March 19, 2009

What would you do?

Yesterday I sent a text out to some of my friends that I was in the Georgia Southern University Library working on my sermon.  The funny thing is that my friends were mostly GSU students who were somewhere on "SPRING BREAK 09".  I told them that later on that evening I was going to Walmart to hand out some literature about LifeSpring Church and invite random people to come to our worship service this Sunday (more info on this at  I asked my friends to tell me where they were and what they were doing.

In came the text telling me things from "I'm on the beach", "I'm at Lake Blackshear", "I'm finishing up my work to head to the beach", "I'm with my family" and so forth.  But then something strange happened.  I began to get WARNINGS from some of my friends and even got a phone call, telling me NOT TO GO TO WALMART! They said they had heard (through what ever sources they had) that there was going to be some gang activity at our Walmart including some shootings, and not to go, that it would be to dangerous.  I made some calls and had others that said they heard the same thing, and some said they didn't know anything about it.  

So, my question is, what would you do?  

Well, I went to Walmart with a friend of mine named Tracy.  I told him what I had heard and he was still ok with going.  We separated and went to each of the 2 main entrances, he at the grocery side, and I at the Garden center side.  As I began to hand out information and talk with people, I tried to be conscience of my surroundings, just making sure nothing suspicious was happening near me.  And then I noticed a couple of Statesboro police cars pull by me and part at the other end of Walmart.  A few minutes later there was two more cars, and then another, and I noticed one police car circling the parking lot.  Now my senses are HIGHTENED now.  6 police cars, DUDE, what's going on down there.  

After about 10 minutes, all the police cars pulled off an left.  I saw Tracy walking toward me and asked him had any thing happened.  He said no, but there were several managers looking at him strangely, making him feel uncomfortable for giving out our information about the church. So I walked into the store and approached the managers (4 of them) and told them who I and Tracy were and what we were doing (you know, we're a new church in Statesboro and we are handing out information about our church).  They were very polite and told me that the proper procedure was to contact the service desk and set a time to solicit, but they figured I didn't know about that.  I told them I didn't and said I wouldn't do it again without getting prior permission.  Then I showed them one of the text I had received about the potential "Gang" activity that was given me.  They said that it was a hoax.  That several times over the last couple of year that this same type thing happened in several parts of the United States today, and in fact had happened several times before with no reported incidents.  They said that people really took to heart what they heard and with the technology today, and the "false rumors" circulated faster than they could stop them.   

Now, why am I writing this. I met my wife later that night and over super she told me that she had overheard the same thing in the Belks store and the customers there were saying they weren't going near Walmart (which by the way, was only 300 yards or so from the Belks Store).  As I heard from her the fear that was in those talking about it, I thought to myself, "how many peoples actions were effected by what they 'believed' to be true"?  I mean, there were people who not only "talked" about not going to Walmart, they "warned" people, sometimes total strangers, NOT to go, and then didn't go themselves.  ALL BASED ON SOMETHING THEY HEARD AND BELIEVED TO BE TRUE, even if they had no proof. 

So, answer me this, why is it so HARD for people, (particularly FOLLOWERS OF JESUS CHRIST) to go out into this lost world and TELL and even WARN others, even total strangers, of what they BELIEVE to be true (Jesus is the the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.  If you really knew me {Jesus}, you would know my Father as well.  John 14:6 & 7).  

I guess it all depends on whether your belief is STRONG ENOUGH TO MOVE YOU TO ACTION...

Just one of those things that make you go "HUMMMMMMM"
Peace out

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