After the Super Bowl trip to San Francisco it was difficult to get back in the groove, ministry wise. I guess I just let life get in the way or maybe I just needed some time to back up and reflect.
The first Friday night was rainy and we didn’t really think there would be many people out in Athens. As it happened, we had a pretty interesting night. As I began to preach, a young man walked up and asked some questions about the trustworthiness of the Bible so I stopped preaching and began to discuss the matter with him. As we were talking another young man came up and started interjecting things that were not really relevant to the conversation. Then another guy came up and got right up in my space saying crazy stuff. So my conversation began with a young man who had sincere questions, got off track with a guy trying to get it off topic and ended with a guy who made no sense at all.
Anyway, Peter began talking with the first two guys and I was left with the other guy. I was still standing on my stool and as we were talking he gave me a gentle push but not hard enough to push me off the stool. At that point I thought it was a good idea to step down, so I did. He called me everything from a pig farmer to things I cannot say here, but I tried to hang in there to get to the Gospel. At another point he pushed me again off of the edge of the curb but it was a weird almost gentle push like he was testing the water. He had already told me a couple of times that he wanted to punch me and each time I asked him why he wanted to be violent when we were just having a conversation and he would calm down and continue the conversation. Finally I thought we were getting somewhere as he opened up and told me he was a good child until his parents split up and then everything went to hell. I lovingly tried to get him to see that he was responsible for his own actions and was accountable to God for his sin but he kept blaming everything on his parents. I tried to help him understand and at some point I guess he got angry and decided to take a swing at me. I was holding an umbrella because of the rain and his fist struck the umbrella which absorbed most of the shock and then either the umbrella or his fist made contact with my jaw. At that point I knew our conversation was over. The first young man I was talking with saw it and came over and helped me scoot the guy on down the road. Although the next day I felt kind of like a wuss for not retaliating, I know it was not the right thing to do in this case. I wasn’t even sure the guy didn’t have a mental issue. I was mostly upset because he bent my umbrella. That was a first. In the 7 years I’ve been going to Athens and the time before that in Arizona I have never been punched.
So the other guy and I began to talk again. We discussed all sorts of things, but his main thing was that he wasn’t sure he could trust the Bible. We exchanged contact info because I wanted to send him a book to help him investigate the reliability of the Bible. So a couple of days later, I sent a text, asking for his address so I could send him the book. He responded and I was able to mail him an Evidence for Christianity book, a Hell’s Best Kept Secret CD and a 180 movie DVD. I checked in the next week to make sure he received the package and he did. I pray God uses it to help him see the trustworthiness of the word of God. That was another first. I’ve given my info to countless young people over the years but have never really had them respond, until now. I guess it just took a punch in the face 🙂
The very next week I was able to talk to a young man who had been hurt by his church. He began by yelling at the preacher who asked me to go talk with him. He felt like God had betrayed him because of the way the people in his church had treated him. We talked for a while and he asked me if I would pray that God would reveal Himself to him for 14 days. I agreed and promised to text him everyday so he would know I was praying for him. Everyday I prayed for him, sent a text letting him know, along with some encouraging Scripture. On day 11 I heard from him when he sent me a text and thanked me. He also told me he was going to start going to church with a friend. On the 14th day I let him know I would stop blowing his phone up every morning but that I was still praying for him and I was here if he needed anything. What had not happened in 7 years of ministry happened twice in 2 weeks.
The moral of the story is, Never, Ever Give Up!
The next week was pretty non eventful for me but this past Friday was interesting. Being earth day there was a concert in downtown Athens so there were some different folks out. I met a guy who called himself Peter the Rock. This Peter claimed to be a disciple of mother earth and then claimed to be a disciple of Jesus. Later in the evening he came back by and told me I was a good man and said he would lead me in the right direction. I thanked him for the offer but told him that was Jesus’ job and I would just stick with Him.
Earlier in the evening as Scott was preaching a woman came over and was extremely upset because Scott said Jesus was God. She kept yelling that the Bible said He was the son of God so He was not God. Several of the guys tried to speak with her about that but she just kept yelling and would not listen. Funny thing, a man with her, who was trying to get her to leave finally told us we needed to shut up and move on, but we had been there for a hour or so and she came to us. Shouldn’t she be the one moving along? That happens a lot. People will come and get angry with us and instead of just going on down the street will insist we need to leave. These are usually the tolerant folks who believe everyone should be able to do whatever they like, well, except for us. 🙂
There was another woman that came over and told us we were not to judge according to Romans 2:1 which states, “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.” Like Matthew 7, which is also quoted to us, this is speaking of hypocrisy when read in context. The thing that is interesting is this woman was doing the very thing she was accusing us of doing, which is usually the case.
On Saturday the 23rd, there was a nationwide protest against Planned Parenthood and I was able to join Bobby, Hannah and Scott in Lawrenceville for this. Bobby is at Planned Parenthood almost every week pleading with women not to take their babies into the murder mill known as Planned Parenthood. Although there is hard video evidence that Planned Parenthood not only kills babies but sells their body parts, people still support them.
Possibly the saddest part of the thing was the counter protest by PP. They had a huge banner that said, “Healthcare Happens Here.” Others were holding signs that read, “Stand Up for Choice” and “Don’t Take Away My Care”. First of all, killing babies is NOT healthcare. Second, what about the baby’s choice? Third, If Planned Parenthood closed its doors there would still be real healthcare provided for women. What the sign really means is “Don’t take away my right to have my baby murdered.”