Friday, April 28, 2006

A Baptism Of Fire – Part II

Next thing I know, I am standing between the two groups, telling them to back down and not fight. I don’t know what happened, my feet just walked me over there before my brain knew what was really going on. So I find myself standing between the two sides of guys ready to rumble and I am telling the ringleaders to back down, that there will be no fighting tonight. One of the guys, through his obscene threats and cursing stops to tell me to, “Get the @#$% out of here!” I tell him that he doesn’t need to fight, but instead needs to get born again. This spawns a classic line that I will not soon forget. He said to me, “Listen @#$%^&, everyone here is born again, but if you don’t #$%^ move, then I’m going to kill you!”


This sends me into Gospel preaching overdrive. I start preaching to either side of the group, rebuking them for their anger and violence. I start telling them that Jesus is King and His Kingdom is a Kingdom of righteousness, peace and joy, all things that they are sorely lacking. For whatever reason, a couple more guys come up to me and threaten to hurt me. One of them has a pit bull on a leash and lets it at me a bit, telling me what he’s going to command it to do to my private parts (hint: it wasn’t very nice). So two sides are screaming and cursing and I’m preaching and getting threatened with violence! (Sigh) I love this parking lot… Well, the two sides eventually disperse and back down without a punch being thrown. We win! Right?

Well, not really.

Just a few minutes later there is a motorcycle accident. Some guy was ripping through the parking lot when a kid steps out in front of him. The guy on the bike swerves to avoid the pedestrian and the bike hits a truck and spins out on the ground, messing up the truck and the bike’s paintjob. The owner of the bike (the brother of the guy that we were prophesying to) wasn't the one riding the bike and runs down the parking lot to see what happened. When he gets there, the kid who stepped out and caused the accident is very repentant, saying he’s sorry, etc. Just when you think it will resolve without a mess, the same loudmouth from the “almost” fight a few minutes before (the guy who gave me the classic line) starts talking…and talking…and talking. He’s talking smack, defending his friend who stepped out in front of the bike. Next thing you know there are raised voices and the bike owner and his brother (that we were prophesying to minutes before) are getting into it with loudmouth.

Loudmouth starts to walk away, which is too little, too late and big bad brother jumps him, sending him to the ground with a couple punches from behind. He then proceeds to stomp his face (this is where it gets bad) and his neck! I see the foot come down on loudmouth’s neck, followed by a loud “CRACK!”. Loudmouth goes catatonic and is unconscious. Big bad brother who did the whooping’ runs like crazy when he sees that he has really hurt the guy. Loudmouth starts going into a seizure, his eyes roll back into his head and he starts violently convulsing. A couple guys out in the parking lot are EMT’s and volunteer firefighters so they come running over and are working on loudmouth. It’s not good. He’s basically unconscious and unresponsive, choking on his tongue while he’s having a seizure. I run right over to him and start praying…LOUDLY. People are getting on their phones calling 911 and the EMT guys are working on him. I command him to come back and use the opportunity to preach to several people close by, telling them that they never know what could happen, that they need to serve Jesus and stop being crazy!

His eyes roll back and he is able to talk. The EMT’s are asking him to squeeze their hands, which he cannot do. Several folks from our teams gather around the guy and they start praying. The police arrive, send everyone on their way and the paramedics arrive soon thereafter. Our group quickly gathers, gets into the vehicles we arrived in and head back to the church. When we get to the church, I tell everyone what happened and we pray for the kid who got stomped. We still don’t know what happened to him, but we believe that he was healed and will walk again. We'll find out soon enough...

But don’t forget, many people in our group are with us for their first outreach of any kind, much less a bloodbath in a parking lot. A couple of folks were physically ill with fear and intimidation, but quickly overcame to preach, pray and prophesy over the lost. Way to go! All in all, I think it was more exciting to be out there than it was to stay home and watch a rerun of Law & Order… Right?

On Sunday after church we gathered to head out for our last outreach of the weekend. Eight teams descended on nearby Woodstock neighborhoods to preach the Gospel and heal the sick. They came back with report after report of healings, miracles and salvations. A group of Hispanic men gave their lives to the Lord as one of the guys on the team persisted with prophetic words, even after they told him he was off. The encounter culminated with a group of them giving their lives to Jesus, so I think that he was right on! We received another report of a lady with a heart condition that had received prayer a few weeks earlier. She greeted the team with a great hug, telling them how God had healed her heart and how she no longer needed the pacemaker the doctors had given her.

After all the teams had returned, we shared stories of things that God had done that weekend and encouraged each other to make this “Kingdom” stuff part of our daily lifestyle.

Jesus is King!

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