Welcome to Oregon. Would you look at all those mountains and they have trees all over them! 400 plus miles of nonstop beauty which I spent the better part of 12 hours struggling to maintain a safe balance between watching the road and admiring the scenery. About 9 hours into the journey I arrived in Grants Pass. After getting a bite to eat I pulled into the gas station, got out to pump gas but there was this guy between me and the pump. So I said, “What’s up?” Then he answered, “What are you doing?” I thought I’m tired but started; “I’m on a journey through the country sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ…..but would you step aside a bit so I can get gas?” Then He said, “You can’t pump your gas here.” I wondered is this guy going to buy my gas. But then he told me that no one can pump their own gas in the State of Oregon. I really didn’t believe the guy and thought this must be a joke. Yet there he was still in my way and when he asked how much do you want? I said fill it up but I stayed right there watching him; would he overfill it and would he tighten the gas cap at least 3 clicks? Well everything worked out and as soon as I got a second opinion I believed the guy. So, now you know that if you go to Oregon; (Relax) you cannot pump your own gas! Shortly afterwards as I drove through town I realized that this was not going to be the next stop along the journey. So I headed north on the interstate and then later I stopped for the night at a rest stop. Tuesday morning I rolled into Eugene, Oregon and found Berean Baptist Church to call home base.
I was not in Eugene long before I noticed a similarity like in Grants Pass; which was an openly expressive hostility towards the cross and its message! This kept me on my toes all week long. I Praise God for the bright spots, each and every one of them!
On Wednesday evening there was a bright spot standing along 11th Street. I went a block then turned around and that’s when I met brother Monte Botts. Monte is not ashamed of the gospel and in fact has for many years traveled from town to town to herald the good news. He uses signs, tracts and preaching as the Lord leads him so it goes. Earlier I made mention of Grants Pass, Oregon well as of this writing brother Monte is there today to answer the Court for a criminal trespassing charge he received when He joined the parade carrying a sign with scripture on it! No worry, the Lord is with him. Monte and I had a great time sharing testimonies and what an encouragement he was and is to me even now. Thanks Monte!
After spying out the land I found that there was not much going on. The transit terminal, “Eugene Station” proved to be a good sowing field. The targeted market was young to middle aged women. When I was in Los Angeles, CA about 6 weeks ago Sister Jaylene Daugherty Romero and Brother Tony Miano made lasting impression on me in regard to the issue of abortion. Because of this I handed out tracts which addressed both the issue of abortion and salvation all in one. Overall I found women were receptive to the written information and some even willing to talk about it. There is a really good video produced by Living Waters entitled 18o which contrast the Jewish Holocaust of the 1940’s with the Abortion Holocaust happening in America since the 1970’s. I think this maybe the most valuable tool to date that we have to effect change. The historical facts of these two horrific events are so well presented that even simple logical reasoning evokes the conscience to cry out; this is wrong, I cannot have anything to do with this, this has to stop! The video can be viewed on the internet at: www.180movie.com. You will also find resources that may be purchased so you can make a difference impacting the world for Jesus Christ! Won’t you please get involved today?
Saturday was the day I had waited for because there was a Farmers Market Downtown that covered many square blocks and there were people everywhere. I was all the more eager when upon arrival I saw co laborers at work. There was a middle aged Asian couple, one holding a sign and the other handing out tracts. They were so encouraging towards the prospect of the gospel being preached aloud. So I hurried to get the sound equipment because there were drummers playing nearby and the noise was more than I could speak above. Upon return, I saw another group holding signs containing scripture and all was well. At least for a little while but after about three verses of scripture going airborne things changed! Usually I’ve had what I call the shock factor effect set people back for several minutes and this really allows me to get going if you will. But this day some of those offended by the gospel were quick to step up to the plate. While insults came from differing positions in the crowd the first up close encounter was what I call a Christian who thought he ought to come and save the day. His position was basically that preaching in public was wrong. One of the brothers holding a sign asked him how he would do it and the guy replied, “You should make friends with people before you talk to them about Jesus.” The Brother said, “Then you go and do that.” I thought I was going to laugh out loud but I kept preaching. Not long after the brother walked away; “Mr. I’m Gonna Stop This” shows up. When his words failed he moved to take physical action but two things happened that he did not expect and the first was that the space he sought to occupy was no longer available because of instinct I got there before he did and my hand was all that kept him at bay. While he was crying foul, I kept preaching not knowing what would happen next and then the second thing happened. That’s when an angel stepped between the two of us and after about a minute the little Asian women had sent “Mr. I’m Gonna Stop This” on his way! Wow, that was close but was it not that God was in control all the time? Yes I say and praise God! Amen. After a little while I stopped preaching because I was tired even though I had not gone on very long. After entertaining some comments and questions I took a couple of minutes to pray and gather myself that God might grant me courage and strength to preach again. Once again I raised my voice and the opposition railed but I made it about 12 minutes and then called it a day. When I packed up I looked to find the Asian couple but they were gone and this saddened me because I didn’t get to say thank you. Maybe there will be time for that in heaven, I hope so. The day was still young and I had been invited to a tent meeting that started at 3:00pm. The funny thing was that I had been invited several times and by differing means throughout the week. First I saw a billboard sign that poised the question; “What if Jesus really meant everything He said?” Then the invitation to come as there would be a tent meeting every Saturday at 3pm. in Eugene. Early in the week what looked like a parking ticket on my windshield was a gospel tract that included the same invitation. Remember my friend Monte Botts? He told me he had gone last Saturday and met some fine people. Then as I prepared to preach the last time Saturday one of the men that was with the group holding signs invited me to go, so that’s what I did. The preaching was a call to actually obey the commands of the Lord Jesus Christ. We had a rich time in the word and sweet fellowship. What a blessed way to finish the day.
Before I went to sleep though I wrote these words;
“What could be more arduous than laboring after hearts or persuading men to cast off their tinsel crowns? I do not know. O’ God help me less this is the end!” David Banton
Sunday morning I enjoyed worship and fellowship at Berean Baptist Church. Afterwards I was ready to go to the next stop, and then again that had been the case several times during the week.
Before I go let me make this appeal to you by saying;
It really is an eye opener when one reads the commands of Christ without using someone else’s template to fit them to us. Just as dangerous it may be that each of us has made our own template. Ouch!
But wait, think about it! How can we really be sure that we are following the Lord unless we diligently seek Him? To obey Him necessitates that we know His commands. Was JESUS ever vague about anything? Did JESUS ever suggest anything? I have not found that to be true. Everything was black and white, there were No gray areas and JESUS never mixed Words.
Seriously consider these three verses:
And why do you call me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? (Luke 6:46)
Not everyone that says unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 7:21)
If you love me, keep my commandments. (John 14:15)
Please look for yourself at the commands of Christ! How many can you find? When you read them what does JESUS say? Will you take JESUS at His Word? Will you obey JESUS and follow Him?
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: (John 10:27)
I exhort you to set aside the presuppositions you may have and search the scriptures with childlike faith. Seek out the commands of Christ, obey and follow Him. JESUS is the Good Shepard.
The week in Eugene had its share of bumps and twists but even so I was never alone. The Lord was with me and working all things according to the council of His will. In this is the confidence to move on to the next stop along; The Journey 50 States One True Story JESUS!!!
I love and miss all by beloved brethren. I appreciate every good thing God has given me through you. There is joy in thinking that I might see you soon, but for many it will be in the age to come. Therefore I must by faith believe, thus the smile returns to my face and my heart is full.
Until next week, God willing I may be blessed to write you again.
Most affectionately in Christ,