Week 10 - Oct 27-31
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Monday - University of South Carolina at Columbia
I drove the 71 miles to Columbia for a day of disappointment. They were in the middle of finals. Don't try to preach during finals, or the day before an extended weekend or break. The only thing that happened was that a cackling student, laughing like a rabid hyena...ran past and snatched my lovely new banner out of my hands, and threw it into the reflecting pool. The banner was not damaged, and was fished out by a groundskeeper.
I also was able to explain the confrontational method to Erin, the son of a pastor. He first approached me in fear and trembling thinking I was going to jump down his throat, but was surprised that I was a gentle and reasonable man to talk to. He had many questions, and I shared the scriptures that are the underpinnings of this method. The one significant question was when he asked if I thought that by the confrontational method I was portraying God correctly to the students. I asked Erin what the state of the sinner is. He said they are headed for Hell. I said I am portraying the correct image of God. Until they believe, they are headed for Hell, and dwelling in the wrath of God. He responded that God loves everyone. I said not so. If God hates one man, He can not love all men. Then I quoted Malachi
Mal 1:2-3 I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob's brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob, And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.
This verse clearly distinguishes love and hate that they are opposites, and that God hated Esau. If love is the opposite of hate as indicated here, then God does not love the sinners:
Ps 5:4-6 For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee. The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity. Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the LORD will abhor the bloody and deceitful man.
I could not persuade him by the scriptures. Even though he claimed to be a literalist, he really wasn't. He said it was my interpretation. Funny thing, all I did was quote the Bible. I didn't interpret. One does not interpret by merely quoting. That means that the only one interpreting was him. He believed that it did not mean what it clearly said.
Tuesday - University of North Carolina at Charlotte
A quiet day, election day. The weather was cold, rainy, overcast and threatening. I got on campus late, and sat for about an hour waiting for a class break. When foot traffic picked up, I lifted my voice and gathered a very small crowd. I preached for only a while then sat down to teach. I taught for about another hour, and had some very profitable discussion with three Christians who testified that they were blessed by my preaching. I went to the student union for a burger, then left for home around 3:00.
Yesterday I received this email concerning my last journal. I thought the questions asked were significant, so I am including the email and my response to it in this weeks journal.
Wednesday - University of North Carolina at Charlotte
The day dawned cloudy and cleared up as the day progressed. By the end of the day, it was just gorgeous. I actually began to preach 4 times over the day. As soon as I would start, someone would come up to me and want to talk in a more serious manner.
I accommodated them because for the last few days, I had been teaching instead of preaching. The first three sessions were small, no more than 7-8 students. But the questions were sincere and honest. I talked about holiness, science, and politics. My subject on politics was the law of unintended consequences. Obama may be a may with good intentions, but our country has a very long rap sheet of failures that began with good intentions that failed to take into account the logical consequences of the actions. Welfare, No child left behind, corporate welfare, to name a few. Strangely though, the group (too small to be a crowd) kept bringing me back to spiritual matters.
I ran into Dan again, but he had to go study. We might get together the next time I am in the area. Another fellow named Nathan was very interested in the idea of ceasing from sin. I took him through many scriptures that indicate that cessation is not only commanded, but also possible.
A young lady questioned me at length on the subject of the division that the preaching causes. I shared with her that what I am attempting to do was far above what she did when sharing her faith. I encouraged her to continue to witness as she was accustomed to do, but that my purposes were multifaceted and at a much higher level. I shared with her dozens of scriptures that supported my contentions. In the end she shook my hand and thanked me when she left.
As a matter of fact, almost everybody who stopped to talk to me today shook my hand and thanked me. It was as if UNCC had been rode hard and broken of it's rebellion. Praise God, I had much liberty and no opposition to speak of.
Nathan told me that people all over campus were reading their Bibles in response to the preaching. He saw that fruit and rejoiced. The young lady was concerned about the fruit. I told her of the many testimonies that we have received over the years from people who got saved years later but that could trace their conversation right back to the day they were rebuked by the preacher. The preaching plants seeds in hearts that grow slowly. We look for our harvest down the road, not in the next 5 minutes.
God has waited for 6000 years for His harvest return. Surely we can wait a couple of years.
Thursday - University of Georgia at Greensboro
I got to campus at a good time and asked the girls at the information booth where the preachers set up when they came to campus. I was told that the circle was where they preached. So I set up in the circle below:
The art was atrocious, but it was a nice place to gather a crowd. I cranked up the old voice box and gathered a group of about 25. I began to rile the crowd up by preaching about the "Law of unintended consequences". I contended that the danger of the new President is that he does not have the maturity to be able to foresee the consequences of his proposed actions.
If Obama even does only one thing he promised to do, it will destroy the country. I heard him say that he intended if elected to fine all coal fired electric plants into bankruptcy. The problem is that 49% of all the electricity comes from coal fired plants. If Obama shuts them all down, the economy will collapse. The law of unintended consequences will always clobber the immature leader.
Then the police showed up.
It seems that the circle that the girl was referring to was over by the building in the background - about 2 zip codes west of my first spot.
I tried to gather a crowd from this distant land, but I was 80 yards off the flow of traffic. The only response I was able to garner was from a girl named Laura. She asked me what I was doing, and since she was the extent of my crowd, I focused on her. The controversy, as in all preaches, was the issue of a Christian ceasing from sin. She could not see how it is possible. As the discussion went on, I realized that her definition of sin was again to expansive.
She had a good knowledge of the scriptures, but her understanding of them was not very good. She was teachable and I think I was able to give her a lot to think about. A friend of hers came up, and she excused herself to go home. Five minutes later her friend returned and asked if he could ask me some questions. The first question was "I understand you told Laura you don't sin any more?"
I said "No, I don't". He couldn't believe it. He told me he was a Lutheran seminary student. I expected that this would be a good discussion. He was a believer in predestination. I of course am an Armenian. It was a lively discussion with me mostly quoting the Bible, and he mostly telling me what he believed. In the end, though, he thanked me and said it had been an enlightening conversation. I hope I planted enough seed to shake some of his beliefs.
Except for those two discussions, I was unable to gather any listeners. Needless to say I was not in a good mood when I left. When I got home, I looked at some pictures from Kerrigan Skelly when he had preached there. He was over in front of a building next to the student union, and had a good meeting. Next time I go back, no Siberia for me.
Friday - Appalachian State University at Boone
The drive to Boone was a joy. As I approached Boone, I climbed up the Appalachian mountains. I was amazed that all over the tops of the mountains were magnificent HUGE houses. Every peak was covered by a house that would have qualified as a space ship. I have always wanted to live on the top of a mountain. It was a fantasy world for me.
Arriving at Boone, it took a long time to find parking and the preaching spot in front of the Library. As soon as I arrived, there was a lot of foot traffic and a large number of students just hanging around. I did not get any photos myself, so I borrowed the photo below from Kerrigan Skelley. Just imagine me instead of Kerrigan.
The day was tremendous! Within only a couple of minutes, I had a crowd of about 60. They started out inquisitive as I was a new face on campus. Soon, the police showed up, but they were very professional. They stayed in the background and just watched over me all day. I commended them and thanked them at the end for their professionalism.
The crowds responded to some of my more humorous aspects, but before too long I was able to slip out of the "wild and crazy crowd building mode" into a more intense discussion of the Kingdom of God. I focused on the fact that according to the Bible, until someone believes, they are in the state of condemnation, wrath, and hatred of God. This so greatly offends those who believe in the false image of God that His only characteristic is "love".
I tried to balance out the message by pointing out God's good news and His bad news, but the crowd would not be mollified. So I returned to pounding them on the issue of sin. There were a number of BBB's in the crowd (Bible Belt Baptists) who know only one verse in the Bible - Ro 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. I would bring up the very many verses that state that after the first step of believing, there is so much more to consider.
One girl kept insisting that she loved the Lord with all her heart, but that she went out on Saturday to get drunk, then go to church and ask to be forgiven. She was indignant when I told her she was headed for Hell. I wound up rebuking her dozens of times throughout the day because she insisted that no matter how she sinned that she would be forgiven.
By the end of the day, though, the mass of scriptures that I quoted her began to break through her delusional darkness. I could see that she began to consider that her belief was wrong. She finally left, but I could see from her countenance that she had been shaken.
During any preach, there are always the vocal few who seem to dominate the event. As a preacher, though, we have been trained to look beyond those useful idiots o the crowd behind them. Today was a stellar day, a truly stellar day. I saw that a large percentage of the crowd sat there enthralled. These are the ones you are actually preaching to. But today it did not stop at those.
I saw about a dozen students whose countenance was cast down and somber. They stared at the ground, faces drawn down by only one thing - conviction. I don't remember ever seeing so many under hard conviction at one time. I was about to give an "alter call" when the spirit checked me, but I don't know why. I have been looking for that sign for 31 years. I was almost convinced that the revival I have prayed and looked for was about to break forth. The moment passed.
The day wound down around 5:00 with a couple more rebukes. As I left, there was a small group of Christians standing around some of the students that were convicted. I walked over to them and said "Defend your faith, Christians". They thanked me for preaching and I walked off.
After so many lost and wasted days during this trip, today was a wonderful way to end the tour. ASU at Boone is ripe for a full time preaching ministry to settle down and work the campus.
Tomorrow, I leave South Carolina and drive back to Penn State, where I will be preaching with Gary, and possibly hitting some of the small Pennsylvania schools, like Mansfield, West Chester, and Millersville.
See you next week.
Once again please consider supporting my ministry. If you can't support me yourself, would you be able to give me any contacts you have of churches that might be open to my ministry as I travel? Any help you could offer would be much appreciated.