Why was my friend Ed Lee escorted by a fine member of the LAPD in front of the Staples Center?
Why was another friend, “Righteous Richard” Chavarria stopped by Security personnel?
Why was this man on his cell phone reporting my activities?
And this guy—this guy in the red jacket with the hard look—was irritated at the whole lot of us and tried to throw us off the premises of the Nokia Theater. Why? O’ why?
I’ll tell you why; I’ll tell you why—
They don’t like people preaching the Gospel on their turf.
(Read the introduction to this story by clicking here.)
But Jesus said “Go!” That’s right, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.”
No limitations as far as I can tell, to where we could, or should, preach.
That’s why we went to The American Idol semi-finals: to preach to all those thousands coming out to see their favorite idol. Problem was, unlike last year when there were thousands of people waiting in line to get into the theater…
…this time there were only a few hundred. What should we do now?
Well, we tried something that has never been done before. It had to be from God, because this idea was crazy; no one in their right mind would do such a thing. That’s why we let “Righteous Richard’ Chavarria do it first. Whenever there’s a new idea we always let “Righteous Richard” do it first.
“Richard,” I said, “let’s go onto the carpet area and preach the Word to all the people waiting to get in the doors. There’s hundreds of people—thousands—standing around doing nothing.”
“How long do you think I’ll have before they boot me out of here?” he asked.
“Two minutes, max. Make it a Stop Light sermon, ya know, short.” So he did.
No one screamed. No one heckled. No one died. Security didn’t even come by to stop us.
This emboldened me. No reason to be timid now. Let’s do it guys! Let’s roll! Full of the Holy spirit and power I took the lead, trusting boldly in God and his protection. I sucked in my breath and… asked Ed Lee to go next. He did.
Same results. No harrassment of any kind. No semi-important-looking guys with badges and furrowed brows. What’s wrong with this picture?
My turn now. I was a little wary. Whenever there’s a problem, I am a magnet for trouble. If anyone else in the world wanted to preach with a porkpie hat while hanging upside down from a bungee cord in a plastic bag above a crowd—they’d get away with it. If another guy wanted to recite the Book of Jeremiah in Speedos while wearing Mickey Mouse ears standing in Jell-o, there would be no problem. But just let me preach a little sermon in a cool place like American Idol and the cops, and guards, the Marines—the Taliban itself—would be on me faster than maggots on moldy meat.
Oh, those horrible memories….
At last year’s Christmas parade in Hollywood I was prevented from preaching the Gospel by the LAPD….
I was stopped at a USC football game—again by the LAPD!
Maybe you can understand my initial reluctance… but the righteous are as bold as a lion! I took my little stool, stood upon it, cleared my throat, ahem, and—preached! Yessiree, I preached my little heart out—and no one stopped me. In fact, after I was done “Righteous Richard” preached again, as did Ed, then me. Then Richard, Ed, myself… Where were those Security guards anyway? Why were we allowed to preach the forbidden Gospel among all these “IDOLaters” with nary a hoot or boot?
God certainly must have blinded the guard’s eyes; I cannot think of any other reason that we were allowed to do this for so long.
Maybe they were lying in wait…
Hundreds upon hundreds of people heard that they had broken God’s Moral Law by telling lies, stealing, and misusing His name. They heard in clear loud voices that even looking with lust is adultery, hatred was murder. They were reminded that if they had broken just one of God’s 10 Commandments—which is sin—they would stand before a Holy God and be found guilty. Their punishment? Hell. A real Hell for all those who mocked God and put other things before him. Eternal punishment, horrible. Forever.
We weren’t mean. We weren’t angry. We spoke pleasantly, but with authority. We were called on the carpet to preach the Good News that no one had to go to Hell, that there was a choice. If only they would repent—turn away from their sins–and put their trust in the Savior, Jesus Christ, then they could be forgiven, the old would become new, they would become… born again, no longer enemies of God, but friends.
Security walked past. They didn’t even nod, or wink, or blink. Winkin’, Blinkin’ and Nod strolled by, unconcerned. Could they not hear us?
I had an idea.
We could reach even more people if we tried it out. I walked over to “Righteous Richard” and discussed it with him. He nodded in agreement. Obediently trusting the Lord he did what I asked him to do; if he could pull it off, no telling what type of Revival might happen outside the Nokia.
But we over-played our hand. We went too far. That’s when the trouble began….