We set up at our normal location on Market and Powell and by 9 in the morning the city was more packed than it would have been at noon on a normal Saturday. A street preachers dream, to be sure.
At 10:30 the parade started. These 'Gay Pride' parades are traditionally opened by the self described motorcycle organization called Dykes on Bikes http://www.dykesonbikes.org/index.php. They ride their Harley's up and down the route and work the crowd up into an uncontrolled frenzy. The noise is deafening. All at once half a million crazed supporters start screaming at the top of their lungs. The spirit of rebellion that erupted was simply indescribable. I saw at that moment, perhaps for the first time in my life, why the Lake of Fire is absolutely necessary: it is the only possible thing, other than Grace, which can finally subdue the rebel's wicked heart.
After a couple of hours we wanted to move closer to the parade. We found a wonderful intersection that had been closed off to cars and began preaching there. Almost instantly we had several hundred people around us. The police came over quickly and asked us to move to the designated free speech area. We explained that if we were not breaking any laws then we would like to stay where we were.
To our astonishment they set up a free speech area around us. There we were, right in the middle of the Gay Pride Parade in San Francisco, preaching the gospel to thousands as the police surrounded us. Even with the protection it was a difficult venue. At one point someone hurled a rather large ice-coffee at Jim and I. It missed us and hit about four police officers square in the face. They were pissed and had the guy in a cruiser within 30 seconds.
We preached from that spot for several hours. Finally, about an hour after the parade ended we had to move as they reopened the intersection for traffic.
Jim suggested that we jump up on the nearest street corner and start preaching again. Within a minute we had another several hundred people around us - this time though the police had gone bye-bye. Things got ugly quick and soon Jim and I were covered in water, spit, fruit juice and whatever else they could hurl at us. At last a police officer demanded that we move on so we went back to Market and Powell.
One of the coolest things I experienced that day was a sweet man named Gerald. He was probably in his mid-fifties and when I was preaching he came up to me and told me that he had come to the Lord at the SF Gay Pride Parade over ten years ago!!! I asked him how. He explained that the Holy Spirit just simply convicted him of his sin, opened his eyes and showed him Jesus. I gave him the biggest hug I knew how. What a merciful God!!
We heard estimates that there were nearly a million people out celebrating sin that day in San Francisco and yet only about 5 street preachers...would you pray about joining us next year?