Using My Nice Voice
I know this will sound weird, but I love to street preach. (Not preachy like a obnoxious evangelist. I just try to talk to people like we’re having coffee.) I have a friend the usually goes with me. I have a sign that says, “JESUS really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, LOVES U. (Yes, the sign has 14 “reallys.”) My message is always the same, it’s a message Jesus himself preached. I say “Are you tired? Are you weary? Are you burdened and troubled? Then come to Jesus! Come to Jesus friend, and He will give you rest!” Let me add this. When I preach, I say this, “I’m not preaching to everybody. If you’ve got got it all together, if you’ve got all the answers; sadly, Jesus doesn’t have much to say to you. But, if you are broken, weary, filled with sorrow and grief; well then Jesus has a lot to say to you.”
As I said street preaching is fun for me. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I get severely heckled and mocked, but I don’t take it personally, having been an atheist myself. I almost always take my Harley with me. I get all dressed up in my motorcycle leathers and sunglasses. I tie my sign to the back rest and find a good place to preach. I love seeing people’s reactions when I roll up with my sign on the back. They’re not sure what to make of me.
Irene and Her Friends
Years I go we went to our local summer street fair and found some shade on the sidewalk where me and my buddy could jump on a milk crate and let everyone know that Jesus truly loved them and died to give them a chance to spiritually connect with God and gain the promise of Heaven. I always go with a partner and we take turns preaching while the other talks one-on-one with people. This time what happened next was totally unexpected, but not really.
It was my turn to jump down from our milk crate and let my buddy preach while I connected one-on-one with people. A group of three young adults from the local community college came up to me and started challenging me. But this was more than the usual jeers and f-bombs. This guy and two gals were prepared. They challenged the historical accounts of Jesus found in the New Testament. They challenged the infallibility of the Bible. They challenged translations handed down through the centuries. In some ways, I felt like I was in a seminary class rather than a street fair. Do you remember the passage in Mark 10 with Jesus and the rich young ruler. It says in verse 21, “Jesus looked at him and loved him…” Strangely enough, that was the same reaction of my heart when I talked with these three. Having children about the same age, the father in me fell in love with them. I was impressed. These weren’t just three rebellious kids who just wanted to do what they wanted to do. These three had examined the evidence and came away prepared to tear down the Christian faith that gives them the freedom to do so.
I noticed a number of things about the three’s arguments. First, someone had formally instructed them on what they were saying. Their arguments were well researched and thorough. Each of them repeated the same phrases and used the same technical terms. I speculate what they argued was taught at a class at the local Junior College. Second, some of what they said was true, but only partially true. Some of their arguments only contained a shred of truth, others were closer to the truth, and some were downright fabrications.
One young adult was very feisty. Her name was Irene. She didn’t mind sticking her finger in my face and screaming loudly. She was kind of the leader of the pack. This went on for about 30 minutes. I was thoroughly enjoying our encounter. She was very intelligent and well informed. She knew her stuff. But after a while I thought, “I’m not getting through to these guys. Maybe I need to take a different tac.” Now it’s important to know that the whole time I do this I’m also praying. I prayerfully considered what to say next. Then I thought, “Maybe I need to tell her hell is a real place and she really didn’t want to go there.” But even as that sentence entered my mind something in my gut felt very wrong. I took a breath and opened my mouth and this is what fell out of my mouth, “You know Sweetie, you need to be careful.” In literally a split second, God put the thought in my mind and words in my mouth. Irene’s reaction was marvelous.
She leaned back a little, got a quizzical look in her face, and became silent. Her other two friends and I continued to talk. I was holding my sign in one hand and my Bible in the other as I turned to passages to make a point. Irene saw I was having difficulty and asked, “C-Can I hold your sign for you?” I said of course she could. She took it and marched back and forth behind like a proud peacock as I finished up with her and her two friends. About 10 minutes later after we finished, I took the sign back and as she got ready to leave, she asked, “C-c-can I give you a hug?” with the most sweetest earnest voice. I said, “Of course sweetie you can give me a hug.” After we hugged, she said, “You know I hope I… I mean I really didn’t mean to offend you, you know.” I said, “No, Irene. You didn’t offend me. You are absolutely amazing. And God is crazy about you.” As they left I said, “I’ll be praying for you.” And I still do.
Have You Ever Been Lied About?
Let me ask. Have you ever been slandered? Have you ever been the subject of unfounded gossip, distortions, or concoctions? After my encounter with Irene and her friends I realized young people have been lied to by extremists. In my opinion, today, in our contemporary culture, that’s exactly what’s happened with God, Jesus, and the Bible. For the last several decades God has been lied about. He’s been slandered. Irene and her friends give an example of this.
Since my experience with Irene, I have realized that many non-Christians are victims of a culture war that is almost solely information warfare. One website defines information warfare as follows: Information warfare can be a combination of lies, manipulated truths, manufactured media, or in some cases exploiting human nature to sow confusion. I realize that because of this information warfare, others have been taught or heard things about God, Christians, and Christianity that simply aren’t true or distortions of the truth. This blog is an effort to set the record straight.
Now, this blog is not for everybody, especially the mockers, the haters and the shamers. It’s for the hurting and confused. It’s for those looking for answers to deep and profound questions. It’s for those with an open mind and an open heart.