Thursday, February 26, 2009

Don't Mention Jesus?

I was invited by Campus Crusade for Christ and the college pastor at Calvary Chapel Chino Hills to give a talk tonight at Cal Poly Pomona, in California. The Christian clubs on campus are putting on what is called "Gospel Awareness Week" this week and are having different speakers give talks on lots of different subjects with the hope that the Christians on campus will invite their non-believing friends out to hear. My talk was scheduled for 8:00PM tonight.

Fifteen minutes before I was to begin, someone from the school informed the Campus Crusade for Christ leaders that the speaker (me) could not mention Jesus. The leaders came to me and said that there was a dilemma. They shared what they were told and I thought, "This sounds like something right out of the book of Acts...And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus." Acts 4:18). The Crusade leadership asked me, "Do you mention Jesus in your talk?"

That would be a yes.

And I mention sin, repentance and hell.

"Do you have any other talks?"

Plenty. Do you want me to switch topics?

"Well, do those mention Jesus?"

Yes. (I don't give a talk without mentioning Jesus.)

Well, after some deliberation they gave me their thumbs up and said, "Just go for it." Again my mind was drifting toward the book of Acts. ("Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard" Acts 4:19-20).

So I went ahead and gave the talk in its entirety just as I had planned on originally. In the talk, entitled "The Universe and the Love of God," I mentioned Jesus, sin, repentance, hell and gave a sinner's prayer at the end.

What happened when it was over? Were we ushered off by the campus security?


Were we tackled by angry students?

No. Nothing happened.

The entire talk went uninterrupted and I even had a couple of good conversations with students afterwards. Why the threats up front then, when nothing materialized from it? I believe Satan was trying to mess up the evening and cause me to lose my footing. He loves to see Christians retreat in silence. Well, we give thanks to the Lord that He was watching over us and that His Word was able to go forth unhindered. But, there's a reason I share all of this with you.

I want to encourage you to pray for the young men and women who are leading Christian groups on college campuses. They are involved in an important work but are in a seriously dark spiritual war zone. They need our encouragement and prayers. If you don't know a college pastor who is involved in this kind of work at your own church, pray for my friend Jeff Manion at Calvary Chapel Chino Hills in California. He is doing a great work at Cal Poly Pomona.