Hover over Romans 1:20-22 for proof of God's existence, and over Matthew 5:27-28 for Judgment Day’s perfect standard. Then hover over John 3:16-18 for what God did, and over Acts 17:30-31 for what to do.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Make Sure You Pray

Recently, after preaching open air at Huntington Beach, our small team (Scotty, Carol and Anita) realized that we forgot to pray just before we preached (although we had prayed before we drove the distance to Huntington Beach). It hadn’t been a good day. So the next week we decided to make sure that we asked for the help of God, and take a moment to resist the enemy.

As we set up, I looked over at a young man who was playing a guitar about 20 feet from us. It was obvious that his voice would cause confusion when we preached. As I was thinking about the problem, a very upset and obviously frustrated man approached me and said that we were nothing but a nuisance, and that we should go away. He owned a bicycle company that transported people rickshaw-style up and down the long Huntington Beach pier. He said that we were bad for business. Very bad. He had his opened cell phone in his hand and threatened the call the police to have us removed.

Another very anti-Christian man, who, on two occasions chewed me out, was setting up about 50 feet from us. His act was to hammer a nail into his nose. That’s a hard act to follow, and it would obviously draw away our crowd. So we prayed for God’s help with these things, and resisted the spiritual strongholds.

Minutes later, without any encouragement from us, the guitar player came over and said he was moving much further away, and for some reason John Nailhead packed up his hammer and left a minute or so later.

As I stood up to speak, I said to our team that I would rather be visiting a dentist than trying to pull in a crowd. They agreed. It's not an easy thing to do. A few people started gathering around as I asked a few trivia questions. Then Anita (after being chained up in a straight jacket by Scotty and Carol), began to escape from the jacket. I was thinking that that could help get some attention when, suddenly, John Nailhead jumped into the crowd and screamed, “It’s a fake! It’s a fake! That’s a fake straight jacket. Let me chain her up. I’m a professional escape artist!” I told him that he could chain Anita up after he let me hammer a nail into his head. For some reason he didn’t like my idea, so he left, but not before he had doubled our crowd. It was wonderful.

A few minutes later the police did arrive, presumably after Mr. Frustrated's call. However, they simply told some kids not to ride their bikes on the pier, and left us alone.

After I preached, I left Scotty with a good-sized crowd, took my hand-held camera and began interviewing people for our TV program. As I did so, a man in his early twenties enquired as to what kind of questions I was asking. I didn’t want to engage him in a conversation because he was riding a rickshaw, more than likely one owned by Mr. Frustration. Despite this thought, I asked him if he would like to do a quick interview. He did, and after going through the Law and hearing the Gospel, he humbly surrendered his life to Christ. I gave him some literature, two CD’s, we hugged and I moved on quickly in case his boss showed up with his cell phone in his hand.

I did some more interviews and went back to the open air. When that ended, I approached some very rough-looking “punks” who were sitting on the ground and asked one with a huge Mohawk if he wanted to do an interview. As I was explaining that I wanted to know his thoughts on the afterlife, his friend asked why I hadn’t asked him for an interview. I could feel his anger. Then he spat out “Get out of here now!” I leaned over to him, took off my sunglasses, put my eyes about 12 inches in front of his face and said, “I’m an American citizen. I love this country, and nobody is going to tell me to get out of here. This is not Iran. What’s your name?” He said it was “Degenerate.” We were like a couple of growling dogs with our back-fur stirred up, staring each other down. I thought to myself, “What am I doing? I’m in for a knuckle sandwich.” After a moment, his fur went down, so I asked him if he wanted to do an interview. For some reason he declined.

A few minutes later, as we were packing up our gear, I looked over to the punks and noticed that Degenerate was now standing up. He was a big boy. My head came up his shoulders. I thought to myself that the next time I go eye-to-eye with some degenerate punk, I'd better do it standing up, so that I can at least see the size of the dog, and figure if it’s worth getting a knuckle sandwich.

I then went back to the pack of punks and asked Degenerate if he and his friends would like me to buy them some pizza. For some reason he declined, but I was surprised by his politeness. I guess my growling and my little stare-down wasn't a failure after all. Maybe it’s true that it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog . . . and, of course, the power of prayer.