Category Archives: Random Thoughts From the Street

Human Rights Festival 2018-Athens, GA

There is a human rights festival every year in Athens. This years was typical, I suppose.

On Saturday it was, for all intents and purposes an LCBTQ fest, complete with drag queens and an MC that asked the crowd how many straight people, homosexuals, lesbians, tri-sexuals and freaks were in the audience, to cheers from the crowd. As the Professor (Rich) said, it was “a case study in Romans 1” on display right in front of us. Due to the noise level we did not preach but had signs speaking to the rights of the unborn. The signs generated some good conversations. I had one such conversation with a gentleman that seemed to be prompted, by my sign, to consider the rights of the unborn. It seems, in the good ole USofA, we have so “normalized” abortion and “de-humanized” the unborn that people have to be reminded the “fetus” is an actual human being before they can even rightly think about what abortion is, the murder of a child. Hopefully our presence, at least, created some thought in the minds of a society that has numbed itself to the plight of the unborn babies.

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I had another long conversation with a man, his name escapes me, that was very reasonable but could not commit to unborn babies having the right to life, especially when it came to cases of rape. I agreed with him that it would be a tough situation but the question remains, should a child be executed for the crimes of his father?

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On Sunday I was back at the festival with Rich, Chike and Mike. Bobby also stopped by for a few minutes after his return from Kentucky. Sunday was not like Saturday at all. There were bands and climate change speakers and also an open mic time where they gave people 3 minutes to talk about whatever they wanted. Rich actually had 3 minutes to share a bit about his journey from Atheist UGA professor to Christian Apologist. There was also a lady who spoke about how we have known that extraterrestrials have been visiting us since 1900 and that we have the technology to time travel. Like I said, 3 minutes to speak about anything you wanted.

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There was a speaker who gave a lot of statistics, one of which was the number of people that would die due to climate change. Although I am no expert, I have to wonder how that can even be scientifically predicted, with any reasonable amount of accuracy. There was also a sign on the stage during the entire festival that read, “STOP ALL WARS”. Now that may seem like a good idea, but I think it implies and assumes a lot. First, it implies that there is no such thing as a just war. If they could speak, I believe there are 6 million or so jews that would beg to differ. The assumption is that ALL wars are evil and could, and should, be avoided. There is another implication that , as a veteran, I take offense to. Now, I’m not a snowflake and didn’t have to go find a safe place to cry through it, but I was offended by this sign because it also implies that all soldiers are warmongering murderers. I believe it is well known that nobody hates war more that a combat veteran. They have a first hand experience to speak from. When they say “we should never go to war”, I take that to heart, because they are speaking from an experiential position and not from an agenda driven one. I will say, the festival organizers certainly have a right to have the sign and think and say what they want.

Chike and I got to preach on the corner of College and Clayton during the festival on Sunday. I had a couple of ladies stop buy as I was preaching. One told me I should wear white instead of black because it shines the light better. Not sure what that really means. The other asked me if I thought the festival was all evil. I assured her that wasn’t the case, but did tell her that the Saturday night event was certainly a perversion of God’s design. She asked why and I explained that the entire night was a parade of homosexual perversion on the stage. She seemed puzzled, which puzzled me, since she had just told me a few minutes earlier that she was a minister. That’s a pretty broad term these days, so I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised.

The overall take away for me was that the event, at least for the hours I was there, totally ignored the unborn children we slaughter at the rate of over 3800 per day. They do not seem to have any rights, and yet, society demands special rights for the LGBTQ community.

Rich was correct. The festival, at least on Saturday night, was nothing more than Romans 1 on display.  

Footnote: I was informed by a person on the festival’s facebook page that there were in fact pro-life folks there and I believe they even had some time to speak from the stage. This had to have happened when we were not present, but I will take them at their word. I have no reason not to.

Until All Hear!

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Football Season Arrived in Athens Sept 2

Appalachian State vs UGA 9/2/17

We arrived at Sanford Stadium about 3pm. There was a pretty good crowd already on the bridge so Scott, Chike and I set up, prayed and I began to preach as they passed out Gospel Tracts.

I was preaching from Ephesians 5 on how marriage is designed to be a picture of the relationship between Christ and His church, and used that as a transition to the Gospel.

After I had been preaching for a while, the UGA tuba section came out on the bridge, as they do before every game, and played a bit. That was a little distracting but I managed to work through it. After they were done, a couple of guys came out, just up the street from us with a huge bullhorn, and began preaching so we had to work through that as well.
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Scott preaching at Sanford Stadium as Chike, Bobby, Hannah, Eden and Lydia offer Gospel tracts to fans. 9/2/17

Bobby, Hannah, Eden and Lydia arrived and Scott began to preach while the rest of us were offering Gospel Tracts to the fans walking by. Scott shared the Gospel and pleaded for people to repent and trust the Savior. Chike preached next and I went down to the Tate center, where the foot traffic was heavy, to pass out tracts.

There was a large crowd at the game so hundreds and maybe thousands heard the Gospel and hundreds of Gospel tracts were given away.
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Near the end a young college student came and appeared to be pondering doing something to our amp so I asked him if he was considering touching our equipment. He stated that since we were out there preaching(he called it something else) he had the right to touch our equipment because it was freedom of speech. I tried to help this highly educated college student understand that the First Amendment did not give him the right to damage someone’s personal property just because he didn’t like what they were saying. Hopefully he wasn’t a law student. 🙂

He insisted he wanted to watch the game and we were annoying him so I suggested he purchase a ticket and go inside the stadium. He suggested I do the same. When I told him we were not there to watch the game he asked me what we were there for. I told him we were there to preach the Gospel so he asked me to tell him what the Gospel was.

I thought the door had opened but as soon as I started explaining the Gospel he shut me down yelling, “Y’all are stupid because you don’t believe in abortion!” Where’d that come from? He ranted about that and Scott joined the conversation, but there was no reasoning with the young man. It deteriorated to the point where he started making very inappropriate remarks about my wife, which hasn’t happened in all the years I’ve been involved in street evangelism, until recently.

A couple of weeks ago in Athens another young guy did the same thing. Neither of them has ever met my wife and she was not with me on either occasion so I shouldn’t take it personally, but that’s one thing that I do not tolerate well. I mention this as a prayer request. Please pray that I will handle those situations better.

FYI, I did not beat the boy or hit him but I did, on both occasions, let them know they should be glad I was a Christian, because the old me would be beating them for saying that. See why I need prayer?

Pray for those who received the Gospel!

Until All Hear!

Alex

It’s Football Season!

It’s football season! DCIM100GOPRO You might think this is a strange way to begin a ministry blog so let me explain.  While I am a football fan, my excitement is not born out of a desire to watch my favorite teams play.  In fact I may not watch a game all year, since we do not have cable in our home.  Okay,  I will probably find a way to watch a few games. I am excited none the less because of the great opportunity football season creates!  For example, our local university has a stadium that holds around 93,000 fans.  Although they do not invite me in to preach to the crowd J, all of those fans must get inside the stadium.  By placing myself strategically, I can place the Gospel in the hands of hundreds of people in a very short amount of time, through Gospel tracts.  There is also an awesome opportunity to share through preaching in the open air to hundreds and possibly thousands of people, as they walk by.  That is what really gets me excited about football season!

The fall semester has also started at the University of Georgia, therefore, the crowd in downtown Athens has grown.  On a typical Friday night 3-5 of us will gather on the corner of College and Clayton in the downtown district, or more accurately the bar district.  One of us will start the open air preaching of the Gospel while the others pass out Gospel tracts or talk with people.  The open air proclamation not only sends the Gospel forth but causes some to stop and talk.  There is a broad range of comments and conversations but I want to tell you about one I had last Friday.

I was the first person to preach thaMe 9.5.14t night and I decided to begin by reading James.  As I was reading, a young couple walks up to me so I stopped reading and engaged them.  They had been drinking but were very nice and even encouraging.

The young man began to tell me where he went to church and run down a list of things he had been trying to fix about himself including his next area to tackle which was drinking.

Me Reading College and Clayton

He told me he drank on Saturday nights and his girlfriend looked at him and said, “it’s Friday”.  After a short pause he looked at me and said, “ok, I drink on Fridays and Saturdays.”  After I listened to them for a bit I discovered that at least the young man was attempting to be good enough to be accepted by God, which is impossible.  I wanted to shift the conversation so I began to take them through some of the commandments.  They both admitted they had violated God’s law and when I asked them if they would be innocent or guilty when they stood before God, they both said guilty.  The next question was, “should God send you to Heaven or Hell?”  The young man immediately said hell but the young lady who was a Catholic would not answer.  In fact, she began to go off on a rant of sorts telling me some people go to church for the wrong reason, etc., etc.  That is a tactic some use when the heat is getting a little too hot and they do not want to continue the conversation but it’s important to bring them back to the matter at hand.  Their eternal destiny depends on it so I interrupted her and said, “you didn’t answer the question, should God send you to Heaven or Hell?”  At this point her boyfriend had the sudden urge to get a hotdog and told her he would be right back.  In hind sight I wished I had let him go so I could concentrate on her but desiring to finish the Gospel presentation with him as well, I asked him to give me 2 more minutes.  He agreed but became sort of a distraction as I was speaking with the young lady.  He apparently had gotten bored with the conversation that he had started.  Anyway, when I pressed the young lady about where she would spend eternity, her eyes seemed to tear up and she got this real concerned look on her face.  As I was sharing the way of salvation through repentance and faith in Christ the boyfriend was really ready to go and she was also getting fidgety.  I was able to make sure they understood that forgiveness only comes through repentance and faith in Christ, before they left.  Please pray for these two young people.

I was also able to get to the Planned Parenthood clinic in Lawrenceville on Saturday.  This was the first time I have been able to get there, due to work, in months.  It was a blessing to be there.  Below is part of a post I placed on facebook about the day:Me Murder sign

“Don’t ever think you can’t make a difference. A young lady canceled her appointment today and others learned that they performed abortions and turned away from the terrible place. Sadly not everyone did. A lady who claimed to be a pastor, after learning that they killed babies, decided to go ahead and support the clinic by utilizing their services.  I say she claimed to be a pastor because she cannot be, according to Scripture.”

Thank you all for your prayers!  Please continue to pray for the ministry of Until All Hear!  Remember your donations go toward ministry supplies and expenses.  The more you give, the more we can do!  The desire is to be able to be in ministry full time, as the Lord makes provision, so please pray with us and give as you feel led!

 

Until All Hear!

Alex.

The False Assurance of Military Service

As a minister was preaching, at a rescue mission chapel, a homeless vet stood up and exclaimed, “I am going to heaven because I won the Medal of Honor!”  The preacher corrected the man, explaining that no good work will merit a free pass into Heaven.  With this the veteran became very irritated and left the service.  This causes one to wonder how many GIs have this false sense of security, based on their military service.

The problem seems to be more prevalent in this latest generation of soldiers than with the older guys.  However, There have been, more than likely, many through the ages that believed their service granted them entrance into Heaven.  In fact, during the crusades, men were falsely promised entrance into heaven if they would serve the king in the crusades.  While our government may not be making that promise, there may be other reasons this mentality has become so pervasive.

In recent months I have ran across young veterans that boast about their service and see it as granting them preferential treatment, not only in the world, but with God.  To suggest their service does nothing for them, as far as being reconciled to God is concerned, only angers them and stirs up a very arrogant self-righteous attitude.  It is as though they believe they are above even the law of God, due to serving in the military.  The question is why?

There are many contributors that are all rooted in the sin nature of man but I have a theory that I believe adds fuel to the fire.  I have mentioned this in the past but think it is worth mentioning again.  Before I do, let me be clear that I love the military men and women who have served and are serving our nation.  The love I have for them is a big driving force behind this blog. 

I believe a large contributor to this epidemic is our knee-jerk reaction to correct the terrible way our Vietnam veterans were treated when they returned home.  They were not only not welcomed home but were practically persecuted by the people they served to defend, the citizens of the United States.   In an effort to never let this happen again we, as a nation, have went above and beyond to honor those who serve.  The problem is, In my opinion, we have taken this too far.

We tag everyone who puts on a uniform as a hero, and this simply is not the case.  While it is easy to find those who will boast about their service, those who have gone above and beyond the call of duty rarely brag.  I have met older men who served in places like Normandy, the Ardennes, and Vietnam who although they have done amazing things would never boast about their service.  In fact, I have had many that would not utter a word about their service until they found out I was a veteran.   Maybe they think another soldier might be able to understand, where a civilian cannot, but I think they believe they did what they were supposed to do and have no need to brag.   

The point is, in tagging everyone a hero, we have created a monster.  You tell someone they are a hero often enough and they will probably start believing it and thus end up thinking more of themselves than they should.  In turn, this breads arrogance and a sense of greatness and even a false sense of security with God, that just is not there.

While we should express our appreciation for those who serve, we should be cautious with our terms.  When you see a man wearing a Medal of Honor, you can call him hero, although most likely he will deny it.  When you see a man or woman in a uniform they are to be appreciated but not necessarily placed on the same level as an Audie Murphy or Alvin C. York.  Some, maybe most, will realize they are not heroes and act accordingly, others will turn into self-righteous false heroes, and still others will suffer from the guilt of not living up to the tag we have placed on them.  For an example of this you need look no farther than the second raising of the flag on Iwo Jima.  Ira Hayes was one of those marines and he was sent home to travel the country as a war hero to raise money for the war effort.  The only problem was that he knew he was no hero and the guilt ended up destroying him.   

If you are a veteran or currently serving please know that I appreciate you and love you, but you will be a “no go” when you die and stand before your Creator, if all you have to offer Him is your service record, even if a Medal of Honor is included.  All have sinned and no good deed or deeds will nullify your sin.  Only the righteousness of Christ will.  You cannot enter into the presence of God with sin and the only way to properly deal with it is through repentance (turning from and forsaking sin) and placing your faith in Jesus and Him alone.  Please do this today.         

Another Day in Bizarro World!

I was meeting Alex and Bobby at the bus stop in front of gate 2 at Sanford stadium for ministry. I had 1400 “After the Game” Gospel tracts and Bobby and Alex were going to read scripture and preach. As God would have it I ran into them in Athens about a block from campus so we were able to walk to the stadium together and have some fellowship time.

We arrived at the bus stop and set up to begin. Alex began reading scripture as Bobby held his “Are You Ready” cross and offered tracts to passing fans.

I stood at the top of the stairs that lead from the student center to the stadium giving Gospel tracts to passing fans. I make a point of welcoming the visiting fans to Athens and try to make them feel welcome. I guess you could say I try to exercise my “southern hospitality”. I never thought we would be able to give away 1400 tracts but God was good. We were completely out well before kick-off.

After we had been there about an hour a ticket scalper came close to where we were trying to sell some tickets. He began to say things like “JESUS SAYS YOU SHOULD BUY THESE TICKETS”, “GET AWAY FROM THESE JESUS FREAKS” and other things that I will not mention here. As he was doing this Bobby was preaching and openly told the man that he should be ashamed about what he was doing. If you would have heard him I think you would agree. Eventually Bobby was able to have a conversation, of sorts, with the scalper. As they were talking I was continuing to give Gospel tracts to fans when I heard the man yell “I HOPE YOU $#@!*&% burn in Hell forever!” at Bobby. Eventually the man went on his way and we continued with the task at hand.

Later Bobby told me that the ticket scalper had claimed to be an Episcopalian Chaplain.

Just another day in “Bizarro World”!

Preach On!

…Until All Hear!

Alex

Not Just What You Say but How You Say it as well…

“It not only matters what you say but how you say it.” One of my heroes of the faith made this comment at a dinner that I attended. This really stuck with me due to my tendency to be sarcastic. I need to constantly check my methods, because I do not want to make the gospel more abrasive than it naturally is to a lost person.
2 Corinthians 6 1 Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2For he says, “In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 3We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, 4but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, 5beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; 6 by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; 7by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; 8through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 9as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.(emphasis added)
The Apostle Paul went out of his way to keep from being an obstacle to the Corinthian’s salvation. Therefore it is reasonable for me to do the same. The first and foremost thing is to make sure that I am speaking truth. Is what I am saying my opinion, or is it what God’s word says? The next and very important thing is: Am I speaking in love? I believe there are times when it is ok to speak sharply to people, but it should not be the norm. For instance, if I am trying to converse with someone who repeatedly slings out obscene statements about God I may sling a sharp rebuke or remark to that person. I do this for a couple of reasons. First I am trying to get their attention and they may not expect the street preacher to lash out at them so my hope is that it will shock them out of their bantering. Secondly if they are so flippant about their sin I fear for their soul and want to do everything I can to get them to realize that they will stand before God in judgment and have to give an account for their lives. I will give an example. Once a young man walked by as we were passing out gospel tracts. After he passed by he turned and yelled “I Hate Jesus!”. I yelled back, “I know!, It’s obvious!”. He stopped, turned around and said “What?!” So I repeated what I said. Some would say that I should not have said that, and maybe I was in error, but at least it made him stop for a second and think about it. On the other hand if I stand out on the street and yell “It’s obvious you hate Jesus!” to everyone that walks by, I think I would be going out of my way to be offensive. Therefore I must always speak in love. It is possible to speak the truth in the wrong way and be in error.
Another danger is that I may put myself on a pedestal because I am on the front lines while others do little or nothing to get the gospel to the lost. At one point in life I struggled with Christians that didn’t share their faith. I even got to the point where I started thinking that they weren’t even truly Born Again because they never witnessed to anyone. After all C.H. Spurgeon did say that if you do not desire to see others saved then you are not saved yourself. (Loose paraphrase). We must remember that even though C.H. Spurgeon was a great man of God and a wonderful preacher, he is not God and this is not scripture. While you would think that a true Christian would desire to see others saved, we cannot pass judgment and declare them all heathens. Many want to share but struggle with fear. Others do not have a clue how to do it due to lack of training in the church as a whole. I prayed about this for a long time and God changed my heart. While I still get frustrated with Christians that do not share their faith, my attitude has changed from one of self-righteousness to one of “What can I do to encourage them and help them be equipped to share”.
While doing evangelism on the street is a very humbling experience there are still dangers of becoming self righteous and arrogant. After continuous abuse and heckling one may tend to get hardened and lose compassion for the lost. We may start to think that all of these people are going to hell and they deserve it. This attitude can change our preaching attitude from one of love and compassion to an attitude of Judgment and condemnation. We must remember that Jesus is the Judge and Jesus does the condemning and the saving.
Preach On!
…until all hear!
Alex