HOUSTON, TX – In February of 2017, I joined Sports Fan Outreach International (SFOI) to bring the Gospel of Christ to Super Bowl LI. Brother Bill Adams (Chief Evangelist at SFOI) organized a fantastic outreach. SFOI secured 10 street corners strategically placed around the festivities downtown Houston. We were able to minister to tens of thousands of fans. On Super Bowl Sunday, we took the teams over to NRG Stadium where we ministered until kickoff. Here are a few highlights of the trip…
Law Exposes Men
Our first day there, brother Ryan Denton of Christ in the Wild Ministries was preaching law and grace. A couple of men happened by and as they passed he asked if they knew what would happen when they die. They gave the typical reply they were going to heaven because they were good people. When Ryan began to walk them through the law and they admitted their shortcomings the quickly angered when they realized they exposed themselves and they hurried off threatening him. I was a short ways away handing out tracts and as they came by I asked why they were angry. After expressing their anger, I pressed in as to the same question of why they were going to heaven. One boldly proclaimed, “Because I’m Catholic man, I’m earning my way!” I explained Is. 64:6 and he responded, “you just watch me earn my way to heaven…” When I pleaded with them they then turned on me with physical threats which I told them was ok if they would just talk to me, yet the continued on as the wicked does when no one pursues (Pr. 28:1).
Sola Christus Still Offensive to Roman Catholics
Our last night downtown, the night before the Super Bowl, I had a nearly hostile encounter with a drunken Roman Catholic and his seemingly sober but foul-mouthed wife. Our team had gathered there and were packing up to leave and I was preaching the last sermon for the night. As the crowd gathered on the corner, he boldly proclaimed he was going to heaven because he was Catholic. I simply asked if he prayed to Mary which seemed to sober him up and anger him. His wife then proceeded to shout a few expletives towards me. As someone who has spent much time in bars before my conversion, you develop a “street smart” sixth sense when a drunk is about to lunge in an attempt at physical violence. This man was there. As I continued to proclaim the narrow way to Christ he continued to move closer in anger and frustration.
After a few back and forths, he attempted to discredit me and the preaching. With God’s grace and not in the flesh, I explained I was raised Catholic and saved out of it. Now that the crowd was dialed in, I simply asked about the most perverted, blasphemous thing the Catholic church does. I simply asked, “Sir do you believe in transubstantiation?” Of course he had no idea what I was talking about and seemed to get more angry the more I mentioned the exclusivity of Christ and Christ alone as mediator. A couple brothers there simply stood shoulder to shoulder so that he could not reach me and I could continue to preach. Then from seemingly nowhere, just before he could start an altercation, God sent another from the crowd to move him along. A Latino man stepped up and verbally rebuked the drunkard for mocking the Gospel. As the man continued to walk away, I continued to plead with him to turn to Christ and that he would not be prayed out of purgatory (last part of video below).
I finished my sermon in tears as I felt the Holy Spirit continue to embolden my speech and calling those to repentance and faith.
God vs. Mohammed
Brother Andy Schmelzer (who preaches with me at WVU games and on WVU campus) was handing out our Gospel tracts to some Muslim children while brother Mike preached (he had the entire Gospel of John memorized word for word!!). When he noticed they were reading them with curiosity, he engaged them in conversation. They were very eager to hear the Gospel message. As he was ministering, one of the Muslim mothers overheard the Gospel message and was furious. As she was unable to be reasoned with, Andy rebuked her and warned her that her false religion would lead her to eternal tragedy. When she wouldn’t listen to reason, he continued that it was bad enough she was headed for hell for that belief and that it was a disgrace she would drag her children there with her. Immediately he was surrounded by a circle of angry Muslim mothers gnashing their teeth at him and so angry they were spewing spit from their mouths as they yelled. The police broke it up and Andy went off in a different direction and continued distributing tracts.
While that may seem extreme to some of you, I would encourage you to remember we’re talking about the souls of people and their eternities, in this case children. Before one should pass a crooked eyebrow, one should consider how far they would go to warn those headed for eternal damnation worshiping a false god. It was for the love of those children he took a bold stand. Pray they continue to seek this Jesus they were told about and that their mothers repent of the false god of Islam they are following.
Open Air Preaching to No One
Super Bowl Sunday our teams were setup around NRG Stadium. As we continued to rotate men preaching on our corner, one of our brothers, John Hedberg, drifted a bit down the sidewalk and stood just off the curb on the street pacing back and forth preaching. Other than the groups of fans coming by, in between he appeared at times silly preaching to no one. Just before we left, a few folks walked up to the fence behind us that separated the off one of the parking lots with the fruits of John’s labor.
Unbeknownst to us, a man was there to party and tailgate on the other side of the fence where John was preaching to “nobody”. Through John’s open and bold proclamation of law and grace, often offensive to many passersby, had broken the man to tears. Providentially, God had placed two Christians at a nearby tailgate who then led him to Christ after being broken by the Gospel of Christ preached openly.
Every evening our cabins at the camp were filled with men exhausted but satisfied recounting stories of conversion and God’s faithfulness and an eagerness to get back out on the streets the next day. Know that if there were ever a group where the “sinner’s prayer” was not used, it was here. No, brothers, the ones who we can tell of coming to Christ over the weekend in Houston were brought to Him by the proclamation of the Gospel. And most stories had one thing in common. Those who came to Christ did so broken over their sin, many in tears right there in public on the street, yet rejoicing they knew the Savior from their wretched sin, Jesus Christ!