It was a beautiful autumn day and happened to be my 23rd birthday. What better way to start the day than going onto campus, shouting at students, picketing, and telling them they are all going to hell? Well, that wasn’t how I started my birthday. However, there was a group of turn-or-burn preachers occupying Sanford Mall outside of the Student Union. Each time they come to ASU, they make a scene, start fights, stir dissension, and exchange heated words with students. There was an absence of love, joy, and peace in their message and salvation was determined by good behavior rather than our righteousness being obtained by the finished work of Jesus on the cross. While many believe it is their holy duty to change the minds of these hellfire and brimstone preachers, my friends and I decided to take another approach.
Rarely will you ever change someone’s mind. I like to let Jesus do that Himself. How? His goodness draws men to repentance. His power yields fruit bearing witness of His goodness. We leveraged the message these men were presenting as conversation starters with students. We also didn’t “steal” from their audience. Those who were engaged in the heated exchange were hot-tempered and looking for a fight. Those outside of the ring were more approachable. The Lord told me he had given us the angel of Victory as we went out. Here’s what happened:
A couple of ladies on Appalachian State's female rugby team were passing out leaflets, advertising an event or game they were having. One of them had a brace on their wrist. My friend, Aaron, asked what happened to her wrist. It had been sprained. Aaron lightly touched it and simply said, “Wrist, be healed in Jesus’ name,” and removed his hand. Almost immediately, she took the brace off and began turning her wrist to and fro. Without us asking, her teammate confirmed that her wrist was unable to do that. Just as a camera was being mounted on a tripod to capture footage of the preachers, Aaron grabbed the attention of the cameraman and told him that the real Jesus was doing miracles. He glanced at us and the rugby players without saying a word and turned back around to complete the task he had started.
(If local or mainstream media don’t pick up on the stories, it could be, like this cameraman, they do not want to. That’s why I encourage you to capture the healing on your phone or camera. Document what The Lord is doing and give the world some good news!)
We later approached a student who broke his toe on a slack line (imagine a tightrope a few feet off the ground, tied between two trees). This young man was not a believer. We told him about the miracles we saw earlier that day and he let us pray for him. His broken toe improved drastically and he was very shocked. It may be hard to comprehend why some don’t receive all of Jesus right there on the spot, but sometimes we plant seeds and let the Holy Spirit take over.
Our other friend, Brennen, along with Aaron, saw someone on crutches and shot towards her to ask how they could pray. This student was a runner and had ongoing issues with her knee. They prayed for her and she hobbled off on the crutches. Some would pose the question: Why didn’t God heal her? The next time Brennen saw her, she was off the crutches and told him that there had been no pain since the day he and Aaron prayed for her. Even if we didn’t see her throw her crutches down and cut cartwheels immediately, the truth remains: Jesus healed her!
The day ended with some mysterious aviator sunglasses (A birthday gift from Jesus?) lying on the top of my car, followed by a surprise party and a delicious cookie cake created by my amazing girlfriend at the time (Her name is Keeli... Maybe you’ve heard of her!). The cake represented a revelation I had at the time: God’s love and power is like a train on its tracks. Love is the way but without God's power you don't have a vehicle to get you there. The power of God working through us is only effective through love. I’ll never forget that birthday.