The mood in Athens seemed a little gloomy on this beautiful Saturday evening, which is expected after suffering their second loss in two weeks. With yet another season, which the fans had high hopes for, seemingly being dismantled in two short weeks, that is understandable. Especially for those who seem to eat, sleep and breath UGA football. When we arrived the Tuba Section was already on the bridge doing their thing with a decent crowd gathered around to listen.
After set up we prayed and I began to preach.
With the somber like atmosphere it was easier than normal to preach and at some times I felt as though I was too loud because of the low crowd noise. It wasn’t that there were fewer people than normal, they had just lost some excitement after being let down by their team two weeks in a row. There were a few people that came by and spouted off some things but I tried to ignore them and continue with the preaching. While hecklers are sometimes good for drawing a crowd, they do not seem to have that effect on the bridge before football games. People farther down the bridge from us, who cannot hear the hecklers right by me, might get the impression that I am too harsh or condescending when all they hear is my response to the heckler. Therefore, I have determined to either cover the microphone if I feel I can have a good conversation with them or just ignore them and preach on, so to speak. I was somewhat successful in doing this but it will take some discipline and practice.
At one point there was a guy with a DSLR camera videoing or taking pictures of me. I didn’t mind but at one point he was pretty close and it was a bit of a distraction. Then there were three guys who stopped right in front of me and would repeat words that I would say. After a few minutes when I didn’t respond to them they went on their way. I was hoping they would stay around and listen longer but I wasn’t going to stop what I was doing to address them.
Later I was reading John and a young man came up and stood in front of me and said, “give it to me!” I cannot remember what verse I had just read but it was perfect, so I told him what the verse said. He replied, “So we’re all born with a sin nature?” I said, “yes, that’s why Jesus came and died so that we could be forgiven.” He said. “So can I come back from sin?” I assured him he could through repentance and faith and he went on his way.
There were several people with encouraging words as well. Our US Congressman and his wonderful wife even stopped by with encouraging words. Another man stopped when Bobby, Hannah and myself were on a break and shook my hand, asking me how I was, like he knew me, but I have no clue who he was. 🙂
You get all kinds of responses and reactions out at the games. I had no clue, until I actually went out and began doing street ministry years ago, what it was like out there in the world. Sometimes we sit in our churches and fellowship with one another, hang out with our Christian friends, without ever really engaging the culture and lost people with the Gospel. It is a wonderful ministry to go out into the highways and hedges and compel the lost to come into the kingdom. There will always be those who discourage, even some Christians will critique and criticize what you are doing and that’s okay. The important thing is to keep the focus on Christ. Religious people were always critical of what He and the Apostles did so do not let that discourage you. That isn’t to say we shouldn’t accept wise council and examine ourselves if someone comes to us with a sincere concern. We just have to understand not everyone will be encouraging and drive on with the mission of reaching the lost for Christ! The blessings far outway the criticism!
1 Peter 3:14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed.
A shot of the crew for the day!
Until All Hear!