Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Fiery Furnace 8/17/2013

". . .Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods. . ." (Daniel 3:17-18)

It was a fine evening in Burbank, as the team went to work. Steve M., Dr. Jack, Dean C., Sai, Jeremy, Steven V., and Mark, were later joined by Andrew and David, from Veritas, and Jack's wife Barbara. This group portrait was shot by our CBC brother Chris L. who, as you can tell, is a professional photographer. Chris graciously volunteered to help document the team's activities throughout the evening.

Dean C. created this innovation: a designated waiting area for the "on-deck" heckler to warm up in while waiting for the current heckler to storm off, or be saved.

It was very busy when we arrived on the mall, so we set up shop in between the Robot Dancer and the Free Hugs people to our left . . .

. . . and the 60 year old recovering addict named John who breakdances, on our right.

Steve M. was our lead-off man this time, and he gave a heartfelt presentation of the gospel, and a call to repentance.

This couple is typical of so many who stand shyly away from the preacher, but who obviously are paying close attention.

Andrew gamely discusses theology with Roger "the Nemesis."

Representing Veritas, David and Andrew gave out many tracts.

This pastor, Kris Brossett, and his wife, from a Church in North Hollywood stopped by to encourage the team.

It was a great night for one-to-ones and proclamation. Often, we find that the later it gets, the more likely that a heckler will emerge.

Once again, Dr. Jack had the distinction of drawing the attention of the first heckler. Dealing with a heckler who may be intoxicated is extra challenging.

Our brother Steve M. also was faced with a hostile crowd of angry hecklers, ones who were drawn by Roger's animated indignation. Roger, of course, is never intoxicated, but he needs no accelerant to reach a fever pitch of verbal abuse.

I contacted our brother David, in Colorado, for some guidance on this issue and he sent the following helpful article:

Thank you for wanting my insight; will do my best. Its hard to give a blanket rule, I've had various opportunities to engage "reasonable" drunks and belligerent drunks and its always a challenge to discern how much or little you share with them.

IF the heckler mic is in effect that mic is for QUESTIONS... not their OPINIONS. If the person is unruly and unreasonable I will just tell them that they are, and that is why I need to turn off the mic. If the person is so intoxicated that they cannot control themselves then don't give them the platform. You are actually STOPPING them from sinning more and that is the loving thing to do.

There are many verses in proverbs that warn us NOT to engage a fool because it tempts us to sinful responses:

Though you grind a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain, [Yet] his foolishness will not depart from him. - Pro 27:22 NKJV

Rebuke is more effective for a wise [man] Than a hundred blows on a fool. - Pro 17:10 NKJV

He who begets a scoffer [does so] to his sorrow, And the father of a fool has no joy. - Pro 17:21 NKJV

A fool has no delight in understanding, But in expressing his own heart. - Pro 18:2 NKJV

[It is] honorable for a man to stop striving, Since any fool can start a quarrel. - Pro 20:3 NKJV

Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, For he will despise the wisdom of your words. - Pro 23:9 NKJV

Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Lest you also be like him. - Pro 26:4 NKJV

Answer a fool according to his folly, Lest he be wise in his own eyes. - Pro 26:5 NKJV

[If] a wise man contends with a foolish man, Whether [the fool] rages or laughs, [there is] no peace. - Pro 29:9 NKJV

A fool vents all his feelings, But a wise [man] holds them back. - Pro 29:11 NKJV

It would be the same with Roger who is sober- IF he is disrespectful and angry then don't continue to engage him. The issue is not so much drunkenness as FOOLISHNESS. All the booze does is lower the God given mechanisms that restrain their foolishness. We are there to proclaim NOT argue. You can politely rebuke them for their foolishness/drunkenness and plead with them to repent. NOW- If they stand from afar and heckle you (i.e- the Black Hebrew Israelites) there really is not much you can do about that but to keep preaching. :)

Here is something we all need to be reminded of and this is going to sound harsh... THE GOSPEL IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THEY ARE. That sounds harsh but its so true. I think we make the error of thinking that "Love" is continuing to give the Gospel to "dogs and swine" so they can trample the Good News... that is not loving GOD. Again we're not talking about a drunk who is humbled and crying over his state and willing to LISTEN to the Good News. If they are "breathing out threats" rebuke them and move on.

Hope that helps,  David


Some further ideas to consider:

-We each need to be clear in our own minds how we will respond to an angry or intoxicated heckler. For what it's worth, try thinking of each slanderous and abusive comment directed at you as another jewel in your crown. Perhaps the most productive response to an insult is to smile, nod in agreement, and inwardly thank the person for blessing you in this way. When we readily and publicly confess our own insufficiency and foolishness, it makes it all the easier to then boldly and assertively glorify the Lord for His sufficiency and His perfect righteousness.If we find ourselves asserting our own wisdom and self-righteousness (sad to say I do this often), it's like taking a turn into a blind alley. It takes glory from God, and makes it harder to turn around and lead our adversary to look to the Son for salvation. Indeed, we should hasten to apologize to a heckler if we misspeak or lose our cool. This happens. Best to admit it and move on. By doing so we remove any excuse for the heckler to be abusive and we respect the dignity of the person. Satan hates human dignity which derives from our creation in the image of God. This is why the enemy works so diligently to destroy human dignity in every way he can.

"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bond-servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross." (Philippians 2:5-8)

The Heckler mic is:
    -for people to ask a question about Jesus, the Bible, Salvation, Creation, etc.
    -for any respectful person to pose a sincere question and engage with the preacher in an orderly way.
    -our property so we do have a right to select who will be able to speak over it. Demands for "equal time" are meaningless. (Remember: others can bring their own PA if they want to. It's a free country. But there is no need to encourage them to do so.;-)
    -NOT for the purpose of lengthy debate about different gods, religious viewpoints, or for "sharing" everyone's beliefs so we can take a vote.
    -NOT for profanity. Use your best judgement. One warning, and then zero tolerance.
    -NOT for lecturing. (Note: Preaching the Gospel is NOT lecturing.;-)

-Assertions made without evidence or citation should be challenged. Hecklers are fond of making wild assertions without any factual support. Similarly, we should endeavor to offer scripture, or other sources, for our own assertions.

-We do not have a burden to "prove" the existence of God. The universe exists, you exist, therefore the God who created all these things exists. (Psalm 14:1) Next question. Our job is to share what God has told us to proclaim, i.e. the Gospel.

-We should clearly state our reasons for controlling the mic. When we switch the mic on and off without explaining why, people become resentful and the focus becomes the preacher rather than the message.

 Whatever may befall us, let's keep sharing the Gospel!


Please Pray for the Persecuted Church In Egypt

Falling under the radar in the mainstream news is the persecution of Christians in Egypt. Here are some sources:  Persecution, Christian Post.


Join us!  Saturday, August 24, 2013 @ Burbank Police Department Parking Lot at 6:00 for prayer. Entrance to the location is on Palm, near the intersection w/ Glenoaks.

See you there!

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