Newsletter Archive: Cowardly Christianity – 6/27/2006

For many years, the newsletters for Open Air Outreach were only published through email. Those newsletters were not posted online. We are now in the process of archiving these old newsletters online so that they are available to the body of Christ at large to read and be encouraged and edified by them.

The contents from this post was an email newsletter sent out on 6/27/2006

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Cowardly Christianity
Jesse Morrell
Jun 27, 2006

 
This newsletter has no copy-right. Feel free to share it by printing it off or by forwarding it on.
“Now when they had come and gathered the church together, they reported all that God had done with them, and that He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.” Acts 14:27
“When he had greeted them, he told in detail those things which God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry.” Acts 21:19
UNIVERSITY OF MANITOBA, CANADAPicture 004

Jesse Morrell preaching at the University of Manitoba, Canada

Police escorting us off campus

Jesse Morrell being escorted off campus by the police. They said, “this sort of thing is not allowed in Canada.” 

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SUNDANCE SQUARE – FORT WORTH, TEXAS

 Fort Worth 002

We teamed up with Stephen Starnes for a night of street preaching in Fort Worth, TX

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DEEP ELLUM – DALLAS, TEXAS

Deep Ellum, Dallas TX

Jesse Morrell street preaching in Dallas

Jeffrey Olver open air preaching in Deep Ellum

Jeffrey Olver street preaching in Dallas

Police make us move in Deep Ellum, Dallas TX

Police requested that we move locations 3 times because “you are going to cause a riot”.  We obeyed the officers very politely and submissively every time and the result was that more people were able to hear the gospel.

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HALBROOK LAKE, WOOD COUNTY TEXAS

Jesse Morrell open air preaching at Halbrook Lake, TX

Jesse Morrel preaching repentance and remission of sin.

Halbrook Lake Heckler

Crowd of 15-20 gathered for up to 45 minutes

Jesse Morrell in handcuffs speaking to Deputy Sheriff at Lake

The Deputy Sherrif arrived after some complained and hand-cuffed Jesse Morrell for questioning. “It’s illegal to offend people in Texas” we were told.  “You have free speech but once someone complains it becomes disorderly conduct.” Politely and calmly I asked the Deputy Sherrif questions and obeyed her requests. She said we could come back and preach another time, but if someone complains we would go to jail. I feel she may be mistaken and plan on speaking with the county Sherrif to secure the protection of free speech at this public recreation area.

Full Photo Albums are available at: http://openairoutreach.com/gallery/
TO OTHER OPEN AIR PREACHERS
Check Your Heart
While we preach hard against sin and preach the holiness of God, proclaiming the horrors of hell and the terrors of the Lord, have we still a heart of love for the lost?While we endure the criticisms, the mockings, the spittings and violence, have we still a heart like Christ, a broken heart of compassion and concern for the lost?

Let me ask you. Have you become hardened by all the criticism and rejection that you have lost the heart of Jesus?

Do you proclaim hard truths with soft a heart or do you proclaim hard truths with a hard heart?
Is there loving care and serious concern in your hearts for the lostness of men?
Do  you deeply long for them to come into right standing with Christ?
Is your breath prayers for the lost and your heart beat for the reconciliation of the world?
Do you know prayers of deep agony and internal pain over the lost condition of sinful men?If not, we are nothing more then modern day Jonahs at heart – calling people to get right with God and yet desiring their destruction.

Just be sure to check your heart before God.
HAND-CUFFED AT BEACH
But Not Arrested
Jesse Morrell in handcuffs speaking to Deputy Sheriff at Lake

“So they went out and preached that people should repent.” Mark 6:12

Now that we are in the summer months, the campuses are empty but the beaches and lakes are packed. Jeff, LauRen, and I headed to Halbrook lake on Sunday around 4:30pm to preach open air. I had seen the lake at this time packed surprisingly. I can only image how packed it will be when we go on a Saturday afternoon.
I preached against multiple sins like immodest dress, looking with lust, getting drunk, and cursing. Immodest dress because some were wearing very immodest bathing suits. Looking with lust because some men were looking at the immodest women. Drunkeness because men were getting drunk on the beach. And cursing because some would curse and swear at us.
But I also preached about repentance, grace, and being born again. Repentance because God requires that we turn away from our sin. Grace because it’s by His grace that our sin can be covered and cleansed. And being born again because when a person becomes a Christian God touches them and makes them a new person – one who loves righteousness and hates sin.
There was an angry man who claimed atheism who continued to threaten me. “Move farther away from my truck” he yelled at me. His truck was already a good 5 feet or so away. I moved farther down. I kept preaching, a good size crowd gathered and he came back. Again, “move farther away from my truck.” At this point I knew he didn’t care about his truck, seeing it was already very far away from me, he just wanted to tell me what to do and disrupt my meeting. He then shoved me off the railing. I decided to move even farther down so that he wouldn’t be able to disrupt the meeting in this manner again.The spot where I moved to on the park railing was better then the others because now there was a sign next to me that I could hold on to in order to stay balanced. So moving those times resulted in the blessing of the Lord.

Sure enough, it wasn’t hard to get a meeting with a crowd back up and going. The attendance ranged from 15-20 people of all ages. There wasn’t much competition at the beach area of this lake. An open air preacher preaching is a big event at a small lake like this.

At this lake in this small Texas town of Mineola, even in the bible belt, there was much sin and many sinners. I was surprised actually. The men were walking around looking at women, some where drinking beer. The women were walking around almost entirely exposed. And they had such hostility to the preaching. I was yelled at, pushed, mooned, and one girl even ripped my bible out of my hand and threw it in the lake! OH GOD BE MERCIFUL UNTO THEM!After I read Romans 1:18 to the crowd, a girl ripped the bible from my hand. She said, “I like the Word of God but I don’t like what you are doing with it” as she threw it in the lake! I don’t like what she did with it! “I pray and hope that God does not treat you the way you have treated me.” Brother Jeff retrived the bible that was floating on the lake. It took a day to dry. This meeting was heavy spiritual warfare but the Holy Spirit was at work.

“Stop playing with sin because sin is not playing with you! It’s playing for keeps. The devil was to steal, kill, and destroy you.”A 13 year old boy started cussing me out.

I responded with, “God bless you!” to which he had no response.
“How old are you?”
“13.”
“Do you listen to Eminem and 50 cent?”
“**** Yea!”
“You are the blind following the blind young man. The devil is leading you to hell and you don’t even see it.”
“I don’t give a ****”
“I know you don’t care, that’s why I’m here, because God does care. The devil want’s to steal, kill, and destroy but Jesus wants to give you eternal life!”Eventually the Deputy Sheriff pulled into the parking lot. When one man saw the Deputy pull in, he pulled me off the railing and held me with his arms. He was intoxicated and apparently couldn’t wait until I stopped preaching. He brought me to the officer who must have thought I needed to be restrained. She put me in hand-cuffs to talk with me and figure out the situation.

Very calmingly and civally I inquired from the police officer, often telling her that I’m more then willing to leave if she commands me to.
“In Texas it’s illegal to offend people” she told me. “You can preach, but once we are called it becomes disorderly conduct.” “If your content is offensive then it’s illegal”. I spoke with her for twenty minutes, asking her many questions. She went and talked to the crowd who at this point was more sympathetic towards me. She inquired to see if anyone wanted to “press charges” for offending them. She came back and said, “nobody in the crowd wants you in jail but they also don’t want you preaching”. She finally said, “I’m not telling you that you can’t preach. But if we are called back here again, you are going to jail.”Rather then risking it we decided to go have some dinner. Before leaving the police and walking back to our cars, I turned to the crowd, put my hand and my bible to my mouth, and belted out a hardy, “REPENT!”

God was glorified, the gospel was preached, and it’s my hope and prayer that God deeply touched and impacted at least one sinner to repent and at least one Chrisitan to boldly preach the gospel.

ARTICLE: CALLED TO THE CROSS

Forsake Cowardly Christianity
By Jesse Morrell
And he said to them all, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. (Luke 9:23)

The cross is a modern symbol of popular fashion but an ancient weapon of cruel death. The cross was never meant to be worn on a Christian necklace but to be worn on a Christians back. The cross was not intended to be hung on the wall but men were intended to be hung on it.

This cross, this instrument of pain and death, is the entry fee and the continual price of following Christ. The cross is not for selected Christians or only for mature Christians, but it is for all Christians who will follow in the way of their Master.

As fundamental as any Christian doctrine, the truth that all Christians are to carry their crosses is absolutely essential and undeniably necessary for the true Christian life. This doctrine of the cross is not only that Christ died for us but that we are to die daily for Him.

We live in a day when Christ’s cross, in it’s reality with its power to cover and also to cleanse sin, is seldom taught. But we also live in a day when the Christians cross is even more uncommonly taught. Christianity without the Christians cross is Christianity without a Christian. But in America, Canada, and other parts of the world, the Church is in the sense of the Christians cross almost entirely cross-less.

Christ taught that the man who follows Him must “take up his cross daily” (Luke 9:23). A cross-less Christian is a Christ-less Christian, and is in fact no Christian at all. The promise given to followers of Christ is not a nice new set of friend or a happy community to raise children in, but the promise given by Christ is a cross. Pastors promise “seekers” happiness, fulfillment, luxury, pleasure, reward and everything else if they come to Christ. But the wisdom of the world is not the wisdom of God. Christ promised agony of flesh, rejection by the world, and finally death to self to those who sought to follow Him. And in the end, He promised eternal life.

But the suffering Church of the New Testament will not suffice for our worldly appetites today. We must have a successful Church. The persecuted Church of the New Testament does not meet the requirements of our standard for living. We must have a prospering Church. This deviation has caused the cross of self-denial to be abandoned and the cushion of self-gratification has risen in its place.

A true Church is a crucified Church. The cross affects every single aspect of the crucified man. The man who hangs on a cross is radically impacted by the cross that his family, his money, his comfort, his entire life does not go untouched. The cross covers a man from top to bottom, from his head to his feet, and there is no escaping this. There is no beautifying the cross. It is rugged wood stained with blood and reeks with the odor of death. And Christ says, “Get on it.”

This cross of the Christian includes the battle against the flesh, the battle against the world, and the battle against the devil. Opposition from authorities, opposition from false brethren, opposition from family members, was apart of normal Christianity in the days of the disciples. And these are still characteristics of the normal Christian life today. Just as surely as Heaven is promised to the Christian, so also is opposition promised to the Christian, but so also is the strength to overcome and be more then a conqueror promised to the Christian.

I perceive many unspoken attitudes in the hearts of Church-goers today. “I’ll live for God so long as it doesn’t damage my reputation.” “I’ll live a holy life so long as it doesn’t negatively affect my relationship with my family.” “I’ll pray for God’s Kingdom to come so long as it doesn’t touch my finances.” “I’ll preach the gospel so long as it doesn’t land me in prison.” Ultimately this is saying, “I’ll follow Christ so long as there is not a cost, so long as there is no cross.”

All of these attitudes stink with the stench of the wisdom of men. They smell of the fragrance of the spirit of the world, and are entirely contrary to the wisdom and knowledge of God. This is the cowardice which has replaced Christianity. But the wisdom of God, the knowledge of the Lord is not to seek to save your life, but being ready and willing to lose your life for Christ’s sake. (Luke 17:33).

Christianity begins when men and women are willing to lay down all that they have for the purposes of Christ. Until a person gets to the point where they are willing to be crucified with Christ, to be willing to let go of all in order to gain Him, they have yet to reach even the entry level of Christianity. This mentality of total abandonment unto Christ is not to be the exception for the Christians life but is to be the rule for all Christian lives.

Being a follower of Christ, boldly and loudly proclaiming the gospel, living a holy life, will surely cost you your entire life. The path of Christ is the path of martyrdom. The path of Christianity has always been lit by the light of burning martyrs. Though not all Christians will die the death of a martyr, all Christians are to live the life of a martyr.

The modern comfortable Church must be transformed into a conquering Church and that will happen only when this heroic spirit of Christianity is recaptured. We must so value souls and so love Christ that the anthem of the Church becomes “His Kingdom at any cost!”

As an old hymn says,

“There is a love constraining me
To go and seek the lost;
I yield, O Lord, my all to Thee
To save at any cost”

But when our Christian encouragements consist of, “just stay out of trouble,” “don’t get arrested,” “don’t make people angry,” “be safe,” “don’t be a nuisance,” “don’t be a martyr,” then it’s no wonder the devil and his kingdom continues to advance and gain more and more power in our country and in the rest if the world. The salvation of souls must be viewed more valuable then the securing of our own lives. A soul winning Church is a Church that would rather see their own lives taken then to see the souls of lost men to be d**ned.

Cowardly Christianity never poses a threat to the powers and principalities of darkness. Cowardly Christianity never grabs hold of a generation and re-shapes history. Only Courageous Christianity is Kingdom Christianity. A pampered Church is never a powerful Church. A comfortable Church is a crippled Church. But Christ wants a crucified Church, dead to the love of praise, practice of sin, and pleasure of the world.

E. M. Bounds once wrote that a Christian “must throw himself, with all the abandon of a perfect, self emptying faith and a self-consuming zeal, in his work for the salvation of men. Hearty, heroic, compassionate, fearless martyrs must the men be who take hold of and shape a generation for God. If they be timid time-servers, place-seekers; if they be men-pleasers or men-fearers; if their faith has a weak hold on God or His Word; if their denial be broken by any phase of self or the world, they cannot take hold of the Church of the World for God.”

The Church which fears neither death nor man but only God is an unstoppable Church. Their very blood becomes drops of water to the seed of the gospel. To silence the Apostles the devil needed to resort to execution. Is that true of us today? Will the decrease of your popularity or favor silence your lips? Will the prospect of suffering and pain hinder your speech? Or will you all the more boldly proclaim the gospel and dedicate your life for God’s purposes? Only once the Church is dead entirely to self and absolutely to the world can it live wholly to the Lord.

Michael Brown once said, “You know who wins the battle? You know who wins the war? Whoever is willing to die for the principles they stand for.”

We must rid ourselves of all thoughts of self preservation and replace it with actions of self-sacrifice. Our attitude must be that of Christ who said, “Not my will, but Thine, be done.” (Lu 22:42) Our perspective must be that of Paul who said, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)

Lay down your life with all of your hopes, dreams, and desires for the sake of Christ and His gospel and pick up the cross, seeking not to save your own life but to give it for the Kingdom of God.

The gates of hell will shake and the hosts of hell will tremble when the heartbeat of the Church becomes, “His Kingdom at any cost!”

Must Jesus Bear the Cross Alone?
Must Jesus bear the cross alone,
And all the world go free?
No, there’s a cross for everyone,
And there’s a cross for me.
How happy are the saints above,
Who once went sorrowing here!
But now they taste unmingled love,
And joy without a tear.

The consecrated cross I’ll bear
Till death shall set me free;
And then go home my crown to wear,
For there’s a crown for me.

Upon the crystal pavement down
At Jesus’ piercèd feet,
Joyful I’ll cast my golden crown
And His dear Name repeat.

O precious cross! O glorious crown!
O resurrection day!
When Christ the Lord from Heav’n comes down
And bears my soul away.

——————————————————————————-E. M. Bounds quote found in “A Treasury of Prayer” compiled by Leonard Ravenhill page 91. Printed by Ravenhill Books in 1973.

First hymn quotation found in “Why Revival Tarries” by Leonard Ravenhill, page 127. Bethany House Publishing.
Full Hymn: Words: Stanza 1: Thom­as Shep­herd, Pen­i­ten­tial Cries, 1693, alt. Stanza 2: ap­par­ent­ly from a miss­ion­ary col­lect­ion pub­lished in Nor­wich, Eng­land, ear­ly 19th Cen­tu­ry. Stan­za 3: The Ober­lin So­cial and Sab­bath School Hymn Book, by George N. Al­len, 1844. Stan­zas 4-5: From the Ply­mouth Col­lection of Hymns and Tunes, by Hen­ry W. Beech­er (New York: AMS. Barnes and Burr, 1855).
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Other Articles are available in the “Equip Yourself” section of the site, along with audios and videos.
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Jeffrey Olver open air preaching in Deep Ellum

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