THE SHAME OF IT ALL
August 23, 2011, Colorado University
Another academic year begins! It was sunny and hot in the 90's when we started preaching. I drew several students, one of whom was an atheist who objected to the ethics of the Bible. He claimed that if a girl was raped she had to marry the rapist, thus making marriage the punishment of rape. His complaint was an ethical attack against God, which atheists regularly bring up. But their case has no merit when Deuteronomy 22 is considered in its Biblical and historical context: The passage reads, "28) If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; 29) Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days."
The Law of Moses is not easy on rapists; Deut 22:25, teaches that the penalty for raping a woman engaged to be married was stoning. In the case in which the woman was not engaged, she was not required by law to enter into marriage with her rapist. However, in that culture after losing her virginity she would have lost any prospect for marrying another man. The woman and her father therefore had the option of forcing the rapist to provide for his victim the rest of her life. In those days a woman without a husband or father to support her would have been subject to a life of poverty. So this law was for the protection and provision of a raped woman and any possible children.
Exodus 22:16-17, provides an example of a father who might refuse to give his daughter, who is the victim of a seducer, in marriage. Nevertheless, the father still takes the dowry from the seducer. Thus the Deuteronomy law was not designed to force the woman into an intolerable marriage, but to secure her future and that of her children. In our society we merely send the rapist off to prison for several years and the victims have to pay for his incarceration though taxes.
The atheist did not accept my explanation for he was just looking for an excuse not to believe. However, Emma was standing by who was more apt to listen. Soon the others left and I gave Emma all of my attention. She had had her tubes tied and had been in a five year relationship with her boyfriend. She was a live wire: personable, naturally intelligent and kind of fun but she was greatly lacking in wisdom and she was without shame. She had only gone to church once in her life. I thought that my hour with her was profitable. She finally had to leave for a doctor's appointment. Holding up her trembling hand, she informed me that she had Parkinson's disease. She said that she had her tubes tied because she did not want to pass on the disease to any children. I offered to pray for her healing, but she refused.
|Face to Face with the Gospel|
After two hours I went back to the car to get my colorful sign which lists typical sins in which students are engaged. The sign did draw more attention as numerous students took a double or even a triple take on the sign. Nevertheless, still I did not draw a crowd. One young man from the Secular Club on campus wanted to have his picture taken with me. He had seen me in the film, "The Nature of Existence."
Two very sweet girls informed me that I needed to preach on love. One of them was even lovingly enough to buy me a Peach Smoothie.
One student informed Sister Pat that he was a Christian but he was embarrassed by our preaching. When Sister Pat told me of the conversation, I answered, "I can understand; I am often embarrassed myself." It is humiliating and demeaning to shout to a crowd which mostly does not want to hear. It is undignified to wear a sandwich board sign. Nevertheless, our ministry is necessary; just as it was Jesus' humiliation was essential for our salvation. The Son of God becomes a mere man; the Judge is judged; The King becomes a servant of his subjects; the Creator humbles himself for his creation; the most loving one becomes the despised one; the Light of the World wraps himself in deepest concealment. Jesus despised the shame of the Cross but he endured for the joy that was set before him. And so we bear the mockery and rejection of the students, including most professing Christians, in order to do all we can to bring the gospel of salvation to those lost in the darkness of sin.
Sister Pat took two stints at the preaching, although she also did not draw a crowd, she reported several good conversations. We left campus at 4 PM, outlasting the all the students who were in the arena promoting various organizations, most of them gave up at 2 PM.
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THE TROOPER, SISTER PAT
August 23, 2011, CU
As I passed through the plaza around the Memorial Union I stopped to chat with the Secular Club, which expressed an interest in arranging a debate with Dan Barker, who bills himself as a former fundamentalist minister turned atheist. Years ago I appeared with him on the Donahue Show.
Sister Pat conversed with some Christians at the Young Life tent. Their leader, a man in his thirties, told her we were making their job more difficult since we were not demonstrating the love of God nor preaching his grace. Young Life is not known for confronting sin. Sister Pat ended up telling him that he needed to get saved.
Again today it was hot and well into the 90's. I moved from location to location trying to gain some traction with the students which neither Sister Pat or I seemed to be able to do. Suddenly, when I preached at the 1:50 break, students started sitting on the steps around me and listening. Soon they were asking me questions and we built up a sizable and lively crowd. Today, I started preaching wearing my sandwich board sign, which depicts rebellious women, beer lovers, homosexuals and other sinners. I also carried the Crucifix staff. I explained the sign reveals God's law and the Crucifix reveals God's grace.
|Soon they were asking me questions...|
We preached until after 5 PM. At the end of the day, Zan, who had been listening and engaging me for much of the afternoon, said, "I thought you were crazy at first but you defended your positions reasonably. "We shook hands and I gave him one of my newsletters. There was a reporter and photographer out today, so we will likely be in the student paper tomorrow.
It is remarkable that with all the hours of preaching we have done for the last two days we did not gather a crowd until almost 2 PM today. The first few days of school are usually difficult in gaining the attention of the students. Students are preoccupied, getting settled in their rooms and apartments, buying books, dropping and adding classes and so forth. In addition, this year the weather is especially hot. The students are not looking for sun like they are in the spring; they are looking for shade and air conditioning. It usually takes a few days for me to get back in the groove. The extremely hot weather saps some of my energy; it requires a lot of strength to gain students' attention; I have to put my whole body and soul into open-air preaching.
|Finally got their attention!|
I need to add that Sister Pat is quite a trooper, especially considering she is 82 years old. Monday morning she took a bad fall at her hotel, falling on her face. It was serious enough that the hotel filled out a report. She bit her lip in the fall so her mouth is sore. Also, her hand is sore. She insisted that she was able to preach yesterday and again today. She seems fine except the soreness. Keep her in your prayers that she may have many more years of preaching. She is very effective in communicating. I think it is quite a testimony to the students that this great grandmother several times over is confronting sin and proclaiming the gospel. The students have never encountered anyone like Sister Pat. Most of their relatives of that age are likely in a retirement center or nursing home. They do not show her any respect for Sister Pat's age or the fact that she is a lady. Of course, few of them respect their own parents, grandparents or great grandparents. Indeed, students are lacking in self-respect.
|Sister Pat-The Trooper|
There was a long set of tables on the Union Plaza displaying posters on sale of mostly pop cultural celebrities and idols. I have seen generations of students come and go and each one is idolatrous. Sales of these posters are prolific at the beginning of each school year as the students are decorating their rooms and apartments. I wonder how many of them display pictures of their parents or siblings or any other relatives. I would be surprised if 5 percent of them do.
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HOPEFULLY A NEW CAMPUS PREACHER ROSE UP TODAY
August 24, 2011, Colorado State University
There was a fair on the mall with multiple vendors when we arrived. We missed the noon break. At 12:45, I began preaching at one end of the vendor area. Crowds of sorority girls began to gather in shorts and pink shirts. About 1 PM, they pranced to the middle of the mall and did a dance to a song which had something to do with shaking it. The girls did a whole lot of shaking with the fraternity boys gathered behind them. I stopped preaching to stand by; every now and then I said something to express my disapproval. When the girls stopped dancing, the crowd dispersed. While waiting for the next break, I introduced myself to Todd, who had a table set up promoting creation literature with a banner quoting Genesis 1:1. He had nine children; three of his girls were with him and one boy. The children were obviously well-disciplined. I asked if he had been able to get any discussion going. The Creation challenge usually gets the attention of argumentative students. Todd is a young earth creationist. He displayed books from R.C. Sproul and John MacArthur. We had an agreeable time of fellowship.
I preached again from 1:45 until after 2 PM. However, I did not get anyone to stop. As I was waiting for the next break an administrator informed me that these were paid vendors and I needed to move outside the vending area. This must have been the Lord removing me to a better location. I started preaching again at 2:30 to students sitting on a wall.
A heckler riding a bike, who appeared to be in his fifties, began yelling at me. He was very bitter against God and foul mouthed. I took advantage of the cynic to use him to draw several students. He left after about a 15 minute confrontation. Meanwhile, a large class break brought students from all directions. Soon I had a crowd of 150. Three policemen came into the circle and informed me that I had to move to the free speech stump about 30 yards away. I complied and the students followed me.
|Police move Bro. Jed to a better location|
There was one smoking girl, who was quite a live wire. She appeared to be older than most students, perhaps in her late 20's. She said she was bisexual and eventually kissed another girl in a prolonged embrace to the delight of most students. A Bible toting student interrupted me to exhort me to preach on love. When I did not listen, he turned to the students and started preaching on love. I did my "Kum By Yah" routine. He left within five minutes exhorting the student to come over and talk to him outside of my crowd. However, within 20 minutes he returned to love on my crowd a second time. Such Christians can rarely hold anyone's attention for more than a few minutes. How long does it take to say God loves you?
|After moving to a new location a huge crowd gathered!|
During Sister Pat's stint, the love bug came over with a group of his friends to ask if they could lay hands on me and pray. I am hesitant to allow just anyone to lay hands on me. I said, "You have a lot of nerve; twice you interrupted my preaching; now you want to pray for me. An apology would be more in order."
"If you think I interrupted you and if I offended you, I apologize," he said.
I do not have much use for conditional apologies. But I said, "Pray for me if you want, but I do not want you putting your hands on me."
As I suspected within a minute of his prayer he was praying with his friends that God would convict me of my lack of love. I quickly walked away. They went on and prayed for five minutes while a few students approached me with questions. It is noteworthy that love bug Christians love praying in the streets; but they hate preaching in the streets.
|Love bug prays that Bro. Jed will be convicted of his lack of love.|
Meanwhile, I noticed that Todd, the Creationist, was observing with his children. Considering the smile on his face, I assumed that he liked my preaching. At 4:15, some students criticized me for screaming at them.
Todd asked me, "May I speak on your behalf."
I had been considering calling upon Todd, so I answered, "Of Course."
He told the crowd, "Jed is not screaming, he is projecting his voice so that he can be heard in the midst of all the tumult."
Todd is soft spoken and he soon had the students eating out of his hand. His children were standing attentively beside him, obviously very interested in the whole scene. I walked away.
Todd said, "Jed, I do not mean to take your crowd."
I replied, "No problem, I want them to hear what you have to say."
Todd did an excellent job. I wanted him to get the full experience of campus preaching. Hopefully, today will be a turning point of his ministry. He had come down from Laramie, WY, with his family to distribute tracts. He ended up preaching. I pray that he will use his experience today to boldly preach the Word on campus with his family.
Sister Pat and I left campus at 5:15 with Todd still speaking to about eight students.
Paul wrote in Phil 1: 14-15: "And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will."
Todd was speaking in good will. I was impressed with his spirit.
|Todd preaches for the first time.|
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ONE WHO WAS NOT WORTHY
August 25, 2011, CSU
Today went much like yesterday; I did not gather a crowd until mid-afternoon. The weather was too hot for Sister Pat; she stayed in the food court all afternoon. Pray for her; she is experiencing also discomfort from her fall on Monday.
The break though came when several people arrived with questions, including a bearded fellow who look like a retread from the sixties. The gathering was considerably smaller than yesterday. I probably never had more than 30 listening at one time.
|A lot of one-on-one today.|
By 4 PM I was down to a handful of students. As they walked away one by one, Marcus remained sitting at my feet. He had been quietly listening. I turned to him and asked, "What about you?"
He indicated that he had been baptized and confirmed in a Congregational Church and that he had a sister who taught religious studies. But it soon became evident that he was not saved. Eventually, I asked, "Are you willing to turn from sin and follow Jesus?"
I was surprised when he said, "Yes."
I pressed him further, "Are you ready to make that decision now?"
"Yes," he responded.
"Could I pray with you now to receive Christ as your Lord and Savior?"
Once again he answered in the affirmative. I knelt beside him with the staff crucifix in my hand and began to lead him in a sinner's prayer. I said the standard things about repentance and the virgin birth, the death and the resurrection of Christ. Then I said something I do not usually say when leading someone in prayer a sinner's prayer, "I will read, study apply and obey the Bible."
I repeated myself thinking Marcus may not have heard me or could not remember what I said. Finally, after moment more of, he said, "I cannot pray that."
I arose from my knees and answered, "I appreciate your honesty. But you cannot be saved if you are not willing to live according to God's Word, The Bible."
We talked more about the Bible and the things concerning salvation. Suddenly, he announced, "My sister is a lesbian. She is the finest person I know."
Now, I knew why he could not pray concerning a commitment to live by the Bible since to accept the Bible would require him to accept that his sister was not a good person.
Jesus said, "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple."-Luke 14:26. Alas, Marcus demonstrated that he is not worthy of the Lord.-Matthew 10:37. He rejected Christ that he still might accept his sister.
Pray that he will change his mind. Marcus', salvation might be the best hope for his sister's redemption.
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ALWAYS PREPARED, LIKE A GOOD SCOUT
August 26, 2011, Colorado University
I gathered a crowd right away which ranged from 20-35 until 2:30 PM, which is good for a Friday before a holiday weekend. Sister Pat's assessment was, "They heard a lot of good teaching today." Sister Pat was unable to preach today because of her sore jaw. But she did report some good one-on-one conversations.
The Annex, a college Christian group at CU, had a tent set up in the Plaza. They opposed me by in the name of love and all the while excusing sin. One of their girls held a cardboard sign which quoted John 3:17. I asked her to quote the next verse; of course, she could not . . . they never can. Another held up 1 Peter 3:15: "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect."
I pointed to the sign as I expounded on the Lordship of Christ. The sign carrier challenged, "Talk about the rest of the verse." Of course, he wanted me to emphasize the speaking with "gentleness and respect."
I responded, "Few here have been asking me a reason for the hope that is in me; most have been trying to convince me and others that it is foolish to believe. And many who profess religion are like the Pharisees asking questions with the intent confuse me. For those few who have had sincere questions and are truly looking for reasons to believe, I have demonstrated gentleness and respect. But Jesus was not too respectful of Pharisees, who wanted to trip him up.
|The face of the Lord is against those who do evil.|
Interestedly, I have never heard a student or scarcely anyone else quote 1 Peter 3:12: "For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil." Most professing Christians do not really read, study or know the Bible. They merely proof text the Bible digging for verses which support their mindless, sin excusing and actual loveless doctrines.
|Girl who wanted to see where the Bible says that homosexuality is a choice is reading Romans 1 as instructed.|
One silly girl repeatedly said, "You are not answering anyone's questions." A blond haired boy beside her responded, "He has answered my questions." One other sinner admitted that I had answered his questions.
I hear this refrain each day. "You are not answering our questions," when most of the day is spent in Q & A. What is happening is that I am answering their questions which is what is so frustrating to them. Also, I usually do not give the same pat answers that most evangelicals give to the skeptics' questions. What my critics are actually saying is that I am not answering as they expect. "They have ears, but they hear not."
|"They have ears but they hear not."|
One female said you sound just like my mother, who is a Christian. Alas, the daughter is now a lesbian.
The last person to talk to me was a middle aged woman from China, who repeatedly blessed me for my "courageous" preaching. She said, "We do not have the freedom in China." Few students appreciate the freedoms we have in America. Sometimes even preachers complain about the lack of freedom. Like most open-air preachers I occasionally have to deal with some restrictions or prohibitions on free speech. But is very much the exception rather than the rule at least on campus.
In the evening Tony Skala, who was a member of my church in Newark, OH for a short while, took Sister Pat and I out to dinner. Tony, who is 51, married for the first time recently. He is very happy in his wedded state and works for the school system routing buses. The Lord has blessed him!
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