The Dallas Observer called it “The drunkest place on Earth” and I’d have to agree.
I had the opportunity to go love people and share the gospel at the largest party I have ever seen. I joined my good buddy Russell Wood from Storehouse: Dallas House of Prayer, along with their EJS (Encounter Jesus School) students and the guys leading the outreach from Upper Room Dallas.
On the weekend of St Patrick’s Day, Greenville Avenue is shut down to become a green beer and green attire laden block party… except it takes up miles and miles of blocks. The street and parking lots are loaded down with DJ’s pumping out beats from gansta’ rap to tejano, RV’s parked in parking lots with girls dancing on top of them, stripper poles set up along side of make shift stages to get the crowds going as women’s inhibitions lower throughout the day, and everywhere you look, thousands upon thousands of people… some people passed out, some puking, fighting, dancing, crying, etc. …Everything you tend to see at a crazy late night party… only it’s still just 11am. It’s only just getting started!
The event also coincides with the largest LGBT event in Texas and there was a presence there. I got propositioned when my buddy Russell and I were asked if we were in town for “Bear Week.” It’s the beard. I can’t help it. Good to know I still got it I guess.
There was the lack of available restrooms mixed with massive amounts of alcohol, which meant to be there was to see more public urination than you can imagine. I even stepped over some poo at one point walking down the street.
Men and women were wearing shirts labeled “kissing team,” and if you acknowledged them you got a kiss… guy or girl… No joke, we passed a dude tripping out that he had just got kissed on the mouth by some random guy. If you had a shot glass necklace, it meant that passersby with bottles in hand poured you a shot. And there were half naked underage girls everywhere. There was a ton of police presence, but realistically they’re only there to make sure no one dies. People were coming and going and I saw no one checking IDs or stopping teens with bottles and beers.
To be honest, this was exactly the kind of party I would have been looking for years ago. It had everything. Even a twerking contest, which Russell advised me against entering… Hey I was still feeling good about myself after the whole “Bear” incident. I imagine I would have lost to the young lady going by the name of “Black Lightning” anyway.
But alas, we weren’t there for the twerking… We were there to bring the Kingdom of God to Greenville Avenue… and unfortunately left wrecked and heartbroken.
We split into teams and headed off into the crowds. Russell and I took off down the street to find where Holy Spirit would lead. We wound up praying for several to get healed. We stopped and talked for a while to a group of guys that opened up completely to the Gospel and prayer.
One of the young men, who wasn’t raised in church, had actually cried out to God to let him learn who God was and bring him to his entire family. I began to share my testimony with him and we discussed things he’d experienced in his life remarkably the same. God was calling this young man to be an evangelist. We got to pray over him to give his heart to God and walk in power and begin sharing the Gospel. Russell got a word of knowledge about one of the guys ankles or feet, and it was that same young man’s little brother. He had a balance issue that when he put any weight on his right ankle he would literally fall over. He had learned to walk compensating for it. We prayed and he felt God heal him. He could not only put weight on it, but began jumping up and down on it as he and his brother both cried.
We open air preached to a group of people as we passed out water, and got to bless several others and met up with the group to hear similar testimonies of some of the things God had done. While we left knowing God had done something… we left knowing it wasn’t enough.
Russell and I talked about the depravity of the event, but not from the standpoint a lot of Christians would… you see it wasn’t how bad what was going on was that bothered me… it was all of those people, and as a father to 4 young girls, all of those young girls, that were lost, hurt, wounded, self medicating… that we left, never to talk to, never to share with, an overwhelming and impossible task left undone… I was quiet… and even still my heart aches at the thought of those who don’t know and may never experience the love of the Father… and oh how his heart must break for those orphans he longs to adopt into his family as he watches them fumble through life reaching for help, attention, and looking for love in the wrong places… (there’s a song there.)
It was almost dizzying to me even while we were in the midst of the crowd… I literally wanted to fall to my knees and begin to cry… because I couldn’t reach them all.
Church, we must go… Don’t leave it to the Pastor on Sundays… Don’t leave it to the evangelists to go on an outreach and hope to reach 1 in a crowd of 1,000,000. If you were called to Christ you were called to evangelism… every day… in your normal life. On your job, in your school, at the grocery store and the gas station, at the bank standing in line… Share the gospel… share the goodness of God… Share his love for the dying… Share what he’s done for you… And every single time there is an opportunity to go do outreach, how can we not… Quit making excuses… His heart breaks for the the perishing, and I pray yours will as well.
“We are to Plunder Hell to Populate Heaven for Calvary’s sake” – Reinhard Bonnke