Before I left on this tour I read in the news about journalists who have been getting beheaded overseas. I thought about how journalists risk and sometimes even give their lives to capture a story and how soldiers fight and lay down their lives for a temporal kingdom. Could we as Christians, serving the King of Kings with the gospel that saves souls from eternal hell, be willing to do anything less than them? Christians should be more active, more committed, more sacrificial in their occupation of preaching the gospel than any other people on earth are in their occupation!
UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA, MINNEAPOLIS
The first campus on my tour was the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. I had not preached on this campus since 2007 but was excited to return because I’ve always had good meetings every time I’ve been there. There is a large grassy field area in the middle of campus where a lot of students will hang out, sun bathe, play frisbee, etc. I stand in front of a small staircase and bounce my voice off a building and it isn’t too long before a nice crowd gathers around, sits on the stairs and listens. In the past, I’ve had up to 500 people in the crowd on this campus.
Some other local brethren joined me on campus and worked the sidelines witnessing one on one. I was the open air preacher. To capture the attention and interest of the students I started off by rebuking their favorite sin – sexual immorality. I said, “1 in 3 college students have an STD. You are more likely to graduate with an STD than with a PHD.” The students all admitted that this was true and one man in particular said that they all basically have HPV.
I explained that when you sin you are out of order – the natural order of things. And if I take my car off roading there will be damage done because it was not made for that. So also when you sin, there is both physical and spiritual damage or loss. Throughout the day I rebuked their sin and pointed them to Jesus Christ for the grace and mercy of God. When a sinner is reconciled to God and is transformed by His grace into a Saint, it is then that he lives according to the natural order of things or the way that God intended and designed. What is sin but a violating of the loving relationships we were intended and designed to have with God and our fellowman? And so in salvation, you enter into a right relation to God and man.
One student said that they never hear these conservative Christian views from anyone so it is a unique experience for them. They are inundated with vocal liberals always pushing their agenda but bold outspoken Christians are an oddity and rarity on many secular campuses today.
As is typical, I had my mockers and hecklers. As much as they said “Nobody wants to hear what you have to say” the fact is, they all gathered around and asked me questions for hours each day. And while they say “Nobody wants you here!” the fact is that whenever I tell the crowd “I am coming back tomorrow!” They all cheer wildly!
GAY PRIDEFEST, MANKATO MN
Some of the local brethren told me about a Gay Pride Parade and Festival coming up in the small town of Mankato MN. According to the event website, EVERYONE is invited to march in the parade. Knowing that EVERYONE probably did not mean street preachers with “Repent or Perish” banners, we decided to simply show up early and preach the parade route before it started! So as everyone was sitting on the sidelines waiting for the parade to start, we marched with our signs and banners stopping at each group to preach the gospel to them in the open air!
I preached, “I know a man who can set you straight! His name is Jesus Christ!” And “I am in love with a man. And His blood is not HIV positive! His blood gives life, it doesn’t take life! It’s Jesus Christ.” And I testified also, “I have friends of mine who are Ex-Gay. Yes, that’s right! And you too can become Homo-No-Mo! You can be born again!”
The event organizers tries to tell us that we were not in the parade so we could not be in the street but I told them that since the traffic was blocked off and the parade had not started yet, there was nothing that they could do. They were very frustrated but knew they could do nothing.
My voice was very worn out from preaching on the campus during the week so after a little while, I turned it over to another brother who did a great job preaching.
These type of events are not my favorite outreach to say the least, nevertheless they need to get done also. Fact is, if I chose not to preach at Gay Pride Parades it would be DISCRIMINATION since I choose to preach everywhere else! And as homosexuals are suing Christian bakers and Christian photographers for denying them service, I better provide my services to them as well!
I tell homosexuals “I have the cure for GAY!” They ask, “What is it?” I say, “SHOCK TREATMENT! Spiritual shock treatment!” They say, “Oh, well give it to us.” I say, “Here it is: REPENT OR PERISH!”
After the parade was over everyone was walking to the local park for the Pride Festival. As we started walking towards the park we were stopped by the Police who told us that the event has rented the park and doesn’t want us there so we could not go. We were threatened with arrest. Imagine that! Being denied your RIGHTS at an EQUAL RIGHTS festival! I stood firm and told the Officer that it was a public event on public property that was open to the public free of charge and therefore they could not DISCRIMINATE against us because of our religious beliefs. I was adamant about the fact that since there was no admission fee and it was open to everyone, our admission could not be denied. There have been lawsuits all over the country about this issue and the courts have consistently ruled in our favor. The Police checked on this information and came back to tell us that they could not stop us from entering the park!
Once inside the event we witnessed to people one on one, held banners and signs near the stage for all to see watching the DRAG performance, preached open air and went around talking to all the vendors and tables.
I asked one table of homosexuals what they thought about polygamy. After all, bisexuals are attracted to male and female. So should they have the right to marry both a male and a female? One homosexual said that while he believes in homosexual marriage, he still believes in monogamous marriages. But this is an utter contradiction to their whole argument in the Gay marriage debate! If it is “loving, committed consenting adults” who are marrying the “one that they love,” given their own principles they should be fine with polygamy!
At another time, a lesbian used the term “consenting adults” to justify homosexuality. She said that because they are “consenting adults” there is nothing wrong with it. I find this argument to be strange because it is saying that so long as you are consenting to commit the sin, there is nothing wrong with it. Suicide is consensual too. Anyways, I asked her if she was OK with prostitution since it was “consenting adults.” She actually said “Yes, I don’t have a problem with it.” Well, at least she was more consistent than the homosexual who believed in monogamous marriages only! So I asked her, “Oh OK. So, is there a prostitution table around here somewhere?” She said, “I don’t think so.” I said, “Well, given the principles of the homosexual movement, it is bound to be on its way!”
UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN, MADISON
The University of Wisconsin was a new campus for me. I’ve preached on over 100 campuses in the US but this was only my second campus in Wisconsin so I was really looking forward to it. My friend Jed Smock preaches on this campus annually so I knew it was an open campus.
A local brother who invited me to the area accompanied me to campus and showed me the location where the other preachers normally preach. Unfortunately that whole area was under construction and there was no possible way for us to preach there. So we had to walk around campus to find another location and we did find a great spot. It was not as good as the original or usual location but it was busy enough with foot traffic. It was a large enough area to accommodate a crowd and there were nice little walls for me to preach on. With the unexpected surprise of the construction and the need to find a new location, I started an hour later than I had planned but it wasn’t long before I had a nice crowd going.
I felt the need to preach against all the sexual promiscuity that is so rampant on college campuses. I explained that the Bible calls fornication whorish behavior. It makes a woman a “whore” and a man a “whoremonger.” Sex is for marriage and the designed result was naturally a child born into a family unit.
One girl I was talking with who admitted to fornication was completely unashamed and unworried. I asked her, “where did you meet this guy?” She said she met her “boyfriend” at a party. I said, “What if you get pregnant? Then you are going to have this partier as the father of your child?” She said, “I’ll just have an abortion.” My heart broke. I said, “So its not enough for you college girls to be whores. You have to go and make yourself murderers as well. God will judge baby killing whores.”
She said, “Its not murder. The baby is…. not live.” I could tell she hesitated in that statement. I said, “Do you know why a C-section is not an abortion procedure? Because if they have a C-section on a pregnant woman, the baby comes out alive. That is why they have to kill the baby first before they remove it from the womb.”
She said, “But, what about viability of life?” I said, “Viability? Many of you college students are not viable. You are still dependent upon your parents! Many elderly people are dependent upon others. Does that mean we have the right to kill them? And even after the baby is born, it is still dependent upon its mother. But the whole question of the ‘viability of life’ presupposes that the baby is alive. So by even asking about the ‘viability of life’ you admit to being willing to murder a living baby.”
She was impenitent. I remember another college girl on another campus once told me with a completely stone face and hard heart, “Well, if abortion isn’t a legal option, I would just have to drown the baby in the bathtub after its born.” It just goes to show that these selfish sinners who are literally hellbent on their own gratification really don’t care if its murder or not. And that is all the more reason why we should confront them, rebuke their sin, calling them to repentance and point them to Jesus.
The more that I preach on universities and colleges, the more the students justify in their reactions and behavior my reason for being there.
Throughout the day it would rain on and off. Every time it would rain much of the crowd would disperse and a small crowd would rather under an overhang against a building. I did have an umbrella so I would move over to address the crowd while under the overhang. Then when it would stop raining I would go back out to the main spot and preach again. This happened numerous times but every time the rain drew the crowd away, once it stopped I was able to recover and draw a new audience again.
EEM CONFERENCE, SHIPSHEWANNA IN
One of my annual honors is to be a guest speaker at the “EEM Conference” which has been going on since the 1980’s. It is a theological conference that has had other speakers in the past like Harry Conn or even Gregory Boyd. Its a small tight nit group that gets together every year to encourage each other and talk about theological matters like the Moral Government of God. I shared on the Governmental view of the Atonement and critiqued the “payment of a debt” perspective. That video will be uploaded to my BibleTheology YouTube channel. My message was a short summary of the book I’ve been working on – The Vicarious Atonement of Christ, which will be published in the future.
NORTHERN KENTUCKY UNIVERSITY
I was told that Northern Kentucky University was a good open campus to preach on but I had never been there before. I was excited to check it out. It was an exceptionally beautiful campus with a nice lake that the free speech area overlooked.
A friend of mine who preached here before told me that the good spot to preach is in front of the Student Union but that the Dean would try to move me to an amphitheater that was out of the way. For that reason, I started off the outreach by walking around the inside of the Student Union building with my sandwich board on to get some attention. Then I started preaching in front of the Union and gathered a nice crowd. After a while the Dean did arrive to move me to a new location because he said I was blocking the flow of traffic. He asked me to move to the grass next to the sidewalk. I did and the crowd followed me. But as it was such a big crowd I soon realized that the amphitheater would be the best location so I moved there and the whole crowd followed me.
The second day the Dean said an event was going on near that amphitheater so he moved me to another location on campus. He said that there was another amphitheater in that location but said I probably wouldn’t want to use it because it didn’t have any foot traffic from students. So I preached on the sidewalk on the top of the amphitheater and once a large crowd gathered, we moved down into the second amphitheater and again ended up packing this one out also just like the other one the day before! It was awesome to see all those people gather around as I boldly rebuked sin, warned of God’s coming judgment, call them to repentance and told them about Jesus Christ!
Many different brethren joined me on this campus throughout my time there. One day there was a total of 5 of us which is a nice size team for an outreach like this during the week. One Facebook friend heard I was going to be out there and joined up with us. He spent most of the day listening and taking pictures with his camera. It was only afterwards that I found out that he was a college student at the University of Alabama in Birmingham who heard me preach years ago. He said that initially he hated my message and ministry but it drove him to read the Bible like never before. After doing so, he realized that what I was saying and doing was right and that he needed to repent of things in his life and get right with God. Now, he said, he absolutely love what I preach and do on campus! I had no idea about that testimony for years! It just goes to show that when you are sowing seeds all over the place, you don’t always get to see them germinate and grow. But praise God for the times we find out! And who knows what type of fruit our ministry might have from Northern Kentucky University which we won’t hear about until years later!
When I am preaching open air, I tell the crowd “You need to circumcise the foreskin of your heart!” Or when somebody in the crowd says, “I’m Jewish. What do you thick about that?” I ask them, “Have you circumcised your heart?” The students on campus think that this is hilarious. But it is biblical. We should be preaching in the open air for sinners to change their hearts and should blame and rebuke them if they don’t.
Here is a little Bible study on the issue:
THE BIBLE COMMANDS YOU TO CHANGE YOUR HEART:
The Bible says, “Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die” (Eze. 18:31). “Wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved” (Jer. 4:14). “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded” (Jas. 4:8). The words of a man are the outflow of his heart. As these passages imply, men have the ability to change their hearts.
Stephen rebuked the Israelites by saying, “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Spirit: as your fathers did, so do ye” (Acts 7:51). Stephen was rebuking them for disobeying a specific commandment, “Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked” (Deut. 10:16). This command and rebuke indicates that men determine for themselves what type of heart they will have.
We read, “Let your heart therefore be perfect with the Lord our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments…” (1 Kin. 8:61) and also, “let none of you imagine evil against his brother in his heart” (Zec. 7:10). The words “let” indicate our choice of consent. The Psalmist said, “I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statues always, even unto the end” (Ps. 119:112). This shows his personal determination. God complained and rebuked Israel saying, “ye have not hearkened, nor inclined your ear to hear” (Jer. 25:4) and “ye have not inclined your ear, nor hearkened unto me” (Jer. 35:15). “For I earnestly protested unto your fathers in the day that I brought them up out of the land of Egypt, even unto this day, rising early and protesting, saying Obey my voice. Yet they obeyed not, nor inclined their ear…” (Jer. 11:7-8). The Israelites were told, “Now set your heart and your soul to seek the Lord your God…” (1 Chron. 22:19). The problem God had with Israel was that they were “a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not steadfast with God” (Ps. 78:8). We are told that “they set their heart on their iniquity” (Hos. 4:8). The setting of their heart signifies the deliberation of their will, it indicates their personal volition.
THE BIBLE BLAMES YOU IF YOU DON’T CHANGE YOUR HEART
Jesus “upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not…” (Mk. 16:14). “Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken” (Lk. 24:25). In these instances we see how Jesus blamed men for the states of their heart, rebuking them for not changing their hearts, which presupposes that the state of their heart was their own free choice and that they could have chosen differently.
[Excerpts for this bible study taken from my book “The Natural Ability of Man: A Study on Free Will & Human Nature]
The problem of sin is a heart problem. The solution to the problem is therefore a change of heart. And this change of heart is available through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but it requires the sinners own choice, consent and cooperation to take place. So in evangelism, we should urge and persuade sinners to do this very thing.
I like amphitheaters because the students sit down which naturally calms them down. It seems crowds are most hostile when they are on their feet. And it really helps with not straining your voice and being able to address everyone all at once. Nevertheless, this crowd was still pretty rowdy and hostile. Usually crowds get unruly when they become so massive. When the crowds become large and unruly, that is usually when I stop doing Questions and Answers and switch to testimonies and story-telling. That is a better form of communication and good for crowd control when the crowds become like that.
I have a banner that says “Fear God” and sinners on the street often ask me, “Why should I fear God?” My answer is because He is HORRIFYINGLY HOLY! He burns the wicked…. alive…. forever! And that alone should cause you to fear Him, as Jesus taught (Lk. 12:5). It is not about fearing God because He is bad but because He is good!
This was a dialog I had on this campus:
Heckler: “You are a prick!”
Jesse Morrell: “Well, I’m trying to prick your conscience!”
Heckler: “You are trying to prick my conscience?”
Jesse Morrell: “I am trying to be a prick – a prick on your conscience. You are so hard hearted, it takes the piercing of God’s Word to get any life out of you.
When I was preaching a man raised his hand and said, “I have a question.” I said, “Ok, what is your question?” He then stood in front of the crowd next to me and turned to them and said, “This guy is a fraud. He’s a con.” I said, “What a minute. You said you had a question. That’s a statement. You just conned me!” The students started laughing.
He went on to say, “His name is not even Jesse and he’s not from Texas. His real name is _______ [I think he said Ben] and he’s just trying to get a lawsuit.” I said, “You want to see my drivers license? Look. My name is Jesse and I am from Texas. Now you just tried to con the whole crowd! You are the con!” The students erupted in laughter.
The moral of the story, it is always good to expose hecklers for being guilty of that which they falsely accuse you of.
On another campus I preached, “The Bible says that if you are engaging in fornication, you are either a whore or a whoremonger.” One girl yelled at me, “Its not your place to judge! You can’t judge anybody!” I said, “I didn’t judge anybody. I simply gave you the biblical principle and you can examine your own life.” She said, “Everybody is a sinner!” I said, “What? You just judged EVERYBODY!” I turned to the crowd and said, “She just called all of you sinners!” The whole crowd erupted in laughter.
Its always the “judge not” crowd that ends up judging the preacher and everyone else.
When they say, “You are not supposed to judge.” I ask, “Are you saying that I am judging?” They yell, “Yes!” I say, “So you just judged me! Stop judging my judgement. Stop judging me judging you. Abide by your own principle.”
WRIGHT STATE UNIVERSITY
Wright State University is a campus that I had not preached on since 2007. My travels do not usually bring me all the way up to Ohio, so I was excited to return. It took me a little while to find the free speech area on campus again but once I found it I was able to draw a crowd and get a meeting going right away! Some other local brothers also joined me on campus and by the time that they arrived, the meeting was well on its way!
Student especially seem to grasp how effective signage is when desiring to communicate message, since they are always making protest signs against me when I am preaching! What the students don’t seem to understand is that when they make their own signs to protest my meeting, they are only adding fuel to the fire. It gets more attention and draws more interest from the rest of the campus. Having a protestor stand next to you while you are preaching with a humorous or harsh protest sign is almost just as good as having a loud heckler yell at you!
At one point the students tried to put the sign right in front of my face so as to stop me from preaching all together. So I extended out my arm and Bible to keep them from doing so and thus create personal boundaries. At one point, I decided to stand upon a rock that elevated me so high that they were unable to harass me with their sign.
Throughout the open air meetings I had on campus, I would open up the Bible and read it to the students. The verses that I read from are actually verses that I could have easily quoted to them without a Bible in hand but I think it has more of an impact upon them if they see that I am reading it directly from it. I have realized that most people are so biblically illiterate that they don’t even realize it when you are quoting the Bible, even if you are referencing chapter and verse!
Others would also read from the Bible to try to contradict what I am saying or doing. Usually they just do a quick little “google” search on their iPhone to find some verses about “love” or something like that. But I think that such exchanges are awesome! We are literally having a massive public Bible Study! I mean seriously, when was the last time that these Christians on campus saw a large crowd in the middle of campus quoting and debating the Bible? It’s great!
While I was preaching, another Christian in the crowd who I did not know and who did not know me, was stirred into action by the hecklers. He was especially provoked by a particular atheist in the crowd. I know what it is like to stand on the sidelines of an open air preacher and want to jump in and answer a certain heckler. The man asked me if he could speak and even though I did not know him or what he wanted to say, I granted him the platform. And he did a good job addressing the heckler on matters of creationism and did not by any means come against what I had been saying or doing. Often times when a “Christian” stands up to address the crowd, it is because they want to contradict what I’ve been saying and doing. He, however, did not do this at all.
After he spoke for a little while, his open air became a one on one with the atheist. This is a common rookie mistake and a total crowd killer. I noticed that the crowd was losing interesting and people started walking away. At that point I took over again and he and the atheist went to the sidelines to continue their debate.
I love it when our ministry inspires other believers to stand up and share their faith. This happens on many of the campuses that we preach on!
At the end of the day I spoke to individuals on the sidelines one on one. This is my usual routine. Sometimes it is these conversations at the end that have a big impact upon people. Some who have very genuine questions do not want to ask them in front of a rowdy crowd of mockers and hecklers. So it at the end of the day that I have some of my best dialogs with people. But of course, if it wasn’t for the open air meeting, these people wouldn’t be coming up to me at the end to ask me their questions!
As the week progressed my voice was really getting worn out. I make it a habit to drink hot tea every night with honey to help my throat. And I also preach from my diaphragm. But when you are preaching 5 hours a day, it wears on your body. I do know preachers who do not lose their voice but that is because they do not really raise their voice too much. I find it hard not to raise my voice because it really helps in drawing a crowd and keeping them interested. But I do need to learn how to not raise my voice so much. Anyways, since my voice was taking a beating I passed the crowd over to another local brother who came out to campus with me and he was able to do a good job preaching the gospel and addressing the students. I don’t think that he has preached like this on campus before or at least not many times.
While we were in Ohio we heard from local brethren about the Oktoberfest going on downtown Cincinnati. I had not anticipated or planned this outreach but as the opportunity arose, we thought it was a great chance to reach the masses for Christ! There are tens of thousands of sinners out on the streets for revelry. That is the perfect occasion for street preaching! And there was a local brother who was unable to join us on campus during the week because of his job and so this weekend outreach gave him an opportunity to minister with us.
The first night that we preached this event, we stood in the middle of a busy intersection. The second night, however, we find a nice wall that served as a type of stage for the preaching. This was a better spot to preach because of the elevation. It made us and our signs more noticeable. And sure enough, sinners gathered down below to listen, heckle and ask questions. Some students even recognized me from campus and said, “Hey look, its Saint Jesse! I’ve been watching your Youtube videos all week ever since you preached on campus!”
Being the party event that it was, the music was loud and the people were drunk. For that reason, we would open air preach in about 10 minute intervals and then do one on ones in between. Without a bullhorn, it was hard to compete with the loudness of this event. I had some very good conversations with people on the sidelines. One man in particular, seen in the picture above, was under heavy conviction. Another man also the night before was under heavy conviction and I ministered to him for a long time.
We changed locations later in the night for various reasons and everywhere that we went we captured people’s attention and interest. I was personally really amazed at how many drunkards out there tried to debate me on Once Saved Always Saved or Eternal Security. They gave their theological defense that they “cannot stop sinning” or “go a day without sin” and that even though they are drunkards and fornicators they are “still saved” because “we are saved by grace, not works.” It seems that Cincinnati in particular has theological strongholds with doctrines of demons that are keeping people in bondage to sin and ultimately will damn their souls by keeping them in impenitence under the wrath of God. With prayer and the scriptures, we fought to tear down these strong holds and show the sinner that he was completely without excuse for his sin and in great need of repentance!
One of the local brothers who joined me on this outreach and was hosting us while we stayed in the area said that he normally preaches solo. And I don’t believe that he had ever preached an event like this before. He wore my sandwich board and did a fine job open air preaching.
The signs and banners are not only good for open air preaching but also for one on one ministry. When you go out to an event like this with a banner or a sign, you will have unbelievers coming up to talk to you all night long! I’ve had people tell me that using signs in street preaching will “turn people off” but after 12 years of street preaching, I can tell you that signs and banners draw people in!
UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI
The University of Cincinnati is a campus that I have almost preached on in the past but hadn’t. Other friends of mine, however, have preached on this campus often. I always heard it was a great campus to preach on and looked forward to doing so. But I was hearing mixed reports about the status of their free speech policy. One preacher told me that they have switched to “sponsorship” and you could no longer preach on this campus freely uninvited. Another preacher told me that they are wide open and you could just walk on and preach. I found their policy online but apparently it is vague enough to be open to interpretation either way. So I decided to just venture unto campus and start preaching and see what happens.
As has been my routine on this tour, I started off by preaching against the sexual sins of the campus. I spoke about the prevalence of STD’s amongst college students, how STD’s is God’s curse upon their genitals for their sexual immorality, etc. I spoke about how it is common to read in the news about some young High School teacher who got caught having sex with one of her students or even students and she is, of course, a sorority alumni and a university graduate who graduated not too long ago. And the issue of homosexuality is always such hot button topic that it almost immediately draws a heckler and a crowd. So it didn’t take too long before I had really captured the attention of the campus.
I preached the first 3 hours with a large crowd until the Police arrived and told me I needed to talk to the administration. We went there and they told me that to have an event I needed to schedule it through them and that requires a student group “sponsor” and payment of $250! So much for free speech! I made sure I put the word “lawsuit” into the conversation. When I asked them if I needed sponsorship simply to be on campus and to talk to students they said “No, we are not saying that.” I said, “Well, that’s all I’ve been doing today – talking to students. So if I don’t need sponsorship for that, I’m going to go back out there and talk to them some more.” They seemed confused about their own policy but I went back out there and preached some more. The Police said I had free speech and that they would only return if there was an incident that needed them. I preached the rest of the day without problems and returned the next day as well.
When I arrived the next day there was already a crowd waiting for me. The students really enjoy the “debate,” “confrontation,” and “humor” that is involved in open air preaching.
Humor and wit in particular are both very good for open air preachers to use in order to both get the sinner’s attention and keep their interest. One-liners and play on words are especially useful and memorable. They make impressions upon their minds that they cannot easily forget. And the more you work with these type of crowds, the more predicable their responses are. This helps in preparing answers, getting an intended reaction, etc.
During class change, I try to stir up the crowd to make a lot of noise as that brings in more listeners.
Jesse Morrell: “How many of you think it is OK to be Gay?”
Crowd: Yells and cheers and raises hands!
Jesse Morrell: “How many of you smoke marijuana?”
Crowd: Yells and cheers and raises hands!
Jesse Morrell: Do you see the correlation there? Your minds are ‘dazed and confused’ and ‘half baked.’ You are not thinking right.” [Two pothead movie references]
Jesse Morrell: “Did you know that Lady Gaga is a bisexual?”
Crowd: “Yeah, so what?”
Jesse Morrell: “That means she’s in a ‘bad romance.” [One of her songs]
Crowd: Laughs and says, “That’s a good one.”
Jesse Morrell: “Do any of you know the meaning of life?”
A student in the crowd: “42!”
Jesse Morrell: “No. That is the average life span of a homosexual. But does anyone know the meaning of life?”
Crowd: “No, tell us.”
Jesse Morrell: “Really? You guys don’t know the meaning of life? What are they teaching you here at this university? You don’t even know the answer to one of the most basic and fundamental questions of life?”
Crowd: “Tell us what it is! Tell us!”
Jesse Morrell: “Ok. Allow me to educate you college students. The meaning of life is a loving relationship with God. That is why you were created. But your sin separates you from God. But if you repent of your sins and trust in Jesus Christ, you can be reconciled to God, become a friend of God and then experience the meaning of life.”
Crowd: “Are you against woman being educated?”
Jesse Morrell: “No. I bought my wife a cook book.”
Crowd: “hahaha. That’s awful.”
Jesse Morrell: “Why? You don’t think woman should be educated? I want my wife to do her job well. You don’t think woman should work or something?”
Student in the crowd: “What do you think about Robin Williams? I loved him in Misses Doubt Fire.”
Jesse Morrell: “Robin Williams was a cross dresser. I have no ‘doubt’ that he’s in the ‘fire.”
Crowd: “Leave our campus!”
Jesse Morrell: “You guys are so intolerant and close-minded.”
Jesse Morrell: “You have more STD’s walking around here than PHD’s.”
Crowd: “That’s true.”
Jesse Morrell: “I even have a Facebook account. If you go to OpenAirOutreach.com you will find my Facebook. And I’ll be your Facebook friend. After all, Jesus was friends with sinners wasn’t he?”
The crowd usually erupts in laughter or other emotions during these type of interactions. But it gets the attention of the campus, it holds the attention of the crowd and I am able to communicate truths to them at the same time.
Though the student will tell me, “Nobody wants to hear what you have to say,” I know they are lying because at the same time they are crowding around me for hours and are raising their hands to ask me questions. On average I preach solo for about 4 hours on a campus. The longest I went preached solo was 7 1/2 hours and I had a crowd the whole time. After 7 1/2 hours, I was so tired and worn out that I told the crowd I had to go and they didn’t want me to. There was still a crowd of at least 50 people at that point. And whenever I tell a campus, “You guys have been such a good crowd. I am coming back tomorrow!” The crowd always erupts in jubilee!
As you can see in the picture above, the Police and the administration came out again this day but they never bothered me or interfered. They simply watched from the background and talked amongst themselves. I have no doubt that they were discussing how they could try to get me off their campus and contemplated the risks involved in doing so. I was aware of the fact that this campus had just recently lost a free speech lawsuit that they had filed against them by a student. This no doubt made them feel vulnerable and only helped to give me an advantage. Praise God, I preached the gospel for hours and hours and was never shut down or interrupted by the administration or the Police.
The work of an open air preacher is no easy task. Open air preaching is physically, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally draining. It requires long hours, disgruntle cliental and little to no benefits in this world. It is very different from being a Pastor or Evangelist that speaks in churches to an open hearted audience that will give you applauds and an offering at the end of the service. Open air preaching is just like plowing a stoney field in the hot sun. Its a sweaty and dirty and unappreciated labor. But it is an absolutely essential work that needs to get done.
A supposed “Doctor in Divinity” tried to prove to me on campus in front of the crowd that the Bible is “Pro Gay.”
I had a great time at the University of Cincinnati today. There was a crowd waiting for me by the time I arrived on campus. That is because I caused no small stir yesterday. At one point the crowd really swelled and there was a large Police presence but they stayed back and did not bother me any. There was a supposed “minister” that I had a dialog with over homosexuality. He told the crowd that the Bible is “Pro-Gay” and the crowd cheered and said about him – “we want to hear from this guy! He actually knows what he is talking about.”
Pro-Gay Preacher: “The Bible says that Ruth clave unto Naomi just like Genesis says that a husband cleaves unto his wife. That means that a husband goes into his wife.” [Crowd cheers]
Jesse Morrell: “Are you saying that in this passage about Ruth, that clave means Ruth had sex with Naomi?”
Pro-Gay Preacher: “Yes.”
Jesse Morrell: “What about when the Bible tells us to cleave unto the Lord? Certainly that doesn’t mean have sex with the Lord.”
Pro-Gay Preacher: [Silence….. And the crowd did not cheer]
Throughout the day I warned the students about sin, hell, judgment and call them to repentance. For this I was accused of being a false prophet who takes the Bible out of context. But when a real false teacher comes along and tells the people want they want to hear, instead of like me who told them what they need to hear, he was called a true preacher. Most of the student’s don’t care what the Bible says unless someone can twist it to accommodate their sin and suit their lives. The supposedly “Doctor of Divinity” took the Bible out of context, twisted and perverted it to accommodate their sins, and yet I was accused of doing this. Truth is called falsehood and falsehood is called truth. Our love was called hatred and their hatred was called love. As Jesus said, woe to you when all men speak well of you for so did they of the false prophets.
There were some students, however, who talked to me and seemed genuine and even supportive of our message.
UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY, LEXINGTON
It seems that many of the campuses I visited on this tour were new campuses to me. The University of Kentucky was a campus I had never been on before but when I first started studying campus preaching over a decade ago, one of the videos I watched was of campus preacher Jed Smock on this campus. I didn’t realize it until I got there and instantly recognized the location. So it was neat to finally get to preach in the same location that Brother Jed preached when I was first analyzing and studying the art of open air.
I was told by multiple people that this is a hard campus to draw a crowd on. So I took my gloves off and pulled no punches. I preached heavily against the sin of homosexuality and sure enough that captured a lot of attention. Unfortunately, I forgot my GoPro at my host home so I have no pictures or videos from today but I am returning tomorrow. When I was first studying campus preaching when I was getting started, I watched a video of Brother Jed Smock preaching on the UK campus so it was nice to finally preach there myself. In other news, the University of Cincinnati reported on our outreach and while it has some good quotes from me relating to the gospel which is good for the campus to read, it has some misinformation and false hearsay from other students…. Praise God we are causing no small stir for Jesus across the country!
One supposed “Pastor” on campus did not like my preaching and especially disliked my banner that said “Repent or Perish.”
He told me, “That is not loving!”
I said, “Calling sinners to repentance lest they perish certainly is loving. Luke 13:3 is the words of Jesus Christ Himself. It would be unloving not to call them to repentance, knowing that they will perish if they don’t.”
I went on to ask him, “Do you have sin in your life?”
He said, “We all do!”
I said, “So you sin every day?”
He said, “Yes, we all do.”
I said, “That is not loving! If you love God, why would you sin against Him? If you love your neighbor, why would you sin against him? God’s law is love. Love is the fulfillment of the law but sin is transgression of the law. Sin is the opposite of love. You accuse me of not being love but by your own confession, you are not a loving person.”
I went on to exhort the crowd to repent of their sins and become loving people instead.
It’s always good to show a heckler that he is guilty of exactly what he is accusing you of.
A “Christian Professor” or teacher was heckling me at one point and yelled “Jesus was a socialist! Jesus taught socialism! He taught sharing with your neighbor!” The crowd erupted in cheers of approval.
I said, “You know what your problem is? You need to develop your powers of logic!” He said, “I actually teach logic at this university!”
I said, “The fallacy you committed was equating Jesus’ teaching on charity with socialism. Charity is voluntarily sharing of your own private property. Charity requires capitalism.” This teacher of “logic” on campus never did refute my point.
He did ask, “What about the Christians in Acts?”
I said, “That was voluntary and optional, not governmental socialism.”
I went on to say, “The Bible actually says Thou Shalt Not Be A Socialist.”
The crowd erupted and said, “What? Where is that?”
I said, “Its one of the Ten Commandments. It says Thou Shalt Not Steal. That’s a synonym for socialism – stealing from the rich to give to the poor. The commandment Thou Shalt Not Steal presupposes private property or capital. And when you have private property, you can be charitable by voluntarily sharing it with those in need.”
Various local brethren joined me on this campus. Some came to just watch and learn. Others came to hold a sign and witness. I turned the crowd over to one brother who is new to campus preaching but has done street witnessing and preaching before. He did a real fine job sharing with the students and addressing their questions. One of the major desires of our ministry is to see others encouraged and equipped to take the gospel into the open air.
The students were exceptionally hostile, intolerant, close-minded and judgmental towards us on this campus. They really did not like my “Repent or Perish” banner. But the more that they acted out, the more they justified my presence on campus. I came to call sinners to repentance and there were sinners in abundance in my crowd.
I also noticed that some of my worst hecklers on this campus were the ones who really wanted to get their picture taken with me and wanted to shake my hand at the end of the day. So it seems that those who hate you the most are the ones who really like you the most too!
Homosexuality was particularly a stronghold in this area. They have a “Gay” Mayor in Lexington I am told. I preached: “Homosexuality is a hate crime. Nobody hates homosexuals more than homosexuals do. They don’t love each other, they lust each other. The average homosexual has 400 partners in his lifetime – so much for loving committed relationships. They are literally killing each other with diseases. That is why the average homosexual dies at the age of 42. But I have good news. Jesus died for homosexuals. You can become homo-no-mo. I have friends of mine who are X-Gay. Jesus Christ can change your life and put you on the straight and narrow – emphasis on the straight. His blood is not HIV positive. His blood gives life. I love homosexuals and want to see them repent. And I don’t discriminate. I condemn alls in equally. If you are a fornicator or an adulterer, you are also going to hell and need to repent.”
Students skipped classes for hours to attend our outreach and I saw many of the same students today from yesterday. My hosts in the area joined me on campus and they estimated that at one point the crowd grew to be about 200 people.
I preached on the wrath and mercy of God and emphasized that God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked and is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. I emphasized that God would rather pardon than to punish and that there is forgiveness in Christ that they can receive through repentance and faith.
HOME FELLOWSHIP, JOHNSON CITY TN
I was honored to speak at a small home fellowship and shared some of the salvation testimonies of our ministry to inspire them about the evangelism work we would be doing throughout the week. I’ll upload the video of that message, along with the outreach videos, as time permits.
EAST TENNESSEE STATE UNIVERSITY
Again, this was a new campus for me. When I went to get the “permit” I was told that the fountain area was already reserved by another group the next two days. But on my way to the Student Center I noticed an amphitheater on the other side of the Student Center. So I asked if the amphitheater was available and she said it was. Of course, if I had not mentioned it, she was not going to tell me about it. The amphitheater is a bit away from the main foot traffic but the acoustics are so good and my banner was tall enough that I was able to draw a crowd in a short amount of time, though I missed the 12 o’clock class change.
I had some good interaction and dialog on ETSU.
Jesse Morrell: “Homosexuality is a sin.”
Heckler: “You’re a BIGOT!”
Jesse Morrell: “Why can’t you accept me as I am? I was born again this way. God made me this way.”
Heckler: “Because you don’t accept people the way they are.”
Jesse Morrell: “So you are a bigot towards my bigotry! You are intolerant of my intolerance!”
Heckler: “Yes I am!”
Jesse Morrell: “You are so incoherent and inconsistent. You contradict your own principles.”
Hecklers in the Crowd: “Leave our campus!”
Jesse Morrell: “You guys are so intolerant and closed-minded.”
And as much as hecklers in the crowd said, “Nobody cares about your opinion,” the fact is, they kept raising their hands to ask me questions.
I have more fun in the open air than people realize. I enjoy internally critiquing their godless worldview to point out their contradictions and inconsistencies and doing so through a humorous and satirical way.
Another brother that joined me on campus had preached on this campus before but never knew that this area was available as a free speech area. There had been another campus preacher on this campus only a couple weeks before so the students had already seen this type of ministry this semester. Otherwise, I think we might have been able to really pack out the amphitheater in this location.
During the outreach there was one woman in particular who kept trying to preach to the crowd on the stage next to me. Her message was about the love of God, God forgives you if you simply believe in Him, Jesus took our penalty, etc. But she was also a bi-sexual. She confessed to “masturbating” and “having sex with woman whenever I want” but also being the leader of a Bible study at a nearby church. It is because of people like her that I focused and emphasized the message of repentance and warned about God’s wrath and judgment. She already knew about the love of God and what she and others needed to hear was that they must “Repent or Perish” as my banner said.
This masturbating Bi-Sexual Bible Study Leader often criticized my message. She said things like, “Nobodies perfect! You can’t stop sinning” and also “Your are judging! Judging is a sin!” So I added, “Well, if you can’t stop sinning and judging is a sin, then I cannot stop judging you guys.” Of course, this was a satirical internal critique presupposes their principles for the sake of reductio ad absurdum. Every time they said, “Stop judging us! Judging is a sin!” They were taking for granted that sin is an avoidable choice that you can stop doing, even though they were mis-catagorizing my rebuke of sin as sinful itself.
The campus only allows for this type of activity until 3 o’clock so I only preached for about 3 hours each day and had to stop earlier than I am used to. Though there was mockery and heckling and one homosexual sexually assaulted me, this was possibly the calmest meeting I had on my tour. An amphitheater naturally calms the crowd because they have to sit and the barrier between the stage and the seating really helps with crowd control.
APPALACHIAN STATE UNIVERSITY, NC
Appalachian State was a campus I know other preachers have been on and from what I’ve seen in pictures and videos, looked like a great place to preach! So I was really excited about spending a couple days on this campus with some local brethren. There is a nice open grassy area where lots of students hang out which is wide open and ideal for free speech.
I was recently critiqued by a Calvinist who said, “You don’t preach the gospel in the open air!” Of course, to him the Calvinist theology is “the gospel” and since I do not preach Calvinism he accuses me of not preaching the gospel. However, one thing I preach in the open air, that no consistent Calvinist can ever preach, is “Jesus died for your sins.” No Calvinists can say this to any crowd or individual because they just don’t know who Jesus died for. Their theology says Jesus did not die for everyone but only for the “elect” which nobody knows for sure who else is apart of it. For that reason, Calvinists cannot preach the gospel. They cannot tell sinners that Jesus Christ died for their sins. But on this campus, I pointed to each individual in the crowd one after the other and said, “Jesus died for your sins. And Jesus died for your sins. And Jesus also died for your sins.” A Calvinist who saw this on the video actually rebuked me! Imagine that, a Calvinist told me that I do not preach the gospel in the open air. And then when I preached the gospel, a Calvinist rebuked me for doing so!
A journalist for the paper interviewed me and asked me a few questions. After I told her that I have traveled for over 10 years preaching on over 100 campuses, she asked me why campuses. I said, “Paul, in the Bible, would dispute daily in the market place. And the university campus today is a market place of ideas. It is exactly where this type of thing ought to take place.”
She also asked me my thoughts on how open the policy is for free speech on this campus. I said, “A real academic atmosphere should expose its students to various and opposing world views for contemplation and consideration and an open forum for anyone to share any view is most conducive to this end. The right to freedom of expression and freedom of thought is essential to a free and intelligent society. A real academic environment would not seek to isolate its students and have a monopoly on their minds by isolating them from those who have contrary opinions to its own. The day freedom of speech is vanquished from university campuses would be the day that dogmatic indoctrination and brainwashing becomes the modus operandi of pseudo-education.”
HOUSTON CITY HALL, TX
It was all over the news that the Mayor of Houston had issued subpoenas to local pastors to turn over any sermons that they had preached related to homosexuality, the lesbian Mayor, the bathroom bill that allows men who identify themselves as women to use the woman’s bathroom and vise versa, etc.
I thought to myself, “She wants sermons? I got a sermon!” So I went down to the Houston City Hall and preached my open air sermon loud and clear for all to hear!
I was blessed to be accompanied by some other brethren who came from different churches to join me in my effort. Having more people and consequently more signs I think helped in getting attention.
As we were there preaching, the local news showed up because they heard that there was going to be some big protest that day. There was nobody there doing anything except for us. So we ended up on the local news with our gospel signs. I uploaded the video for this outreach to my YouTube channel OpenAirOutreach. That video will be below in the video section.