6 men were able to labor October 28 for the Lord and lost in Columbus Ohio. Caleb Davenport, Kurtis Gould, Travis Jackson and I preached while Chase Vendley and Kenton Gould handed out tracts. It was a sub-40 degree day which started out rainy. But we prayed earnestly that God would keep the rain away and He graciously answered the prayer. We drove to Ohio State at 11am with windshield wipers on, and by the time I parked my van the rain had stopped and didn’t restart. I want to publicly thank the Lord for his kindness to us that day. It was the first cold day, but that is something we are used to in Ohio. The way I see it, if fans will go to the game, I will too. Although I immediately ordered a box of 40 hand warmers when I got home for future games!
On the way there, I asked Kurtis, “Why would you to want to go evangelize in freezing rain?” He responded, “The same reason as when the weather is nice, the get the gospel out.” <<–Praise the Lord for that faithfulness!
Here are some pictures and commentary about the day, with a special providential surprise at the end. If you click the pictures it will open larger versions of them in a new tab which you can close to return to the article. We started, as always, with the singing of gospel hymns and prayer.
Above you can see a photo of Caleb preaching with Kurtis standing by him. We like to have someone near the preacher, not only in case of an type of physical incident, but also to help if needed. For example, if a person is clearly trying to obstruct the preaching, that person can distract a person who is just causing the preacher problems. Or if the preacher decides to stop preaching to talk to someone who is responding to the gospel, that person can begin preaching. We only have a few hours to preach so we try to fill it up.
Above you can see a picture of the crowd. Basically from 2-3 hours prior to kickoff until 15 minutes before kickoff there is a constant stream of people like this. Every 5-7 minutes the crowd moves along as the police operate the stoplights.
In the below picture you can actually see Chase handing out tracts. There is a teeny tiny arrow pointing to Chase. Click to picture to see it. You can also see just to the right of the middle of the photo there is a street vendor selling knit caps. His set up for the caps is in the shape of a cross. He was mocking the gospel and shouting “Be saved…from the cold!” But in his mocking many people heard “Be saved!” and we rejoice that God may use that to cause His elect to think about their need of salvation. And we also know that this man was in earshot of several hours of preaching, and Travis made sure he received a tract. May Jesus receive the reward!
In this photo, Caleb is preaching and you can see the man on the right reading a tract he was give by Chase or Kenton. It has become rare in my experience to see people actually stop to read the tracts (although I still hope some read them just not in my sight). So I told Travis, “Why don’t you go try to talk to him?” Below you can see Travis engaging the man with the gospel. At one point the man was actually weeping. Travis has a kind heart and a peaceful spirit. Pray that this man might receive Christ or if he already has that he would maybe come back and join us in reaching others!
In the photo below this man came up while Kurtis was preaching and asked Kurtis for his favorite Scripture. As men, we can only judge outward appearance, and not hearts, but this man appeared oppositional to Kurtis in his tone and posture. When Kurtis didn’t immediately tell him his favorite passage, the man said something like “There are a lot of false prophets out here. If you’re going to do this, you need to know the Word.”
I’m protective of my team, maybe to a fault, and Kurtis is only 17 years old, so I stepped over and tried to reason with the guy. I told him that Kurtis not having a favorite scripture off the top of his head was no indicator that Kurtis is a false teacher or doesn’t know the Word of God. The man was unkind and made some more comments which could only be construed as rude, while telling us he was just trying to inspire Kurtis. It was odd, but I was bothered that the preaching was interrupted for such a strange encounter.
After a minute, Kurtis told the guy he likes Philippians. We explained to the man that although he said he was trying to help us it just didn’t come across as supportive. These are the kinds of things you encounter regularly. Questions weigh on your mind with each encounter like “Should we have just had another person start preaching and let Kurt engage the fellow?” “Should I have kept out of it and let Kurtis handle it?” “Was I kind in my responses to him or too accusatory?”
As I said earlier, I do not want the preaching to stop and even a seemingly honest question from someone can interrupt the preaching to the point where many walking by will not hear the gospel. At the same time, the soul in front of us matters also, we we try to be strategic and wise and we hope that God will grant us wisdom and discernment! Pray for us, will you?
One thing that was notable to me that day was that I did not see a particular ticket scalper who I usually see. I have been going to the same corner for years now, and I have gotten to know various vendors and scalpers. One of them I even recognized when I was at a different event where he was selling tickets and he recognized me too and hugged me. Well, I did not see him this Saturday and it actually disappointed me.
But that evening, I went to a local place called Wingstop to get my wife and I some wings. As I got out of my car, I saw that same scalper! He said hello and hugged me and I asked him where he was that day and he said he was at a different location. We chatted for a moment and I found out his name and that we have at least one mutual friend from his church. Then as I was getting ready to pick up my order, he stepped up and paid for my chicken wings. I thanked him and he said, “You bless a lot of people, so I’m blessing you right now. Keep it up.” Praise the Lord for his providential timing and the gift of chicken wings for my bride and me!
One thing you can consider is that when you watch the games, you can look at the faces of the fans and know that many of them received the gospel. As I watched fans storm onto the field after OSU’s comeback victory, all I could think was “that’s my mission field.” Pray for a harvest, dear Christian!
Finally, I uploaded this video to give people an idea of what it is like preaching. There are distractions galore: sirens, people periodically shouting, and a constantly moving crowd at sporting events.
We ought pray for preachers of righteousness that the Holy Spirit would give them wisdom and unction to preach as He would have them preach.