Thursday, August 23, 2012

Strange and Unauthorized Fire: A Morning at the NoHo Metro Station

It was a event-filled couple of hours at the North Hollywood Metro Station this morning. I arrived at the station at 6:30 AM. As they are every day, the Russellites were already out in force. The station was very busy with morning commuters.

My first open-air for the morning, as part of my participation in Challenge 66 (a challenge to open-air preachers to preach sermons from all 66 books of the Bible), had for its text Leviticus 10:1-3. I used the story of Nadab and Abihu's false worship by way of strange and unauthorized fire to point out the false worship of world religions.

Here it is:

I could see that one of the security guards got on his phone the moment I started preaching. This has become commonplace. I was confident he was calling the police. Over the last few months, the security guards have taken an all-too-obvious shining to the Russellites at the station. The Russellites complain to the security guards about the content of my messages. I make it a point to warn the people at the station of the Russellites presence during my first open-air for the day.

The open-air went off without incident. When I finished, I started distributing some tracts to the commuters making their way to and from the metro station.

As I distributed tracts, I watched as an LAPD patrol car parked along the curb. Two officers exited the vehicle and were met guessed it...the security guard. They talked for a few moments. I was able to take the above photo as the officers made their way to where I was standing.

The male officer did all the talking. The female officer, the male officer's senior, looked like she was having a bad day.

I talked to the officers (pictured above, along with the security guard) for about four minutes. The result: the officers told me to be careful and went on their way.

Here's my conversation with the officers:

After my conversation, I was tempted to get back up and preach right away. But I opted to distribute tracts for a while. The reason I didn't preach right away is that I didn't want my motivation to be one of rubbing the security guards nose in the fact that the officers left me alone to preach.

When the time came that I felt I could preach with the right motives, I climbed atop my step stool. My text for the second open-air was Galatians 2:15-21. The theme for the open-air was justification by faith alone.

I met a couple of interesting characters during this open-air. One was a young man who claimed he was present at the birth of Jesus. That was a new one. The other person was a man named Alex. Like so many "cut and pasters," Alex claimed to know a thing or two about the Bible. When I challenged him with a very basic Bible quiz, he responded with ad hominems. The reason: Alex had no case. He had no argument. He had no strength of conviction.

Here's my second open-air:

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