Hickory Saturated Again

Kent Blalock & Bishnu Shrestha again publicly display the Word of God at Hickory Alive. More than 1,000 Gospel tracts went into the hands of the public on July 4th with no trouble from the police. All Praise to the Most High God!

Greetings army of prayer partners, faithful supporters, and fellow-laborers for the Word of God and the Testimony of Jesus Christ!  Many of you are probably wondering what transpired on July 4th at Hickory Alive, and I apologize for dragging my feet as to getting out the news.  I needed a break from this whole situation on Saturday, and I enjoyed spending the day with my family.  Thanks for your understanding.

Undoubtedly, many were praying Friday evening all across the nation and the world.  Emails from places like Ghana in West Africa, Nepal, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, and countless locales in America confirmed this.  My friends, THE LORD WROUGHT A GREAT VICTORY (Numbers 23:23)!  About forty believers showed up, some of which I had previously never met.  Earlier in the week, the mayor had expressed concern about dropping the charges and doing what I consider to be the right thing concerning this whole fiasco.  His comment to a concerned citizen went a little something like this:  If we let this thing go, we are going to get street preachers down there!  Last night, I wanted to make sure and oblige Mayor Wright with a little street preaching.  Kent preached a few words to the believers gathered there, and then the Lord allowed me to share boldly and bluntly for about half an hour.

On a day marking the celebration of our nation’s Independence, I preached in the open air concerning deteriorating religious freedom in America, the biblical principles upon which the United States was founded, the Law of God as written on the conscience of every man, the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the command upon all Christians to preach the Gospel message even if it means persecution, imprisonment, and death (Mark 16:15; Acts 5:29).  I quoted Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Patrick Henry, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, and others of our Founding Fathers who saw the Bible as the bedrock of American life.  I explained that America and Americans can never escape the Ten Commandments of God.  We can remove them from every courthouse lawn, every school classroom, every government building, every city park.  We can adamantly deny their historical influence on American society and government.  But, we cannot escape them.  The same law, which was given to Israel on tables of stone, is written on the heart of every man, woman, and child (Romans 2:14-15).  You have to carry it with you everywhere, and it’s called your conscience (something evolution has never been able to explain).  The human conscience is a great alarm bell from the Creator God, a very personal message.  Guilty, guilty, guilty the bell tolls.  And, it leaves us helpless without a savior and hopeless if there is no savior.  Glory to God, for the message of the Gospel shouts loudly that there is a Saviour: the Lord Jesus Christ (Titus 3:5-6; I John 2:2; 4:10).  I concluded by warning believers that days of persecution would one day come.  One day, sharing the Gospel openly, meeting together with other believers for worship, homeschooling our children, possessing copies of the Scriptures, etc. may be crimes in America that result in harsh penalties.  But, I said, “IT IS NOT THIS DAY!”  The Lord was good, and the gathered brethren, I trust, were edified.  Several from the Hickory Alive crowd stopped to listen and clearly heard the Gospel message.  May these come to salvation in Jesus Christ.

After the preaching, we gathered for prayer, and then everyone sallied forth into the crowds to distribute Gospel tracts.  More than 1,000 went out as more than forty believers were faithful to share their faith.  We also provided numerous small signs with convicting biblical messages.  Believers stood quietly and peacefully with these signs in various places around the square as tracts were going out at the hands of others.  Some of the signs read: “If you died tonight, would you be in heaven or hell?” ;

“Jesus Hates Sin!” ; “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” ; “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” ; “For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost” ; “How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation” ; “Do you want deliverance from sinful, pagan lives?” ; and “The Statutes of Liberty” followed by a listing of the Ten Commandments.

Many saw and commented: some with words of appreciation, some with cursings of disdain and rationalization for their sins.  Notwithstanding, the Lord was very good.  Not once did the police bother us or insinuate that we should leave or stop.  As the night wore on, I even ran into additional believers who did not gather with us earlier but had come of their own accord to hand out Gospel tracts in response to the city’s arrest of Matthew and me last weekend.

As we were gathered at the outset of the evening, a spokesperson for the Jaycees came over to smooth things out a bit.  He spoke of the organization being “Christian-based” and of their support of freedom of speech, etc., etc.  When he finished his address, I simply responded in front of all:  If these things are true, and if your organization truly stands behind them, then the Jaycees need to put pressure on the City of Hickory to drop the charges.  Immediately, he backpedaled, and it was almost humorous to see through the facade of sincerity.  These statements just further highlighted the ridiculous nature of last week’s incident.  Later, I must admit, I sensed a bit of satisfaction as I saw one of the leaders of the Jaycees glaring at us as we quietly held Scripture signs.  Back in 2006, this same man spoke brashly and loudly to us right there in public:  “Yes, I hate your message, and I am going to do everything in my power to keep it from being spread down here!”  Last night, as the Word of God went out and he glared, I was reminded of a little known historical irony:

Voltaire, a well-known French philosopher from the 18th century, was a theological skeptic who destroyed the faith of many people and one who openly hated the Gospel message. He once boasted that within one hundred years of his death, the Bible would disappear from the face of the earth. Voltaire died in 1728, but the Bible, as we know, lives on. The stinging irony is that fifty years after his death, the Geneva Bible Society moved into his former house and used his printing presses to print thousands of Bibles.  Like Voltaire, the stinging irony of the Jaycee leader’s boast in 2006 is that in reality the Word has since gone out at Hickory Alive with greater boldness and greater power.  “To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen” (Jude 25).

Chief Tom Adkins of the Hickory Police Department was out on Union Square last night, and he showed himself to be very friendly, respectful, and welcoming to the believers sowing seed.  Thankfully, the particular officers from last week were nowhere to be seen, and those who were out showed all due respect.  Some even took Gospel tracts from the hands of my four-year-old daughter.  My Christian brothers and sisters, please pray for Chief Tom Adkins after the manner of I Timothy 2:1-5.  He seems to be a very honorable and fair man, and I believe his desire is to do the right thing in this matter.  After our experience last night, there is not a doubt now in my mind that had he personally been present the night of our arrest, there would have been no arrest, there would have been no harassment, there would have been no orders to stop distributing Gospel tracts, and there would have been no sitting in jail.  Because the city and its policy makers fear a federal lawsuit, his hands may in some ways be tied.  However, he still needs to hear your concerns, as does Mayor Rudy Wright.

I will say this.  I can think of many things I would rather spend my time doing for the sake of the Gospel than sitting in court rooms over the next couple of years as a federal lawsuit grinds through a slow process.  There is Bible translation work and Scripture printing the we are committed to in Nepal.  There are evangelism teams that need to be taken into Bangladesh, Nepal, and India.  There is some unfinished work FPGM has in Northern Europe and South America.  And, there are plenty of lost souls that need to hear from Gospel on the streets of the United States.  Avoiding this is the best scenario, for we are not motivated by fame, monetary remuneration, or an impulse to get back at the City of Hickory or the offending officers.  All we seek is to have our criminal records expunged and to be left alone to share our faith freely and peacefully on the public streets, sidewalks, and squares of our hometown.  After last night, I believe the right to proclaim the Gospel at Hickory Alive has been restored to us.  I do not foresee that believers will again have a problem at this venue anytime in the near future.  This is a victory for which we can now rejoice.  Now, Matthew and I need to have our criminal records expunged, and if the city wishes to avoid litigation, then it will move to do this quickly so that we can be about our Heavenly Father’s business.

Please continue to put pressure on the city officials to move on this.  Below is relevant contact information:

City of Hickory
Tel: 828-323-7400
Email: action@ci.hickory.nc.us

Mayor Rudy Wright
Tel: (828) 466-1044
Email: signs1320@charter.net

Hickory Police Department
Tel: 828-261-2600 (This number will get you straight to Chief Adkins’ office)
Email: tadkins@ci.hickory.nc.us

Hickory Jaycees
Tel: 828-322-2080
Email: hickoryjaycee@yahoo.com

Also, click the link below to send a letter to the editor of the Hickory Daily Record, demanding that the city drop the charges:

http://www.hickoryrecord.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=HDR/Page/HDR_ContentPage&c=Page&cid=1035488815629

Friends, mere words cannot express the gratitude and encouragement Matthew, Bishnu, Kent, Paul and I feel as a result of your support and direct involvement (i.e. by contacting the above parties to express your concerns).  I actually heard that a couple of the above channels were so flooded with emails that the servers became clogged.  That may be why some of you had your statements returned.  Try sending again on Monday morning.

Until these charges are dropped, please continue to help us put pressure where pressure needs to be applied.  Let the voices of Christians from all over Catawba County, the United States, and the world help insure that something like this does not happen in Hickory or anywhere else in America for a long time to come.  But, if it does, may we be faithful to live godly and proclaim the Good News (II Timothy 3:12).

Pray for Bishnu and me this upcoming week.  On Thursday, we will be embarking on a month long journey of more than 5,000 miles journey around the Continental United States.  This has been planned for awhile, and our purpose will be to share testimony about our work in Nepal and Bishnu’s experiences on the streets of America.  We will be  speaking at churches in Oklahoma, New Mexico, South Dakota, and possibly Oregon and Washington.  We also anticipate getting out on the streets in various locales to distribute Gospel tracts, open-air preach, and use the paint-board to point the lost to Jesus Christ.   This, of course, will help us further Full Proof Gospel Ministries’ goal of taking the Word of God to the downtown streets of every significant city and town in America.  We have come a long way, but there is yet a long way to go.

Please pray for our protection and that we will suffer no hindrances like what transpired in Hickory, NC on June 27th.  Pray also as we prepare for this long journey, asking of the Lord that the legal issues in Hickory will in no way be a hindrance to what He has planned across America for these coming weeks.  For Bishnu, this will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience as he seeks to carry out the Great Commission of our Lord and Saviour in a foreign land, a land that desperately needs Jesus.  May many here the message of salvation, and may Almighty God guide our steps to many divine appointments.  Stay tuned for email updates from the road!

If these recent updates have been forwarded to you from other sources and you would like to be added to FPGM’s email newsletter/prayer list, please request this by sending an email to jboyd@fpgm.org.

There is a Remnant Body of Bible-believing Christians in America that the Lord has reserved unto Himself in these days of darkness, open sin, wickedness, false gospels, lukewarm churchianity, and subtle persecution.  That Remnant has spoken this past week.  You, my friends, are part of that Remnant.  THANK-YOU!  We are humbled, honored, and edified.  But, all the glory really goes to God and the Lord Jesus Christ, “who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father” (Galatians 1:4).

Specific Reasons We Can Rejoice Concerning Our Arrest:

  1. The Gospel has gone out in more abundance as a result of this trial (Philippians 1:12-14).
  2. Bible-believing Christians have banded together and spoken out against persecution in a free nation.
  3. Many have been emboldened to share their faith.
  4. We now have personal connections with many solid believers in our local area that heretofore we did not know from Adam.
  5. Freedom to share the Gospel at a major event in our hometown appears to have been fully and finally restored.
  6. The Word was preached open-air, and more than 1,000 Gospel tracts were distributed at Hickory Alive in celebration of our nation’s birthday.
  7. We were edified and encouraged by the prayers and support of believers from all over America and the world.

Let’s see what we shall soon be able to add to this list as things further unfold and come to fruition.

Peace be with you all.  Jesus loves you!

Jesse M. Boyd

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