This summer two older prophets phoned me, one of whom hasn’t called me in decades, to speak words that I was to retire from the campus preaching and devote myself to writing and scheduled speaking engagements, etc.
Both men were apparently primarily concerned for my safety and possibly my life. There are not many ministers in my circle of friends who both in age and service are older than I am. Therefore, I listened carefully; I have weighted their words and warnings. In recent years I have also heard inner voices, especially during the summer break, that it was time for me to finish my course with a more respectable ministry.
My goal for decades has been to survive at least for a half-century on campus, which means I have at least two more years to go. I know of no other way to reach more people with the gospel than on campus in the open-air, person to person. Normal social distancing doesn’t last long when we preach. We are quickly eye-ball to eyeball with the raging heathen, who refused to keep their distance even in the pre-virus era.
Since the end of March, I have been devoting myself to “virtual ministry.” In past years during my summer furlough by the end of July, I sense a stirring in my spirit to return to my preaching post as guardian and watchman. Such restlessness, I have considered to the rousing of the Holy Ghost calling me to the battlefield. The other voices, I conclude, are from evil spirits or my own spirit seeking more rest and relaxation. This academic year, as the time draws nigh for campuses to reopen, I have been feeling those old Holy Ghost stirrings. Of course, there are also times when I myself have to like Timothy, “Stir up the gift on God that is within you!”
The Scriptures may be the minister’s most reliable direction for God’s guidance, especially those which speak of similar situations and circumstances in which one finds himself. In Acts 21:10-14, Agabus, a prophet, who comes from Judea, confronts Paul in Caesarea as the apostle is on his way to Jerusalem. Agabus takes Paul’s belt and ties up his own hands and feet with it and prophesied, “The Holy Ghost says, In this way the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.” When the people in Paul’s party hear the prophecy of Agabus, they do whatever they can to dissuade Paul from going to Jerusalem, but he is resolute. Paul answered, “What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”
When Paul would not be persuaded, his travel companions ceased, saying, “The will of the Lord be done.” We are not told, if the purpose of Agabus’ prophecy was to mentally prepare Paul for what would befall him at Jerusalem or rather to warn him not to go.
We do know that the Lord had previously spoken to Paul’s Spirit, because shorty before his encounter with Agabus, in Paul’s farewell address to the elders at Ephesus, Paul said in Acts 20:18-27:18 “You know, from the first day that I came to Asia, in what manner I always lived among you, 19 serving the Lord with all humility, with many tears and trials which happened to me by the plotting of the Jews; 20 how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house, 21 testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. 22 And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Ghost testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. 24 But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. 25 And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no more. 26 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. 27 For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.”
At 77 years old, I am likely on the final stretch of my race. After all these decades, I remain under the compulsion of the Holy Ghost. I am thankful to the prophetic brethren for their concern in what they consider to be in my best interests. Certainly, their admonitions have influenced me to once again count the cost.
Therefore, on August 17th Bro Jed & Co are scheduled to return to the campuses, not knowing what will befall us in the midst of the noisome pestilence and Antifa and BLM insurrection. Perhaps most dangerous is a significant percentage of students diagnosed with mental disorders who are on mental medications and others that are high on illegal drugs. Both the meds and the dope can be psychologically lethal to the consumers and possibly lethal to those who are challenging them. We will continue to offer the anarchists, the crazies and the few serious students the peace that passes all understanding, through the Prince of Peace, our Lord Jesus Christ. “The will of the Lord be done!” Amen.