'Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full"

Luke 14:23

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Ventura College (4-26-11)

I got to the school around 10:30 AM and went right to the campus police center to see if they had a free speech area.

Officer Castro told me that the whole campus was a free speech zone and thus I walked away very excited at what appeared to be an open door to proclaim Christ to a lot of people.

After about forty minutes of scattered prayer, jittery Scripture reading and serious heart- searching; students started pouring out of their classes and thus I started to preach.

I started with 'the cross as the foolishness and weakness of God' (1 Cor. 1:18-25). By God's grace I immediately felt the glory of the text and began to preach in earnest. After about ten minutes a gentleman came over and told me that I could not, in fact, preach on the campus. I explained that I had already checked in with campus police and that I had received a green light from them. He then said that he was the vice president of the college and thus I would have to listen to him and stop preaching. I told him that I would be happy to if an officer asked me to.

As the VP walked away I could tell he was torn. He would walk away to the police center and then stop and walk back towards me. He did this a couple of times. Finally he came back with Officer Castro. The officer explained to me that although I was not doing anything wrong I should go to the 'Civic Center' office and register with them.

I did not really understand what that meant but I was happy to comply. I went to the office, spoke with Elouise and explained that I was told to see her about formally registering to speak on campus. It turns out that this whole goose-chase was about renting the amphitheater right across from where I was already preaching on the quad. She explained that I would need to fill out the lengthy application, pay the fee and show proof of a million dollar insurance bond. They would let me know in two weeks if I was approved! Things were starting to get complicated.

I went back to see Officer Castro and explained that there must have been some misunderstanding; I did not want to rent the amphitheater and put on a show. I simply wanted to preach the gospel. I asked him plainly if it was against the law to do so. He said it was not, but that 'some people' were having a problem with it.

I went right back to my spot. A couple of Christians asked me what I would be preaching on now. I told them 'Christ the Good Shepherd.' They stood by me. The campus came alive. Christians were giving support, others were starting to jeer, several hundred were listening. The gospel was going forth. It was glorious.

A small crowd had gathered around me. One of them was a young man with a red shirt and a tennis racket. He asked me, 'how do I get my sin forgiven?' I explained to him the gospel. He wanted more clarification and then asked, 'but how do I actually experience this forgiveness?'

I told him to go cry to God for mercy. He asked me how he would know if he received it. I explained to him that he would know....'you can't be raised from the dead spiritually and not know it young man.' The Christians standing around me encouraged him. I pray that the Jesus brought this sheep home.

Finally Officer Castro called me over. It was getting too hot for him. The whole time I was preaching I saw him across the quad on his phone. He said that he was getting too many calls and thus it would be best if I stopped. I agreed. We shook hands and I departed. Here's what I learned:

1) The First Amendment, glorious as it is, means next to nothing. Open doors to preach the gospel are from God - period.

2) Although I have preached the gospel alone on many occasions, I have never actually been alone. The Lord has always sent Christians beside me to encourage me and help me. I am so grateful for this.

3) Preaching Christ must flow out of a heart of worship. I feel the glory of Christ when I preach, but I must feel it so much more. His glory must absorb and control the preacher.

4) When Christians proclaim the gospel they have the full resources of God at their disposal: "All authority in heaven in earth has been given to me....go."

No comments:

Post a Comment