“O Jerusalem, O Jerusalem!” Matthew 23:37
That verse kept coming to mind this past weekend as I stared at the faces of those in a midst of a literal sea of lost souls this past weekend.
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!
I thought to myself if they only knew what awaits them or what a Savior has come to deliver them from their sins? If they only could see how much God loves them as to send Christ to suffer and die for them. But many wanted nothing of grace. They gnashed their teeth mocking and hating the Word and the preacher often.
In Jackson Square, I remember vividly seeing this young man with face paint on charge at us and yell, “Hail Satan!” At the same place, some young girl lifted her shirt toward us and called us faggots for covering our eyes. Soon after, a powder keg seemed to have erupted when one preacher mentioned abortion. It struck the nerve of one couple who cursed and yelled enough to have the police arrive. My guess is that the two had killed their child through abortion and the guilt had manifested itself.
Later that night our team of around 150 – 200 soul winners marched onto Bourbon Street singing unto the Lord prepared for battle. As we sung, screams could be heard echoing down the street that made us think of demons screeching. Looking up though, it was just two men pretending to have sex moaning and laughing as we passed by.
Into the night, the crowds increased and the atmosphere worsened. I stood off to myself praying and taking in all that I was seeing. Thinking of Jesus weeping. These are His created beings that were made by Him and for Him. He promises everything that we get that is good, yet they as my pastor notes, “Sits in the lap of God and slaps Him in the face.”
On the ground was an endless litter of broken bottles, trash, human waste, and gospel literature. Before me was a few girls enjoying the attention of perverted men who traded beads for moments of lust with them. On a nearby box sat half emptied containers of beer and liquor. To my utter disgust, I watched a few people come and empty them into other containers and walk off drinking them.
There were moments that left us with knowing God was remaining faithful to gather His sheep. Even though many came here not looking for God, He found them.
As with Saul on the road to Damascus. He was not looking for Jesus, but to kill and imprison those who followed Him. Christ interrupted Saul and the rest is history.
God was working in the midst of the darkness. Ryan was the man who yelled ,”Hail Satan!” He tried to walk off after but I caught his attention and we talked. He apologized and said he was just being silly.
As with so many I encounter, Ryan had a knowledge of God’s existence, but no true knowledge of who God truly is. Ryan told me that he was from Seattle and had hitchhiked and rode train cars to get here. “I am here to get drunk and have sex with as many random woman as I can!” He boasted. That terrified me as I would learn that he also is infected not with just liver cancer, but Hepatitis.
It broke my heart to hear his story and understand that if he dies in his sin, hell for all eternity awaited him. I gave him a hug before he walked off and he was okay with that, but when I began to pray for him, he mumbled, “Please don’t.”
The girl flashing us and the couple going irate were used by God as well. The commotion drew a crowd and more opportunity to talk to those standing nearby. A homosexual girl stood next to me watching. In the same manner I engaged her in conversation. There were some turn or preachers that we were not associated with us down the way yelling how much God hates homosexual people and she asked if I love gay people. I replied, “I love liars, thieves, murderers, gay people, etc.” She asked my view point on gay people and I pointed to the bible. How it was sin, that God tells her to turn from her sin, but that He also sent Jesus to die for not just liars and thieves, but homosexuals too. She just shook her head and walked off.
Going to Mardi Gras is not a mission field for everyone. Honestly I could not wait to return home to love on my wife and kids. To breath fresh air and “shine my armor” you could say by spending time alone with God and His word. .To worship with my home church. But now, I am looking forward to next year and seeing the souls the Lord will give me to speak of His great name.
I hope to encourage you my friends that while Mardi Gras may not be for you, tell your friends, co-workers, neighbor’s, everyone you meet about Christ. Don’t live this life having never told others how Christ found you when you weren’t looking and what He did.
Consider that in heaven when you stand before God. If there is anything you could bring to Him to offer as a gift of gratitude, what better gift than to stand humbly before God and point to a multitude of souls behind you and say, “I did as You commanded, these are the souls I told about You.”
Light the darkness saints, make Christ famous to all.
A few videos of this weekend.