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

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The Living Martyr

As I was teaching Bible Study on Wednesday night, I was reminded of a thought I have been pondering for a while. We were studying Genesis Chapter 18 where the Lord came to visit Abraham and Sarah, telling them that in a year they would have a son. The last portion of the chapter records the conversation Abraham and the Lord had concerning Sodom. God told Abraham that He was personally going to see if Sodom was as wicked as its reputation made it out to be. Of course God knew it was, He apparently was doing this for the sake of humans, not to gain more knowledge of the situation for Himself.

We see Abraham pleading with the Lord not to destroy Sodom if there were fifty righteous people found there, then he begins to count down the number, asking the Lord to spare it if there were forty-five and then forty, eventually coming to the number of ten. The Lord told Abraham he would not destroy Sodom, if ten righteous people were found there.

Throughout the dialogue we see, not only God’s patience with Abraham, but the humbleness with which Abraham was addressing God, saying things like, “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes…” and “Oh let not the Lord be angry…” While it took courage and boldness, on his part, Abraham spoke humbly, acknowledging he was only dust. He did not go to the Lord, shaking his fist, demanding the Lord answer his prayer. He didn’t run off the list of things he had done for God and therefore demanding he deserved an answer to his request. Paul could have probably used this text as an example to the Roman believers as he instructed them on how to think of themselves. “ For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.”(Rom 12:3 ESV)

Now you may be thinking, “What on earth does that have to do with “Living Martyrs?”

Well, hopefully you will see in the paragraphs below. If not, at least you will see how my twisted thinking process works but may still be left wondering how I got from Abraham to where we end up.

First and foremost, there is no such thing as a “living martyr”. By definition, a martyr is someone who has been killed for their faith. So why name a blog something that doesn’t exist? Because many of us, at times, think of ourselves as martyrs, even though we really haven’t even suffered persecution, much less death. A more accurate term might be ‘Martyr Complex”. While technically this is associated with a person who seeks out suffering and persecution to make themselves feel good, here, I want us to think of it as more of an attitude toward ourselves and others, concerning what we do for the Lord and see others as NOT doing.

There was a time in my Christian walk, hopefully I have grown some and am not as bad as I once was, when I would tend to look down on my brothers and sisters in Christ that were not doing what “I” felt like they should be doing. I would go out and do evangelism and return only to look down my nose at those who named the name of Christ and yet had no desire to share their faith, or at least as far as I could tell. Yep, I was sacrificing my time for the Lord, while they came into the church service singing, “I Surrender All”, as I sat there calling them liars in my mind. After typing that, I’m not sure I want to even confess that I actually did that. What a jerk.

Thankfully, years ago, God began to work on me about this and so I began to pray for God to remove this terrible thought process in me and give me love and compassion. He showed me that, although sometimes a rebuke of believers is warranted, what I was doing was sin. Rebuking was not in my plans anyway. I was just judging them wrongly, to make myself feel better. It all comes back to that pride thing, doesn’t it.

I cannot point to a specific time, but at some point, I suddenly realized I wanted to be an encourager of evangelism, instead of a living martyr who passes judgment on other, less zealous, people. Since then God has placed evangelists in my life who are MUCH more dedicated, zealous and faithful than I have ever been, so I can have a constant reminder of who and what I really am. Like Abraham, I realized, and am still being reminded, that I am but dust and whatever I do for the Lord, it is reasonable and in no way makes me special. It is all about Him!

Now, do I still have the tendency to fall back into this trap? Absolutely! The Christian life is a struggle and I must be on constant guard to keep from slipping back into silliness, but enough about me. It’s time to judge you! 😉

Think about your life. What is it you do that tends to make you think you are better, or at least doing more for the Kingdom than others? This is a self-examination, so be honest with yourself and God. You may be called to do something for the Lord like go to a hostile country to be a missionary, for an extreme example. If so, do you look down on those who stay in the states and teach the middle school Sunday school class? Maybe you don’t look down on them, necessarily, but you know in your heart of hearts that you are really sacrificing more and serving God better. Come on, be honest!

That was an extreme example, so let’s get closer to home.
Are you a street preacher and you think you’re better than that Middle School Sunday School teacher? Wait, are we talking about me again? This is about you, remember?! Stay on task!

Maybe you’re a pastor and you look down on the guy that goes to the bar district on a Saturday night and preaches, telling yourself he’s doing absolutely no good, while you’re preaching the word of God to the saints!

Maybe you are a stay at home mom, who has sacrificed career for family and you think, “It must be nice to have a meaningful career and make money so you can drive a nicer car, instead of a minivan and have nice clothes etc., so you look down on the women with careers for being self-centered.

You may be that career woman. Do you look down on the stay at home mom?

You get the picture. PLug in your thing and see where you stand…

Let’s end by looking back at Romans 12. We looked at verse 3.
“For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.”

Now let’s end with the “why” we don’t need to be high-minded and make ourselves martyrs in our own minds.

For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. (Rom 12:4-8 ESV)

Until All Hear!
Alex

The Taco Bell Tract Encounter

After finishing up outside NRG stadium on Super Bowl Sunday, our team went back to camp before going to grab some supper. We decided to hit Taco Bell, after a vote between that and Chinese food. While there, one of our team members left a coexist Gospel tract on the counter behind where we were sitting. I was getting a refill and noticed a young lady that worked there had noticed the tract and picked it up so I asked her if all religions could coexist and if each one was equally valid.

Before we go farther I have to share a funny thing that happened during the conversation. Jeff, who had placed the tract there, was sitting with his back against the counter where he had placed the tract and didn’t know I was talking to a young lady. Every time I would ask her a question he would answer because he thought I was asking him. I didn’t want to interrupt my conversation with the young lady so I didn’t stop to tell him I wasn’t talking to him. So, I just continued on with the conversation and eventually, not sure when, Jeff figured out I was talking to someone else.  Back to the conversation.tb

This young lady seemed uncertain as to whether or not all religions were valid but kind of leaned toward thinking they all were. I shared John 14:6 with her and asked her if Jesus was in error or if He didn’t think all religions were equal. She began to consider that Jesus was saying Christianity was the right way so I shared with her what made Christianity different. Jesus is the only one who has risen from the dead defeating death and proving He was God and is the only one that has the power and authority to forgive sin. This is important because sin is what separates us from God. This is why there is no other way. I shared with her how He lived a sinless life and sacrificed Himself for sinners and if she would repent and place her trust in Him she could be forgiven. She was very receptive and after sharing the Gospel I encouraged her to consider what we had discussed.

When I thought the day was over God gave me another opportunity to share the Gospel with this young lady. If Jeff had not placed that tract there the conversation would have never happened. He didn’t know what would happen, but he placed it in faith and for once I was observant enough to see the opportunity before me and start a conversation with her!

2 things I was reminded of by this encounter

  1. Never think your tracts are not working
  2. Keep your eyes open for opportunities God sets before you.

 

Until All Hear!

The Rabbit. How God Used a Bunny to Start a Witnessing Encounter!

gameWe were outside NGR stadium doing evangelism, before Super Bowl LI, when a lady and two kids walked up to our ministry location with a rabbit in a stroller. A conversation began between myself and the lady after I had asked her about the rabbit and mentioned that my daughter also had one. She told me the rabbit wanted to get out and stretch it’s legs. Now, how the rabbit communicated this to the lady is a mystery to me. The only thing I am kind of sure of is that God must have instructed this rabbit to stretch his legs at our precise location. I mean, we are outside the stadium where the Super Bowl is about to start and this rabbit brings his owner right over to where the street preachers are set up and suddenly needs to get out of his stroller and stretch his legs. Had to be a God orchestrated encounter, right?

 

After we discussed rabbits for a few minutes I asked her if she was a believer and she said she was and went on to tell me how they had been going to church for about three years. As the conversation progressed I found out she had been raised Catholic and her view seemed to be one of working your way to heaven by church attendance and learning more about God. Those are great things to do but they can’t forgive you of sin or give you eternal life.

She was a really nice lady and we had a great conversation. I was able to explain how we had to repent and trust Jesus for forgiveness because our sin debt had to be paid for and either the payment Jesus made is applied to our account, through repentance and faith, or we have to pay our own sin debt in hell for eternity. She asked me to repeat part of what I said so we went through it again and she said it made sense but she had a question.
sbHer question is a very popular one and a very good one. It didn’t seem right to her that people in places where they were not told about Jesus, she used North Korea for an example, would go to hell. We went back through the reason people go to hell. We agreed that it isn’t because they haven’t heard about Jesus but because of their sin and discussed Romans 1 and how God has revealed himself through the creation so nobody has an excuse. She was satisfied with the answer and said she had been wondering about that.

After we talked I believe she had a better understanding of the Gospel and how to be forgiven. It was almost like she had came to us for that very reason.  I asked her if I could pray with her and she agreed, so we prayed and I gave her a Gospel tract and encouraged her to contact me if she had any questions or needed help in any way. Pray for her and her family!

God used a rooster and a donkey, so we shouldn’t be surprised He used a rabbit to bring a lady to hear the Gospel!16734962_10210062664815860_699051353_o

Until All Hear!

Alex

II Corinthians 5:21

God’s Reminder

Today, as I was standing beside my wife in worship, I felt her arm graze mine and at that moment the Holy Spirit began to remind me of what a blessing God had bestowed on me and our children, in Kim.us

Now none of us are perfect and no marriage is without struggles, but ours have been very minimal. If you know me, really know me, you know I can be a difficult man, at times. Sometimes I can’t even stand myself, but my wonderful wife has not only stood by me, but has loved me unconditionally for over 25 years, since we first began dating. Even when we have our rare arguments, she has almost always been the first to apologize, even though I am usually the cause of the difficulty. She is the most forgiving, loving, giving supportive beautiful woman God has ever created and I would be lost, in an earthly sense, without her.God has blessed me beyond measure! #menloveyourwives

I Couldn’t Believe What Happened to Me at the VA!

dscn4379.jpgLast Friday I had an oppointment at the VA hospital in Augusta for a medical procedure. Now you hear a lot about problems with the VA these days, but my experience has always been pretty good. I guess they could always do better but they have always been good to me.

Anyway, Kim and I showed up at the clinic and the nurse took me back to the prep room. They didn’t waste any time and had me get into the hospital attire and climb onto the bed. They proceeded to hook me up to different things and got my IV started.

As one nurse was doing all of this the other one began asking me the usual questions.

Nurse 1:Do you smoke.

Me: No.

Nurse 1: Do you drink alcohol?

Me: No.

Nurse 1: Do you do illegal drugs?

Me: No.

Nurse 2: Why not?

Me: What?

Nurse 2: Why not?

Me: Because there’s no future in it.

They were very nice and joked around to lighten the mood, which is always a good thing when you’re fixing to have a very invasive procedure.

After they were finished they told me the doctor would be in soon to get me to sign the consent form, so I just relaxed and began to ponder all the possible things they might find wrong with me. Nobody else does that, right?

While I was waiting they brought in another man and put him in the bed beside me. As they were getting him prepped I tried to doze off and just relax but I kept thinking how I would react if they found this or that, coming up with some things that I’m sure aren’t even possibilities. You see, I really hate having any kind of medical procedure done. Especially the kind where they take all your clothes and leave you in a hospital gown and your socks. TMI? Sorry. 🙂

Eventually the doctor came in and spoke with the other gentleman first, telling him the possible risks etc. And had him sign the consent form. They kind of new each other because the other man’s wife apparently works at the hospital. So, after the official business they chit chatted a bit and the doctor asked him if he could pray with him. First I thought, oh no, is this going to be some silly prayer to the universe or something? I know that’s terrible, but that’s honestly the first thing that came to mind. I was thinking, they must belong to the same universalist church of Satan or something. Anyway, the doc began to pray and it was one of the sweetest, loving prayers I’ve ever heard. It began with, “Heavenly Father” and ended with, “in Jesus’ name.”  I felt bad for my previous thoughts and thanked God for giving me a Christian doctor. That eased my anxiety a bit and I was thankful for God allowing me to hear that.

Then it was my turn. The doc came over and gave me the same schpeel about possible things that could go wrong, blah blah blah and asked me if I had any questions. After I assured him I was fine and had no questions he looked my in the eye and said, “Mr. Burt, do you mind if I pray with you?” I told him I would love for him to and he asked God to bless me and take care of me just as sincerely as he did for the man he knew.

I couldn’t believe it! I’m in a government hospital and this happened to me! I have never had a doctor or nurse EVER offer to pray with me! I thanked him again in recovery for the prayer and told him I didn’t think they would allow him to do that. He just smiled and went about his business.

Maybe by the title of this blog you were expecting another sad story about VA incompetence, but not this time. The entire process was done very efficiently and professionally. I have to say, my latest VA experience was excellent all the way around!

May God bless those who bless those who serve!

Alex.

Oh, just n case you were wondering, my test went well and all seems to be good!

2 Corinthians 5:18-21