If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time then you know how I feel about preaching in the open air with a Bible in hand—don’t do it! Why? Think about it this way: Before you were a believer, what did you think when you saw a guy standing on a structure and waving a Bible around? Were your first thoughts, “Gee… I wonder what that guy is saying? I think I’ll go over there and listen.”
Of course not.
In California, most people view “Bible thumpers” as part of a percentage figure: 52.3%. That’s the number of people who voted for marriage between a man and a woman, the number who voted against gay marriage. In other words, anyone who holds a Bible in the open air is a hater in their eyes… and a target. So if you are preaching in the open air, I recommend not holding a Bible. Let them hear your Bible words; let them hear your message; let them hear the tears in your voice as you proclaim the Law and Gospel. Why turn off a potential listener to your message before they even hear it by waving around a Bible? (For more “Do-Nots of open air preaching, click here.)
But there is a time to hold up a Bible proudly. There is a time and a place to hold that Big, BIG! Bible and proclaim the truth. When is that time? Whenever there is a nationwide call to read from the Good Book. My friend and brother Tony Miano, of the Ambassadors’ Alliance, made such a call, no doubt urged on by the apostle Paul’s admonition to “devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture” (1 Timothy 4:13). Last Saturday was deemed “Sermon on the Mount Saturday,” a time to go to any public place and simply read the greatest sermon ever preached: The Sermon on the Mount.
So we did, at the Strand in Hermosa Beach, right across from a bar called the Poopdeck, directly in front of the volley ball tourney sponsored by Bud Light!
I read chapter 5 of Matthew. Sample verse:“Blessed are you when people insult you and falsely say all kinds of evil against me.”
“Righteous Richard” Chavarria read chapter 6. Sample verse: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.”
And my daughter finished up by reciting chapter 7. Sample verse: “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord’, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only those who do the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
And another friend, Tom Nance Ulrich, read the whole thing at a shuttle bus stop at the Fiesta Hermosa!
To all who participated: Well done!