The dangers of growing old in the Lord

One of the many dangers aging Christians face as we pilgrim through this world is forgetting our Lord.

Though we may have begun strong in Him, full of faith, blessings and wisdom, there is a chance of throwing all of this away and dying in foolishness—even apostasy.

Solomon prominently comes to mind as one such example: a king who was blessed beyond measure in the beginning of his reign, full of godly wisdom and knowledge, who ended in tragedy. His riches, power and influence in the world for righteousness sake were incalculable.

Solomon threw all of this away and appears to have died a fool and an idolater of the worst kind. His rise and fall from greatness is a story I often return to in the hope I might learn not to follow in his disastrous footsteps.

He forgot God, allowing the innumerable blessings showered upon him to come between him and his Lord. The very blessings poured abundantly upon Solomon were the very things that destroyed him. This causes me to tremble in my spirit—if this apostasy and rebellion could happen to the wisest man in the world, it can certainly happen to me.

Jesus warned His disciples of this very thing in Matthew 26:41: “Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (NIV).

Most of us know people who began strong in the Lord and now, years later, no longer walk with Him. Or, if they still profess to be believers, you would not know this by the lifestyles they now lead and the words that come out of their mouths.

We all need to remember this other warning from Jesus and take heed: “…but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Matthew 24:13 (NIV)

First Amendment lawsuit against the UA

I filed my federal lawsuit against the University of AZ and their police department for my illegal arrest and incarceration last year at the annual “Tucson Festival of Books,” the third largest outdoor book fair in the United States.

This case, if won, will have far reaching implications for those who use amplification in their outdoor ministries: sidewalk counselors in front of abortion clinics and open-air preachers, to name two.

My case is unique because the case law (Supreme Court rulings, for example) concerning the use of outdoor amplification is not well settled. Some district courts have ruled one way while others have ruled the opposite.

In general, the use of amplification is recognized by the courts as being an essential part of our first amendment rights: one must not only be allowed to speak but also to be heard, and amplification allows this to effectively occur with our target audience.

The problem is that amplification runs into obstacles that cities and universities use to restrict its use. For example, one argument against the use of unrestricted amplified sound is that it can bother and annoy people and others affected by its use. Universities use this argument to their advantage by claiming (and sometimes legitimately so) that preachers using amplification interfere with classroom activity.

Again, my case is unique in that it is asking the 9th Circuit Court to rule on this specific issue: can a university forbid the use of any and all amplification by the general public during the weekend at at public, outdoor event when the vendors, musicians, and other paid participants of the event are allowed to do so, even though the public is freely invited with no cost to attend?

I say “no,” and this is the point of controversy.

As of yet, I cannot find a Christian law firm to take my case “pro bono” (for free). This case might literally take years to work its way through the courts. Can I afford hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorney fees to litigate this? Of course not.

The difficulty in finding an experienced first amendment law firm to take my case on a pro bono basis is because of the above mentioned unknowns. I’ve worked with first amendment lawyers long enough to understand they only want to take cases where they are assured of victory; then, the losing side pays all the bills incurred because of the litigation.

This case is certainly no shoe-in for victory. The attorney I hired at first to take this case (paying him almost $2,000 for next to nothing; I let him go) gave best odds at 60/40 in my favor. As he delved more closely into the case law, he lowered the odds to even.

These are some of the reasons I decided to file this action myself with no attorney representing me. I have a fair amount of experience in fighting my own legal battles and am familiar with much of the court requirements for filing a lawsuit.

But District Court is an animal of a different color. This is Federal Court and not your local justice court or even Superior Court. This will require, and I have already dedicated well over 100 hours into this battle, extensive amounts of time, paperwork, research, and a fair amount of money.

I may lose. If I hired a law firm and lost, I’m out all of their fees; plus, I may have to pay the costs and attorney fees for the State if I lose. This is always an additional risk of these lawsuits.

The kingdom benefits, of course, are huge. A favorable ruling should help open up all public universities for amplified sound, with certain conditions. No longer should God hating, university bureaucrats and police officers be able to bully preachers for using amplified sound unless they can make a strong showing that such sound truly disrupts indoor classroom activity.

I plan of keeping everyone posted on future updates.

Lawsuit filed today against the University of AZ

I filed my First Amendment lawsuit against the University of AZ today in the United States District Court here in Tucson.

I did this because of my false arrest last year during the annual Tucson Festival of Books while sharing a message about the Bible being the #1 selling book in the world.

The reason I was arrested was because I was using my small amplification system to speak to the crowds of people. And all around me, literally, were many other people amplifying their sound at the exact same moment.

In reality, I was arrested because of WHAT I was saying. As we all know, the only speech not welcomed on college and university campuses across the USA is “bible speech.”

This lawsuit is complicated and technical. Few lawyers specialize in First Amendment law and I could not find one that would represent me “pro bono” (for free). Many law firms do represent Christians like myself pro bono who are illegally arrested like I was, but they want to make sure they win the case so they can have the opposing side pay their attorney fees.

My case is unique: there is no case law that directly addresses my particular set of circumstances. And the cases that address similar issues like mine have had mixed rulings in different districts around the country.

This is one reason why law firms specializing in First Amendment law would be hesitant to take my case; too much ambiguity in the case law.

This is a true “David v. Goliath” situation. I am going up against the power of the State of AZ by myself. They have all the power, all the money, and all the lawyers one could hope for at their disposal. I only have the little bit of brains the Lord gave me and His presence.

If I win, this will set a precedent that will help all open air preachers who wish to use amplification on university and college campuses to do so.

And I want to fight evil and injustice, exactly what has happened to me in this arrest. Don’t you grow weary of Christians who refuse to stand up and fight against the evil that is sweeping across our nation? I certainly do, which is another reason I put this particular stone in my slingshot as I’m approaching Goliath.