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Discussion Forum : General Topics : Street Preaching at UNC Charlotte

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KingJimmy
Member



Joined: 2003/5/8
Posts: 4419
Charlotte, NC

 Street Preaching at UNC Charlotte

After not having done any open-air evangelism in nearly two months, setting myself apart for a season of prayer, I was led of the Lord to go to UNC Charlotte. Typically when I have gone to preach in the past, the Lord has already started dealing with my heart over the message that He wants me to preach. This time though, the Lord was not giving me any message to preach, but was surely tugging on my heart to go and preach. So, as I walked to the quad at UNC Charlotte, I happened to notice that there was already a small crowd gathered around the Belk Tower. I noticed some fraternity signs out, so I suspected that perhaps it was just people signing up for the fraternities. But it turns out as I get closer, I see an older man speaking a bit loudly, and holding his Bible up in the air, and pointing to it.

As I drew closer, it was who I suspected it was. It was the Rev. Gary Birdsong. I had heard of him before, and did a little research on him. All of my research that I did, reading various student and local newspaper articles on him, and coming across a number of web sites that spoke of him, everything I read about him pointed out to the fact that this was not good news that Birdsong was preaching, but rather, bad news. For nearly 20 years, Gary Birdsong has made evangelism tours at various UNC campuses throughout the state of North Carolina. It is said he is so consistent, that you could set your watch by him. It is jokingly said that UNC Charlotte would not know how to function if Gary Birdsong did not show up on his rounds.

So, I decided to settle the matter for myself, and I approached the small crowd of about 50 who had gathered around. I listened to him for a little bit, and listened to the comments people in return to him. I increasingly became grieved in my heart as I found the various articles I had read about him to be true. I started praying that if the Lord was willing, if He would show me something I could say, for he came across very badly, and didn't seem to have any sense of direction in his message. He was very rude to the people in the crowd. After listening to his message for a time, I had deteremined that all he was doing was calling people nothing but names, and using very graphically crude illustrations for the purpose of drawing a crowd and provoking people to anger. He speaks with no brokenness, and seems very happy that everybody is going to hell. He had nothing to say about Christ. I kept my cool though, and continued to listen, waiting on the Lord, for I believed He wanted me to say something.

Eventually Gary Birdsong called somebody out in the crowd a sinner, and the person fired back at him the same. He boasted, "I am no sinner, I am a saint. I am beyond perfect." At this point I felt a very strongly the need to say something. So I stepped out of the crowd, and opposed him for a moment. I cried out that he was misrepresenting Christ, as no man is "beyond perfect" and that Christ alone is perfect. At that point he became quiet and I turned to the crowd and felt a very strong anointing from the Holy Spirit to address the gathered crowd, and I proceeded to preach for about 10 minutes. I covered the full gospel in those 10 minutes. As I was summing up the message of the gospel to love God and love one's neighbor, a heckler in the crowd came towards me saying "I love you" and came up and gave me a big hug. This heckler had been making a show with Gary Birdsong as well, making obscene comments and gestures. He also proceded to make an obscene gesture towards me as he hugged me, and pretended to be licking my ear.

As I preached I had much liberty in my speaking, and the Lord allowed me to use a few strong illustrations to get people's attention. Quite a few people looked on and listened intently, and some appeared moved by what I said. I knew as I was speaking that the Spirit was bearing witness with individuals in the crowd. Then, I stopped speaking and another heckler that challenged Gary Birdsong all of a sudden started asking me for some Messianic prophecies that Jesus fulfilled. Discerning that he was not geniunely interested in my responses, and knowing that I had nothing more from the Holy Spirit to say, and having no Bible on hand- as I never bring one when I do street evangelism, as anybody that wants to know what is inside of it is probably just looking for a debate that they already have their mind made upon- I simply pointed out that Gary Birdsong had a Bible, and I was confident enough that this guy could quote a few Messianic prophecies that Jesus fulfilled. He proceded to, and did rather badly at that, giving no clear explination. At that point I just walked away.

I then proceded to start up conversations with random students that had gathered around the Belk Tower. I ran into a few Christians, and a few non-believers as well. I told them why I had come out here, and what I was doing and so forth. I felt like I should stick around though, knowing the Lord wanted me to do something else, but not exactly what. After conversing with people for probably about 20 minutes, Gary Birdsong continued to address the crowds. People asked him about the love of God, and he would say nothing of it. He would only speak about the wrath and anger of God. He started to denounce people again, and call things such as AIDS and cancer as a curse from God. When he mentioned cancer, the one heckler that hugged me early became very very angry and upset. He then loudly approached birdsong yelling at him saying, "MY GIRLFRIEND WAS JUST DIAGNOSED WITH CANCER YESTEREDAY, HOW DARE YOU SAY THAT!!!!"

At that point the Spirit of the Lord spoke to me, and told me to go pray for this heckler right now. I had been talking to somebody in the crowd, and I did make a note of how Gary Birdsong was not at all demonstrating the love of God, nor was he attempting to lead people to Christ. The Lord was telling me as I was going that the one thing this heckler needed the most was to be shown the love and mercy of Christ. I tapped the heckler on the shoulder and he turned around, and I asked him "Can I pray for you and your girlfriend?" The countenance on his face changed like from night to day. He was greatly moved by my mere asking if I could pray for them, and he said yes. I asked him what his name was, and the name of his sick girlfriend. His name is Chaz and her name is Nay. I went ahead and started praying very fervently, and at one point, I cracked my eyes open just for a second. I had only been praying for a few seconds at that time, and when I opened my eyes I was blown away. All of a sudden, 3 other total strangers had surrounded this man with me, praying.

Gary Birdsong however did not seem to care, and continued to denounce people as we prayed in front of everybody.

One woman who was praying was moved greatly by God. She had been praying not but a second or two and tears streamed down like a fountain from her eyes. She wept bitterly, and the others prayed with great passion as well. We called upon God to save both of them, and especially to stretch forth His hand and heal his girlfriend. We agreed with eachother in the name of Jesus for her healing.
When we were done praying one woman talked to Chaz for a minute, and the the one woman who wept greatly seemed very convinced that Chaz's girlfriend had been healed. They talked for a minute or two; Chaz was greatly humbled, and all the anger that was in him moments before had vanished, and now he talked with great gentleness as his eyes began to tear up. Chaz said he had not been to church in many years, and the one woman who wept greatly invited him to her Church, and they exchanged numbers, and it seems he has agreed to go.

At that point the Holy Spirit told me my ministry there for the day was done, and I proceded to leave. The crowd seemed moved even more than before. As I left walking through the crowd, several people proceded to shake my hand, including the one that challenged me concerning the Messianic prophecies in the Bible.

I do not know if anybody got saved yesterday. I do not know if Nay (Chaz's girlfriend) got healed, though, I would not at all be shocked if the next time I go out to UNCC to preach, to find out that she indeed did. I do know this though, many people heard the gospel of Jesus Christ presented in clearness and boldness. I do know this, that the Holy Spirit confirmed what was said yesterday to the hearts of many. I rejoice over the fact that Christ was clearly presented to people yesterday, and that many, perhaps for the first time, truly had an encounter with the person of Jesus Christ. He was clearly shown through the gift of the Spirit, and the fruit of the Spirit.

Please keep Chaz and Nay in prayer, as well as all the students at UNCC. As the one woman noted yesterday, and I do not have a doubt about it in my mind, that God is moving at UNCC. I am praying that God would do an awesome work there. I have gone only a handful of times to UNCC to preach in the past, and have never experienced God in such a way as I did yesterday afternoon. Pray also for Gary Birdsong. Yesterday as we prayed just 3 or 4 feet from him, he seemed totally unmoved and did not even care that we were there. I believe he is horriably backslidden in the bondage of much sin. I believe he needs to come back to the Lord, otherwise, he will only do great harm- though the Lord did allow his actions yesterday to serve as a springboard to some fruitful ministry, and I believe the students there saw a great difference between what he was doing, and the ministry the Lord was doing through me and others.

God bless....


_________________
Jimmy H

 2004/9/3 14:32Profile
disciplejosh
Member



Joined: 2003/6/13
Posts: 210
Southern California

 Re: Street Preaching at UNC Charlotte

Praise God for the blessings that come with our obedience. I am blessed to hear you share from your heart and pray that it would only continue as you seek His face and draw ever closer to Him. I go out weely to the same spot every Saturday morning and stand up and share what the Lord gives me during the previous week. I am so blessed to have other brothers who are listening and doing the same.

I can't begin to tell you how you've encouraged me to continue, not just doing what the Lord has opened for me to do, but to do it with even greater expenctancy and faith and hope, passion, fervor, zeal coupled with knowledge, and compassion for the sleeping bride and the lost soul.



_________________
Josh

 2004/9/3 14:56Profile
KingJimmy
Member



Joined: 2003/5/8
Posts: 4419
Charlotte, NC

 Re:

Praise God :)


_________________
Jimmy H

 2004/9/3 19:30Profile
KingJimmy
Member



Joined: 2003/5/8
Posts: 4419
Charlotte, NC

 Re:

I went to UNCC again this week to do some open-air preaching on Thursday about noon-time. I opened up by preaching a bit from the book of Ecclesiasties on the vainity of life. This day many students did not pay me much attention, though small groups of students did stop and listen for a few minutes. I noticed one girl had stopped dead in her tracks and kinda hid behind a tree as she listened on, I suppose so as not to be noticed.

A few students from last week who were heard me stopped again to listen. One setup his bookbag as a type of pillow and sat back and listened for a while. Though he's not a believer, he came up to me and said he really respects what I am doing, and thinks I should continue doing it again. He liked especially how I preach on the love of God.

I also came across the student from last week who asked me about messianic prophecies that Jesus fulfilled. I started up a conversation with him, and it turns out that he's actually Jewish, though he only attends services on high holy days. I explained to him this week several prophecies that I believe Jesus fulfilled, and I especially put an emphasis on Deuteronomy 18, on how Jesus was another prophet like Moses. For example, as Moses delivered people from bondage, so Christ has also delivered people from bondage. As God used Moses to establish a new covenant, so God used Christ to establish a new covenant.

I also came across Chaz, the student whom I prayed with last week. I asked him how his girlfriend Nay was, and he says she is worse. This grieved my heart to hear. I asked him if he had been to Church this last week, and he said no. I told him that I would continue praying for him and his girlfriend, and he thanked me and walked on.

Today I felt slightly frustrated while preaching. My frustration I suppose came from a combination of the fact that a great majority of the people seemed to be ignoring me, though some would stop and listen. But to make me more frustrated is that while I was preaching that Christians would come up to me and thank me for doing the Lord's work, and encouraged me to keep on preaching. As much as I enjoyed the affirmation from other saints, and as much as I enjoyed meeting other believers on campus- these students were in some ways interupting my message, and almost seemed a distraction. While I was talking to them, in the back of my mind I could only think of how many people were walking by that might not have the chance to hear the gospel. For I had gone to preach at the busiest time at UNCC, where thousands of students walk through the quad during an hour's time.

After about an hour, my voice was going dry (I brought no water with me), and I needed to get back to school. When I got to school though I could not help but be filled with joy, and am anxious to go back out and preach again.

The halmark of the day though was when a friend of mine that attends UNCC invited me to an Intervarsity Fellowship service on campus later on that evening. I attended and had a good time in praise and worship, though I could discern that many that were in attendance had their minds and hearts elsewhere, though others did get into it, and the Spirit of God was evident.

Then a guest speaker came and preached a wonderful message on how we need to be extreme for God, as such individuals as John the Baptist and Jesus Christ were extreme. He recalled several stories of a mission trip he was on where the team they were with went throughout some country in central america, preaching the gospel open air on college campuses and in public schools. They had praise and worship, drama teams, and preached through an interpreter. The speaker though lamented about the situation, saying that while thousands heard the gospel, and many responded, there was one painter at one campus who happened to be from Boston. Excited to talk to somebody else that was from America, he asked the painter what he thought of the campus meeting they held. The painter said he thought they were doing a disgrace to God... never mind that 18 people from a crowd of about 300 decided to receive Christ as Lord that day.

He then challenged the students that no matter what obsticals we might face, and whatever might occur to take us out of our comfort zone, that we should do whatever the Lord calls us to do. He even said he can only imagine how many students would on UNCC if somebody did open-air meetings. He said you would probably mostly be ignored. He said many people would probably jeer and mock. He said many people would probably get upset, and you probably wouldn't have a great response. But he just reminded us that just happens to be the spiritual climate we find ourselves in these days in America. But he exhorted the students that they must take a radical stand for Christ.

After he closed the meeting I approached him afterwards and said that message was right on, for there is a great deal of apathy at UNCC. I told him that I do open air preaching at the Belk Tower from time to time and am excited tha the had the chance to do the same in another country. I told him I wished I would be able to have similar meetings as he did, with a praise & worship team, and a drama team, as well as folks who would stand up and testify and preach. He told me that he thinks he might be able to help me out, and I gave him my phone number, and it looks like his church might be willing to help me.

More exciting than this was that I ran into two students who had approached the man, very stirred by his message. They were saying they were planning on going and doing an open air meeting as well, this coming Monday, at UNCC. I told them I was thinking of going Monday afternoon as well. It turns out that after talking to them for a second that they are spirit filled, and they said they had seen me earlier and they knew as well that I was spirit filled. What makes me so excited about this is the fact that for a few months now I have been praying that God would raise up laborers to go out with me to witness to others. It looks as if God is bringing these things together, with others of like mind, and for this I rejoice much. I am truly excited with whatever God is doing, and believe God is getting ready to move greatly in this area!


_________________
Jimmy H

 2004/9/10 11:17Profile
KingJimmy
Member



Joined: 2003/5/8
Posts: 4419
Charlotte, NC

 Re:

Due to possibly bad weather later this week, I decided to go today to UNCC to preach yet again. The Lord had been dealing with me much over the message He wanted me to preach, and the little skit that He wanted me to perform. I arrived at campus, somewhat saddened that I had not heard from anybody last Thursday night that expressed an interest in evangelizing UNCC with me. At any rate though, I pressed on.

I went directly to the quad section of UNCC under the shadow of the Belk Tower, as normal. I then spent a few moments in prayer, and then climbed on top of an elevated round pillar of concrete that probably is 10 feet off the ground. The Lord told me that for the skit He wanted me to perform, that I was to bow down on my knees and extend my hands up in the air and to close my eyes. I then began to cry out, "O Cosmic deity some where out there, whoever you are, I pray that you'll hear what I have to say and answer me..." and I continued to pray such for several minutes.

I then opened my eyes and stood up. I had noticed the skit gathered a lot of attention, and in fact, one guy seemed like he might have been concerned for me, because somebody had climbed up within 2 feet of me, as if to make sure I was ok. Then I proceded to preach on for those who are in right relationship with God, they can pray to a God who is near and not far off. They can pray to a God whom they can have assurance that He hears them. They can pray to a God that Jesus said we who believe can address as "Our Father..." I then proceded to preach the full gospel for a number of minutes. Eventually though, folks would walk away , and it seems they decided to head to class (for I was preaching between class times).

Again I would do this skit another time when classes let out again, though I was a lot more emphatic about simply preaching. Again, I had similar results, where the skit God put on my heart gathered quite a few onlookers who would gradually just move on. Some students seemed pretty interested, and listened on. One Christian whom I have seen once before came out and encouraged me yet again, and gave a few sincere amen's while I preached. For the most part though, hecklers and such did not make really any comments. One girl shouted at me as she walked by "you shouldn't judge." And I heard a few laugh as I preached. Other than that though, I didn't have too much interaction with the small crowds that gathered, or the individuals who would stop and listen for a few minutes. Perhaps though, me being elevated about 10 feet in the air, not to mention that I'm about 5'11", probably didn't make me very approachable.

So, today seemed like a rather "typical" day of open air preaching at UNCC. I am praying, and wish that you all would pray with me, that the Lord would really make me a giant magnet for Him. I am wanting so much to see the conversion of souls, and would pray that people would be awakened from this Zombie-like apathy that absorbs many.

Also, I went to a church that I have been visiting on Sunday nights, and the pastor of the Church said that if I needed somebody to come out and play a few hymns, he would come out and pluck his guitar some and sing. So, I hope to be able to labor with him in future endeavors.


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Jimmy H

 2004/9/13 15:06Profile
rocklife
Member



Joined: 2004/4/1
Posts: 323
usa

 Re: Street Preaching at UNC Charlotte

Thank you for sharing this testimony of God. I am still a young christian, and I live in such a disgustingly lukewarm and prosperity-driven churchified city. Thank you for sharing what is going on for God's glory that I haven't see much of from the churchgoers here. There is some, but not like what you've described here. Thanks again for this testimony.

Lord, please give me the boldness and the compassion to reach out to others like this servant here. following Jesus' example. Please encourage KingJimmy, be with him and allow him to continue in your work faithfully. Thank you Lord Jesus for your promises to be with us. Thank you for Your Holy Spirit guiding us into all truth and giving us what we need to serve others in love, even in the face of persecution and hardships. Thank you Lord for Your forgiveness through Jesus Christ and thank you for Your presence and fellowship. In Jesus' name I pray, amen.


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Jina

 2004/9/13 23:42Profile









 Re:

Brother, if you only knew how happy your faithfulness and diligence makes me! Never stop. No matter how hard it may get and what type of discouragement you may face. Even if the whole world labels you a mad man like they did Jesus never stop. And deffinately continue to keep us posted as to what happens when you go out.

 2004/9/14 1:46
Denny
Member



Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 199
Virginia

 Re: Street Preaching at UNC Charlotte

I love to hear of brothers on the street. Check out our web site. We are based in VA.[url=www.lifeandlibertyministries.com]Life and Liberty Ministries[/url]


_________________
Dennis Green

 2004/9/14 22:06Profile





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