Monday, February 22, 2010


I was debating on whether to include my OPEN AIR PREACHING 101 "class" that I "took" recently with "The Granddaddy of Campus Preachers," Bro. Jed Smock. Well, "Bro. Jed," as he's known on campuses all over the U.S., wrote such an accurate report of my two days with him that I thought I'd include it here:

University of Houston, January 25, 2010

The university has designated free speech areas, which have traffic, but are not the ideal places to get the main flow. I held my YOU DESERVE HELL sign before I started preaching. Two Muslims asked me what it meant. We got into a discussion on the nature of Christ and the Trinity and the inspiration of the Bible. They were civil in their behavior.

After 10 minutes a girl, who had two months ago been converted from Islam, complained about my sign. She might have used the opportunity to witness to the Moslems; but this baby Christian was more interested in correcting me. She said she sinned every day.

Meanwhile, Bill H. arrived. Bill e-mailed me several days ago asking to join me for the day. He wrote, “I got fired from Campus Crusade (after 29 years) last summer for having adopted Ray Comfort's philosophy of evangelism. I was told this is incompatible with CCC's - which I'm sure is no surprise to you! We continue as missionaries in Brazil.”

Bill is home in Houston for the time being preparing to return to Brazil. He first heard me at Vanderbilt University in 1983. Bill took over witnessing to the ex-Muslim concerning our methods and on living holy. Meanwhile, I started preaching and eventually drew a crowd of up to 25. A loud-mouthed Christian girl helped draw attention by arguing vehemently against my sign. After a while a soft-spoken student asked to speak. He rebuked the students for opposing my ministry. “You should be glad that he is here,” he said.

I appreciated his support; however, since the loud mouth girl began arguing with him, as did a few others, his help soon became a distraction. So I moved about 20 feet and began preaching to a class break. Eventually, my defender left and I continued dialoguing with a group of 20 or so. Soon another Christian, who was not so soft spoken, began to defend me. However, the same problem arose as he too soon became a diversion.

About 2 PM I introduced Bill to the crowd as a missionary. He took the Ray Comfort approach of going over the 10 Commandments; he did pretty well at holding the students attention, but gradually individuals began leaving. Bill did stir things shortly when he referred to Mohammed as a pedophile. There were a few Muslims in the group. And there are a lot of Muslims on this campus; there were many females passing by wearing scarves. By 2:30 Bill had lost the crowd. I tried to once again get the attention of students. But by 3 PM I decided to call it a day so that I would miss the rush-hour city traffic.

Bill commended me for the way I humorously interacted with the students. He understands that wit helps hold peoples’ attention. Some who try to preach in the open air never learn to be witty; hence they do not hold attention for long, if they even get anyone’s interest in the first place. Bill shared with me that when he took a restroom break, before he entered the building, he overheard two students discussing my sign. When he was in the men’s room, he heard a student complaining about my sign. Another student said to the complainer that the sign was true; even though he did not agree with my approach. From these two examples overheard by Bill, well away from our preaching spot, I think that it is fair to assume that we sparked discussions about Hell and other religious issues all over campus, very likely even in the classroom.

I try to report daily highlights; but not only can I not tell you everything said and happening within the gathered crowd, I cannot begin to tell you what is happening in the Student Union, classrooms, hallways, dorms, and all over campus. There are even more discussions when students return to their family, homes and apartments. I know a lot of conversations start with, “Let me tell you about the crazy preacher I heard today.” However, from the feedback I have received I know that these conversations often turn into serious talk about the religious issues which I have raised.

Sam Houston State, January 26, 2010

Bill H. accompanied me to Sam Houston State. After about 30 minutes of preaching, I did not gather a crowd although some were listening at a distance. I was surprised because conditions were ideal with a bright sunny warm day and lots of students passing by and many others hanging around the plaza. A man asked if he could interview me with a video for a class. The interview only lasted for 10 minutes. I figured I would have to wait another hour for a break, but I questioned a girl about her belief in God who was sitting not far from me. She said she believed in God, but not the God I preached. She was raised a Baptist, but she claimed the church kicked her out for looking up when she prayed instead of bowing her head. I did not believe her. She then claimed that her father beat her with a rod on her back. I kept challenging her to define the God that she believed in. Meanwhile, students were gathering to listen to our conversation and some entered into the dialogue. Eventually, I drew a crowd of up to 35-40. For forty minutes the crowd was quiet, attentive and respectful. However, some began to get stirred and angry concerning my emphasis on Hell, including a few professing Christians. The man who interviewed me returned with his camera and stood in the crowd; and this time he asked me philosophical questions.

At one point an irate man got in my face complaining that he heard me from the other side of campus. I explained that it was the Holy Ghost carrying my voice and drawing him to hear the Word of God. Someone suggested that it was the wind. I explained that the wind is symbolic of the Holy Spirit. Actually, there was no wind today. Later the irate man calmed down and wanted his picture taken with me.

At 3:30, I introduced Bill H.; however the crowd was not done with me. Soon most of them came over to where I was sitting. Bill continued witnessing to a few. Later, Bill said, “Brother Jed, the students are drawn to you like a magnet.”

At one point Bill successfully chased down a girl who stole one of my signs that he was holding. Earlier I had to recover my chair which another girl had stolen. Bill later remarked that with all the Christians in the crowd none of them helped to recover the sign. I added that neither did they help recover my chair. Of course, most Christians cannot bear my YOU DESERVE HELL sign; so maybe they were glad that someone tried to take it out of the picture.

On our drive to campus Bill informed me that he was a Calvinist. This did not hinder our fellowship or ministry together because both of us are focused on winning souls. Also after spending three decades in CCC, Bill is used to working with people of a different theological perspective.

What I took from my time with Bro. Jed was my need to memorize scripture more and learn how to keep a crowd interested while remaining biblical. Thanks, Bro. Jed!

Saturday, February 20, 2010


In the time that it takes you to watch this video two (2) Christians will have been killed for their belief in Jesus. Please pray for our brothers and sisters enduring tribulation around the world. Words can neither describe nor do justice to these images. May God and Christ be glorfied in their sacrifice.

Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated. The world was not worthy of them. - Hebrews 11:36-38

The question that keeps coming to mind: Am I willing to suffer for Christ, for preaching His life-changing gospel, for freeing people from the jaws of hell? Better yet, are you?

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Christ's call is to save the lost, not the stiff-necked; He came not to call scoffers but sinners to repentance; not to build and furnish comfortable chapels, churches, and cathedrals at home in which to rock Christian professors to sleep by means of clever essays, stereotyped prayers, and artistic musical performances, but to capture men from the devil's clutches and the very jaws of Hell. This can be accomplished only by a red-hot, unconventional, unfettered devotion, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to the Lord Jesus Christ.

--C.T. Studd (1860-1931) was an English missionary who faithfully served His Saviour in China, India, and Africa.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


After flying all night from Houston, TX to Rio de Janeiro - with intermittent sleep - we arrived at our Brazilian home across the bay from Rio on February 16, 2010. I had a few hours to rest before finally getting my shot at doing some serious evangelism during Rio's world famous - and largest - Carnival. I had intended to preach with Ruben Israel of Bible Believers at Mardi Gras (the U.S. version of Carnival) in New Orleans, but we had to come back to Rio a few days earlier than originally planned due to space limitations on the flights right after Mardi Gras/Carnival.

I understood, after talking with Alexandre, a guy I'm discipling from Candido Mendes University (UCAM), that I'd be preaching with the aid of 2 or 3 guys from the Jews for Jesus Carnival project in the homosexual district of famous Ipanema. However, it became clear that the local Jews for Jesus leaders weren't about to associate their group with a hell fire preacher accompanied by a bullhorn and confrontational banner. So, suddenly, I was on my own. I could have submitted to their approach and been able to don the project t-shirt, but I was anxious to inaugurate my banner - with "You Deserve Hell" and a quote of Rev. 21:8 on one side; a quote of Heb. 10:31 on the other - in sin-soaked Rio de Janeiro. And boy was Rio "sin soaked!"

The first group I encountered in the park just two blocks from the homosexual district was a group of guys (who turned out to be homosexuals) waiting for a bus. I was walking with my banner unfurled and preaching from my bullhorn. It is amazing how people react to the statement "You deserve hell." Even well-meaning, so-called Christians seem to cringe at this biblically true statement (based on such well-known verses as Rom. 6:23 and Rev. 21:8). In my humble opinion, evangelism today is more defined by the culture than by the Bible! Oh, for a return to God's word for our evangelistic training - vs. such emphases as "We need to be connecting with the lost," "You've got to earn the right to be heard" or "That was appropriate for that time period, but this is the 21st century."

Not wanting to take away from legitimate and necessary changes in one's approach (e.g., evangelistic films, the evangelistic use of the Internet, etc.), have people really changed? My Bible tells me that no, people are still sinners under condemnation and in need of a Savior. That's why I still see - and expect to continue to see - a need for confrontational evangelism. Talking about a biblical method that is also one of the most cost-effective ones around! An open air evangelist can literally give thousands of people the bad news they so desperately need to see and hear so that they will either stop to ask him - like they did Peter in Acts 2 - how to be saved or, at least, go their way with God's relentless Word pounding away in their consciences.

Back to Ipanema (Remember the famous Bossa Nova song The Girl from Ipanema?), my homosexual "listeners" began to get a bit too agitated for my tastes. I was getting verbally "assaulted" from all sides to the point of not being able to adequately handle their objections and questions. Meanwhile, a thirty-something woman got into the fray, tearfully asking me for help. What I couldn't figure out was what exactly she needed help with! Finally, amidst all the confusion - complicated by my lack of sleep - I decided to walk to another part of the park. I was initially followed by several homos, who took it upon themselves to "denounce" me to those within earshot. One even hit my banner after trying to grab it and pull it down, but his friends called him off. Another kept unplugging my microphone from my bullhorn while I tried to preach, but I was just grateful he didn't try to cut the cord like some have done with a couple of my open air preacher friends.

I started preaching toward a heterosexual night club and was told I should go home since it was past my bedtime! One indiscreet woman expressed her disapproval of my message by bending over and "flashing" me with her gluteus maximus! A guy kept telling me to preach to his friends - by name - who had cans of beers in their hands. The "flasher" then threw her can of beer in my direction, but was well off the mark.

I decided to move on and preach to the folks waiting at the bus stop on the other side of the park. That group was calm and seemed particularly attentive. When I moved in the direction of the side of the park where I had encountered the homo crowd two guys stopped in front of me to read my banner. I soon discovered that they were Irish, so I had a good time challenging their presuppositions regarding the bible and Jesus Christ - in English! One of them seemed more "in tune" with the things of God, but the other was in blatant rebellion against his Maker.

I made one more attempt to preach to the nightclub on the other side of the park, and to my surprise, encountered two Americans - one from my old stompin' ground of San Diego. They both wanted pictures with me before discovering that I was a fellow American with a banner - in Portuguese - that said "You deserve hell." One told me in a rather crude way that I was courageous (i.e., "Bill, you've got b_ _ _ _!"), while I challenged each to seriously consider their true condition before a holy God and how to remedy it. One of the Americans - an airline pilot - told me he'd meet up with me again somewhere to continue the conversation . . . as he walked off with his Brazilian "date" (i.e., one-night-stand?).

It was already 3:00 a.m. and I could tell I was too tired to keep going, so I packed it up and headed for home. However, my curiosity led me to check out the Lapa area of downtown Rio, which is notorious for being one, big all-night block party during Carnival. Things were all lit up with hundreds of people still going strong at 3:30 in the morning. Next year I know where I'll be going! The Ipanema park was dimly lit, had at any given moment only 75-100 people in it and NO POLICE! The Lapa makes more sense . . . next year!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

MISSIONARIES: Why Do We Do What We Do?

Somebody visiting my blog may be wondering what I/we do and why I/we do it. So, without further ado, presenting . . .

Transforming the World with the Truth

8-32's mission is to "Produce change agents in the Brazilian university, workplace and Church via the bold, deep and urgent exposition of the Truth (John 8:32; 14:6)."

8-32's focus is on REACHING students, professionals and unconverted church members with the biblical gospel, DEVELOPING true converts into effective Christian leaders and MOBILIZING these leaders for the worldwide harvest (Matt. 9:35-38; 28:18-20; Mk. 16:15). In addition to evangelism and one-on-one/small-group discipleship, 8-32 seeks to train Christians from these primary target audiences - via the 8-32 Institute - in Christian/biblical worldview, biblical evangelism, apologetics, bible study methods, etc.

Our day-to-day ministry activities may include campus evangelism in Rio de Janeiro, "happy hour" evangelistic meetings with professionals, discipleship of key students and professionals, planning meetings, proclamation of Truth (i.e., open air preaching) in Rio's business district, ministry materials development and experimentation, classroom training, etc. Occasional ministry activities include retreats, training projects, conferences, proclamation of Truth (i.e., open air preaching) at morally questionable events (e.g., Carnival, gay pride parades, religious festivals, night clubs, etc.), short-term missions projects to other regions in Brazil or other countries (especially other Portuguese-speaking nations), etc.

Now, this is what we do, but why do we do it? In the ultimate analysis, we all exist to glorify God, right (Is. 43:7; 1 Cor. 10:31)? There are lots of ways to glorify God, but we are convinced that serving God on the foreign mission field is where we can glorify Him most effectively and efficiently. In other words, we are able to invest the best hours of our day and the best days of our week in the Harvest (Matt. 9:35-38), which is why the Son of God came to earth (Lk. 19:10) in the first place. In addition, we get to hold HIM up through sound teaching and preaching for the edification of His Church. Finally, we get to do all of this in a nation that has been predicted by at least one missions' statesman to become the world's missionary-sending leader: BRAZIL!

So, that's about it. Feel free to comment on what we do and why. God bless!