoy the story in spite of my poor ability to transcribe it!
I am a firm believer that when you set out to serve the Lord you will face spiritual opposition. That is, you will encounter forces of the demonic who will try to thwart the mission. As difficult as this often makes life, I’ve found comfort in the opposition. I actually feel somewhat empowered in a sense, with an innate knowledge that the opposition means I’m clearly on the Lord’s side, the side I want to be on! Nevertheless, the point of the story is not to explain how I or we overcame any spiritual forces, but about how incapable I am against them. It is the power of Christ that overcomes spiritual wickedness; and God put that on display today, if only to humble us.
The story starts August 31st (Friday night). The plans are set. I’ll be picking up Matt at 1:30, meeting at Jerry’s; Jerry will pick up Fred and take us to campus. On my way home from coaching football, I have car trouble. I shut it off at a stoplight to restart it, it makes weird noise, but restarts. My daughter, Bailey, and I arrive home, but not before smelling smoke. We thought the car would explode!
So I wake up Saturday morning and my car won’t start…it won’t even turn over! Bless be the name of the Lord that allowed me to make it to my driveway the night before right before my car basically died. A call to AAA and a tow later, and I’m without a vehicle. I let Matt know he can drive. Sounds ok…except Matt’s life has been flipped upside down by family obligations last minute. Matt juggles it all and tells us he’ll meet us on campus. Jerry agrees to pick everyone else up. Joe, from Mansfield, is still on his way. All will be well, we suppose. I call the pastor to send out a prayer request to our congregation which he does right away. Then I call Tom Wilson, one of our deacons, and he prays for us and commits to continue. I feel like the Lord has already displayed His mighty hand! Even through the misfires, we are on track! Praise God. He has kept us faithful through all this and has enabled us to change our plans.
Now I realize I do not own a stool to stand on for preaching. So I find one I like online and call a friend to pick it up for me (remember, I’m without a car). Instead, Mary offers to simply bring me a stool which I can borrow! Now I have all the equipment I need; a stool, charged amp and speaker, microphone with new batteries, thousands of tracts, 27 bibles with our church information stuffed inside, a cooler of snacks and water, my personal bible and a Cleveland Browns poncho – excellent for covering boxes of bibles and our cordless speaker in the event of rain (and one really good looking combo of brown and orange as well).
The fellowship was sweet, as usual, as we made our way to Lane and Olentangy River Rd. As soon as we got there, Fred, Joe and I started passing out tracts. I immediately got into a great conversation with two young men from Lancaster who were raised Catholic, but understood the message of the gospel of grace. If I remember correctly, their names were Kyle and Ethan (sorry if you are reading this and I just got your name wrong!). If you are a brother or sister in Christ, please take a moment to pray for these two men.
— Michael A. Coughlin (@ABereanOne) September 2, 2012
I was sorta waiting for Matt to begin preaching; not sure what was holding him up. I finally stepped on the stool to preach. Very few people stopped to listen, but it was a stoplight scenario, so there were regularly 100 or so people waiting for a green light every 3 minutes for a good half an hour. Fred said he overheard someone say, “those guys were at the Super Bowl, too.” That made me chuckle!
Well, as usual, we met some “Christians.” One self-identified Christian girl gave me the middle finger and yelled F#6% you at me as I preached. I used this as an opportunity to talk about how when a person becomes a Christian, they begin to love righteousness and hate wickedness. I thank God for people like this young lady. She unwittingly drew attention to me and to my message of Christ’s glory, while embarrassing herself in her drunkenness. I remember when Ray Comfort said the best thing that can ever happen to you is a heckler; it makes sense to me now after some time preaching.
We spent a couple hours. The other major highlight was when the guys who drive the bicycles with the carriages on the back took exception to my message. They began to yell things about Satan and generally chuckle and snicker. They eventually got really close to me and cranked up some heavy metal. Again, thanks to God for bringing folks that close in order to draw attention to the message of grace and hope and forgiveness of sins which was being preached. I really enjoyed them, although I called them out a couple times as illustrations. I think they ended up pretty embarrassed by their own foolish behavior. I genuinely told them I wanted them to be forgiven of all their sins, including their attempt to thwart the preaching of God’s Word. May God grant them repentance (that’s the only way anyone exercises it).
Finally, Fred left to go home, and Joe and I still hadn’t found Matt! It turns out he was still stuck in traffic almost 2.5 hours later! Joe and I ambled to Lane and High, where there would be more foot traffic. By 6ish, Matt finally met us. Admitting he was parked illegally, we brainstormed and found a place where he could move his car. We recommended that he go to a gas station and buy a drink; Matt left. As Joe and I waited for him, I noticed Matt kept patting his pockets from across the street. I ran over to find he’d lost his wallet! He had just bought gas. We stopped and prayed. I prayed that the Lord would return Matt’s wallet to him, even if it was in a miraculous way. After a thorough car search, Matt left to go back to where he had bought gas an hour earlier.
As I made my way back across the street, I noticed my cellphone was missing! This was amazing. I had just finished speaking to Joe about spiritual warfare, and now it seemed like somehow someone was trying to prevent us from evangelizing! I went to where Matt had parked his car to look for his wallet and then look for my phone. I found neither. Eventually, I just went back to Joe and started preaching again. There were some people who had questions, and some people who just wanted to heckle, including a really inquisitive lady named Juliana. While discussing the gospel with a couple of young men, Matt walked up and handed me my phone. Praise God, I had just left it in his car when I searched for his wallet!
Matt had checked the gas station and it wasn’t there. So Matt, not realizing I had already checked, went back to his ‘illegal’ parking spot to check for his wallet. As he walked around hoping to find it, a man approached him covered head to toe in Michigan garb. “Are you Matt?” he asked. Matt instantly knew the guy must have had his wallet. What a miracle! Had Matt not planned to buy a drink, he may not have noticed his wallet was missing, and had I kept my cellphone, I may have let him know not to check the parking lot where he ultimately ran into this guy! Matt said, “We gotta root for Michigan tonight!”
Now, having seen the Lord answer prayer and overcome all these things on our behalf, we continued to evangelize for a bit. We got into a long conversation with Juliana who had much disagreement with the bible. Please pray she will have her eyes opened to God’s truth. She was enjoyable to talk to, but I had the feeling at the time and even more so now, that she was just a stall tactic. She occupied our time for a while…and I’m not sure the conversation was entirely fruitful. It actually ended with her saying “Shame on you,” to us and returning the bible we had given her that she had put in her bag.
One other quick anecdote: One young man told us absolute truth did not exist. I asked him if that was absolutely true. He said, “Yes.” When confronted by the fact that his statement was self-refuting, he just sorta got annoyed and walked away. It bothered him that we confessed to have the only message of truth about God.
All in all, it was an excellent day. I still do not have a car until Tuesday, but Matt’s nightmare ride around campus and lost wallet fiasco are all history. Joe was encouraged and encouraged us; and Fred…well Fred’s always just happy to go out. I trust the Lord did wonderful things in the hearts of men and women today. I hope he allows us to see some of those things in this life.
If you are still reading, you are a dear person. I suspect I’d have stopped by now, citing the unnecessary details and general wordiness of the author!
On May 5, 2012, I was given the great privilege of speaking to a group from Street Guardians LE MC. This is a group of bikers who came out to support the Armor of God project. Here is the written version of my speech. I will post the video when it is available. It differs slightly, as I took the liberty to adjust my speaking as it seemed fitting at the time.
I would like to thank everyone for being here on behalf of Travis Yates, director of 10-4 Ministries, all the supporters of 10-4 Ministries, future vest recipients and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jaime Padron joined the United States Marine Corp the summer he graduated high school in 1989. While in the Marine Corp, he received numerous recognitions, commendations and medals for serving his country honorably. He was a Veteran of Desert Storm and a very proud Marine. He graduated from San Angelo Police academy in 1995 and bravely served the City of San Angelo for over 13 years as a patrol officer and also served as a member of the gang unit and a narcotics investigator. Jaime received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with a supporting degree in Criminal Justice, graduating with honors from Angelo State University in 2004 all while working a full time job and raising a family. He was a compassionate and caring man, who loved spending quality time with his family and his every devotion in life was for his daughters.
According to his obituary, he had a passion for Harley Davidson motorcycles and loved riding often and collecting memorabilia.
Jaime Padron joined the Austin Police Department around 2009. It was in his capacity as an officer for the Austin Police Department the he responded to a routine call on April 6, 2012; a call about a drunk man inside a Walmart around 2:30 a.m. When Padron arrived, the suspect tried to run for the front door and Padron tackled the man. As they fell to the ground, the suspect, Brandon Montgomery Daniel, produced a semi-automatic pistol and shot Padron at point blank range. Jaime was able to call for help using his police radio, after being wounded.
According to Police Chief Art Acevedo, “This was a routine call. What makes our job deadly is that there is no routine call.”
According to Brandon Daniel’s mother, he had been taking the anti-anxiety drug Xanax and drinking tequila. She said he had been acting unusually in recent months since a bitter breakup. He has no apparent memory of the event taking place.
Just a few weeks ago, Padron left a tactical unit to begin an overnight patrol shift, a move his former supervisor said he made so he could spend more time with his two daughters, ages 10 and 6. We will get back to the story of Jaime Padron in a minute.
The primary goal of the Armor of God project, Vest for Life and 10-4 Ministries is to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. The other deeds we do are secondary. The biggest question anyone can ask themselves is “where will I spend eternity.” We intend to help people find the answer to that question, and that answer comes from scripture.
According to the bible, and this can be confirmed with some simple self-examination, we are all born sinners. That means that our very nature when we are born is to sin. It doesn’t mean we never do nice things or love people, but it does mean that we have a natural inclination to rebel against God’s laws. Think about it, we are natural lawbreakers: have you ever just looked over a pond and thought how beautiful it was? But if you see a sign that says, don’t throw rocks in the pond…doesn’t it sorta seem to make you want to throw a rock into the pond? Hmm, maybe that’s only me, like I said, I’m in club sinner too.
Some examples of sins are lying, stealing, disobeying your parents, coveting other people’s possessions, murder and adultery. Many of you may think you’ve never committed adultery or murder, but according to Jesus, simply having lust for someone who is not your spouse makes you an adulterer in your heart and simply hating someone without cause makes you a murderer in your heart.
So here’s the problem. God is Good. Of course, most of us wouldn’t think that is a problem, but it is you see, because since God is Good, that means that God is Just. Since God is Just, that means he has to do something with sinners. Like a good judge in an earthly court, God is compelled by His own perfect nature to punish sin. Because our sin has been committed against an infinitely holy God, He has created a place we call hell for sinners to suffer eternally for their sins. Look, even a single sin against God is punishable, even the ones we consider “little.”
This is horribly bad news. Sinners, that is, people like you and me are on a very dark road. The end is punishment. Anything we do to try to change God’s mind, or get him to turn away from our sin is seen as an act of bribery. Think about it, you don’t forget that someone stole money from you just because they feed a bunch of homeless people and spend the rest of their life not stealing. Religious rituals and good works cannot take away sin.
But God who is Good and Just is also rich in Mercy and Kindness! He made a way. Since we could not pay for our own sins, but he so loved the world, He sent his only son, Jesus Christ. Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life and died a brutal death to fulfill God’s eternal plan to redeem sinners. When he resurrected from the dead, he showed that he had power over sin and death. His command is that you must repent of your sin and trust him alone for salvation. You must be born again to enter the kingdom of Heaven. This is a call for all men, women and children to have faith that Jesus is Lord and that God has raised him from the dead. This is the gospel. You can have all your sins forgiven. Your sin can be transferred to the cross, and Jesus’ righteousness imputed, or transferred, to you by this act of God. God the Father punished the Son in the place of sinful men like me, and He sends His Holy Spirit to guide you and remind you of Christ’s promise to never leave you nor forsake you once you are truly His. This is good news. You cannot and do not need to work to earn God’s favor. It is offered as a free gift…like the vests you are here to provide for men and women everywhere! This is why we do what we do. We’ve been given so much, and freely we desire to give back.
Next let me read a portion of scripture from the New Testament. (I’ve combined two passages, you can read them straight through).
Luke 7:2-9 2 Now a centurion had a servant who was sick and at the point of death, who was highly valued by him. 3 When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant. 4 And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, 5 for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.” 6 And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. 7 Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. 8 For I too am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 9 When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” Matthew 8:11-12 11 I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, 12 while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Very quickly, I want to share the point of this scripture. This man, this centurion exhibited two vital aspects that we all must understand. He showed humility and faith. This centurion, you need to understand was outside the people of God. At this time, only the Jews were the people of God. Everyone else was outside. This centurion really seemed to understand who Jesus was, the long awaited messiah.
A few things I want to note:
Some of you have already understood these things. Praise God! Some of you, this may be the first time you’ve heard this message. You’re thinking, “I thought I was just going to eat some wings and try to get some OSU stuff. That’s ok. I believe God put you here for a reason so you could hear this message.
And some of you may be quite offended at this point. Maybe you think I stepped on your religion, or your beliefs, or even Jaime Padron. Trust me, this isn’t easy to do, nor is it my desire to offend. My temptation is to only say things to tickle your ears so that you would like me and want to support the vest program. But real love tells the truth. And the truth is that some of you have believed in a false Jesus. You’ve believed in a Jesus who requires you to perform religious rituals to add to the work he did on the cross for you, and some of you, on the other end of the spectrum have believed in a Jesus that universally forgave your sins because you said a prayer or asked him into your heart, and now you freely sin under the presumption of forgiveness.
Neither of these are the Jesus of the bible. That is who I am representing, and however poorly I may do it.. I share because I care. I don’t know you, but I love you, and I desire for you to taste and see the grace of God as I have. A sinner condemned, nothing to offer, saved by grace.
Now I want you to imagine Brandon Montgomery Daniel in jail or prison somewhere. Remember him, he shot and killed Jaime Padron, a faithful officer of the law and loving father of 2 young girls. Imagine this man Daniel is in an Austin jail and someone comes to him and shares this message of hope and grace. He learns what I’ve told you today, that faith in Christ washes ALL our sins away. He has a change of heart. This murderer turns from sin and professes Christ as Savior and Lord of his life.
At that moment, Brandon Montgomery Daniel would be sealed forever by God to spend eternity in Heaven based on the righteousness of Christ. His sins are paid for on the cross and the resurrection seals his justification before God. How does that make you feel? Really, imagine this murderer freely enjoying eternity without punishment.
If this angers you, then you don’t love grace. There is still a part of you that thinks men can and should be able to earn favor with God. Please examine yourselves. I didn’t come here to be a downer; I came here because where YOU will spend eternity is important to me and it is of paramount importance to me that Jesus receives all the praise for all the good that any man does.
A few notes.
Thanks. I hope you don’t think I’m trying to appeal to your emotions for support. I desire that you make an informed decision with your money. We are honored if you find our ministry worthy of support of Praise God for you. Your support means so much to so many. A vest costs in the thousands of dollars, and the men and women who need them are not wealthy people. Many are part time or volunteers. The entire ministry is made up of unpaid volunteers and I can promise you that your donations will be used to support the ministry resources and get vests to people who need them.
We have resources here as well. Maybe you are hurting and could use biblical counseling, or you know someone who could. Please stop by our table and sign the prayer sheet and email mailing list. Berean Baptist Church is happy to pray for you and minister to your needs. Thanks for listening and supporting the Armor of God project.
For more information, visit VestForLife.com
I planned to go out witnessing the first Saturday of 2012. My initial plan was to go to my normal fishing spot, downtown Columbus. There is plenty of foot traffic in the “bar district” to provide a lot of opportunity to distribute tracts and get into witnessing encounters.
But last night, as I was on my way out, (without my usual partner), I decided I’d try to stay closer to home. A large part of the Saturday night downtown witnessing is the fellowship in the car. And the Marcus Cinema Pickerington is only a couple miles from my local church, so I am always hopeful that if a convert was made there, they would be able to come to Berean Baptist Church as well!
As I pulled into the parking lot, I saw the theater building emptying quickly! I figured a movie must have just finished. I hurriedly parked my car and jumped out, excited to share the gospel. Popped opened the trunk and, voila!, no tract bag. I ALWAYS keep a tract and bible bag in the car! Alas, not tonight. So I walked toward the theater entrance with only the tracts that are “customarily” kept in my coat, about 40 of them.
I was walking toward the large entrance when I saw a couple of young men coming out the “side” exit. I strolled over and offered them tracts. Their names were Markell and Anthony. They are juniors at the local high school. I asked them standard questions about what they think happens after death; Anthony has a church background. They were both happy to talk. Anthony had a “mildly” strange belief that you go to 1 of 3 heavens. He said there was a heaven for people who accept Jesus and remain sinless, a lesser heaven for people who accept Jesus and still sin, and a third heaven for everyone else: which he said was basically hell. I had never heard anything like this before. I asked them what happens to a good Hindu boy who is raised Hindu and never hears of Jesus, and they were quite sure that boy would go to Heaven. When I explained the contradiction in their own “theology,” they understood and seemed interested in resolving the conflict. They each admitted to several sins and understood all the courtroom analogies about the good judge and the Judge of the earth doing what is Right. I explained to them about the glorious grace of Christ and challenged them to read the book of John: just 1 chapter a day. They agreed. Hopefully, the Lord will save them by his gospel.
One of the interesting notes of this conversation was their belief that people are born “basically good.” I explained to them about Adam and Eve and original sin and why we are all born sinners. This gave me opportunity as well to talk about the virgin birth. Praise God for the only consistent worldview, a biblical one. I honest can’t imagine how many cultists keep track of the lies they believe. But getting to talk about Adam and Eve was a blessing, because it allowed me to bring up the fact that there is only one race, the human race. These two young men, as well as most everyone I met last night would be commonly considered “black” and I would certainly be called “white.” I hope that being able to communicate to them that I believe we are essentially cousins through Adam and Eve greases any friction they may sense due to “racial” problems we’ve brought upon ourselves in our culture.
I then ran into Chris and Tiara. Obviously a ‘teen date-night.’ Chris was wearing an ornate rosary. I stopped him and asked him what it meant to him. I was, admittedly, shocked when he had no idea what a rosary is really for or what it represents. His girl was proud to point at it and say it “has Jesus on it.” So I asked them who they thought Jesus was and eventually got them to go through a good person test. Chris had a lot of trouble admitting sin or even keeping eye contact with me. Tiara is a professed Christian. Neither of them had any idea how they would obtain forgiveness, but Tiara seemed to know it had something to do with repentance and Jesus. I left them with tracts and a challenge to believe the gospel.
I continued to hand out tracts and finally made it near the large theater entrance. TEENS EVERYWHERE. I approached a couple young boys named Dayquan and DeBron. Another Dayquan and a boy named Christian eavesdropped as well. These kids were extremely interested in the entire conversation. Even when distracted, they kept coming back to the conversation. Dayquan (1), after the gospel presentation, indicated that he had been baptized. It always amazes me when right after a gospel conversation, people seem to have no idea what I just told them. I reminded him that salvation was offered by grace through faith alone and I trust the Spirit of God can and will use His gospel to regenerate the hearts of these young men if they are of His elect. I wasn’t trying to boast, but at one point in the conversation I was trying to communicate how important this message is. I told them that the message itself, and their souls, was so important to me that I was missing time with my wife, “and the Lions game,” I said. At that point, I realized how really low I God had to reach to pull me out of the gutter…I am sortof a Lions fan. 😉
I was pleased that these guys were apparently friends with Chris and Tiara, who came back. They chuckled when they saw their friends talking to me. Praise God that they all allowed me to pray for them (as did Anthony and Markell) as we stood in a circle in public. I can tell you I would have NEVER let some freak pray for me in public when I was in high school!
Finally, I found another group of teens “milling about.” As I approached them I reaching into my pocket and pulled out my tracts. Upon seeing this, these guys (who must be from a rough neighborhood?), sorta “freaked out.” I realized what they thought and I made a joke about a guy “pulling out a piece in public.” One of the guys laughed and said, “M0t4er f***er just said ‘pull out a piece!'”
This isn’t exactly mind-blowing. Of course, I personally try to avoid profane language (eph 5:29), but what is most interesting to know at this point is that during the course of the conversation with these 4 guys (Montrel, Doug and two unnamed individuals), I found out they all go to the same church. Salvation is by grace, but I don’t imagine God’s people using that type of language, at least not for long. When I asked them about what happens when they die, they said that they either go to hell, or if they get the “holy ghost” they can go to Heaven. I asked them how to get the holyghost. They weren’t sure, but Montrel had recently gotten baptized, which he indicated was a step in the right direction. This was a tough bunch, distracted through the conversation, proud of the fact they were ‘presently lusting’ and disruptive to the point that I sternly chastised the one young man to simply be quiet. I told him that if he did’t care about his own soul, that was ok, but I cared about it and maybe his friends cared about their own. I thanked him afterward for controlling himself.
I finished off all my tracts and took my frozen fingers to my car and returned to my wife. It was really a wonderful experience, and I hope the Lord will save one or many of these young people. I was really impressed overall and had a fun time talking to young people. Thanks be to God for the opportunity and for His wonderful faithfulness.