CHURCH PICKETERS, STALKERS, AND DIVINE VISITATION
Do not fret because of evildoers, Be not envious toward wrongdoers. For they will wither quickly like the grass And fade like the green herb. Trust in the LORD and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He will do it.
I couldn’t believe my eyes, it was the grand opening of our little church on Kawanee Drive and there was a picket line in front of our building. Not only was there a picket line, there were television cameras and reporters. I had never seen anything like this or even heard of such a thing. Why were the people picketing? That was not that important but let’s say these picketers were not happy. I had just finished Bible School and became ordained with the Assemblies of God. The local church officials gave our new congregation this empty church building and that’s what started the problem. I guess these picketers were leftovers from an old church split and I was inheriting the mess. Oh the joys of ministry!
I dealt with these picketers for the next year. They not only picketed our church services, they followed my wife to our home, would stop and glare at me when I was working in the yard, filed lawsuits against us that ended up in the Louisiana Supreme Court, and would carry insulting signs as well as hurl insults at the church members as they crossed the picket lines. I never learned about these kinds of people in Bible School, I thought church people would just love Jesus.
In the midst of all that confusion, we were experiencing a divine visitation. Young people were coming to Christ weekly and experiencing true conversion. Drug dealers, strip tease dancers, pot heads, alcoholics, you name it, people were coming to Christ. I will never forget this “dancer” that came to the Lord during that season. She came to church in “hot pants” (remember, this was 1979). The picketers started yelling insults and rules about church at this brand new Christian. The picketers were of the hair bun and ankle length dress variety of believer. Thankfully, some of our church ladies were able to walk this young girl through the mine fields of religion. Don’t get me wrong, we believe in living holy, but sometimes it takes a couple of weeks for the new christians to get it.
The services were like heaven on earth. The singing was loud, passionate, and life changing. It wasn’t unusual to have demons cast out and various other disruptive outbursts in the services. We were experiencing revival and had no clue what revival was. Many times the Holy Spirit would fall in the services and we would sing for hours, God had come near.
Like today’s scripture says, “Don’t fret because of evil doers”. They tend to show up when the Lord begins to move. If you are facing unusual problems, look around, you might be in the middle of revival.