My last day on campus for this trip. I got out later than I had hoped, but even starting late, there was a small crowd sort of hanging around waiting for me to arrive. As soon as I started, the crowd moved over to the steps and sat down. Abraham from last week was there but did not insert himself into the preaching, trying to prove the omnipotence of sin (We can never stop sinning don't you know).
I began to talk on the Google search I had done the night before on "Red Sea Crossing". It had 397,000 hits. From the very first web page, there are reports of voluminous archeological discoveries at the crossing site and throughout the Sinai desert that verify every aspect of the Exodus. Pictures of chariot wheels, men's bones, horse's bones are on some of the sites. There are reports of chariot wheels, wheels on axles, armor, helmets, and weapons. All along the "scientists" have simply ignored any evidence brought forth simply because they have rejected outright ANYTHING that verifies the book they hate. I rejoice that now with the internet we are able to do an end run around the "scientists" who have betrayed science for years. A good scientist will go where the evidence leads, not just where they hope it proves their preconceived fairy tales.
Before too long the crowd became it's usual agitated state. I don't know why these students are so sensitive!! Call even one or two of them morons and they have apoplectic fits like a gaggle of spinsters and cranky widowers of advanced years. "Oh my, how can you say such a thing?" I can because Jesus did.
About halfway through the afternoon, a guitar player, or at least one who fancied himself a guitar player, came up and asked me if I wanted some accompaniment. I declined, but apparently he thought my answer was "Yes, you can steal my pulpit". He launched into a medley of Christian "summer camp" songs. He was pretty much a no-talent hack. He could not remember all the words of ANY of the songs he tried. I put up with him for a while, hoping he would have his 5 minutes of fame and move on. I was not so blessed. His intent was only one thing. Steal the crowd and shut me down.
After a while, I began to preach over top of his mutilation of one hapless Gibson. Wellllllll, that just wouldn't do, now would it. He started to become more aggressive by doing things like getting up real close and massaging his genitals, making lewd and obscene comments. Now, get this!!! He said his parents were both pastors and that he was a Jesus loving Christian himself! Every other word out of his mouth was a curse word. I missed no opportunity to point out to the crowd that this blasphemer was anything but a Christian. His parents and his attendance at church no more made him a Christian than sitting in my garage makes me a Buick.
He kept screaming at me to leave his campus. I would respond back with NO! Since he could not intimidate me to leave, he became even more aggressive. At one point he jumped up to stand on my chair. I turned around and told him to get off my chair. He refused, so I pushed him off it. Next he tried to sneak up behind me and steal the chair. I whipped around, spry young buck that I am, and yanked it out of his hands. The chair leg bumped him on the shins and down he went like he had been pole axed by Paul Bunyon.
He writhed and screamed and moaned, "Jesus Christ, Oh Jesus, Oh Jesus". What a drama queen. I bent down over him and said, "Get up you big pansy, and take it like a man".
Did he take it like a man? Not likely. He had the police called on me for my horrible assault against him. After a good long time, the police arrived and took him aside. I was concerned that he would fabricate all kinds of horrific tortures I did to him, but trusted in the Lord and kept on preaching. Before too long they came over to me and asked my side of the altercation, which I gave them essentially as I wrote above. After they heard my side, they took my information down. The one officer said, "Oh, you're Bro Cope. We know you." He said that the fellow had acknowledged his provocation in the whole thing so nothing would come of it. I think the guitar butcher realized that there was a large crowd of witnesses, some video taping the scene. I think he realized that if he lied, it wouldn't take too long for the officers to see his duplicity.
Their parting instructions to me were that if anyone tried to mess with me again, to call them and they would do the touching for me. Sort of backfired on the enemy of all good music.
After that break for my guest appearance on Law and Order - Campus Beat, the crowd was smaller but very attentive. I had a great last two hours sitting on my chair answering sincere questions from sincerely interested students. It was refreshing, not having to spank these little children all day and all night just to get them settled down. Several young men stopped by during this time to shake my hand and thank me for my bold stand for Christ. At last I was down to one young man, a biology student who actually believes the fairy tale of evolution. It never ceases to amaze me that they can talk with profound wonder about the complexity and design of what they are studying, and yet still think that blind, non-thinking random forces produced the complexity they see by the accumulation of mutations over time. Consider what that world view means. A mutation is a gene that is damaged, a mistake in the replication process. Every mutation is a mistake from the replication process. That means their entire worldview is founded on the accumulation of mistake after mistake after mistake. A worldview based solely on error. Lot's of hope for eternity there, don't you know.
The end of our discussion was better than the middle part. We had a nice conversation concerning my view on J.R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis and the symbolism they employed in their books. Both "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Chronicles of Narnia" depict victory over evil by innocents, who are the personification of Christ, and His followers, at once innocent and also powerful to destroy evil because of that innocence. He thanked me for having spent an hour with him and he said he would look forward to talking to me again.
Not bad for someone who is doing it all wrong and turning all these people off to Christ. Tomorrow morning bright and early I leave for the SOAPA conference in Marietta Georgia, with a stop over in Cape Girardeau MO, birthplace of Rush Limbaugh. SEMO, here I come.
The trip was uneventful. When I arrived on campus, there was little foot traffic. The campus is not extremely large, so I started preaching -- three times.
After the third attempt, I finally got a huge crowd of, let's see, I estimate it to have been three, more or less. I was to find out later that the campus as on Fall break.
Two of the girls who stopped wandered off, leaving me with one. But oh that one! She began to discuss Christianity with me and began to say things like, "I understand the need for preachers to judge while they are preaching...", and "I know that the effectiveness is in challenging what people are believing and getting them to move one way or another". I asked her about her purpose in life, she responded "To reach the goal". I asked what the goal was, and she said "Perfection". Hello!
Then she asked me if I remembered her. She looked familiar to me so I said yes. She brought my focus into clarity when she reminded me how she had heckled Jed and me at the end of the spring school tour. She had been sitting with a wisp of a boy who was a proud homosexual. She had consistently told us how wonderful a person he was, and that she could not believe that God would send him to hell. She defended him up and down the line, as we pressed God's judgment against such things.
I asked her what had happened between last May and now. She said that after we left campus, she had gotten out her Bible, and began to read it. To her great amazement she found things that we had said on campus in the Bible. She came to the realization that she herself had never given herself over to Him. She repented of her sins, and got on the path to holiness. Now she was an entirely different person from the freshman girl that had opposed us so vehemently just 6 months before. Respectful, even timid, and very humble concerning her past behavior. She even voiced sadness that her homosexual friend would not forsake his sins, even though he believes he is a Christian. Now she believes he will wind up in Hell if he doesn't repent.
She was a breath of fresh air. Many times over the years we hear back from people who were affected by our ministry (http://www.brojed.org/fruit.html), but they are often times many YEARS after the fact. It is good to find fruit so fresh on the tree.
After Susan left, I sat for a while praying for the campus. One of the original crowd of three returned and sat down beside me. I recognized, since I was all alone on the grass, that she wanted to talk. Her name is Michele, pictured above. She turned out to be a very interesting young lady. I don't know if you can see from the photo, but she is only sixteen, a sophomore halfway into her junior year. She still had the glow of childhood innocence on her face. I asked her when she started attending SEMO, and her response was 14. She is premed.
A home schooled girl, she told me of her strict upbringing. While she would not talk about her parents religious background, she did give me some insight. She said she was brought up under a strict discipline. I asked her what that discipline was. Her answer was "Living a life of celibate purity, no alcohol or drugs, must spend 2.5 hours a day meditating on the Lord, and vegetarianism. I don't think she is a Christian, but what a tender heart toward the things of God.
Michele informed me the school was on break, so after our conversation ran it's course, I left campus and headed for Marietta, Georgia. All in all, I was very pleased with the day, even though I didn't get to preach.
I arrived Tuesday night, but did not know where the conference was preaching, so I took some time to check into the hotel, and to get settled. Funny thing about how people's minds work. I was sitting at the desk, getting the computer set up, and I spotted the following on the ceiling, next to the fire sprinkler.
I can only imagine the scene that resulted in the hotel management posting such a warning!
The conference was very interesting, but I am not going to cover it. If you would like to learn about the conference, please go to http://www.soapasn.com
Jesse Morrell and Ruben Israel
The preaching target on Wednesday was Kennesaw State University. I've been on a few campuses over the year, but this campus could well be the most wicked campus of them all. The administration has a whole list of hoops that one has to jump through in order to be able to speak (only between 12:00 and 3:00 PM). Not only is there a permit, but there is a rather small triangle of landscaping that the speakers must stay inside. Stepping outside the area can get you stopped, even if you just want to take a couple of pictures. There was to be no finger pointing, no singling out people directly, no calling people bad names, and NO WHISTLES!.
Jim Gilles and the arrogant defense of their sins.
When my time came to preach, I was confronted by a crowd as vile as any I've ever seen. At one point, a couple of homosexuals stripped down, and one oiled the other up. As he was rubbing oil into his boyfriends chest, I can't tell you what began to happen a few inches south of the border. When the police approached, they got up and ran off. Thank you Jesus. At one point a particularly brazen hussy began to call me a bigot. So, I asked her what a bigot was.
She shouted back "You!".
I said, "I didn't ask you for an accusation, I asked for a definition. Now what is a bigot?" Again she responded "YOU are".
I rebuked her by saying, "That is not a definition, that is an accusation, you stupid woman".
With that she tried to have me arrested. She complained to a rather manly looking police woman that I singled her out. As she was taking my information, a friendlier police officer interjected that the girl had first singled me out and I was merely responding to her. That took the wind out of the police woman's sail. She gave me a memento for my scrap book.
I gave my talk, entitled "Bringing in the Kingdom of God." It was well received. I won't go into it here, because I have a video of the talk, and I want to do a little work on it for wider distribution. In my estimation, this message is the most important teaching I have ever done. It was on how the church decides when the end comes. Look for this sometime in the future.
Thursday was an off day. It rained, so we did not go out on campus.
We wrapped up the speakers today, and because we had a long trip early in the morning, I did not go out preaching. Some of the guys went down town, but I opted out to try and get some work caught up. It was a wise decision because they reported to me that where they went, it was a bust.
A tired group of preachers made the several hour drive up to Athens Georgia for the University of Georgia in Athens Vs Vanderbilt game. I've preached there before, and in my estimation, it is the worst located stadium in all of human history. The stadium is plunked down right in the middle of town. There is no organized parking whatsoever. You have to drive around town until you can find a piece of a lawn or parking lot that is charging $20 to park. We found an unoccupied snatch of grass about a mile from the stadium and pounced on it like a bargain hunter at an auction. My friends were considerate enough to stop for me from time to time. My legs are not what they once were. In a half a mile, I am sucking stones off the sidewalk. But we made it finally.
On the open side of the horseshoe stadium, there is a road. On that road there were tens of thousands of people milling around and into the stadium. The stadium holds 90,000, and there had to have been half again that many scattered all around town under UGA red tents. It was sort of like a UGA Bedouin family reunion that spread out for miles. Tents and fires, kegs and bottles, and endless tables of food.
We spread out over the length of the road, and lifted up our voices. The opposing noise level was very high with 90,000 screaming fans and 100,000 watts of amplification. But thankfully we had megaphones (we call them truth boxes). As all the people are on their way somewhere, you really can't get crowds, although we did get into some very heated conversations. Those were almost exclusively with Christians who object to our method.
One fellow got in front of me and continually dogged me, back and forth. When I would move left or right, he would move in from of me with a piece of paper over my face. Finally he got just too close, so I pushed him away. A police man came immediately and rebuked the heckler. He told him to stay out of my face, and to me, he remarked that he understood about personal space but would I just refrain from touching the hecklers. I think he saw that the heckler was too close. He told him to stop bumping into me. Situation avoided.
Later Jim Gilles' son told me that that officer had told him to make sure we were always within his view so he could see if anyone tried to hit us. We took that as a statement of support.
Leaving town was a disaster. We got lost and spent an hour driving around Athens trying to find our group. But they had left without us. We caught up to them the next day and laughed over the SNAFU.
Many of the preachers attended the church where the conference had been held - Free Will Baptist Church. After a good service, we all went out to a huge Chinese Buffet. Two of us commented that it looked more like a casino than a restaurant. The food was good, as was the fellowship. Whenever soldiers of the cross get together, we share the same camaraderie that all soldiers share: "We few, we happy few, we band of brothers - for whoever sheds his blood with me shall be me brother. - Henry V by Shakespeare
After lunch, I motored up to visit Rachael Cattell in the YMCA Camp Greeneville. Good to see you sweetie, even if you don't read my journals.
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