Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Sellout (05/26/11)
TITLE: Souled Out
By Tim Pickl
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The popularity of the band grew as word spread over social networks and text messages.
“Thousands of emails and comments came in, begging the band to stay in town,” reported Steve Stocks, the band’s agent and promoter. “So we had to do something.”
When asked why they dropped the admission price for the held over concerts, Steve Stocks answered, “We wanted to give back to the community. We always want to be ‘souled out Christians’!”
Before every concert, one of the band members acts the part of <i>John the Baptist</i>. Camped out in the main parking lot on a small platform adjacent to a large recreational vehicle, “John” starts preaching to draw a crowd.
“REPENT! For the kingdom of heaven is at hand! Jesus is returning soon! REPENT!”
When asked why “John” acts that way, Steve Stocks simply said, “<i>Souled Out Christians</i> is not just a catchy band name, it’s <i>how we live</i>. <i>John the Baptist</i> was an awesome example of a sold out Christian. The message is simple: <b>Repent</b>. Our 'John' preaches it hard—he really acts the part well. Many thousands of people have responded, and repented, ultimately coming to know Christ. The bottom line is we truly want to be a witness and reach as many as we can in this lost and dying world before the end.”
The first weekend was not without its hiccups. When “John the Baptist” began preaching on Friday night, a handful of protesters with signs showed up, shouting profanities. "John" responded by preaching louder. One of the protesters got so frustrated; he smashed his THE FEAR IS NEAR sign on a mother’s head who was holding a small child in her arms. The father reacted by wrestling the protester to the ground. The other protesters tried to follow suit, but were subdued by police who were on the scene.
The mother was taken to the Emergency Room at St. John’s Medical Center where she had to get 14 stitches where her head was gashed; and was kept overnight for observation for a possible concussion.
The child was not injured.
After the incident, “John the Baptist” continued preaching, and the crowd followed him into the baseball stadium.
Then, on Saturday, a small group of 6 teenagers decided to interrupt the concert itself. During one of the slower, worshipful, quiet songs, three teenagers knelt on the floor, and the other three stood on the first three teenager’s backs. They tore off their shirts, revealing evil, skull-laden tattoos. Then they raised their hands with lighters in them, and screamed as flames shot upward from their hands, “satan rules! satan rules!”
All six were immediately removed by security and subsequently arrested by the police.
“<i>Souled Out Christians</i> is first and foremost, Christian, in every sense of the word. We are unashamedly <i>in Christ</i>. What happens when Christ shows up? The enemy shows up. We expect it—we know it’s going to happen, so we prepare as best as we can with prayer, and fasting and tons of security planning.”
When asked about what happened at the St. John’s Medical Center, Steve Stocks said, “I went with the entire band and crew to see the lady who was injured and prayed for her. Let’s make this personal. Her name is Annamarie. When Annamarie saw us, she started weeping. See, it wasn’t us. It’s <i>Christ</i> in us. She was overwhelmed with the love of God flowing through us. After we prayed for her, we gave her 7 signed copies of our latest CD—we always do that—one to keep, and 6 to give away. Being a <i>Souled Out Christian</i> means giving. Annamarie’s entire family was saved after that day. Thank God!”
Steve Stocks began to cry near the end of the interview. “I thank God Annamarie’s okay… Sometimes, when I have a few moments to stop and think about all God has done for us and through us, I just start crying with tears of thankfulness. See, <i>Souled Out Christians</i> started as an idea, as a dream, as a way to reach people. It’s not about the music—the music is just a tool—it’s about winning the souls around us, as many as we can.
“Be a <i>Souled Out Christian</i>.”
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